Upgrading from chain and rode to all chain anchor tackle

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mobocracy, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. mobocracy

    mobocracy Member

    Jun 29, 2014
    United States
    310 Sundancer
    350 Mag & Bravo III
    My '07 310 DA came with windlass and chain and rode anchor tackle. I'm pretty sure it's original to the boat based on the appearance of the rode, and I'm guessing the rode is probably due for replacement although I don't see any specific wear points (I ran it all out and inspected it my first year with the boat last season).

    I don't know if its the nature of the rode or its age, but we find that it has a certain stiffness which causes it to be jam prone re-entering the anchor locker. It runs great on the chain segment.

    So between the age of the rode and its occasionally frustrating running, upgrading to chain makes sense.

    Looking at the parts guide, both the all chain and the chain and rode options list 5/16 high test chain. Since the gypsy runs fine with the existing 5/16 chain, my guess is that all I need to do is get my desired length of 5/16" high test chain and new swivels and shackles.

    Should I add a length of rope splice and some kind of knot to the bitter end to avoid total runout? I think the bitter end of the rode has that now, but I also figure I could just clip something to the bitter end of the chain as a stop. I'm also planning to spray paint the chain at 10' intervals to help the admiral keep track of how much she lets out, probably with a higher visibility color on the last 20 feet maybe. We've had good luck with a 2-2.5:1 scope in 30' of water, so I doubt we'd normally get close to full payout with 150' chain.
  2. Jaybeaux

    Jaybeaux Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 3, 2016
    Upper Potomac River
    420 Sundancer 2004
    Naught On Call
    Cummins 6CTA-8.3's with V-Drives
    9KW Onan Genset
    Like rope, chain can become twisted, and kink. Your comment about "it has a certain stiffness" made me think of this. If possible, run out your entire rode and try to "untwist it".

  3. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    There's certainly no reason you CAN'T switch to all chain, but it may very well be an unnecessary expense. Search on this site or the net for stiff anchor rode/line/rope/whatever - it's not uncommon. But it's also normal. In addition to what was mentioned above, rope should be soaked and then washed every now and then, and then soaked in fabric softener. Your signature doesn't mention where you are, but if in salt, it may take a couple washings since it may never have been done. On the other hand, if you really just want all chain, then feel free to use this as the "excuse" to give to the Admiral as to why you "need" all chain. ;)
    potis likes this.
  4. mobocracy

    mobocracy Member

    Jun 29, 2014
    United States
    310 Sundancer
    350 Mag & Bravo III
    We and the boat have only ever been in fresh water, so there's no salt buildup.

    I don't know what the life span of anchor rode is, but it doesn't seem unreasonable that after 10-11 years it would need to be replaced. The chain segment of our anchor tackle has always fed perfectly through the windlass, so if I'm going to replace it it just seems to make sense to go all chain. In fresh water it ought to last the boat's lifetime, too.

    It isn't cheap, but it isn't really a deal breaker. Plus I figure the way the admiral tries to compensate for the rode's potential to jam at the anchor locker, having the windlass run smoother will save wear and tear on the windlass. Having the admiral happier with her task pays other dividends, too.
  5. my3sons

    my3sons Well-Known Member

    Feb 24, 2009
    Upstate NY (lake Erie)
    2004 400DB, Onan 9 kw Gen, Highfield RIB,
    Cummins 6CTA
    It sounds like you are leaning toward chain. I would recommend a little more rode than 150'. If you plan to overnight on the hook, a 5:1 scope is the general recommendation for non storm conditions. 30' of water + 5' to the anchor roller x 5 = 175' add a little extra to run down into the locker and you are approaching 200'. I would add more for storm conditions, but I anchor out a lot for several days at a time and this may not be important to you, but keep in mind the cost of the chain should you want more in the future.
    5/16" G4 chain weighs in at about 1lb / ft so your adding the equivalent of a guy sitting on your bow. Not a big deal.
    Definitely secure the chain to your anchor locker stay using a short piece of line (5/8"), strong enough to hold your boat should all your chain pay out. You want a way to let the chain go in a hurry (knife) should you ever get into an emergency situation and need to go RIGHT NOW and can't retrieve your anchor for some reason. You may not have time to get a wrench and take apart a shackle down in there. Remember to cut the line at the bowline through the last chain link.
    For shackles at the anchor, use a 3/8" ALLOY as compared to a standard shackle. they have twice the working load limit as the standard. The WLL will be right on the shackle 1T vs 2T. (stainless is less, if you're going to be serious about ground tackle, forget stainless) The WLL of the chain is 3900 lbs, (maybe it's 3700, it's been a while) so you do not want the 2000 lb shackle. You will need 2. The pin of a 3/8" shackle is small enough to pass through the 5/16" G4 chain's last link.
    If you want to use a swivel, place the shackles on the anchor shank then the swivel, then the chain. The swivel is the weakest link in the system, and having the shackles between it and the anchor helps prevent side loading during wind shifts and retrievals. The swivel's WLL when side loaded is much less than when under straight line loading.
    Take the time to set yourself up correctly and sleep good on the hook. Good luck.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  6. Captn TJ

    Captn TJ Active Member

    Sep 19, 2017
    Catawba Island, Oh
    2005 280DA
    Raymarine E80
    5.0 with Bravo 3
    I soak my dock lines at the beginning of every season and it takes the stiffness out of them. I just stick them in a bucket with hot water/softener. I've never thrown them in a washing machine so can't comment on that.
  7. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    With typical use, especially in fresh water, you should get a much longer lifespan out of it. They just need to be cleaned and such as above every once in a while. But again, no big deal - if it makes more sense to you to switch over to all chain, by all means do it.

    I agree with others that you don't want to sell yourself short on the amount of chain you have. 150' is a good start and I certainly wouldn't go less than that. Another thing you could do is to carry another 100' of rope (or clean and reuse your existing line for this purpose) for emergency use. If you need to put out extra scope, tie the rope into the chain forward of the windlass after the chain is almost all the way out. Then remove whatever stopper you have on the chain, let it all out, then let out the rope by hand. Realize, though, that you may be doing this in unfavorable conditions. You might be better served to splice the extra 100' right onto your chain and just remember to clean it when needed. FYI... you can clean it right in the locker.
    Blkbird likes this.
  8. mobocracy

    mobocracy Member

    Jun 29, 2014
    United States
    310 Sundancer
    350 Mag & Bravo III
    Thanks for all the tips. One thing that's always surprised me is how good of a hold we seem to get with no more (and often less) than 3:1 scope even on pretty windy days. I can only think of one bay where we've had much movement at anchor in heavy winds. We're mostly day boaters who overnight at the marina, but overnight anchoring I'd do 4:1 scope.

    We carry a second anchor and a second 100' length of rode. I haven't had to use them on this boat up to this point, but I have thought for overnight anchoring it wouldn't be a bad idea. That being said, I don't think I'd chance overnight anchoring unless the weather was basically 100% clear forecast anyway.

    A think a length of rode spliced to the bitter end of the chain is probably a good idea. If anything, even the admiral would recognize that and know to stop.
  9. skunkman

    skunkman Member

    May 27, 2014
    Longboat Key
    Looking for 330 Sundancer
    350 twins
    As mentioned above, no need to add the extra weight if the rope is in good shape. My line was binding, I soaked it in fabric softener and water and it is good as new. When I let it out it seemed a bit twisted as well. I untwisted it as also.
  10. Siboatguy

    Siboatguy Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Mar 28, 2016
    2005 Sea Ray 320 Sundancer
    Twins V-Drives
    2017 5.7 Mercruisers
    We added all chain last year 200ft of it... And i painted it every 25ft and love it... I feel the anchor hooks better because of the weight,,, I get on plane easier and i don't have to worry about people running over my anchor rode... And it never gets stuck winding up.. The only thing i worry about if my anchor ever gets caught gonna be hard to cut it.....
  11. ZZ13

    ZZ13 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Nov 25, 2009
    Lady's Island, SC
    2001 400 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 450 Diamond
    You could try an end to end flip before you buy anything. First half of your rope is probably all that has ever been in the water. Second half has probably just sat in the locker all these years. It's a method commonly used to double the useable life of the rope. I did that. Later on I replaced the 25' of chain with 140' of chain but still kept all the rope. 95 percent of the time I never need to put out enough rode to get to the rope.
  12. Fly'n Family

    Fly'n Family Active Member

    Sep 19, 2013
    TX / CO
    2002 Cruisers Yachts 3870
    2003 Boston Whaler Sport 130 w/40 hp Merc
    Twin 425hp Crusaders
    I'm with Siboatguy on this one.

    Went to all chain on my 370 when I had her, worked phenomenal and wish I'd done it years before. My current boat, went to all chain before she even hit the water.
  13. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    My 410 came with about 200’ of all chain and I love it. Grabs well. Shortly after getting the boat I spray painted it every 30’.
    I may add more one day since I have the room in the anchor locker.
    The thought of some hoople running over the chain in a crowded anchorage is always in the back of my mind. My old anchor line got “bounced against” a couple of times over the years which scared the crap out of me. If someone bounces the chain they will be the ones who get the biggest scare.
  14. Henry Boyd

    Henry Boyd Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 24, 2007
    Newburyport, on the peaceful and serene Merrimack
    02' 280 DA
    496 w BIII
    If you decide to go with new chain and rode, or just New chain. I suggest you get a sample first. First there are different configurations of the same “size” chain. The size refers to the diameter of the link, variation comes in with the length of the link and radius of the bend. And throw in the situation that rulers seem to be sized differently in Asia, and you could end up with a couple hundred feet of chain that won’t work in the gypsy on your windlass.

    A few years ago a friend went in on a barrel of chain with some of his dock neighbors and despite all of the using the same size chain, half of then, including my friend couldn’t use the chain.

  15. mobocracy

    mobocracy Member

    Jun 29, 2014
    United States
    310 Sundancer
    350 Mag & Bravo III
    Yes, this occurred to me. I will get a 10' length locally at West Marine. I can get it cheaper in large lengths elsewhere, and I'll risk that within the same brand and size it will be the same chain.
  16. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    We have about 250 feet of chain with 44 pound claw anchor. We have anchored in 100 feet with it. Normally it is 50 to 60 feet. We let out 150 to 200 feet back up at idle speed until the boat stops. We also have 350 of rode but never have used it. I have an angle grinder on the boat and got anchor stuck in 90 feet of water. It was old logging area where they used to dump all the metal and cables at the end of a job. My winch stalled so I cut the chain with my angle grinner. Bolt cutter would also work or you can run the chain out to the end where you have rope then cut the rope. In 20 knot winds in 50 feet with 150 to 200 feet out the boat holds fine.
    As noted take a foot of your old chain with you when you buy. Prices are all over 4 to $9 a foot. Chain sees to come in length of 500 feet but will cut to your desire length. Our chain piles up in the locker and you have to flatten it out by hand or it stops going into the locker and binds on the windless.
  17. Sublimetime

    Sublimetime Active Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    clifton nj
    420 da
    That's why your supposed to have a bolt cutter in your arsenal. In case of emergency you can cut yourself free.
  18. Mittens

    Mittens Active Member

    Mar 5, 2017
    Huntsville, AL
    2002 340 Sundancer, All Cherry Cabin, Black Canvas.
    8.1 Mercs, V Drives, 4.5kw Westerbeke.
    I just got 200' or 5/16th, hot dipped G43 ISO Windless chain. 3 bucks a foot was the best price i found.

    Also got some chain markers I am going to try so i can mark ever 25 foot as well.
  19. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions

    any issues at all with this chain fitting/working properly in the windlass?.....I am considering going to all chain also this year......where did you buy your chain?....

  20. Mittens

    Mittens Active Member

    Mar 5, 2017
    Huntsville, AL
    2002 340 Sundancer, All Cherry Cabin, Black Canvas.
    8.1 Mercs, V Drives, 4.5kw Westerbeke.
    I have not put ont he boat yet, as it came in and i left for work trip. plan to put on the boat when I get back. But it looks right. it better be.... if it is not I am going to be supper pissed...

Share This Page

Show Sidebar