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Old 06-09-2014, 04:31   #1
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Thick and Thin Chain

My 30ft 8000lbs pound boat came with a 25lbs Lewmar CQR articulated plow anchor at the end of 8' of 1/2" chain and 125' of rope. I recently purchased 30' of 3/8" chain. Should I add the new lighter chain to the anchor side or the rope side of my older, heavier chain?

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Old 06-09-2014, 04:41   #2
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Re: Thick and thin chain

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My 30ft 8000lbs pound boat came with a 25lbs SQR plow anchor at the end of 8' of 1/2" chain and 125' of rope. I recently purchased 30' of 3/8" chain. Should I add the new lighter chain to the anchor side or the rope side of my older, heavier chain?

Thank you!


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I don't think you need the 8' of 1/2" chain, just the 30' of 3/8" chain. If you want to keep both, I would leave the heavy chain attached to the anchor and put the new chain between it and the line.
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:57   #3
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Thick and thin chain

Hello Nvid,

Thank you for responding!

Here is what I am considering: the chain is needed to isolate the anchor from the bobbing and movement of the boat right? So the heavier and longer the chain , the less undisturbed the anchor will lay. If I have the heavier chain on the rope end (closer to the boat) this will keep the chain down on the seabed more so than the lighter chain would.

I appreciate your help!


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Old 06-09-2014, 05:29   #4
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Re: Thick and thin chain

There are arguments both ways.

Thicker chain near the anchor inhibits the anchors penetration, but the catenary curve is better with heavy chain next to the anchor. For a CQR I would mount the thicker chain close to anchor.

The 8 foot of 1/2 chain weighs 19.2 lb, almost as much as your anchor. I presume you are raising this by hand in which case I would get rid of the 1/2 inch chain altogether. There is a lot of weight for little good. CQR anchors are very cheap second hand. If you have the opportunity to some of that weight into a bigger anchor it would be very beneficial as yours is on the small side.

If the longer chain is needed for abrasion resistance on the bottom then I would go for thinner chain, even 3/8 is on the thick and therefore heavy side. Chain gets much lighter as you go thinner 1/2 is 2.4 lbs per foot 3/8 is 1.4 lbs per foot.
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:44   #5
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Re: Thick and thin chain

Size the chain to fit your windlass. Use all one size. 1.5 x boat length.
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:51   #6
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Re: Thick and Thin Chain

I am also assuming no windlass is envolved. I would choose placing the heavier chain next to the anchor. My thought is to include the desired lift of the chain nearest the line off the potential abrasion at the bottom.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:41   #7
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Re: Thick and Thin Chain

1 1/2 the length of the boat? So, the OP anchors his 30' boat in 30' of water with 45' of chain? Am I missing something?

Somehow, I doubt the OP has a windlass on a 30' boat but I could be wrong.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:51   #8
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Re: Thick and Thin Chain

I do not have a windlass, I will be pulling it by hand until my back gives out. Click image for larger version

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I don't have much space in my locker so the 25lbs cannot be upsized for the time being. I was under the wishful impression that 25lbs would be plenty (for the Long Island Sound) but I guess you can never have too much weight down there.

Thank you all for your very informative responses.


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Old 06-09-2014, 09:53   #9
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Re: Thick and Thin Chain

1.5 times boat length is the minimum chain part of the rode. OP is using rope/chain rode.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:04   #10
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Re: Thick and Thin Chain

Thank you for clarifying your comment.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:06   #11
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Re: Thick and Thin Chain

You are seriously oversized on the chain. 5/16" would be more than adequate and a hell of a lot easier to muscle back aboard. Most anchor mfg. recommend around 15' of chain for a chain/rope rode. Doesn't hurt to have more chain though not necessarily the way oversize chain that you have. The Fortress, for one, can fail to set or have poor holding in certain conditions with a too heavy chain. The more chain that you have, the shorter the scope that you'll need which can be a curse or a benefit depending on where you're anchoring and what the other boats around you are hanging on.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:24   #12
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Re: Thick and Thin Chain

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You are seriously oversized on the chain. 5/16" would be more than adequate and a hell of a lot easier to muscle back aboard. Most anchor mfg. recommend around 15' of chain for a chain/rope rode. Doesn't hurt to have more chain though not necessarily the way oversize chain that you have. .
Just for perspective, I have a 28' or 31' boat depending on how it's measured and a 10,000 lb weight. I have 30' of 5/16" G4 chain, 33 lb anchor and 180' of line and have never (yet) had a dragging problem. My windlass failed a while back and I had to pull the anchor by hand a few times until I could replace it. I wouldn't want to do that on a regular basis.

I agree what the OP is considering is overkill.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:58   #13
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Re: Thick and Thin Chain

I'm with those that say the 1/2" chain is plain silly, particularly if you are lifting by hand. For an 8000# mono 1/4 ht is enough, and 25# anchor is fine too. 8' of 1/2 chain weighs ~ 20 pounds + 10' of 3/8 chain weighs 15 pounds; you're lifting more chain than anchor when you are in 18' of water!

1. If you want more holding power, the weight is most effective in the anchor. This has been proven many times. The chain should be as light as consistent with strength. With a 25# anchor you are not going to have holding power greater than 1/4" G4 chain, and a with an 8000# boat you are not going to need it.
2. Chain is really for chafe. While you do need some to keep the shank down DURING SETTING ONLY, the 30' will do that.
3. Chain does help during large wind shifts (drags through the mud, buffering the impact on the anchor), but more than 30-40 feet is not practical without a windlass.

How much is your back worth? I would take all of the chain home and replace it with 45' of 1/4 ht. Much less weight to lift. If you want more weight on the bottom, use a longer chain (remember, you only have to lift the depth of the water at one time, and that the further the wieght is from the anchor the more effective it will be. I had that set up on my 34' catamaran (far more windage) for years. I upgraded later to a combination that, in terms of windage to anchor, is equivalent to what I have suggested.

If you do add a windlass, I'm betting it will be 1/4". Just sayin'.

Good luck!

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