Install anchor chain markers - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 23 Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Install anchor chain markers

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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
As mentioned, paint will have to be renewed routinely if cruising in a place with an abrasive bottom, such as the Bahamas... Colored cable ties are the cheapest and overall best solution, probably...

I'm using these "Chain Rainbow" markers from Osculati, they're pretty slick... Kind of pricey in the States, but down in the Caribbean they're pretty cheap at Budget Marine or Island Water World...


Yep, we use these too. Over time they do tend to fall out but I haven't replaced the originals for a few years now and there are still enough left to know whats going on. Also not cheap in NZ (I see your image link is the place we buy ours from )

Only problem is not enough colours so we start at 10 metres (never put out less than that) use them every 5 metres and go from red to white to yellow to white the red and so on. That way we plan the depth so for example, 25 metres is second white - when the anchor is dropped that's all we have to look for. Oh, another small glitch is that over time the mud stains the white ones so that when it's a little dark it gets hard to tell white from yellow.

We can power the chain down but never do. And I can certainly vouch for keeping fingers away from windlasses. I nearly lost two fingers three years ago.

We must get poor quality cable ties in NZ because my windlass removes them like a purpose-built cable-tie stripper


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post #12 of 23 Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Install anchor chain markers

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Originally Posted by vtsailguy View Post
Simple, never thought of that.

How do you get the initial rate though?
a. Catalog. Generally close enough.

b. Time to drop measured 100 feet.

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post #13 of 23 Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Install anchor chain markers

I put the bow roller over the dock and haul all the chain out about every six months to give it a fresh water wash and use that time to clean accumulated mud and weed out of the chain locker.
While the chain is out I refit fresh coloured cable ties - the smaller the better as they are less likely to chafe or cause the chain to slip on the gypsy. Three whites for 10 meters, three yellows for 20, three greens for 30, three reds for 40 and three blacks at 50 (when it's almost all out). The colour coding is logical to my brain, darker = more chain. By having three cable ties at each point, even if two break over the six month period to the next clean-out, it's no problem.
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post #14 of 23 Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Install anchor chain markers

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Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
Another very effective method that is seldom mentioned but that works in the pitch dark and in the rain. Some will state that markers you can feel are good, but placing naked fingers on the chain between the rollers and the windless is unnecessarily dangerous. I think we've all heard of a few windlass injuries and had a few close calls.

For windlasses that power down, the simplest method of all is to count. If the rate is 8 ft/second and you need 100 feet, about 12 seconds. Very simple, will never get stuck, and will never wear off.
We also count how many seconds when dropping the anchor. We drop from the helm, so that makes it easy to get it about right and then set the anchor.

But then I go check the actual length by finding one the yellow painted links "- --- -" at 30 feet, "-- --- --" at 60 feet, "--- --- ---" at 90 feet and then "---- --- ----" at 120 feet.

Counting is nice, but I want to be very accurate -- not too long so I don't swing into someone else, but not to short so holding power is good.

(Actually more painted stripes than painted links. Stripes were easier to paint.)

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post #15 of 23 Old 09-23-2013 Thread Starter
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Many helpful suggestions. I will get the anchor and chain on the dock and try the plastic stubs you hammer in at 30 ft intervals. And practice the timing trick as a backup. Are chain counters typically reliable? They seem like a convenience but really not necessary in most conditions.
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post #16 of 23 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: Install anchor chain markers

One other thing to consider: most folks anchor in water no less than 10 feet deep, right/ So the minimum they would deploy would be (to make the math easier, forget about the height of the bow) say 50 to 60 feet for starters. That's where I'd put the first chain marker. Putting one on at 30 feet when that would always be in the water is a waste of whatever material you're using.

Also, you should be able to figure out half of 30 feet, so I find that markers every ten feet are also a waste.

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post #17 of 23 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Install anchor chain markers

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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
As mentioned, paint will have to be renewed routinely if cruising in a place with an abrasive bottom, such as the Bahamas... Colored cable ties are the cheapest and overall best solution, probably...

I'm using these "Chain Rainbow" markers from Osculati, they're pretty slick... Kind of pricey in the States, but down in the Caribbean they're pretty cheap at Budget Marine or Island Water World...



Yep, we use these too. Over time they do tend to fall out but I haven't replaced the originals for a few years now and there are still enough left to know whats going on. Also not cheap in NZ (I see your image link is the place we buy ours from )
nothing is cheap in NZ!

i have used these markers but keep losing them and cable ties. paint is really the only way to go, in my opinion. sure it takes some planning but also gives you the chance to inspect your entire rode every couple of months, something that yuo rarely have the chance to do without going through this exercise. i find that marks every 25' are more than sufficient--when in doubt, just pay out until the next mark. more scope is a good thing!

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post #18 of 23 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Install anchor chain markers

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Originally Posted by obelisk View Post
nothing is cheap in NZ!

i have used these markers but keep losing them and cable ties.
Interesting, I'm a bit surprised to hear you've had those markers come loose...

Perhaps the recommended use would be to go one size larger? I have 1/4" HT chain, and could only find the Osculati markers sized for 5/16 or 8mm... Took a bit of work with a flat head screwdriver, with an assist from MacLube, to coax them into place, but mine have remained secure, have yet to ever lose any... The downside would be, when the time comes to end-for end, or re-galvanize your chain, dealing with these markers will involve a bit more work than simply snipping off cable ties, or similar...

As Andre mentioned, probably best not to use the white markers anywhere close to the bottom of the chain...
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post #19 of 23 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Install anchor chain markers

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Originally Posted by saillessinseattle View Post
Is there a trick or an easier way than pulling out all the chain from the locker and laying that out on the dock? Say you have 300ft of 1/2 inch chain and you want to mark the whole chain. How about pulling the boat so the rollers are over the dock so you can use the windlass? I have never dealt with this much chain.
At the risk of offense, is it really that hard? If so, I'd head to the gym. Strength and mobility is an important component of safety on a boat. But why not pull the boat up in your slip and drop the chain as you've suggested, then pull it back and forth between two measured points to mark things?

Sailing is at times physical. Sometimes very physical. Hauling some chain out on the dock to measure and mark? One of the pain in the butt but not particularly hard chores.
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post #20 of 23 Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Install anchor chain markers

I'm of the 'paint' school for marking my 300' of chain. Lower in on the dock and paint about 1 meter of chain every 60' in a different color. The mnemonic suggested by an article in Cruising World is "Rub Your Body With Oil": Red, Yellow, Blue, White, Orange. I go with the British Royal Navy mnemonic "Rub Your Balls With Grease" so my last section is Green. Sure makes it easy to know how much is playing out. Touching up the paint occasionally is no big deal. K.
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