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Old 03-03-2021, 13:20   #1
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Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

Hi,

we finally got a brand new (really never used!) Simpson and Lawrence Anchorman manual anchor windlass and as we are installing a bow roller for the second anchor as well I am also looking into chain.

We are on a budget and weight concious too, Lady Rover is a 35ft Mira.

Regarding chain we settled for adding more 8mm galvanized, after swapping the 10mm gipsy for an 8mm one.
Now the question to those already out there in the tropics.

Do we need to go all chain by your experience? If yes, how much?
I am aware of the issue with sharp coral, but would think that normally you have say 20m (65ft) of chain out to get enough catenary and than have a rode which is floating above the coral heads.

This is specifically a question to folks with tropical experience on non luxury budgets.

As always, thanks to let me use your know-how.

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Old 03-03-2021, 19:45   #2
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

Thoughts? 25m? 40m? More?
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Old 03-03-2021, 20:04   #3
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pirate Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

Personally I would say 120ft should be enough for your boat under normal circumstances.. plus your rope rode for deeper water and stronger winds if you need more rode.
Coral heads as far as I am aware are mainly a shallow water problem and that length
should allow all chain in waters upto 10metres.
I work on 3 x length on monos so for a lighter boat you should be just fine.
Have never anchored in the Bahamas where heads are common and waters shallow but most of the Windwards don't have these problems.
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Old 04-03-2021, 00:07   #4
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

Thank you Boatie, essentially that confirms my train of thought in the initial posting.
Still, having not sailed in the Caribbean with my own boat had me wonder.

35m it is then :-) we will have a watchful eye though to avoid problems.
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Personally I would say 120ft should be enough for your boat under normal circumstances.. plus your rope rode for deeper water and stronger winds if you need more rode.
Coral heads as far as I am aware are mainly a shallow water problem and that length
should allow all chain in waters upto 10metres.
I work on 3 x length on monos so for a lighter boat you should be just fine.
Have never anchored in the Bahamas where heads are common and waters shallow but most of the Windwards don't have these problems.
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Old 04-03-2021, 03:18   #5
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

personally i don't think that's enough. you often need to anchor in deeper water and i prefer all chain

we carry 80m high tensile 8mm (12m 7.5mt cat)

think you will find most boats cruising tropical areas in aust & pacific will carry something like this

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Old 04-03-2021, 03:52   #6
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

We sailed the Pacific north and south and other coral areas with 30m chain and 100m of rode. We have a 44ft cat.

It was acceptable for most places. You need a small float positioned less than the water depth from chain rode splice. There is no riser on the float it is attached directly to the rode. This holds the rode above the level of coral. This is not an anchor marker used by some cruisers to show the position of the anchor but to ensure the rode is not chafed on the coral.

We changed to 50m chain and 100m rode because of the very deep confined anchorages in the islands north of PNG and the Philippines.

So in answer to your question it is doable with 30m/100m but 50m/100m makes for easier anchoring in some places you don't need more than 50m/100m setup.
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Old 04-03-2021, 04:23   #7
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

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We sailed the Pacific north and south and other coral areas with 30m chain and 100m of rode. We have a 44ft cat.
...
You need a small float positioned less than the water depth from chain rode splice
Just to clarify: rode is the entire length of chain plus rope
30m of chain and 100m of rode means you have 70m of rope.
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:10   #8
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

I think 120’ may be enough but rounding that down to 35 meters makes me cringe as there is no room left for that.

When the water is shallow you still need to put a minimum length of chain out. We are currently anchored in 10’ of water but have 120’ of chain out. We always put a minimum of 60’ out, even in 7’ of water.

For the Caribbean I recommend a minimum of 50 meters chain spliced to 50 meters nylon 3-strand.
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:12   #9
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Just to clarify: rode is the entire length of chain plus rope
30m of chain and 100m of rode means you have 70m of rope.

Sorry I was not very clear 30m of chain plus 100m rope (total 130m) now have 50m chain plus 100m rope (total 150m)
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:17   #10
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

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For the Caribbean I recommend a minimum of 50 meters chain spliced to 50 meters nylon 3-strand.

Some areas in the Pacific and S.E.Asia where you have to anchor outside of the lagoon can be 35m deep. So we have often been at the extreme of 130m hence the increase to 150m.
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Old 04-03-2021, 06:07   #11
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

Thank you all.

Well get 45-50m of chain.

Have already plenty of rope rode and in the worst case also 150m rode from our sea anchor.

A helpful thought is also the idea with the small float at the rope&chain intersection.
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Old 04-03-2021, 07:22   #12
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

A couple of random thoughts in the save weight/save money category.

1. Do you really need two anchor rollers? We did close to 50,000 nm of bluewater with just one anchor (Manson Supreme) on a roller. Don't know how many nights at anchor, certainly way more than 1000 without a problem. We had 200 feet of chain with more rope on top but rarely got to the rope part. We had two other anchors onboard and used one of them, an old Danforth HT once to hold us when we inadvertently parked on a coral spur in Indonesia and had to wait for the tide.

2. As has been pointed out, depths in the Caribbean are typically not bad, but in parts of the Pacific (Easter Island and Bora Bora come to mind) we anchored in more than 50m.

3. In North America at least chain is sold by the foot, barrel and half barrel with the amount in a barrel or half barrel dependant on the size of the chain. We used 3/8" (10 mm) chain and barrel was 400' and half barrel 200'. Price by the B or HB was much better than by the foot.
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Old 04-03-2021, 07:46   #13
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

I'd agree with ditching the second roller (and corresponding weight on the bow). For the primary rode, 150 feet of chain would be a good start. 200 feet should be plenty and I wouldn't bother with more than that in most places. Then add as much rope as you can without over-filling the locker and causing issues with chain not coming in nicely.



The goal is to have enough chain that anywhere with coral and such you'll be on all chain, or at least have less than the water depth worth of rope out to avoid chafe concerns. But you've got more total length on hand for deep anchorages. Depending on your desired destinations, 400 feet total length is probably plenty, but you might want 500 or 600 if you expect to anchor somewhere really deep.



Personally, I carry 90 feet of chain and 300 of line (so I figure 375 usable length). If I eventually cruise any areas with unavoidable rocky anchorages or head to anywhere with coral, I'll plan to change it to 150 / 250 or something like that.
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Old 04-03-2021, 09:23   #14
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

with the all chain vs rope chain rode debate usually ending up as fiery conversations, i would be nervous with only 150ft of chain in coral country.

as in anything scope should match the conditions of an area, and regardless you will be forced to match the other boats, however official recommendations are:
good weather in protected anchorage for short time - think lunch hook - 3 x depth of water.
good weather, or crowded protected anchorage - 5 times depth of the water.
bad weather, many boats in an anchorage or rocky , or leaving the boat - 7 times the depth of the water

In coral country id want that length for typical anchorage depths (review charts and ask local cruisers) in chain.

150ft gives you 20ft depth at 7x, and 30ft for 5x. i don't feel that is enough, i would prefer 50ft depth, but again review charts and ask local cruisers for anchoring conditions at that local.

Rope rode wise id want vastly more. read a couple articles about anchoring in the Caribbean and the advantages of having a long rode. kept them out of the $ anchor buoys and gave them more room from boaters with inadequate anchoring rode's or ability. they were talking 100+ft depths with 700ft+ rope/chain rode's. they had set up their rode so they could attach their stern anchor rode or secondary rode to increase the depth, making their system modular i guess. Their experiences being able to anchor out in deeper water at some locales sounded like it allowed them to save a lot more money by not having to pay for a marina or anchor ball. but again each boat is different, but don't be the person dragging anchor into other boats when the weather picks up suddenly, while your ashore.
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Old 04-03-2021, 10:33   #15
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Re: Chain length Caribbean & tropical waters on a 35ft cat??

With your boat and the shallow draft, you can anchor in shallow water on the lee side. 75' of chain and 200' of rode served me well on my 34' power cat during 10 years of cruising the Bahamas and FL Keys.
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