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Old 15-01-2021, 14:15   #1
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Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

Ok, so once you've stopped laughing and rolling your eyes at my vanity and extravagance (probably justified, if you ask the Admiral), I have a couple of serious questions.


I have been exploring the option of upgrading to stainless anchor chain, and here's why. We do not have access to our chain locker from the deck, and our current chain (3/8" galvanized G4) makes a nice cone-shaped pile in the locker that fouls the hawse pipe long before we have the anchor up. This necessitates placing a crew member below in the V-berth to reach through a small opening in the bulkhead and manually stack the chain. Problem is, we're usually short handed and don't have a crew member to spare.


My understanding is that stainless chain being a bit more slippery won't pile itself into a cone. So first questions: Is this true? And do you think SS chain would solve my problem as described?


Next question. As I'm researching online, I'm running into huge variation on the price of SS chain. Around $2,700 for 300 feet on the low end up to almost $9,000. Nine grand is a non-starter, but the bottom end of the range might be worth it. I'm guessing the price difference boils down to Made in China versus Made in Not China. The sources for the lower priced chain at least appear to be fairly reputable marine retailers. How much do I worry about quality control on SS chain if it is made in China?


Thanks for sharing any thoughts.
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Old 15-01-2021, 14:55   #2
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

I would look for industrial SS A316. Buy a foot and see if it will work with your windlass. I was looking for 3/16 since nobody makes 3/16 hot dipped.

I found Tulsa Chain. Haven’t bought any yet so have no recommendation.

Worthless trivia: it’s the spruling pipe that goes into the chain locker, hawse pipe goes from deck overboard.

Can you trim the bottom of the pipe so it is higher?
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Old 15-01-2021, 15:08   #3
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

my thoughts on chinese stainless chain : irrespective of the origin, if brand A is say half the price of brand B, i'm always suspicious of the quality. sometimes it doesn't matter...sometimes it does.

the chinese are capable of world class engineering when they want to. trouble is we in the west pay bottom price and then complain because we get bottom quality.

i would not automatically steer away from chinese ss chain, but i would stay away from any supplier that i could not verify as producing a quality product.

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Old 15-01-2021, 15:27   #4
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

Just to provide 1 data point for an earlier question.
I have 12mm industrial grade SS chain.
It creates a cone or pyramid as it comes into the anchor locker. Fortunately I have access from the top, so can splay it out (flake?) with my foot as the anchor is coming up. If I didn't, I have no doubt that the pyramid would be reach the top and block the tube and jam the gypsy.
I would have expected that SS would be slippery enough for this not to happen. It seems not.
Tim
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Old 15-01-2021, 15:41   #5
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

RE the innitial problem that the OP thinks SS anchor chain will solve (it won’t):
We had that problem and here’s the simple, ultra cheap solution: we used the SS tube that controlled the clutch on our anchor gypsy (any pipe about 800mm long will do as long as it fits into the hawse pipe hole).

When the chain pyramid builds up to start blocking the hawse pipe, simply stick the pipe down the hawse hole and lever the pyramide so it falls over.
We had 80m of 12mm chain (serious stuff, but the boat went to Antartica and the Magellian Straits). If we had 50m out, I’d have to knock over the pile twice as the chain came in.
This might not work for you if you can’t access the hawse hole due to your anchor winch configuration.
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Old 15-01-2021, 15:43   #6
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
I would look for industrial SS A316. Buy a foot and see if it will work with your windlass. I was looking for 3/16 since nobody makes 3/16 hot dipped.

I found Tulsa Chain. Haven’t bought any yet so have no recommendation.

Worthless trivia: it’s the spruling pipe that goes into the chain locker, hawse pipe goes from deck overboard.

Can you trim the bottom of the pipe so it is higher?
I love worthless nautical trivia. Worthless trivia of any kind is pretty much the only thing I can consistently remember. Thanks!

The other problem I didn't mention is that even if the spruling pipe doesn't get fouled, that nice cone-shaped pile of chain will ultimately fall over and create a tangle that will not feed next time we drop anchor, so I don't think trimming the pipe will help.
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Old 15-01-2021, 15:50   #7
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

I don’t know about how it piles in the chain locker, but when I switched to stainless chain I was pleasantly surprised at how little mud stuck to it.

I’ve seen various pyramid shaped things put into the chain locker to keep the chain from piling up. As the incoming chain hits the top of the pyramid it is forced to fall to one of the sides preventing it from piling up in the center of the locker.

Don’t worry, nobody will notice the stainless chain. Now on the other hand a stainless anchor will get you laughed off the dock.
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Old 15-01-2021, 15:55   #8
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

Quote:
Worthless trivia: it’s the spruling pipe that goes into the chain locker, hawse pipe goes from deck overboard.
Worthless trivia correction: it is a spurling pipe, not a spruling pipe.

Jim
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Old 15-01-2021, 16:18   #9
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

I replaced my 3/8" galvanized chain with stainless a couple of years ago for the same reason as the original poster- the chain fall wasn't high enough and the pile needed poking every 6' or so. At the same time I changed the chain I also increased the fall height by about 30%, so I can't definitely tell you how much difference the stainless chain made, but I can now pull more than 50' before I need to poke the pile. As a single-hander it's a big improvement for me.

The original chain was 3/8" HT galvanized. I first bought a small sample of chain () to verify it fit my gypsy. It did not, but the second sample (CXI 10mm duplex chain) was perfect. I bought high-quality German-made chain, and you are correct, it was expensive. Less expensive chain wasn't as strong as the existing HT chain and I didn't want to go weaker.
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Old 15-01-2021, 17:27   #10
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karanga View Post
Just to provide 1 data point for an earlier question.
I have 12mm industrial grade SS chain.
It creates a cone or pyramid as it comes into the anchor locker. Fortunately I have access from the top, so can splay it out (flake?) with my foot as the anchor is coming up. If I didn't, I have no doubt that the pyramid would be reach the top and block the tube and jam the gypsy.
I would have expected that SS would be slippery enough for this not to happen. It seems not.
Tim
This is great info. Thanks, Tim.
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Old 15-01-2021, 17:29   #11
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Worthless trivia correction: it is a spurling pipe, not a spruling pipe.

Jim
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Old 15-01-2021, 17:30   #12
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjShap View Post
I replaced my 3/8" galvanized chain with stainless a couple of years ago for the same reason as the original poster- the chain fall wasn't high enough and the pile needed poking every 6' or so. At the same time I changed the chain I also increased the fall height by about 30%, so I can't definitely tell you how much difference the stainless chain made, but I can now pull more than 50' before I need to poke the pile. As a single-hander it's a big improvement for me.

The original chain was 3/8" HT galvanized. I first bought a small sample of chain () to verify it fit my gypsy. It did not, but the second sample (CXI 10mm duplex chain) was perfect. I bought high-quality German-made chain, and you are correct, it was expensive. Less expensive chain wasn't as strong as the existing HT chain and I didn't want to go weaker.
Awesome info! Thank you.
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Old 15-01-2021, 18:58   #13
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

Here is a link to a discussion of anchor chain piles on Trawler Forum.
https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...ver-30374.html

Many things are suggested to put into the chain locker to prevent the chain from piling up. A traffic cone sounded like the easiest.
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Old 15-01-2021, 19:29   #14
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

Hmm is anybody going to discuss WLL of stainless vs galvanized chain and also issues with crevice corrosion and sudden failure of stainless steel vs galvanized steel?
I wouldn’t want stainless chain if it was offered free.
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Old 15-01-2021, 19:45   #15
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Re: Thoughts on Stainless Steel Anchor Chain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Departing2017 View Post
I have been exploring the option of upgrading to stainless anchor chain, and here's why.
A few of questions (for you to answer privately. No need to share your answers. Really.):

1. Is your anchor:
(a) stainless steel
(b) galvanized steel

2. Is your anchor shackle:
(a) stainless steel
(b) galvanized steel

3. Is your anchor swivel:
(a) stainless steel
(b) galvanized steel
(c) no swivel

4. Do you anchor:
(a) only for a few hours, rarely overnight
(b) no more than 24 hours at a time and I always wash the ground tackle with fresh water
(c) for weeks at a time, sometimes more

5. Do your anchor in;
(a) shallow coastal/aerated water, usually in sand
(b) mud that might be de-oxygenated and in sheltered locations in which the water is not aerated by wave action
(c) fresh water only

6. Are you considering tested, calibrated, and electropolished 318LN anchor chain from a factory such as Ketten Walder than gives a warranty on the chain and will, if you deliver the chain at your expense back to the factory before the warranty expires, inspect, test, re-calibrate and re-polish the chain:
(a) yes, of course
(b) yes, and I have a schedule and budget for replacing the stainless steel chain at the end of its warranty
(c) no, I can only afford 316 chain or a lower grade that comes without certification or a warranty

7. Have you read and considered Adrian Pringle's story of his experience with stainless steel anchor chain:
(a) yes, of course
(b) no, but thanks for attaching it to this post.

8. Zinc, which coats galvanised steel (by definition), is far enough apart from stainless steel in the galvanic chain that:
(a) a large amount of stainless steel that is in contact with a mass of galvanized steel, with both immersed in brackish or salt water, will lead to the sacrifice of the zinc and corrosion of the then exposed iron or steel
(b) nothing good comes of the combination of a larger amount of stainless steel electrically connected to a small amount of zinc
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