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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-22-2006
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anchor chain

I just bought a boat and am looking to purchase a windlass for it. Pyxis is a Mariner 32 ketch. There is plenty of chain and it is in pretty good shape so I don't want to replace it. How do I tell what kind of chain I have? Size isn't the issue I am wondering how to tell the difference between BBB, hi test. etc so I can get the right windlass.
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Old 07-22-2006
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Proof Coil (PC) is the most commonly used chain for anchor rodes. Made from low-carbon steel, it is identified by "G-3" embossment.
BBB chain is slightly stronger than proof-coil, and has short links* allowing a snug fit into windlass gypsies. BBB is also preferred by many cruisers using all-chain rode.
Hi-test chain is made from higher carbon steel that has been surface-hardened. It has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than proof coil and is favored by the weight-conscious, and is embossed “G4"

“BBB” Chain
3/8" nominal is: 0.406" thick - 1.09" inside length - 0.62" inside width.

Goto the National Association of Chain Manufacturers (NACM) website, and download their “Welded Chain Specifications”.
w w w .nacm.info/welded.php

http://www.nacm.info/welded.php
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Old 07-22-2006
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I just finished installing a V700 Lewmar windlass on my 32 footer. The boat came with an inoperative windlass, which I replaced with the Lewmar. It had a chain/rope rode on a CQR. I replaced the rode with new on the CQR, and bought a Danforth as a second anchor and used the old rode on it. That way, I have a second anchor, plus I sized the new rode to the windlass, rather than windlass to the rode.

If you do something similar, be aware there is a new Hi-Test designation called G-7. It is apprecitably different than the G-4.
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Old 07-22-2006
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One thing GordMay missed, is that BBB is often marked with a "B3" or "3B" designation. If you're looking for a manual windlass, I'd go with the Anchorman from Lewmar. It is available in either gypsy or gypsy/drum versions and is well worth looking at. It is what I am using on my boat.
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Old 07-22-2006
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I take it that the B3, G4 designation is embossed on the chain links themselves? As far as windlasses go, I am leaning towards the Lofrans Royal. The Anchorman looks nice but in looking at reviews it seems like it is a little underpowered for my application. I need something that my wife can handle also, not just me.
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Yes, it should be embossed on the chain.
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I would highly recommend getting a small battery mounted up near the bow, so you don't have to have a long run of very heavy cable for the windlass motor then. Without the battery up forward, you'll need to have fairly heavy wiring to support the load of a windlass motor. With the battery, you can have much lighter wiring and use a short run of the heavy stuff from the battery to the windlass.

The Anchorman is a bit underpowered...the version I have is manual in fact. What ever windlass you do get, make sure it has a manual option, because you want some way to get the anchor up or down, even if the motor burns out or a switch goes bad.
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I'm looking for a manual windlass, the Lofrans Royal is a manual horizontal design. I understand the attractiveness of electric but all I will be doing for the forseeable future is weekend coastal cruising. I think I'll need a windlass given the weight of the ground tackle and the general water depth here in Puget Sound but I don't want to mess with the expense and maintenance of an electric one. Pyxis has about 75' of chain ( I haven't measured exactly) and I plan to be using a 33# bruce as my primary anchor.
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Old 07-22-2006
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I have a manual windlass. My last boat had an electric windlass. I have to say that I really like the all chain manual windlass. It requires very little effort but the all chain gives you the piece of mind of knowing your boat anchor will hold.
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I have just recently been converted to the possibility of a manual windlass by helping a friend. He bought an old Westsail to fix up and asked me for help. One of the things needing doing was painting the Simpson-Lawrence Sea Tiger (?) 555 two speed manual windlass on the bowsprit. He removed it and lubed it and painted it and asked me to check it before we reinstalled it.

Well, it took one of us to hold it down while the other forced the lever a quarter turn, then you had to move the lever to another slot and do it again.

"You see this," I fussed, "this is why I wouldn't have one of these pieces of junk. We have to take this apart and free it up some, it's all bound up."

So, we did. And we sent away for drawings and seals and a few other inexpensive little things, including some little springs suspended between a couple of sliding idler gears inside. All back together it goes, and holy crap!! The thing is slick! It has two speeds and ratchets, pulling in chain during both strokes of the lever. The fast speed cranks in chain faster than a good man could with bare hands, and the low speed is so strong I'm sure it could easily pull a well set 45 CQR on 3/8 BBB right out of the bottom. This is one SERIOUSLY impressive manual windlass, and I have changed my mind - there ARE excellent manual windlasses, and the Simpson Lawrence 555 is definately one of them, but you gotta keep it running good.

I guess they don't make them anymore, but I did find some for sale on line, and one was actually brand new still in the box. Google it and see.
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