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Ram 26-02-2009 19:04

How long does your chain last?
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I bought this new in March of 2006- its galvanized 5/16 HT
at the time I was told it was made in America , now I think it must be that cheap China crap. Could it be that in the Med with its higher salt content this is the norm?
How long does a chain last in the Med- or out of the Med.

Meridian 26-02-2009 19:33

Ram...We have 3/8 galvanized Acco, also new in 2006. We have anchored most nights since new, from California, throughout Mexico, into the South Pacific and now New Zealand. Gotta say, our chain looks very good by comparison.
Does your chain-locker drain well? Or does it ship in alot of water? Looks to me like the bulk of your chain has been exposed to prolonged time sitting in seawater.
And if you decide to re-galvanize, make sure the outfit doing it is skilled...they can do more harm than good.

Bash 27-02-2009 00:29

I'm wondering the same thing
My BBB chain looks about the same. It's ten years old, and I anchor out about 30-40 days per year, mostly in sand on mud. I've already flipped it end-for-end, so the wear is pretty even at this point.

So how long should a chain last?

Ram 27-02-2009 01:07

The chain did spend 6 months in the water once and daily use 6-7 months of each year, - the locker drains well, you can see the little hole in the top right of the picture-
this chain has also been turned end for end- its a real mess it stains the deck and keeps me busy cleaning up - Has anyone painted there chain and if so how long did that last?

Ancora Latina 27-02-2009 02:25


Originally Posted by Ram (Post 259231)
- Has anyone painted there chain and if so how long did that last?

Big job if you want to paint everything perfectly... and it will not last for long - I must admit that I donít have the experience of painting the whole chain, but the small marks painted on the chain as an indication of length doesnít last for long.

If you are in the Med, perhaps close to Turkey and to Izmir, you can have your chain (and your anchor) re-galvanized, they do a good job and it is (was) not expensive at all...


shawnbush12 27-02-2009 03:59

mine lasted from 2003 until last month and I do not anchor out for extended periods. it was not cheap to replace. if there is a trick to keep it longer i am all ears.

Pblais 27-02-2009 05:38

I think drainage is important. Since the top of the chain in the pile looks better it is not hard to say it has to be the seawater in the locker. It would not require it to be sloshing around in water. Just being wet without an easy way to dry would promote the rust. The bottom of a locker might stay wet a long time. Use the boat every week and it would most always be wet. The drain can also become slightly plugged if you don't pull out all the chain and clean the bottom of the locker.

It helps if you can raise the bottom of the locker with a grid so the water can freely flow to the drain. It also makes an air space to promote drying. If it were possible to spray fresh water down the locker to wash out the salt it may help too. A good wash down hose even with salt water will remove the debris that can hold moisture too. It's clear you can place a length of chain in sea water and it does not take all that long to rust away. Even mooring chain needs regular inspection.

Jim Cate 27-02-2009 07:26

One needs to realize that while the chain will last many years,the galvanizing will not. There have been several posts to the effect that HT chain is harder to get good galvanizing on than mild steel chain, but I have no personal experience with this issue.

Anyhow, we have anchored out 80-90% of the time for the last 23 years, and have used proof coil or BBB chain. The galvanizing has needed re-doing about every three years with minor variations depending on quality of the replaced Zinc and/or typical bottoms where we were cruising.

IN your case the answer is simple: get it regalvanized ASAP! When used in a rusty state, I believe that real wear is accelerated. You might want to inspect your chain for excess wear -- look carefully at the area on each link where it bears upon the next link, and see if the diameter of the wire is reduced significantly.

Good luck with it, mate! If you take care of it, the chain will last a loooong time!


JIm and Ann s/v Insatiable II

Ram 27-02-2009 07:55

The chain locker has very good drainage and has never held water- but on the other hand its used just about every day and only gets hit with fresh water maybe once a week-
I did not really consider re-galvanizing because it is HT chain and i heard it could affect the strength of the chain-if not done right- and who would know if its done right - not me- I need to do a bit of research on re- galvanizing the chain- I definitely don't want to weaken the chain where it could break- Its the only thing keeping me off the rocks a lot of the time-

Highlander40 01-03-2009 11:22

Ram, I have 5/16 HT too. still looking good after 10 years but we don't live on the boat. We do anchor when we go. As far as the strength issues of re-galvanizing.
The problem is not the temps encountered during the process but the damage done by rust. Some high strength alloys will pit deeply and the zinc will fill it in but not restore the strength.
Most of the time we rinse the chain with fresh water but every time the anchor comes up, it is washed with salt water before it rolls over the bow pulpit.
I just priced a half barrel of 5/16" HT (275 ft.) it's over $800 US.

Based on the strength HT is still cheaper than BBB, WL on 3/8 BBB is less than 5/16 HT. just take care of it.


bene505 01-03-2009 14:17

What about clamping some zinc onto the chain, near the anchor, where it won't interfere with the windlass? Anyone know if that would help? Zinc is cheaper than replacing the whole chain.

Ancora Latina 01-03-2009 14:47


Originally Posted by bene505 (Post 260049)
What about clamping some zinc onto the chain, near the anchor,

You can, it's very easy!... but it doesn't work :(

Except if you are not anchoring often.. Otherwise, the first links are the ones which have to support the most aggressive action from the seabed, and this will be at least as bad as the galvanic problem.

You should have the same problem with your anchor.. If you look at anchors which are frequently used, they are parts (usually the tip) where there is no more zinc..

ksalt 02-03-2009 07:53

We replaced our 5/16 HT chain in Fall 2005 with 275' ACCO brand chain and the galvanizing lasted less than 2 years. We anchor out about 280 nights a year in primarily sandy bottoms. I think the bottom type is significant, a sandy bottom is going to scour your chain as you swing at anchor more than a mud bottom would. We rotated the chain about 18 months in, now both ends have no galvanizing, the middle isn't so bad. I plan to replace as soon as I figure out how to ship to or purchase in PR.

s/v Jedi 02-03-2009 08:56

A much overlooked reason for loosing the zinc on the chain is galvanic corrosion caused by a grounded windlass on boats with a bonding system. This will quickly eat the zinc and the steel after that.

How to test:

Take the negative power cable off the windlass and measure resistance between the negative connection-post and the housing. There should be NO contact (motor negative is isolated on decent windlass for this reason). Now measure between housing and any bonded piece of metal around you: there should be NO contact. Remove bonding wires, check if chain or anchor touched bonded metal etc. until resistance is infinite.

The reason is a small difference in grouding potential between the ships bonding system (dynaplate or other coupling to seawater at or near surface) and the anchor buried in the seabed. The anchor provides a better ground and a current will start flowing from bonding system through chain down to anchor into seabed.

I helped several cruisers solving this problem, mostly after their chain was eaten already. One of them had expensive stainless chain where pieces 50-60% of link thickness were eaten away already after 4-6 weeks anchored!

My Maxwell manual used big boldface letters in the installation part to warn about this but alas the installer put a bonding wire on nonetheless.

Another lesson learned was the time we were anchored for a long time in deep murky water... I sometimes noticed the chain touched something like a rock, wreck, whatever: move the boat to a different spot, I didn't with lots of chain wear as the result.


Ram 02-03-2009 09:38

Nick - you gave me a Ah-haa moment - this is something I will check- makes perfect since to me-and it looks as if what Im getting is somewhat normal in terms of wear- I will inspect the chain and if its in good shape will have it regalv-

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