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Old 17-09-2021, 16:48   #1
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Expected Chain Lifespan

For those of you who anchor a lot, and have chain in the water more often than not, what kind of lifespan to you expect from high quality domestic (USA) galvanized chain?

I know the lifespan we get from cheap Chinese chain with thin galvanizing (about 3 years) and its cost. I know the cost of USA chain… but I don’t have a good number for the lifespan of the USA chain to compare the prices on a Dollar/year basis.

I strongly suspect the USA chain will prove to be the long term bargain, but data would be nice!
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Old 17-09-2021, 19:24   #2
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

Just replaced my Acco chain this spring after 11 years. I spend a couple months each year on the hook in Bermuda and about another month on the hook in New England. I was just able to see a little rust and I consider my ground tackle a life insurance policy so I replaced it. It was end-for-ended once during its life.
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Old 17-09-2021, 21:25   #3
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

We get about 12 mths from Australian made 13mm grade L before the first bit starts rusting but daily anchoring brings it up clean

After 2 years and a few decent storms it's usually deformed slightly and won't play nice with the chain wheel anymore so I cut out that first section and continue on with the new old length and buy another new 80m joining that to the old with acco rated C links and a soft shackle - they go through our chain wheel fine.

The best looking galvanising job I have seen is on Chinese made chain (Titan/CMP/Rocna)
Unfortunately I have only found it here in short lengths
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Old 17-09-2021, 22:15   #4
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

It really depends a lot on what you are anchoring on. If you are in a tropical area with significant coral rubble the life is far shorter than say Chesapeake mud.
In the tropics we get about 4 years, including one end for end swap, before it needs regalvanizing.
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Old 18-09-2021, 01:06   #5
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

Just been through this here in Hobart. Three year old PWM chain quite rusty in the parts that typically lie on the bottom (we live full time at anchor, save t he past three months where we've been in a marina). Time to regal... but the quote from the only galvanizaria in Tasmania was 5.60 AUD per kilo, plus shipping two ways to Launceston. Made buying new chain roughly equal in cost, so new chain on the way from the gold coast (at great expense, btw).

Not amused.

Being the only game in town leads to rapacious pricing. And it is ironic, for we are in a marina that is right next to a giant zinc smelting works!


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Old 18-09-2021, 05:56   #6
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

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Originally Posted by Simi 60 View Post

After 2 years and a few decent storms it's usually deformed slightly and won't play nice with the chain wheel anymore…
Simi,

The kind of stretching you describe, is proof positive that you are exceeded your chains Working Load Limit.

It is your boat, but if it was mine, I’d increase the size and or grade of chain to avoid this. Stretched (even “slightly”) chain is weaker than the original. It has to be, since the strength is proportional to the diameter of the metal in the link. Stretch it and it becomes smaller, and hence weaker. In any industrial application for lifting chains following AMSE standards ANY change in a chain’s dimensions would result in the entire length being condemned immediately.
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Old 18-09-2021, 06:00   #7
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

So far we have:

11 years
4 years
3 years

If I get three years from the “cheap” chain at 1/2 the cost of premium, sounds like I come out ahead in total dollars spent just revisiting the chain store every three years…

We end-for-end ours every year, because it is easy while we are on the hard. We typically find the most corrosion at the bottom of the chain locker, not the working end of the chain. I would guess about have of our time is in abrasive sand, and half in soft mud.


But more data would be welcome…
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Old 18-09-2021, 06:09   #8
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Just been through this here in Hobart. Three year old PWM chain quite rusty in the parts that typically lie on the bottom (we live full time at anchor, save t he past three months where we've been in a marina). Time to regal... but the quote from the only galvanizaria in Tasmania was 5.60 AUD per kilo, plus shipping two ways to Launceston. Made buying new chain roughly equal in cost, so new chain on the way from the gold coast (at great expense, btw).

Not amused.

Being the only game in town leads to rapacious pricing. And it is ironic, for we are in a marina that is right next to a giant zinc smelting works!


Yotting is so fun...

Jim
Jim,

It’s not just your local shop. In my experience it has been a VERY long time since galvanizers were at all interested in a small job like an anchor chain. This has made regalvanizing a poor economic decision for a long time. All the old yachting books from 30 years ago talk about this as routine. But the world has changed…

There might be places where there are small galvanizing shops that want this kind of work, but I haven’t found them yet.

If anybody knows of a shop that can galvanize chain at less than US$1.50 per pound on the US East Coast, (or US$600 for the full 300 feet) I’d love to hear it. If they threw the anchor in for an extra $150 I’d be really happy…
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Old 18-09-2021, 09:25   #9
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

I believe you are correct BillKny. Just had the re-galv done this spring in the PNW at Emerald Galvanizing; they did a good job. It worked out to @ $1.90/lb for the galv job, but they wouldn't touch the chain or anchor until it was completely sandblasted. They sent it offsite and it was @ $500 just for that.

I assume it's to keep the galv tanks clean, as most of the work they do is for new, architectural steel.
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Old 19-09-2021, 00:42   #10
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

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Originally Posted by BillKny View Post
Simi,

The kind of stretching you describe, is proof positive that you are exceeded your chains Working Load Limit.

It is your boat, but if it was mine, I’d increase the size and or grade of chain to avoid this.

.
Please send the $20,000 to do so to......

Quote:
Stretched (even “slightly”) chain is weaker than the original. It has to be, since the strength is proportional to the diameter of the metal in the link. Stretch it and it becomes smaller, and hence weaker
Chain is measured with digital micrometres and there is no evidence of size change, but there is something different going on, it gets the twisties but rest assured, size is the same .

Quote:
. In any industrial application for lifting chains following AMSE standards ANY change in a chain’s dimensions would result in the entire length being condemned immediately
And the used affected section, that is, the chain up to the snubber is condemned.
The chain after that had never been used so is unaffected.
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Old 19-09-2021, 05:03   #11
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

Anchoring around 150 days per year in the SE US and the Bahamas, we have gotten three years service before the chain began to bleed rust on the deck and showed some rusting where the links touched each other. At that point we replaced the initial chain with new Acco which we re-galvanized three times before replacing it with Titan which now a few months past its third year but it has not seen as much use as before due to Covid.
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Old 19-09-2021, 06:37   #12
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

chain is but one link in a sailboats anchoring setup....one needs to also check or assess the shackles, pins, safety wiring, other connectors, etc, nylon rode...
most cruising sailboats have a several anchors, with associated rode.
steel can throw of a tremendous amount of rust. a 1" steel plate can throw of 7" or more of rust, so a little bit of surface rust on an anchor chain needs to evaluated not just thrown away.
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Old 19-09-2021, 16:55   #13
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

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chain is but one link in a sailboats anchoring setup....one needs to also check or assess the shackles, pins, safety wiring, other connectors, etc, nylon rode...
most cruising sailboats have a several anchors, with associated rode.
steel can throw of a tremendous amount of rust. a 1" steel plate can throw of 7" or more of rust, so a little bit of surface rust on an anchor chain needs to evaluated not just thrown away.
I appreciate that a rusty chain hasn’t necessarily lost much strength just because it is ugly, but we are not a rough and tumble work boat. Keeping our boat looking good is important to us, and is an important part of keeping her working good.

Having the chain throwing rust down the deck every time we pull it up isn’t our idea of “Bristol Fashion” and is just not acceptable. Besides creating a LOT of work to clean up, the flaking rust risks clogging the drainage system in the bottom of the anchor locker. No judgement if that’s how you run things on your boat, it’s just not our way.

I would hope people aren’t condemning chain when the first little spot of red shows up, but when it starts to flake off and make a mess, that’s a different story.

As was discussed above, these days regalvanizing chain seems to be a only a theoretical possibility, not a sensible economic choice.

I am quickly coming to the conclusion that the low cost chain with the the thinner galvanizing is the good choice from an economic viewpoint if the lifespan of premium grade chain is only 3 or 4 years in full time cruising use.
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Old 19-09-2021, 17:26   #14
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

Our chain, of European origin, is eight years old, 6 years full time on the hook, two more years of summers. Regalvanized once, but now needs it again and the price of new is less.

I guess, as with everything, location matters. The last galvanizing was in Whangarei, NZ. Don't remember the exact price, but less than half of new chain. The galvanizer is a bit out of town, but once a month or so, in season, sends a truck around to all the yards to collect anchors and chains, and then runs it all in one batch or schedule of batches. I guess that makes it more reasonable as they can do the setup and run a lot.
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Old 19-09-2021, 17:35   #15
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Re: Expected Chain Lifespan

well, there is always the stainless steel option for chain....pricey, yes......worth it....not to me.
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