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Old 17-07-2020, 16:22   #1
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How much chain..really?

So I see posts for boats for sale, and folks talking about operations who have miles of chain

But really why?

I get it’s less likely to be compromised by a rock, but 200’ of chain? Weight/cost to benefit?

What’s the average depth, 7 scope, how much chain does one really need?

Doing the weight and balance of my cutter, I need more weight forward, but sail to displacement is a concern, if I could have less chain and have a water maker and AC/heatpump that seems like a better deal.

So outside of belt and suspender status, how much chain does one REALLY need for most ops, presume 30-50’ boat?

Also what about dyneema after chain?
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Old 17-07-2020, 16:28   #2
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Re: How much chain..really?

Well NM, that really depends on where you sail. We have had 80 metres of chain out in a severe storn and 8 metres of water. We also anchor at times in up t0 15 metres of water. We are currently cruising the east coast of Australia. Tides can vary considerably and at times up to 10 metres. We also anchor in areas of coral and would not have anything but chain due to the chance of a coral bommie cutting through the line.
Our home port is a Lake with a average depth of 7 metres. 50 to 60 metres of chain in that area would be ample.



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Old 17-07-2020, 16:34   #3
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Re: How much chain..really?

NorthernMac: It helps if you add your cruising area to your signature. I can only guess from the name.


In many area 200 feet of chain is a waste, in others, not so much. It depends on the water depth. For me it would be overkill, since I have not anchored in more than 10 feet in years. But I'm not everyone.


200 feet makes sense for many. More than that... yeah, it depends.


And no, there is nothing wrong with extending with rope when in deep water. The rope isn't going to be on the bottom. But the tolerance for weight also varies. 200 feet on my F-24 would be horrible. My PDQ wouldn't even notice. And there is the option of high strength chain.
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Old 17-07-2020, 16:37   #4
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Re: How much chain..really?

You are correct sir.

Area of operations would be eastern US, Bahamas and possibly US west coast, with the Panama journey being involved if that occurred
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Old 17-07-2020, 16:56   #5
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Re: How much chain..really?

We are on the final stretches of a trip from the great lakes down to the bahamas and back. Speaking from that experience I can say we carry 70ft of heavy chain and have had zero issues. We rarely anchored in more than 15ft of water with tides. We did spend a week in 35ft once (hatchet bay in eleuthera) and had no issues either. We put brand new oversized nylon on for the trip at the end of that 70ft. We always laid out the full chain regardless of depth. The nylon never touched bottom and if we had questionable things around us I'd dive and make sure they weren't coral heads that could reach the nylon.

In the end it depends where you cruise, anchor and boat. We have no windlass and for the size of chain we have pulling 70ft of it up plus mantus in very deep water is nearing physical limits of the crew.

We use 3/8ths galv chain and 120ft 5/8ths nylon with a SS thimble for our 33ft sailboat.
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Old 17-07-2020, 16:57   #6
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Re: How much chain..really?

Id say it depends on your boat. If it can handle the weight, all chain is great. If you have a light, performance boat, not so much.
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Old 17-07-2020, 17:08   #7
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Re: How much chain..really?

A world cruiser needs 400 of chain but for east coast and bahamas 100 will be more than enough. West coast I doubt it but no direct experience.
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Old 17-07-2020, 17:20   #8
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Re: How much chain..really?

For Puget Sound up through SE Alaska, I'd say your 30' boat should have a minimum of 50' of chain, spliced to 300' of rope. We anchored our 11,000 lb 26-footer hundreds of nights over 18 summers of cruising the Inside Passage with 40-42' chain and 250-300' rope, in 20 to 75 feet of water, with complete success.
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Old 17-07-2020, 17:22   #9
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Re: How much chain..really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
A world cruiser needs 400’ of chain but for east coast and bahamas 100’ will be more than enough. West coast I doubt it but no direct experience.
400’ of chain?

Why?


I am figuring weight and balance, if it doesn’t pull its weight I don’t see a need, that’s a ton of ugg boots for my girl or lots of ammo for me
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Old 17-07-2020, 17:27   #10
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Re: How much chain..really?

I had 60' of chain and the rest rope on my 36' boat for years and years, and sailed all over the BC coast up towards and Alaska and down the west coast of the island.

Was totally fine, I only switched to all chain when I was going to the tropics as apparently the chances of your rode being sliced in two by coral is very high.

Otherwise, I would have just stayed with the 60' of chain. I definitely notice the performance hit with an extra 200' of chain in the bow, buries the bow in heavy seas upwind a lot more

Ill probably switch back to a mixed rode when I get back to BC
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Old 17-07-2020, 17:28   #11
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Re: How much chain..really?

I have 300’ of chain, rarely have more than 120’ out. But having all chain fits into the locker better and there isn't any issue with the chain/rope connection for the windlass. The weight to my boat boat was meaningless.
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Old 17-07-2020, 17:48   #12
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Re: How much chain..really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernMac View Post
400 of chain?

Why?


I am figuring weight and balance, if it doesnt pull its weight I dont see a need, thats a ton of ugg boots for my girl or lots of ammo for me
Like I wrote, for your plans 100 is enough. When you anchor in 75 of water you need 400 of chain. For world cruisers I consider rope a risk and nuisance better avoided. Im sure people will take 100 of chain plus 300 rope but I know its a pain and often leads to trouble as well. All chain is the way to go
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Old 17-07-2020, 18:16   #13
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Re: How much chain..really?

I have 100 m on 38 foot boat, I anchor in 12-15 m with 4-5 m tides regularly, with 100 m I can anchor pretty much anywhere.....
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Old 17-07-2020, 18:45   #14
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Re: How much chain..really?

I have 275’, largely because that’s a half barrel of 5/16, and that’s how it’s sold.
However we do have storms on the East coast too, and then it’s nice to always know you have more than you need, whether it be fuel or water, or chain.
I think an effective argument could be made that you don’t need more than a boat length, but I like having extra, and feel more secure with all chain than a combo rode.
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Old 17-07-2020, 18:51   #15
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Re: How much chain..really?

Running from the Bahamas and Keys to Nova Scotia, i have 200’ of chain.

Sometimes you need to anchor in a relatively deep spot.

I have 150’ out as i type this.
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