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Old 02-10-2013, 07:35   #31
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Normally a chain stopper is "on" all the time. That is one of its advantages over a rope and chain hook.

When releasing the chain the handle needs to push forward. Most models could be improved with more sensible system to retain the handle in the released position. (Some people use the chain stopper to control the release of the chain, but I prefer the more progressive nature of the windlass clutch, or occasionally powering down)

Maxwell and muir make the best chain stoppers that I have seen.
The problem with those types of stopper is that they are difficult to fit with some windlasses. Horizontal ones, in particular, carry the chain up too high to use them unless the roller-to-windlass run is long or an idler roller is used before the windlass.

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Old 02-10-2013, 08:11   #32
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

Yes I agree they don't suit all installations.

Even with a vertical windlass the chain stopper typically needs to be a bit higher than the deck and its tough to build a structure strong enough on many boats (with an aluminium boat you can usually just weld a suitable mounting block on )

There is also often just not enough room between the end of the anchor and the windlass, particularly if you want a swivel with a few links of chain as well.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:09   #33
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Yes I agree they don't suit all installations.

Even with a vertical windlass the chain stopper typically needs to be a bit higher than the deck and its tough to build a structure strong enough on many boats (with an aluminium boat you can usually just weld a suitable mounting block on )

There is also often just not enough room between the end of the anchor and the windlass, particularly if you want a swivel with a few links of chain as well.
I think I am going to stick with a strop, maybe get rid of the chain and go with Dyneema like Evans'.

Those Maxell stoppers look terrific, but it would be a major job to install one on my foredeck and be sure of the necessary strength -- and I have more pressing things on the list.

Besides that, I think Evans' point about being able to release it instantly is important. In case my stopper (of whatever type) is loaded up because the snubber has broken, I can unload my anchor chain with the winch handle (which I will be using anyway to release the windlass clutch), so I think it's not a life or death question, but I like the idea of being able to simply cut it if the fit has really hit the shan.

Maybe I should keep a hatchet in the chain locker instead of a serrated knife Then just whack! whack! whack! And snubber, lashing, and strop are all gone. Hmmm.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:36   #34
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

Scenario: (and why I have not used a chain stopper much)
You anchor in a quiet anchorage. later the wind pipes up, sure enough from a direction dirrectly into the anchorage. Soon the wind waves are 3-4 feet, the boat is pounding, the bow is like riding a bucking bronco. The chain snubber is bar tight like a steel bar with each bounce of the boat. It becomes obvious that the anchor is pulling with each bounce, and it's time to get out!
a)If you dont have a snubber on also, you now have to kneel or lay on top of the stopper area to hook a snubber on so you can release the tension on the chain to free the chain stopper. That stopper could explode at any time. Hopefully not while you are nearby.
b) If you do have a snubber on, it is stretching severely with each bounce of the boat and may be straining the chain stopper at each stretch. With the bouncing of the boat, pulling on the snubber etc, just as you are about to be able to retrieve the anchor, the stopper flops back on the chain. Guess what... you get to start the whole scenario over again.

It just seems when I've tried to use a stopper, I feel lucky to come away with all my fingers... is it just me...?
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:44   #35
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Scenario: (and why I have not used a chain stopper much)
You anchor in a quiet anchorage. later the wind pipes up, sure enough from a direction dirrectly into the anchorage. Soon the wind waves are 3-4 feet, the boat is pounding, the bow is like riding a bucking bronco. The chain snubber is bar tight like a steel bar with each bounce of the boat. It becomes obvious that the anchor is pulling with each bounce, and it's time to get out!
a)If you dont have a snubber on also, you now have to kneel or lay on top of the stopper area to hook a snubber on so you can release the tension on the chain to free the chain stopper. That stopper could explode at any time. Hopefully not while you are nearby.
b) If you do have a snubber on, it is stretching severely with each bounce of the boat and may be straining the chain stopper at each stretch. With the bouncing of the boat, pulling on the snubber etc, just as you are about to be able to retrieve the anchor, the stopper flops back on the chain. Guess what... you get to start the whole scenario over again.

It just seems when I've tried to use a stopper, I feel lucky to come away with all my fingers... is it just me...?
I used to have a chain stopper which required me to insert a pin through a chain link. I never had to disengage it under tension since I would do that before I let off the snubber. The stopper would never experience any tension while the snubber was on because I always let out more chain than the maximum stretch of the snubber (which I recommend). So I never had any problem like what you describe.

Presently I use a strop with a chain hook. Same thing -- no matter how wild the conditions, as long as the snubber is holding and more chain is out than the maximum possible stretch of the snubber, unhooking the strop is trivial.

The real challenging situation is if you have wild conditions and the snubber has broken, loading up the stopper or strop. I believe I could -- my present boat, considering how its rigged -- unload it with a winch handle applied to the windlass. Or simply energize and operate the windlass, if you have time. But the option to cut the strop seems pretty attractive.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:23   #36
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

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a)If you dont have a snubber on also, you now have to kneel or lay on top of the stopper area to hook a snubber on so you can release the tension on the chain to free the chain stopper.
The chain stoppers I have used can be released under full load although it can be difficult to do so.
This depends on the design and some of the simple pressed stainless steel models do not look very well made although I cannot recall using one, so I have no idea how well they work in practice.

I like the idea of a rope that can always be cut and with the development in fibres like Dyneema it is an attractive solution, but like most other boat equipment there are pros and cons.

The automatic grip of chain stopper does have advantages although my current boat does not have one.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:29   #37
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

I feel very comfortable with my spectra strop . . . . But I will comment that Jedi has said that he does not think any textile would have survived the cycling loads inolved in the cat 4 hurricane that he endured. His snubber broke and he sat on his chain jammer - which surprisingly to me did not break or pull out of the deck, while his bow roller was destroyed.

I have been involved with some extreme cycling loading industrial application which have shifted to spectra, with longer life than the prior wire and chain. Based on that experience I think the stuff is extremely durable so long as it is not exposed to sharp edges.

But Jedi is the only one I know with first hand cat 4 experience, so I think it important to keep his opinion in mind. I would plan to put three strops on the chain, each rated to roughly the displacement of the boat, if in the future I have the bad fortune to be caught by a hurricane.

Jedi sat on one rode, but rode failure is I believe the single most common failure point, so I would sit on at least 2 rodes, and my default plan is 4 rodes (two tandom's, each with both a Chain and a rope rode).

Regarding the "rules" vs "judgement" discussion and the "it's only 4 seconds on extra work" point . . . . That's true of almost everything . . . . Like wearing a harness in a dead calm anchorage. Or carrying a plb for every dinghy trip. At some point you have to make a judgement call based on your risk assessment. And the seamanship skill is to make that risk assessment as objectively and accurately as possible - not letting laziness allow you to skip prepping for a "real" risk but also not allowing fear to make you over react to a "essentially zero" risk
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:37   #38
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

But you get to choose the diameter/strength of the strop. If no sharp edges are present, then it seems a massive oversize would survive just fine.

I have seen 1.5" Amsteel, which is absurd of course, but I don't think it would even notice a Cat4 cyclic load.

Certainly there must be an overlap between easily handling those forces and being practical for use?

Our strop is 3/8" Amsteel, which has a breaking load of 17,600 lbs. It is difficult to imagine that breaking before something else in the anchor gear.

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Old 03-10-2013, 07:39   #39
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

I'd like to add an interesting twist to the discussion. Adding a chain stopper is probably a good idea in addition to the snubber. We always use a large double snubber set up, but we had our windlass malfunction last season while in a marina. All by itself, it turned on and engaged in the up position due to an electrical short. It could have just as easily done the same and attempted to let out all the chain if the down switch had shorted out.

We now try to always remember to turn off the windlass at the breaker board when it's not in use, but we do sometimes forget. So yes, we should add the chain stopper... just in case.

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Old 03-10-2013, 07:57   #40
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

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... we had our windlass malfunction last season while in a marina. All by itself, it turned on and engaged in the up position due to an electrical short. It could have just as easily done the same and attempted to let out all the chain if the down switch had shorted out.

We now try to always remember to turn off the windlass at the breaker board when it's not in use, but we do sometimes forget.
The factory built my boat without battery switches.

Instead, mine has contactors (a fancy name for high-current relays that do a mechanical toggle from on to off, or off to on, these are designed to keep the output contacts energized 100% of the time w/o drawing any current) for both battery banks, for the generator bank and for the windlass.

The contactor setup is nice because it permits toggling the battery state in both the salon and in the engine room. The windlass contactor can be toggled on / off at the helm. This makes it "easy" to enable / disable the windlass power.

The contactor draws no current when the output contacts are energized. The only current draw is the small indicator lamp in the rocker switch.

The contactors are tucked-away in the engine room and have been problem-free.

The contactors the factory used on my boat are Intellitec 01-00055-000 battery disconnect latching relays. The part is rated at 100A, maximum and 500A for 30 seconds.

The data sheet does not list this as ignition protected, but the part is marked as: "IGNITION PROTECTED" in large block letters. These four contactors are mounted in my gasoline engine room, one for the starboard bank, one for the port bank, one for the generator bank and one for the windlass power.

The Intellitec Products, LCC. are very cool. They have heavy-duty switching and control products for marine, specialty vehicles and RV.

Here is one of the contactors on my boat.

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Old 03-10-2013, 08:40   #41
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

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The contactors the factory used on my boat are Intellitec 01-00055-000 battery disconnect latching relays. The part is rated at 100A, maximum and 500A for 30 seconds.
This is the data sheet for the contactor.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:30   #42
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

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Regarding the "rules" vs "judgement" discussion and the "it's only 4 seconds on extra work" point . . . . That's true of almost everything . . . . Like wearing a harness in a dead calm anchorage. Or carrying a plb for every dinghy trip. At some point you have to make a judgement call based on your risk assessment. And the seamanship skill is to make that risk assessment as objectively and accurately as possible - not letting laziness allow you to skip prepping for a "real" risk but also not allowing fear to make you over react to a "essentially zero" risk
I think no one would disagree with that.

However, you can't manage a complex enterprise like a cruising sailboat making individual judgement calls about every single trivial decision involving four seconds of activity. Good seamanship, like good living in general, also involves good habits. Many of the trivial things we have to do can be covered by good habits and good practices, leaving our minds more free to concentrate on the stuff which really requires actual judgement.

For example, when I get in my car, I don't sit and think -- "hmm, I'm just going down to the corner, the traffic is light today, so the risk of an accident is quite low, shall I put on my seat belt, or not?" I just put on my seat belt -- it takes two seconds and there is no downside -- it doesn't cost me anything.

When I come into my city apartment, I don't sit down and think -- "hmm, shall I lock the door, or not? The neighbors are home and it's daytime -- I'm going back out in two hours -- the risk of a thief's coming during this time period is nearly zero -- shall I lock up, or not?" I just turn the lock, because it costs me nothing. I do it out of habit, so I don't even have to think about it.

Wearing life jackets, harnesses, tethers is very different, because there is a significant cost involved -- they are uncomfortable and they restrict mobility. Besides that, it doesn't take four seconds to roust them out of the locker and wiggle into them. So here is a case for making an individual judgement -- I don't want the hassle, discomfort, and restriction of mobility unless there is a tangible need, and it's worth it for me to spend a few moments thinking about it.


It is otherwise with a chain stopper/strop. There is no more downside to rigging it than putting on a seat belt or locking your apartment door -- no discomfort, no immobility. Not rigging it means you have reduced the strength and security of your entire ground tackle to that of your snubber, which was never intended to be the only thing between your boat and the rocks. Can you get away with it? Well of course! 99% of the time, probably, you don't need the full strength of your ground tackle. But why? Why take the 1% risk for -- nothing?


I submit that a very big part of excellent seamanship is good habits and good practices, muscle memory, doing the right things consistently. Aristotle said: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."*


In my humble opinion, good seamanship demands not leaving, for no good reason, weak points in your ground tackle, and therefore, again in my humble opinion, demands making a habit of belaying your chain to a strong point on your boat every time you anchor, unless you have some good reason not to.



* Actually it was Will Durant, paraphrasing Aristotle, but never mind.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:10   #43
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

^^ if your harness was not stowed away in some distant locker, but instead readily available then it would in fact only take 4 seconds to put on. You have chosen to make it less available. You think the chain strop needs to be a easy to accomplish habit but the harness does not. That's a judgment.

In 20 years I have never 'needed' the chain strop. That's my personal experience. That has to do with MY anchoring habit/practice - protected locations and going to sea early when things may go to ****, and snubbers that have never broken.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:49   #44
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

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Question.

If a chain stopper is used, and the wind is stronger than your windlass and/or engine can bring the boat into, is there a way to release the anchor without resorting to a hacksaw?

Assume no snubbers are in use.

Steve
Well, you might have bigger things on your mind in that situation. If your engine cannot cause slack in your chain, you should stay where you are, otherwise you are only going backwards once the anchor is up. To be fair and answer your question.

You can take a rolling hitch ahead of the stopper lead to a winch, or tackle and release the strain, and flip the mechanical stopper. (BUT now you are hanging on your windlass and engine which in your scenario are not up top the job)

You can make sail, say a deeply reefed main, and sail slack into the chain by short tacking, I have done this it works well but timing is critical.

We have been in this situation, and it is scary, fortunately our engine can keep head to weather in 70 knots, but its not easy, we have done it, visibility is the biggest problem. In those winds, Laura cannot see me on the foredeck, I am crawling as standing is impossible. I am wearing a diving mask to stop my eyelids farting, and battling communicating with her, radio is out of the question, the noise is a screaming howling cacophony. You have to have your act well planned. The only guide is the wind instruments, keep the boat within 10 deg of the wind, otherwise you are going where you don't want to go. Next is other boats, you have no idea where they are, as they yaw and swing around in the zero viz. You need to get water past the rudder, for steerage, now youre doing 3 or 4 knots, and suddenly right in front of you 30 feet away is another boat side on to the wind, is he coming at you? are you heading at him? is he slipping?

OH BOY, these are clear and vivid memories. Trust me, If you cannot get your chain slack, best stay where you are 90% of the time!!!!

Another thing....if your engine cannot get you to head to weather you WILL hit something. The boats in this picture were in that same storm, they could not round up, and they just went faster and faster onto the rocks. Maybe should have gone into reverse as an alternative, but then you have wave action ventilating the prop. One guy said to me after, "I was at full revs, hard over on the helm, but she just went with the wind, I could not turn her up, and there was no space to turn down"

Try to imagine it...
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:08   #45
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Re: If I have anchor cleat, and use a snubber, do I need to bother with a chain stopp

It's amazing to find how far a snubber will stretch when the wind really pipes up. Even after leaving considerable slack in t he chain, I've sometimes found the chain taught against the windlass and the snubber stretched to that point. And I often use a 5/8 nylon snubber.
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