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Greg Fil 18-10-2012 10:50

Length of Chain
Hello everybody,
We know the you have to release 5:1 or 7:1 anchor chain/line depending on condition and boat.
Here is my question:
When you start dropping chain how do you know that the length you need already there (assuming that is no marks on anchor chain or line) ?
I usually do it by intuition (do not have my boat using charters) . Just curios if its a better way (speed of windlass, etc.)
If its really stupid question please answer anyway.
Thank you

estarzinger 18-10-2012 11:08

Re: Length of chain
The chain should in fact be marked.

But if it's not, and you want to be precise, you can do a quick test and measure how many rotations of the windless drops say 10' of chain - that's better than timing the windless because the timing can depend on how much chain is hanging down (speeds up when more chain is having in the water). Some people put a piece of tape on the top of the windless to make counting rotations easier.

Greg Fil 18-10-2012 11:21

Re: Length of chain
That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out replay.
Thank you so much.

Stumble 18-10-2012 13:14

Re: Length of chain
An afternoon with two cans of spray paint tied up along a shore pier and the chain is vividly marked, and will last for years. Just alternate the colors every 25 foot, and count the number of color changes as it spools out.

Bash 18-10-2012 13:21

Re: Length of chain
Bash is colorblind, so we use white primer sprayed on the chain. A small 3-link dot every 25' and then a foot-long section of white marking 50', two foot-long marks at 100', three at 150', et cetera.

I end up having to re-paint the marks every other year.

Nice thing about using white primer is that you can see the marks at night.

jackdale 18-10-2012 13:26

Re: Length of chain
The hi-tech method is to use a digital chain counter.

But stumbles idea is among the best. I would add to that with - use a magic marker to write the colours and lengths on the bottom of the cover to your chain locker.

I have seen attempts to use coloured wire ties, but the windlass has a habit of eating them.

If you have three strand rope rode (warp) as well as chain, slip tags with the length between the strands.

BTW - if you are going top spray paint a la Stumble, start with a 25 length on chain on the dock and then just flake 25 foot loops of chain. Put some cardboard under the turns and spray paint them all at once.

FraidNot 18-10-2012 13:31

Re: Length of chain
you can tie thin threads of specra of different colours at 10m intervals

Andrew Troup 18-10-2012 13:35

Re: Length of chain
I think the OP is a charterer?

Hence (presumably) Evans' reply, which concentrated on using the gear as supplied.

Greg Fil 18-10-2012 13:45

Re: Length of chain
You are all good. And I like your ideas. However, I am talking about situation when:
1. It's not your boat.
2. Anchor chain / line is not marked.

Thank you everybody for such a quick reply.

jackdale 18-10-2012 13:48

Re: Length of chain
Yep - charterer. Evan's solution is great and one I had not thought of. I will be using it. Most boats I have chartered or on which I teach do have marked chain.

I have asked charter companies / sailing schools to mark chain for me.

Greg Fil 18-10-2012 13:57

Re: Length of chain
You right they usually marked chain. But recently I was in the situation when chain was unmarked. Two times. Both times charter company. I deal with it but it's good to know what more experienced sailors do in this situation.

jackdale 18-10-2012 14:01

Re: Length of chain
With experience you can get a good estimate of how much chain you have out by judging the angle of the rode when you are setting the anchor in reverse. Of course if it does set, you may have insufficient rode.

Searanger50 22-10-2012 04:48

Re: Length of chain
Great advice. I have another equally stupid sounding question. For world cruising how much chain should I aim to carry. I currently have 55 metres.

Seaworthy Lass 22-10-2012 05:16

Re: Length of chain

Originally Posted by Searanger50 (Post 1064735)
Great advice. I have another equally stupid sounding question. For world cruising how much chain should I aim to carry. I currently have 55 metres.

100 m is a safe amount in my opinion. With coral all chain needed to be used. Coral can slice through rode very quickly.

carstenb 22-10-2012 05:24

Re: Length of chain
AT 8:1 rode length, 100 meters means anchoring in a water depth of approx. 12 meters.

At 8:1 rode length and high winds, your rode will taut and you will not have a catenary. There is little benefit to using more than 8:1 as you will not achieve a catenary.

Don't forget a suitable snubber


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