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Old 05-08-2020, 12:24   #1
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How to strengthen chain link

A few years ago when I was retrofitting my boat, I bought a windlass. The store was running a special at the time and they bundled 50 feet of chain spliced to 200 feet of nylon 8-plait rode. I felt the chain was too short and got 100 more feet of it and attached it end to end with a split chain link. Galvanized G4 hi test chain.

I checked the chain link couple days ago and it is looking pretty good. BUT, it is in the back of my mind whenever I experience a storm at anchor since that split link is the weakest link. In this part of the workd where I am cruising, have access to all the machine shops, welders and galvanizers one could think of. So it got me thinking, should I take the chain to be welded so that I am no longer depending on that particular split link?


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Old 05-08-2020, 14:27   #2
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

Even if you welded that split link, it would still be weak. It's hard to make some kind of link that will fit the gypsy too. Bigger anchor and no split link?
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Old 05-08-2020, 14:57   #3
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

No worries, just buy one of these; they maintain link to link distance and are as strong as the chain. I have a G70 one here but G43 is available as well. Lowe’s, Tractor Supply etc. I have seen them offered in hit sipped galvanized at Lowe’s IIRC
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Old 05-08-2020, 15:44   #4
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

I have often heard that there is no gypsiable chain link that is as strong as the chain. I look forward to reading actual tests to the contrary.
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Old 05-08-2020, 16:08   #5
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

we have a stainless steel joining link in our chain

https://www.whitworths.com.au/chain-rivet-split-link

we were told this is as strong as the chain...but no evidence or actual rating quoted so i'm rather dubious

although it's worked so far in some pretty bad conditions, it was only ever a temporary solution and we're about to replace the full chain length.

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Old 05-08-2020, 17:23   #6
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

Hi. Jedi has shown you the correct link and it looks like it was sprayed with cold galvanized paint which is what I do. You can change the cotter pins to stainless or use monel wire if you wish. Your call.
Works on my Maxwell windlass. Keep an eye on them but they are nice.
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Old 05-08-2020, 17:36   #7
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

You can actually weld chain too, how strong it is, is of course up to the talent of the welder.
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Old 05-08-2020, 18:06   #8
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I'm not sure how this could possibly work in a windlass.
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Old 05-08-2020, 21:06   #9
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

Hi. Captain. Muaddib. Maybe not every windlass but here’s a trick. I use a piece of hard rubber to get stuff round the chain wheel or the drum on top. It’s about as wide as this type of chain link. I just jam it in and let it go round and pull it out before it gets to the deck roller where the chain goes below. Sometimes I stop and reverse and use the chain gate to hold the chain and pry it off the wheel. You can wrap the line in part of those fancy Velcro chafe guards or maybe elk hide with a baseball stitch or duck tape. I’ve had chafe gear get chewed a bit and managed to haul in a rubber in line snubber ...half on the chain wheel, half on the drum. A vertical reversing windlass is a thing of beauty.
Fighting with discarded rusty chain and crab trap line wrapped around your anchor chain at night...just the joys of sailing. Someone ought to start a thread called what free stuff came up with your anchor.
Lastly, perhaps the tech sailors have a dyneema solution to present.
Could you please add a photo of your windlass, chain pipes, rollers.
Happy trails.
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Old 06-08-2020, 10:39   #10
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

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Originally Posted by Muaddib1116 View Post
I'm not sure how this could possibly work in a windlass.
If you measure you will see the distance between links stays the same. On our vertical windlass (Maxwell) it will just pass like it is but I slow down while the link is on the gypsy. On a horizontal windlass the chain only engages the gypsy for 90 degrees instead of 180 and I’m sure it can jump off the gypsy. On the vertical windlass, the links at both sides of the coupler keep it going.

We never had any trouble, it is rated to same strength as the chain and for G70 we indeed spray it with cold galvanize, but for G43 it is available hot dip galvanized.
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Old 06-08-2020, 11:52   #11
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

No connector can be as strong as continuous chain, and I wonder if these split links have been tested to the maximum chain load, as frequently advertised. The trouble is that you never know if such an arrangement is up to par until you're in extreme conditions, and you don't say what kind of cruising you plan to do. The double shackle shown in one of the posts will definitely not feed through one of our windlasses. If it were my boat, I'd either replace the rope part of the rode with a longer length of rope, or have a link in the chain cut and welded by a certified welder, then load test the result.


As this can lead to a life or death situation, extreme caution is advised.
Good luck
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Old 06-08-2020, 12:07   #12
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

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Originally Posted by Muaddib1116 View Post
I'm not sure how this could possibly work in a windlass.

It won't pass seamlessly through a windlass, but it's fairly easy as you are bringing in the chain on the windlass, when you see this link approaching, and as long as the anchor is not aweigh, wait for slack in the anchor chain and you can just bring in that little bit of chain by hand. Just watch your fingers!
Same technique used to transfer anchor rode from rope to chain, from the capstan to a gypsy, once you get to the chain.
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Old 06-08-2020, 12:15   #13
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

Manufacturers load testing of links? My Magic 8 Ball says, "Things do not look favorable..."
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Old 06-08-2020, 12:16   #14
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

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Originally Posted by Muaddib1116 View Post
I'm not sure how this could possibly work in a windlass.
A windlass grabs a hold of multiple links to apply torque. This link is the same length as the missing link so the windlass can continue to align to pull on the link ahead and behind this coupler.
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Old 06-08-2020, 12:33   #15
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Re: How to strengthen chain link

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A windlass grabs a hold of multiple links to apply torque. This link is the same length as the missing link so the windlass can continue to align to pull on the link ahead and behind this coupler.

True with some split links, but there's also the question of how much load the split link will take when the boat is at anchor in extreme conditions.
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