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Old 01-11-2020, 04:59   #1
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Anchor chain deck pipe question


I have an idea to build a waterproof compartment in the bow of my Shipman 28 for anchor chain. Asking for some thoughts, advice.

Current situation is:

-Anchor is stored in the bow, chain not attached. (I have a stern anchor handy for emergency situations or short breaks).

-Chain / rode combo is neatly stored in a special 2-compartment bucket (chain in the middle compartment and rode coiled around it) in cocpit locker.

To use the anchor I drag the bucket to the bow, attach the chain and lower the anchor. I don't have windlass as I don't see the need for it in the boat this size.

Why I want to change it?
A. I want to increase the chain part of the ground tackle, maybe even use all length chain. The bucket would become too heavy to drag around.
B. Cocpit locker space can be used better while there is no use for the bow locker at the moment.

Building the waterproof compartment would be quite straightforward, some glass mat / cloth and poly resin. Compartment can be accessed via watertight hatch from bow cabin. Drains out both sides.

What bothers me is the "deck pipe" or "navel pipe" to lead chain through the deck. They tend to leak as we know and Shipman 28 is not very dry riding boat in waves. There are different solutions, all somewhat glumsy or just not neat (i.e. modeling clay, tennis balls over the chain etc...)

Why not use a deck filler screw cap (like fuel filler cap) as a deck pipe? Like this:
Attach a small hook to the cap to hang the chain. To prepare anchoring one would unscrew the cap, pull out the end of chain and attach it to the anchor. The chain for Shipman 28 would be 8mm, like this
It should feed through fuel cap type pipe OK, I hope (opening ca 30mm vs chain link 26mm). Or maybe not?

This proccess of anchoring like this does sound slow but it would definately be no slower than dragging the bucket from stern to bow and then start attching the chain.

Am I over thinking? Maybe go for standard lid type navel pipe and stuff some rags into the opening to waterproof?

Some photos of current setup:

Kobra 12kg anchor in the bow:
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Orange chain/rode bucket in the bow:
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Stern anchor 7.5kg Bruce with ankarolina webbing + some meters chain:
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:17   #2
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Re: Anchor chain deck pipe question

You've thought it through quite well. One point. If you indeed have drains at the sides/lowest points of the compartment, it doesn't matter that small amounts of water get in. You could even intentionally flush the chain with a garden hose while it is in the compartment. Go for it.
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:45   #3
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Re: Anchor chain deck pipe question

What you're describing is a Hawse pipe with a lid, and yes they do tend to leak when taking a lot of water over the bow. Usually I stuff toilet ring seal material into and around the chain once things are secured. Cheap and readily available everywhere. In adding or creating a chain locker, I would, and do have, drainage at the lowest part of the compartment, to allow water to drain from the locker into the bilge where it can be pumped overboard.

Some hawse pipes with lids are spring loaded to keep the lid closed, which I like.

I found this guys approach to be quite interesting, and it seemed to work for him quite well:

And another article:
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Old 01-11-2020, 07:39   #4
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Re: Anchor chain deck pipe question

What is commonly referred to as a chain pipe is actually a spurling pipe. The example cited in a previous response is not spring loaded, it has a short length of chain to keep the cap from being lost overboard easily.
Since you have a stern anchor easily deployed from the stern in an emergency separating your chain from your primary anchor at the bow (still known as a “bower” while your stern anchor would be known as a “kedge”) makes some sense but you are taking a risk. A short length of self amalgamating rigging tape can be used to seal off the chain pipe and can be removed in a moment. This way you are not trying to attach your chain to your anchor when conditions are less than ideal and the safety of the vessel and lives depend upon expedient deployment of your anchor.
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Old 01-11-2020, 07:54   #5

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Re: Anchor chain deck pipe question


Quote: "Am I over thinking? "

Yes, you are :-)!

If I'm not mistaken the Shipman already has a water tight compartment way, WAY up front, as does TrentePieds. If that compartment isn't sealed off from the rest of the boat, it's easy to make it so. So let me tell you how TP works:

TP's displacement is five tons, yours is three tones. TP has a 33 pound (15Kg) Bruce anchor on 40 feet (call it 7 fathoms) of 5/16" (9 millimetre) chain spliced to 300 feet (50 fathoms) of 1/2" (12 mm) three strand nylon rode. I use fathoms because spurious accuracy just gets in your way for these sorts of things :-) The anchor stows in chocks on the stem head just like yours does, and is held into the chocks by means of a “devils claw” - a chain hook on a length of line which belays on a cleat on deck.

TP has an electric capstan with a chain gypsy. Pain in the butt, since, as is so often the case with "yacht gear", "pretty" trumped "useful" at the design stage. The capstan obviously has a "spurling pipe". A "spurling" is merely a short "navel" to take the rode from the deck down into the chain locker where it self-stows. 'Cept rope in these tiny dimensions doesn't have the weight to self-stow. Some things don't scale!! Capstans are one of them :-)

So: Coming to my anchoring berth I already know the scope required in the circumstances, having worked that out in advance. So if I need, say, five and twenty fathoms I bid the capstan good day and haul out, through the spurling while ignoring the capstan, five and twenty fathoms by hand. I measure the rode twixt my outstretched hands as sailors have done since man first went to sea. The term “fathom” denotes, as you probably know, but which we “moderns” tend to forget, the distance twixt a man's outstretched hands. I let the rode lie on deck till we are over the anchor position, then stop and lower the anchor hand over hand. When I feel bottom, we back down slowly while I pay out more rode keeping it slack till we have a scope of three or thereabouts, then I snub the rode to make the anchor “take a bite”. When I can feel that that has happened, we back down till all required scope is out. Then we increase power to ensure that the hook is well and truly set.

Departing, we come forward slowly while I bring in the rode hand over hand and let it flake down on deck. Toy capstans are IMO useless for taking in rode. When we are “up'n'down”, if the anchor doesn't feel free to may hands, I belay the rode and we apply some power to “wiggle out” the anchor. When the hook is up and in the chocks, I clap on the devil's claw. We still have the rode lying on deck. The gypsy handles the chain, alright, and the chain is obviously self-stowing. The splice is a pain because the spurling is such a dainty little thing - “pretty” having overridden “useful” in the designer's mind - so I help it through the spurling by hand. Thereafter the rope rode will usually follow courtesy of the little doodad that forces the rope into the gypsy so that, completely contrary to received wisdom, the rope actually gets PUSHED through the spurling.

The locker, an inverted pyramid, has a drain hole at the apex so that water and muck can escape. Provided you take reasonable care with cleaning the rode as it comes in, muck in the chain locker is never a problem. Because I leave the rode on deck rather than stow it directly it comes aboard, a bucket of seawater heaved onto it does the job of cleaning quite admirably.

As I said: “Some things don't scale”. Trying to emulate procedures for grown-up ships, doesn't really work in a five-tonner, let alone in a three-tonner like yours. Best to develop procedures that are “boat specific” having regard to the gear you have to work with. I'm pretty confident that in a Shipman 28 you can, sans capstan, set up to do the job, including stowing the rode, in a very similar way to what we are doing in TP. However, using a spurling pipe (or a navel) may not be the best idea if you don't have a capstan 'cos you can't push a rope :-)! On this coast many of the smaller boats have a “chain locker” below a hatch on deck. If the hatch is, say, 15 x 15 inches (say 40 x 40 cm.) then you can drop the rope rode directly into the locker rather than go through the intermediate step of flaking it on deck when you first bring it in.


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Old 01-11-2020, 10:01   #6
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Re: Anchor chain deck pipe question

Good idea to have the drain overboard, not to the bilge as you mentioned. Keep water muddy or smelly with algea and other little critters out of bilge. Be aware that after a few years you may find some staining on the hull below those drains especially if your chain or shackles have any rust spots.

Now with spurling pipe, you need a certain vertical drop to contain the rode, otherwise it will stack up in a pile and limit how much you can store there. Test it. It won't coil or spread as well as it does with an open bucket that you used in the past.

As you mentioned, you will need access to that compartment from inside the boat, via an opening door that seals well against water. Problem being that you may need to open it more often than you might like, so make the opening with care and use hinges and latch with westher seal, not just a number of screws and sealant to secure it.

Rather than the spurling pipe, a small hatch in the deck above the externally drained compartment would be ideal, as many newer boats have built in, but that is a job requiring more expertise, certainly than I have.
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:44   #7

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Re: Anchor chain deck pipe question

Quote: "As you mentioned, you will need access to that compartment from inside the boat, via an opening door that seals well against water. "

Yes, absolutely. I have an access hatch twixt the chain locker and the fore cabin. The rode never brings enuff water through the spurling that any comes through that hatch, but if you are anticipating hosing down the rode while it's in the locker, then obviously you need to have a water tight hatch.

A couple of times I've had to send someone below to PULL the rode through the inadequate the windlass is fitted with. Thus, the access hath is essential.

A further point we didn't mention is the need to put a stopper (a simple "figure 8" knot will do) in the inboard end of the rode so it cannot run through the spurling. It's just too embarrassing to have the whole lot go overboard because you weren't paying attention :-)

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Old 01-11-2020, 11:03   #8
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Re: Anchor chain deck pipe question

I think you are over thinking it. A good chain pipe has an opening so the rode can exit it and is ready to deploy. Without it ready to use you are causing more risk than a bit of water getting below in heavy weather.
Build a chain compartment that drains to the bilge, or put a bottom in it above the Waterline and have small drains either side right at the bow above the waterline like many boats have.
If going all chain, consider a windlass that has it's own deck pipe.
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Old 01-11-2020, 14:05   #9
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Re: Anchor chain deck pipe question

mait, I have exactly what you are thinking about but on a much larger boat.

In my setup the chain locker drains into a separate sump with it's own automatic bilge pump.

If you put a shelf in your locker with drains overboard you have to consider the heeled height of the shelf. If the drain hole is below the heeled water line it becomes a fill hole.

Also consider the affect of the weight of of all of the ground tackle. In my case there is 300 ft of chain, two anchors and a windlass. If does affect trim. I know yours will be considerably less but so is the weight of your boat.
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Old 01-11-2020, 14:32   #10
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Re: Anchor chain deck pipe question

Orion Jim made a valid point. Having to attach your anchor is not sensible.
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Old 24-11-2020, 23:46   #11
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Re: Anchor chain deck pipe question

Thanks a lot to everybody who answered. Given it a second thought it doesn't really make sense to detach anchor from chain.
Probably I will go with one of these, leave the chain attached and drain the locker overboard.

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I am planning to go with 60m (200ft) of 8mm (5/16) chain stored in anchor locker. And additional 30m (or more) of rope to be attached if needed. I am afraid I can not force the rope to go down through the locker opening so it has to be detached from chain.

Of course for a 3ton boat the chain weight is noticable in the bow but there are not many choices. 6mm (1/4) HT chain is difficult to get and would need larger end links etc...
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