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Old 29-07-2022, 05:57   #1
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Only 100' of chain, what to do?

I recently purchased a 1999 Catalina 42 and the anchor setup has a 25lb rocna anchor with 100' of chain going to a maxwell 1500 vertical windlass. My problem is that I think 100' of chain is just not practical for many anchoring situations. It is fine for maybe getting close to a beach where you can get to maybe 10' depth, but what do you do when you need to anchor in 20+ feet and want at least 5:1 scope?

So what is best option for me:
1) Extend existing chain with 100' more chain and link them with a standard shackle (maxwell claims in some literature that their gypsy can handle a standard shackle but I'm suspicious). Also would like to know from 42 owners if there is enough space under the windlass for 200' of chain to pile up, or if maybe this is why previous owner only had 100'.
2) Extend existing chain with 100' of anchor rode (rope) and link them with either shackle/thimble combination (again maxwell claims this is possible but I'm unclear) or splice the rode to the chain (probably safer but takes some more effort to get right).
3) Just replace old chain with 200' of new chain (I guess the most straight forward option but more $). Still need to know if 200' will pile up and fit under the windlass.

Or feel free just to share your anchoring setup if you have similar boat.
Thanks.
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Old 29-07-2022, 06:28   #2
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

Splice 200 feet of good nylon rhode onto the chain. The internet can guide you to a splice that will pass nicelybthrough the windlass.
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Old 29-07-2022, 06:41   #3
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

First of all, you need a bigger anchor than 25 lb for a 42-foot boat.
Second, you rarely need as much as 5:1 scope. If you need more than 100 feet out, splicing to an octoplait or brait rope will be fine.
Your Catalina won't thank you for the weight of 100 extra feet of chain, even if it does fit, and you're gonna put the weight of a heavier anchor out there already.
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Old 29-07-2022, 06:45   #4
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

Thanks. Sorry my bad it is a Rocna 25 which is 25kg I think, not 25lb. It seems properly sized based on Rocna charts from what I can tell.
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Old 29-07-2022, 06:46   #5
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

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Originally Posted by paulg222 View Post
Thanks. Sorry my bad it is a Rocna 25 which is 25kg I think, not 25lb. It seems properly sized based on Rocna charts from what I can tell.
Oh, in that case, just splice 200 feet of octoplait to the end of the existing chain and anchor victoriously.
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Old 29-07-2022, 07:03   #6
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

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Oh, in that case, just splice 200 feet of octoplait to the end of the existing chain and anchor victoriously.
The only thing is, I'm looking up references to Maxwell 1500 vertical windlass and I see it is saying it is designed as an all chain windlass (granted it does have a separate drum on top which is designed from rope or mixed, but it seems like the windlass gypsy is meant for chain only). Will a spliced rope actually cause a problem with getting through the gypsy on this kind of windlass?
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Old 29-07-2022, 07:07   #7
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

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The only thing is, I'm looking up references to Maxwell 1500 vertical windlass and I see it is saying it is designed as an all chain windlass (granted it does have a separate drum on top which is designed from rope or mixed, but it seems like the windlass gypsy is meant for chain only). Will a spliced rope actually cause a problem with getting through the gypsy on this kind of windlass?

If it's a Maxwell VW or VWC 1500, then no, it's not designed to pull rope on the gypsy, so you'd have to use the capstan and manually tail the rope, then switch to the gypsy for chain. If it's a Maxwell RC series, it'll pull rope.
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Old 29-07-2022, 07:11   #8
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
If it's a Maxwell VW or VWC 1500, then no, it's not designed to pull rope on the gypsy, so you'd have to use the capstan and manually tail the rope, then switch to the gypsy for chain. If it's a Maxwell RC series, it'll pull rope.
Ok, thanks but for deploying the anchor, (and this one uses just free drop, no down button) I'm assuming the chain rode splice will not cause a problem as it goes up from anchor locker through the gypsy/windlass.

For retrieval, I'm not quite sure how it works, yes I could use the top drum for the rode, but I'm not clear how that then would feed down to the locker and then I guess I have to unwrap from the drum and feed the chain into the gypsy when I get to that point? Seems complicated but I have not used this system before so maybe it will make sense when I'm on board.
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Old 29-07-2022, 07:33   #9
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

Ok, I just decided to call Maxwell and they were very helpful. The guy there said that with the model I have (or at least what I believe I have since I'm not currently on the boat), that really the gypsy is designed for chain only. Yes you can splice a rope to it and that should be ok when deploying, and it should feed out ok, but when retrieving you would have to then use the top drum (or manual pull) and retrieve everything on to the deck (maybe can feed to other part of anchor locker) and fix it all up later (feed everything back through the gypsy) or possibly tie off the rode when you get to the end and feed it back into the locker through the gypsy and then feed the chain into the gypsy. Seems pretty complicate for retrieval.

He thinks best option is to get new single chain of the length I want (their are some chain splicing options out there but generally this gives one weak link). Of course that still leaves me with the question of, will it all fit in the locker as it is retrieved.
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Old 29-07-2022, 07:36   #10
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
If it's a Maxwell VW or VWC 1500, then no, it's not designed to pull rope on the gypsy, so you'd have to use the capstan and manually tail the rope, then switch to the gypsy for chain. If it's a Maxwell RC series, it'll pull rope.
This is pretty much what the Maxwell guy said although the whole "switch to gypsy for chain" part seems complicated to me. I would have to feed the retrieved 50-100' of rode back in through gypsy manually to get the chain part to start going down, right?
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Old 29-07-2022, 07:40   #11
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

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This is pretty much what the Maxwell guy said although the whole "switch to gypsy for chain" part seems complicated to me. I would have to feed the retrieved 50-100' of rode back in through gypsy manually to get the chain part to start going down, right?

Yes. So it's not a very practical thing to do if you need the rope portion of the rode more than occasionally.
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Old 29-07-2022, 08:14   #12
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

Another thought, will your boat be happy w/an extra 100' (>200lbs) of chain in the locker? That is a decent amount of extra wt. in the bow vs. line.

Not knowing what depths you normally anchor in, it's really what you feel comfortable with doing to add more. Would buy a single length of new chain (150' instead?) or add a rope splice rather than depend on a shackle that are typically weaker than your chain.
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Old 29-07-2022, 08:27   #13
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

The warping drums aren't really intended to to manage a chain plus rope rode as you've kind of concluded yourself. They are for second anchor on an all (or mostly) rope rode, or for warping onto a dock with more umph.

The gypsy on our horizontal Lewmar H2 does accept a 3-strand nylon rope rode. For 3/8" BBB it calls for 9/16"-5/8" 3-strand. For 5/16" G4 chain it calls for 1/2"-9/16". Google rope-to-chain splice. It needs a splice that goes back onto the 3-strand, not woven into the chain. You could give it a try, though if Maxwell says no-go you may be out of luck.

If you have the space, don't worry about the weight of another 100' of chain. Likely you have 3/8" chain. You could possibly go to 5/16" G4 to get more length with less bulk but that would require a new gypsy. I had a devil of a time getting our gypsy off and it was only seven years old at the time. If you go that route, get the gypsy first then get a test length of the chain you intend to buy to verify that it lays properly in the gypsy.

If you haven't found a Catalina 42 owners group, keep searching. You probably aren't the first to encounter this sort of problem

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Old 29-07-2022, 09:19   #14
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

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Yes. So it's not a very practical thing to do if you need the rope portion of the rode more than occasionally.
Yeah, I suppose it is better than dragging though. So I could just just hope I don't have to use it much.

The thing is though is there a few anchorages that are very popular near me that have 20-30+ depth in some parts. Block Island, RI is one, and it gets pretty crowded there, and you can easily be in 26-30'. So we will see.
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Old 29-07-2022, 09:31   #15
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Re: Only 100' of chain, what to do?

PaulG

First thing you gotta do is do the math ;-0)

Where are you going to anchor? In what kinda weather? So let's start easy:

TrentePieds is also a "five tonner" - about 11K or 12K displacement when laden for a three week cruise 2 up. We have about a 16 foot tidal range in the Salish sea, and generally depth of water is far, far greater than anything you can anchor in. 2 boat lengths off the "shore" - a sheer cliff - you might have 300 feet or more under the keel.

So you gotta find a cove or other place where your chart contours tell you that you have an anchoring opportunity. My draft is not quite six feet (also called "a fathom". A fathom is the distance between you hands when you spread your arms out from side to side.). I like having a fathom under the keel at lowest state of tide during my stay in the chosen anchorage, so anchoring along a 2 fathom (or 3 metre) contour is nice if low-low water is your chart datum.

I work to a scope of 7 for setting the hook. I have a 33lb Bruce, which is just fine in sand and mud. In rock all bets are off for any kinda hook. I have 40 feet of 5/16 chain just to lay the shank flat on the ground, and 250 feet 3/8" three-strand nylon rope spliced to the chain.

So call it 280 feet of rode in all. At scope of seven that would give me 40 feet depth of water max, but deduct 4 feet for the height of the stem roller above the surface and deduct 12 Feet of water to float in, so 266 feet/7 = 38 feet of water is the greatest depth I can anchor in, in calm conditions, using maximum rode. If I can't find a place with water depth of at least 12 feet at low water and no more than 36 feet (6 fathoms) at high water, I go elsewhere.

I have a Lofrans capstan with chain gypsy. It is pretty. It is also pretty useless :-)! Some things don't scale. Anchor-handling gear is one of them. So I ignore the Lofrans except for stowing the rode.

Preparing to anchor I manually haul ALL the rode out on deck, flaking it nicely. I come to my drop point and lie dead. I slip the chain-lock off the chain and let the rode run out till I'm "up and down" i.e. the anchor is on the bottom. Then I back down slowly letting all the rode run over the stem roller and letting the rode run loosely through my hand so I can feel what the hook is doing on the bottom. It sets before much rode is out. I back down gently all the way to the end of the rode. Then I back down hard to make sure the hook has set.

Then, if I want a shorter scope I haul in hand over hand and flake unneeded rode on deck. That way I never have to argue with a pretty-pretty, but ignorant mechanical contrivance such as a Lofrans :-)!

Weighing anchor I haul in hand over hand till the hook breaks free of the bottom. If I need a little help I throw a bollard hitch over the capstan so the boat's pitching will help me along. I leave the recovered rode flaked down on deck till the hook is in its chocks and the chain lock is on it. Then I let the Lofrans stow the rode which now has no tension on it. The Lofrans is s'posed to be able to do it with the rope laid in the gypsy. But you know the thing about pushing a rope? Still, by speaking nice to the Lofrans I manage to get it done. Chain is no problem. It rattles down the spurling pipe very nicely.

So there are some things to think about. Handling ground tackle in a five tonner is NOTHING like handling ground tackle in a grown-up ship. Neither the gear nor the procedure scales very well :-)!

All the best to you :-)

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