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Old 01-06-2020, 01:54   #1
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Storm Anchoring

Having just spent the last 48 hours in 35 kts with gusts of 45 Ive had a little time to think about what could have gone wrong, and have a question to put to the experienced.

First up I learnt to prepare for the worst, this became important when the snubber snapped and I had to dig through the anchor locker to find the spare only to relaise that I hadn't got round to splicing on the spare hook. Luckily I had an emergency line on the anchor rode secured to a cleat so I didnt loose the rest of the chain over board.

So once I had managed to set up the new snubber I spent the rest of the night worrying about the anchor hitch I tied. Next time I will have the spare snubber set up and tied on deck.

But this bought me to the next question. If you have, for some horrible reason, to dump the chain overboard and run away what is the simplest way to do it? I currently have the bitter end of the chain shackled onto a bolt at the bottom of the anchor locker, trying to get that off in an emergency would be nigh on impossible so I'm wondering if there are simple solutions that I can't think of? Or am I worrying too much (I did have this conversation in my head at 4am on no sleep....)
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:59   #2
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Re: Storm Anchoring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olly75 View Post
Having just spent the last 48 hours in 35 kts with gusts of 45 Ive had a little time to think about what could have gone wrong, and have a question to put to the experienced.

First up I learnt to prepare for the worst, this became important when the snubber snapped and I had to dig through the anchor locker to find the spare only to relaise that I hadn't got round to splicing on the spare hook. Luckily I had an emergency line on the anchor rode secured to a cleat so I didnt loose the rest of the chain over board.

So once I had managed to set up the new snubber I spent the rest of the night worrying about the anchor hitch I tied. Next time I will have the spare snubber set up and tied on deck.

But this bought me to the next question. If you have, for some horrible reason, to dump the chain overboard and run away what is the simplest way to do it? I currently have the bitter end of the chain shackled onto a bolt at the bottom of the anchor locker, trying to get that off in an emergency would be nigh on impossible so I'm wondering if there are simple solutions that I can't think of? Or am I worrying too much (I did have this conversation in my head at 4am on no sleep....)
It is because of situations like this that the recommended method is to secure the end of the chain with rope inside the locker, so you can cut it free if needed. Keep a small bouy there too, so you can find it more easily later. However, 35knt entering an anchorage shouldn't be impossible to deal with if you're set up for it. Though it is a pain to keep a constant anchor watch.
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Old 01-06-2020, 03:13   #3
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Re: Storm Anchoring

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Originally Posted by Olly75 View Post
Having just spent the last 48 hours in 35 kts with gusts of 45 Ive had a little time to think about what could have gone wrong, and have a question to put to the experienced.

First up I learnt to prepare for the worst, this became important when the snubber snapped and I had to dig through the anchor locker to find the spare only to relaise that I hadn't got round to splicing on the spare hook. Luckily I had an emergency line on the anchor rode secured to a cleat so I didnt loose the rest of the chain over board.

So once I had managed to set up the new snubber I spent the rest of the night worrying about the anchor hitch I tied. Next time I will have the spare snubber set up and tied on deck.

But this bought me to the next question. If you have, for some horrible reason, to dump the chain overboard and run away what is the simplest way to do it? I currently have the bitter end of the chain shackled onto a bolt at the bottom of the anchor locker, trying to get that off in an emergency would be nigh on impossible so I'm wondering if there are simple solutions that I can't think of? Or am I worrying too much (I did have this conversation in my head at 4am on no sleep....)
Use a pendant to dead end the anchor chain

The pendant should be long ,..so that you can get the pendant on deck and cut the pendant

You can try to bouy the chain when you cut it free , or simply let your chain fall and come back with a grapnel the next day and retrieve your chain

This is the easiest safest way to handle a chain dump situation
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Old 01-06-2020, 03:17   #4
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Re: Storm Anchoring

^^he's right about tying the last link with a piece of line that can be cut. Also, there should be a chain stopper or at least the chain still in the windlass gypsy in case a snubber fails. For info on how to securely tie a snubber to a chain, see the recent post on it started by Chotu.
If you have a buoy with a tail of line already spliced to it, you can quickly tie that to the chain before you slip your cable.
I would caution you to only slip the cable in the last extremity--what will you safely anchor with if you have to move and it's still blowing?
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:24   #5
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Re: Storm Anchoring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olly75 View Post
Having just spent the last 48 hours in 35 kts with gusts of 45 Ive had a little time to think about what could have gone wrong, and have a question to put to the experienced.

First up I learnt to prepare for the worst, this became important [1] when the snubber snapped and I had to dig through the anchor locker to find the spare [2]only to relaise that I hadn't got round to splicing on the spare hook. [3]Luckily I had an emergency line on the anchor rode secured to a cleat so I didnt loose the rest of the chain over board.

[4]So once I had managed to set up the new snubber I spent the rest of the night worrying about the anchor hitch I tied. Next time I will have the spare snubber set up and tied on deck.

But this bought me to the next question. [5]If you have, for some horrible reason, to dump the chain overboard and run away what is the simplest way to do it? I currently have the bitter end of the chain shackled onto a bolt at the bottom of the anchor locker, trying to get that off in an emergency would be nigh on impossible so I'm wondering if there are simple solutions that I can't think of? Or am I worrying too much (I did have this conversation in my head at 4am on no sleep....)



A lot of lessons and good questions in one post!! Good for you for posting it. Some things:



1. Some people on here question whether snubbers break. I've broken a few in my cruising life; here's another case.


2. Tying on a rolling hitch should be second nature, two seconds even blindfolded. Rolling hitch is VERY reliable on chain, especially with an extra turn.


3. This lesson is worth underlining 10 times. For God's sake, don't attach the ground tackle to the boat with only a snubber!! Use a chain stopper or strong strop. The snubber is not made for this duty! The OP here could have lost his boat or his life, if he had not wisely done this correctly!!


4. Practice your rolling hitches. There are different cases where you may need to tie one, in the dark, in an emergency.


5. This is a serious question. As others have written, there should be a bit of light cordage between the last link of the chain and your eye bolt or whatever other attachment you have. If you're really paranoid, hang a knife next to it. There are cases where it may be a matter of life and death to get rid of the chain.
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:32   #6
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Re: Storm Anchoring

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
3. This lesson is worth underlining 10 times. For God's sake, don't attach the ground tackle to the boat with only a snubber!! Use a chain stopper or strong strop. The snubber is not made for this duty! The OP here could have lost his boat or his life, if he had not wisely done this correctly!!


I have a bridle and then a snubber on the loose chain behind the bridle - Should I be looking at adding something else? FYI Snubber is Dyneema
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:32   #7
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Re: Storm Anchoring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post


1. Some people on here question whether snubbers break. I've broken a few in my cruising life; here's another case.

That reminds me, thanks, OP - your snubber should be at least 10 meters long, this should help prevent it breaking. Use some tubing or old rags to prevent chafe.
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:38   #8
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Re: Storm Anchoring

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Originally Posted by UFO View Post
I have a bridle and then a snubber on the loose chain behind the bridle - Should I be looking at adding something else? FYI Snubber is Dyneema

If it's all dyneema, then it's not a snubber. If it doesn't have any nylon in it, and it's as strong as the chain, and the way it's attached to boat and chain is as strong as the chain, then it's fine. Dyneema is good for that purpose.
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:44   #9
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Re: Storm Anchoring

I hope this post also highlights the importance of a snubber to people that use chain and rode - even if your rode survived this situation (which it should), it would be damaged by the hard use. A properly sized snubber will provide some elasticity and protect it. A snubber is supposed to be expendable.
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:55   #10
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Re: Storm Anchoring

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Originally Posted by UFO View Post
I have a bridle and then a snubber on the loose chain behind the bridle - Should I be looking at adding something else? FYI Snubber is Dyneema

I wouldn't call a length of dyneema a "snubber"
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Old 01-06-2020, 05:46   #11
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Re: Storm Anchoring

Interesting questions.

My first thought is 34 to 45 knots is not storm conditions. It's not fun, but a standard bower anchoring system should easily manage this range. I consider 60+ knots to be storm conditions. This (likely) requires a different 'storm anchoring' approach than standard anchoring.

As already mentioned, the end of an all-chain rode should be attached to the boat by a length of line that can reach up to the deck. If the anchor/rode needs to be abandoned quickly, simply cut the line.

Snubbers can certainly break. I've had one go on me. But I also try and replace them before failure. They're consumable items which only last a certain amount of time.

I almost always tie by snubbers in a bridle manner, meaning I have two independent attachments. Either one is strong enough to hold. I attach using simple rolling hitches. I've tried a number of boat hooks, but for one reason or another, found them wanting. I prefer simple hitches.

In addition to the double snubbers, I use a chain hook attached via shackle to a well-backed hardpoint on the bow. If both snubbers fail then the load it taken here. Finally, in any blow I take the chain completely off the windlass, and put it on a bow cleat. This is the fourth line of defence in case of catastrophic failure. This has never happened (yet ).
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Old 01-06-2020, 05:56   #12
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Re: Storm Anchoring

For snubbers, longer is better for the most part. And ideally, you want the snubber sized so you won't snap it in heavy weather unless it's been through too many load cycles and is just worn out. But it should also be starting to stretch before you've pulled all of the catenary out of the chain if you want a comfortable ride at anchor in high winds. A heavier snubber will need to be longer to get the same stretch at a given load, but the longer, heavier snubber will be more durable than a short, light one (for equivalent stretch).

For a combo rode, if possible, over-size the line portion a bit for better durability in high winds and to avoid excessive stretch when you have a lot of rode out. You can always add a lighter snubber for a better ride if needed.
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Old 01-06-2020, 05:59   #13
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Re: Storm Anchoring

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1. Some people on here question whether snubbers break. I've broken a few in my cruising life; here's another case.
Breaking a snubber properly sized, should be almost impossible. Chafing though on the other hand, is not at all uncommon.

Just like a snubber protects the anchor set from being "jerked" by a tossing boat, it also protects itself.

This assumes that the snubber is the proper length, and type of line, and is replaced on a regular schedule. Most boats in the average anchorage miss at least one of these points.

Based on the OP's questions about anchoring, I would guess very little about his setup would be considered "proper".
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Old 01-06-2020, 06:43   #14
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Re: Storm Anchoring

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Breaking a snubber properly sized, should be almost impossible. Chafing though on the other hand, is not at all uncommon.

Just like a snubber protects the anchor set from being "jerked" by a tossing boat, it also protects itself.

This assumes that the snubber is the proper length, and type of line, and is replaced on a regular schedule. Most boats in the average anchorage miss at least one of these points.. .

Certainly true that many snubbers are too light and too short. You will generally need at least 10 meters to make a reasonable snubber.


But nylon snubbers stressed to the extent that they are stretching enough to give you meaningful energy absorption, are at the same time going through internally heating, probably work hardening, and other processes which lead to nylon's failing at less than rate strength. Read Dashew "The Right Rode" on this. In addition, nylon which is being stretched is highly vulnerable to chafe.


So no I would not agree that it is "almost impossible" to break them. I break them regularly -- every few years -- despite replacing them fairly often, despite never having less than 10 meters of snubber out. It goes with the territory if you anchor out in much weather much.
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:36   #15
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Re: Storm Anchoring

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Certainly true that many snubbers are too light and too short. You will generally need at least 10 meters to make a reasonable snubber.


But nylon snubbers stressed to the extent that they are stretching enough to give you meaningful energy absorption, are at the same time going through internally heating, probably work hardening, and other processes which lead to nylon's failing at less than rate strength. Read Dashew "The Right Rode" on this. In addition, nylon which is being stretched is highly vulnerable to chafe.


So no I would not agree that it is "almost impossible" to break them. I break them regularly -- every few years -- despite replacing them fairly often, despite never having less than 10 meters of snubber out. It goes with the territory if you anchor out in much weather much.

Unlike steel, which does not fatigue below its WLL, nylon always has a fatigue limit. Cycle it hard, anything above 10% BS, and the life is relatively short. But even at relatively low load cycling it is not going to last forever, like steel. For the occasional cruiser it will probably die of old age or because you change to something else. If you anchor out constantly, sometimes in exposed locations (like Dockhead), start counting cycles. Eventually you will get to some very big numbers and it will break. Of course, it has protected your chain and anchor from a lot of jolts by then, so you've gotten you money's worth.

And yeah, if you don't have a spare rigged, you should be able to grab dockline and tie it to the chain in under a minute. You can even use the eye at the end to make a cow hitch or prusik hitch, which will hold on chain.



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