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Author Topic: Longest chain rode without a windlass?  (Read 1019 times)

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Ron Hill

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2021, 02:46:07 PM »

Guys : I used a sentinel for thousands of anchoring and never had a problem.  I also used an anchor ball attached to the head of the 35lb Bruce.  That ball did get wrapped around the keel ONCE and that was the last time I used that ball!!!

The mushroom sentinel worked great.  When I finally installed a windless I went to 50ft of chain and no longer needed the sentinel, but did keep it onboard. 

Once in the Dismal Swamp I used just the mushroom (no wind and no current) We had to wait for a lock time (to open) and I didn't know what was on the bottom??  So used the mushroom on a 1/4" line just to keep the boat in the same narrow place! Didn't want to snag the Bruce or Danforth.  If the mushroom got snagged so-what, just cut the line!!

A few thoughts
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PaulJacobs

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2021, 08:04:59 PM »

I am 82 years old.  Pleiades is a 1990 C34 (No. 1068) that does NOT have a windlass.  Her ground tackle includes 50 ft. of 5/16" galvanized chain, 200 ft. of 5/8" diameter, nylon tri-braid, and a 25 lb. Mantus Anchor.  Nancy and I have anchored literally hundreds of times from Long Island to Maine, including Narragansett Bay, Cuttyhunk, Tarpaulin Cove, Kettle Cove, Menemsha, Edgartown, Nantucket and many, many other harbors.  We have anchored in sand, gravel, mud and weed.  We have NEVER dragged anchor. 

Our standard technique to weigh anchor is as follows: (1) I position myself seated on deck just aft of the anchor locker, with my feet in the locker, Nancy very slowly powers forward as I haul in the rode, dropping it into the locker. (2) When we get to the chain I grab about 18", and pull it up mostly with my legs, and somewhat with my back  --- NOT using my arms very much except to hold the chain. (3) I continue this process until I can feel a substantial increase in force.  At this point I signal for Nancy to slowly move forward to enable "break-out".  (4) Once "break-out has occurred I am then lifting roughly 20 ft. of 5/8" chain at about 1 lb./ft. --- or about 20 lbs. --- plus the weight of the Mantus anchor, or another 25 lbs., for a total of 45 lbs. (5) using mostly my legs and back even at 82 I can still manage 45 lbs.  When I can no longer manage to pull up 45 lbs., perhaps it will be time to sell our beloved Pleiades!
Paul Jacobs, Warwick, Rhode Island.
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waughoo

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2021, 09:10:43 PM »

Paul,

This is the real world experience i've been hoping for.  Thanks for taking the time to explain your setup and how you weigh anchor.  It is extremely helpful.
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Alex - Seattle, WA
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ErikN

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2021, 08:31:48 AM »

This is essentially identical to the procedure that my wife and I use, only we tried it first with a 35lb anchor and 3/8" chain. When we used the engine to pull out the anchor, it scooped a massive ball of mud--it felt like twice the weight--which quickly pulled the anchor back to the bottom before I could lift it an inch. Then I had to resort to the winch. Since going back to lighter tackle, we haven't had a problem. The C34 is our first "big" boat, i.e., one with an inboard engine, and we are still working on our technique...
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Erik Noonburg, Anacortes WA
#0053 1986, SR/FK, M25, "Callooh! Callay!"

Ron Hill

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2021, 01:00:23 PM »

Paul & Erik : I used to do the same thing, but it is so much easier to use the windless on the 50' of chain. While the windless is pulling it up to clean off that chain with my anchor washer (home made bilge pump) squirting water.  That way you can make sure everything is cleaned off and the chain in falling in place!! 
Then I use a couple of quarts of fresh water sprinkled over the chain to get most of the salt water off immediately (saves the galvanize coating).

A few thoughts
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ErikN

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2021, 05:42:30 AM »

Sorry if I'm being unclear--I'm really just seconding Paul's setup, based on my negative experience with heavier tackle (and without a windlass). My general thinking is that "the heaviest tackle you can handle" might become unmanageable in less than perfect conditions. However, I probably provided some entertainment for other folks in the anchorage that morning.
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Erik Noonburg, Anacortes WA
#0053 1986, SR/FK, M25, "Callooh! Callay!"

waughoo

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2021, 09:05:02 AM »

However, I probably provided some entertainment for other folks in the anchorage that morning.

2nd to the hard to manage in less than ideal conditions, your above comment was on my mind when thinking about heavy hardware.
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Alex - Seattle, WA
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2021, 10:54:22 AM »


2nd to the hard to manage in less than ideal conditions, your above comment was on my mind when thinking about heavy hardware.

Heavy hardware?  I sure hope you've read the Anchoring Systems 101 Topic.  I had a batch of 3/8" chain for a month or so and used it.  Then I learned better.
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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Noah

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2021, 11:06:07 AM »

I just swapped-out my perfectly good (and expensive) 3/8 chain for 5/16. When I bought the boat I thought bigger was better. Not anymore. 5/16 chain and 5/8 8-plait rode are my current/preferred set-up. I plan to switch out my existing rope only windlass for a new Maxwell VW10-8 as soon as I can find $1,800. It is built to take  5/16. Any takers for the 50ft. 3/8? :cry4` 8)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2021, 03:55:44 PM by Noah »
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PaulJacobs

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2021, 11:11:47 AM »

I am glad my comments were helpful.  Since the thread has evolved to "heavier ground tackle" a few additional comments might also be helpful

Regarding rode, chain, swivels and anchors:  I am a quasi-retired physicist (fancy words that mean I still do significant consulting, but at 82 I no longer work full time, and can sail whenever possible) so the following calculations were straightforward for me.  The minimum windage on a C34 (viz. including the exposed hull, mast, standing rigging, and with the hull pointed directly into the wind, but assuming the mainsail is secured on the boom and covered, and the genoa / jib is furled tightly on the headstay - is given by the simple expression Dmin =(Vw/4)^2, where Dmin is the MINIMUM drag force on an anchor (or mooring!) - in pounds - and Vw is the wind velocity in knots.   The MAXIMUM drag force, when the hull is temporarily slewed 30 degrees to the wind, is Dmax = (Vw /3)^2.  Obviously, we are concerned with the WORST CASE scenario.  Thus, for a wind speed = 12 knots (some whitecaps visible), the maximum drag force on a C34 will still be only (12/3)^2 = 16 lbs.!   Thus, as long as we are weighing anchor and there are no whitecaps visible, even at my age I can easily pull in all the rode, and lift the chain to the point of "break out".  If we are in sand or gravel I can often "break out" the anchor with my legs.  If we are anchored in mud, then I secure the chain running through the C34 bow roller, with one loop around a bow cleat, and Nancy powers forward slowly until we indeed "break out" after which, as noted earlier I am lifting only about 45 lbs., which frankly is good exercise. (2) even at 30 knots the maximum force is only about 100 lbs. This is FAR below the safe working limit of 5/8" diameter nylon, or 5/16" chain, both of which exceed 1000 lbs.  Clearly, at 75 knots (a category 1 Hurricane!) the maximum force is about 625 lbs.  Finally, at 120 knots (a category 3 hurricane!!!), when the wind force would far exceed that of any current, so one can revert to the "non-slewing" "minimum drag" equation, the drag force on an anchor - or a mooring - is just about 1000 lbs! Our Mantus 25 lb. spade anchor has actually held, in a sand bottom off Kettle Cove in the Elizabeth Islands, enduring a documented 72 knot "micro-burst" for about 5 minutes.

 I specifically, and carefully, selected 5/8" diameter nylon tri-braid rode for three reasons: Safe working load > 1000 lbs., relatively light weight, and substantial elastic energy absorption which minimizes shock loads on the anchor during wind gusts.  I selected 5/16" galvanized chain as the lightest chain that still had > 1000 lbs. safe working load, and I also selected 50 ft. chain length to assure a very good catenary at 7:1 scope, a nearly horizontal pull angle on the anchor, as well as protection from chafe / abrasion due to sharp rocks should there be any on the bottom, and not so much weight as to cause Pleiades to go "bow-down" when sailing.  I selected a 25 lb. Mantus, based on numerous real-honest-to-goodness tests (NOT commercials) in sand, gravel, mud, and grass.  Invariably it was either "one of the best", or "THE best" in each type of bottom!  Also the 25 lb. Mantus had a higher holding strength than the 35 lb. version of almost all other anchors!  Again, I could handle 45 pounds manually.  If the total weight gets much greater than that things begin to become a struggle, and I do not want to struggle on the foredeck.  Note that I did not mention any swivel.  I have heard too many horror stories down through the last 50 years about swivel failures.  Presumably they guard against twist.  Why?  Chain is very flexible.  Rode is pretty flexible.  We have NEVER had a problem with the rode or chain twisting to the point where it affects the anchor.  One, proper "long splice" from the nylon tri-braid onto the last link of chain, which took about 20 minutes a dozen years ago is incredibly strong, allows the rode and chain to easily pass through the C34 bow roller, and has "worked like a charm" all these years.
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Ron Hill

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2021, 03:05:13 PM »

Guys : Paul thanks for the math on chain /anchoring!!

I've never heard of anyone with 1/4" Hi tensile strength chain breaking a link!!   :shock:  That's one of the many reasons that I like it.  Also the weight is much less than the 5/16" chain - when you are looking at 50ft lengths!
 
In my anchor split locker beside the 200' of braid rode & 50' of 1/4" HT chain on braid for my primary anchor (35lb Bruce)   I also have 30' of 1/4" HT chain and 200' of braid on braid rode for a 1800 deepset Danforth ready to go!!

The 1/4"HT chain weight does not weigh down the bow.  Like I said, I have never heard of a link breaking on 1/4" HT chain!!

Those of you without a windless and anchoring by hand might consider 1/4" HT chain.  I did that for years and it's easy to handle!!  :clap

A few thoughts
« Last Edit: February 04, 2021, 02:45:04 PM by Ron Hill »
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Jon W

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2021, 04:07:42 PM »

Like most things boat there isn't one number, so FWIW -
   1/4" G4 (grade 43) HT galvanized chain weights .75 - .79 lbs per foot

   5/16" G4 (grade 43) HT galvanized chain weighs 1.04 - 1.1 lbs per foot
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Jon W.
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britinusa

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2021, 01:24:21 PM »

Eximius has a 25lb West Marine Anchor and 100' of 5/16" chain with 100' of additional rode.

We rarely anchor in depths greater than 12' here in South Florida and the Bahamas.

I see many crew pulling up their boat anchors and my bits shiver when I think of the pain they are self inflicting.

Here's how I retrieve the anchor.
# Open the anchor locker lids and tie them off to the pulpit.
# Pull in the chain by hand, moving the boat forwards if there is any strain on the snubber. And wrap the chain around the center bow cleat.
# Remove the Nylon Anchor snubber (which is secure to the anchor chain with a rolling hitched 1/4" Dynema line)
# With the chain still slack, release the chain from the cleat and stand up holding the chain in both hands.
# Reaching forwards with one hand and grasping the chain about a foot in front of my other hand then moving the back hand forwards, so together.
# With the strain now on both hands and arm pretty straight, I lean back, rolling on my heels, pulling about a foot of chain.
# As I lean forwards, I move my hands over to reach the next foot of chain.
# Repeat that action until the chain is up and down with the anchor still dug in to the bottom.
# If the next lean back does not release the anchor from the bottom I cleat the chain and we break the anchor free by moving the boat forwards.
# Once freed from the bottom, I uncleat the chain and continue to pull it up by leaning back for each foot of chain.

This method protects my back and doesn't strain back or arms.

 8)

Paul
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Paul & Peggy
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Noah

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2021, 01:28:30 PM »

What is a “West Marine Anchor” ?
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pablosgirl

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Re: Longest chain rode without a windlass?
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2021, 07:42:56 PM »

Hi Alex,

I don’t have a windless and use a Mantus 45lb anchor with 180 ft of 5/16 G4 chain.  At 30 feet of depth and 5:1 scope is 150 ft.  As Jon stated, 5/16 chain is 1.1lbs per foot. So at the most I will be pulling up 78lbs in the last 30 feet when the chain is straight up and down. The first 120 ft I am only lifting 33lbs. I have Cyndi power the boat forward as I pull in the chain she goes into neutral when I have about half the chain on the boat. Once the chain is up and down I wrap the chain around the bow cleat and Cyndi puts the boat in gear to pry the anchor out of the bottom.  I use gloves with the plastic bumps on the palm side.  This helps when the last bit of chain is caked with mud.  I have also used my bare hands which is ok for a sand bottom.   I leave the anchor at the water line to wash the mud off before I pull it up into the roller. We anchored in 30 feet quite a bit while out cruising and it was not a big deal for me, but I don’t have a bad back.  And at 60 I am still able to do it.  In twenty years I may be looking for a windless.
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Paul & Cyndi Shields
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