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Old 07-05-2022, 03:27   #1
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Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

Good Morning All,
I am planning to sail the coast of Maine to New Brunswick and the St. John River this summer and I have a choice. Presently the boat (Cal 39) has 90 feet of 3/8 chain and 100 ft of rode. I have in my garage virtually new (bought from another sailor that never put it on his boat), 120 ft of 3/8 chain and 150 ft of rode. When I discussed this with a consummate sailor friend of mine, he emphatically said that I should stay with what's on the boat because adding that additional chain would add too much weight to the bow and significantly affect my sailing performance. If each foot of galvanized 3/8 chain weighs about 1.4 lbs, this would be adding about 45 more pounds to the bow. I just don't see how this will affect the sailing of my boat, but I would love to hear from you folks. I am concerned that I will not have enough chain and rode for the tides that exist up in New Brunswick. Please share with me your thoughts. For additional information, my anchor is a 45 pound Rocna and the boat weighs approximately 19,000 pounds. I am using a windlass so I am not hand hauling.
Thanks for your perspectives
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Old 07-05-2022, 03:36   #2
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

Correction, there is 90 feet of chain and 150 feet of spliced 3 strand presently on the boat
Thank you
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Old 07-05-2022, 04:22   #3
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

I think you and your friend are splitting hairs. The extra 45 pounds isn’t going to kill the boat, nor do you need the extra 30 feet of chain rode.

Neither is a big deal.

As long as you have enough of that three strand to anchor in the depths you want to anchor in, you are good to go. 30 feet of chain is not going to change anything.
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Old 07-05-2022, 04:31   #4
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

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Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
I think you and your friend are splitting hairs. The extra 45 pounds isn’t going to kill the boat, nor do you need the extra 30 feet of chain rode.
Neither is a big deal.
As long as you have enough of that three strand to anchor in the depths you want to anchor in, you are good to go. 30 feet of chain is not going to change anything.
Indeed.

Or, go on a diet, lose 45 Lbs [to compensate], and add the extra chain & rope.

FWIW: I went on a whisky diet, 2 months ago; and I’ve already lost 10 days.
Finally, my winter fat is gone. Now, I have spring rolls.
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:53   #5
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

I’ve been anchoring no failure for decades with two anchors 2 30’ chains 2 200’ or rode 2 spring lines.
Having inspected several anchorages with scuba some of the chain gang are pending disaster. They have 50’ of chain plied on the anchor and the anchor is not set.
Some the anchor chain had splipped between two boulders and trapped the boat.
I’ve watched several of my own boats as waves pass under the boat the spring line cancels it and the short chain doesn’t move.
That said I Boat the Great Lakes and could sure use some coastal knowledge. I have no clue how to anchor in the StJohn River tides
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:56   #6
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

GordMay
Are you perhaps the captain of Camelot II from the Bahamas????
If so we have crossed paths before in the bright blue waters
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:03   #7
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

Almost all harbors along your planned cruise have mud bottoms, so 90 ft of chain should suffice. However, the tidal range of up to 30 feet means that you will want to have at least 300 feet of rode to allow for adequate scope in stronger winds. More would be better.

Once in St. John river, the tidal range is virtually nil, and the bottom is all mud so no danger of chafe. The greatest hazard is the nasty big flies that drove me nuts when I was there.

I agree that the extra 45 lbs of weight on the bow won't make any significant difference.
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:16   #8
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

Thank you for your responses. My boat was launched yesterday and is now on a dock, so if I am going to switch out the rode I will need to do it this weekend. My cruising history is twice from Maine to the out Island of the Bahamas and 20 years cruising the Maine coast. The Cal 39 is a relatively new boat to me and on my previous 2 cruising boats *Whitby 42, and Pearson 365" I used all chain. I guess I am also an "all chain cruiser" so having only 90 ft of chain seems kind of short to me. It would mean that most of the time I would have all chain down and my attachment to the boat would be the three strand, maybe 10 to 20 ft out. I am not sure how this hybrid technique works. So, I am leaning toward the effort to switch out the whole shebang but I am interested in the feedback since I have been humbled time and again by the sea.
Thanks again for your perspectives
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:28   #9
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

Quote:
Originally Posted by epoxyman View Post
GordMay
Are you perhaps the captain of Camelot II from the Bahamas????
If so we have crossed paths before in the bright blue waters
NO.
Maggie & I were aboard "Southbound", a C&C 29, from 1992 - 1999 (winters).
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:50   #10
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

On a 39 footer, 5/16" G43 would be plenty strong. And it's 2/3 the weight of 3/8 BBB. So if you're concerned, you could swap to the smaller, higher grade chain. 130 feet of the smaller stuff will weigh the same as the 90 feet you have now.

In general, when weight is a concern, my rule of thumb is to carry as much chain as bottom chafe and other conditions in your expected cruising grounds require. And then add rope until you have your desired length (or until the locker is full).

Personally, on my 38 foot powerboat I'm currently carrying 90 feet of chain and 300 of line. If our cruising grounds expand, I'd be inclined to swap to 150/250 to increase our max anchoring depth before the line portion gets near the bottom (I'd love to go to 200/200, but weight may be an issue).
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:54   #11
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
I think you and your friend are splitting hairs. The extra 45 pounds isn’t going to kill the boat, nor do you need the extra 30 feet of chain rode.

Neither is a big deal.

As long as you have enough of that three strand to anchor in the depths you want to anchor in, you are good to go. 30 feet of chain is not going to change anything.
Agree completely. 45 pounds?

I have 330 feet of 1/2" chain on my boat, weighing almost 750 pounds I take it off for racing, but to be honest I can't tell any difference in sailing performance.

And Chotu is also right that 10 meters longer chain is not going to noticeably improve your anchoring. If I were you, I would join the old chain to the new and keep both.
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:58   #12
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

45’ more chain will affect boat performance but it will be negligible, a boat length per mile perhaps.
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:21   #13
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

Some additional info. on Fundy/S.J. River.
Cheers/Len
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...dy-215910.html
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:21   #14
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

I'm with those who say it will be a negligible impact. I'm also all for more chain, not less. But if you're really worried about the added weight, you could tie up to a dock, haul all the rode/anchor out, then slowly bring it back on board. Watch how your waterline changes. As I say, I doubt the added 45# will make a measurable difference.
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:35   #15
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Re: Perspective on Chain Length Vs. Sailing Performance

I haven’t woke up yet, but wanted to chime in. I had the same concerns with my 38 foot sailboat. If I was you have someone stand on the bow of the boat while you stand back and look at the effect of the extra weight. Then make a decision. I also made a similar thread a year or better ago.

For me, I went with 55lbs Vulcan with 250 foot 3/8th chain and 150 of rode. Is my bow a little deeper in the water? Yes it is, but so slightly so! I trust my anchor setup and really like all that chain. The anchor is over sized and wouldn’t want anything different.

Good luck with your decision and I hope it helps!

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