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1970Columbia34 03-19-2007 08:44 AM

Chain Stopper or Chain Tensioner?
So we have our Lewmar windlass installed and bow roller, what do people think about a chain stopper vs. the chain tensioner? And can someone explain the use of both and how that work. Thanks.

camaraderie 03-19-2007 09:04 AM

The stopper is a more rugged and foolproof system for insuring the chain does not go "south" with your anchor while at sea. either should be used as a substitute for a nylon "snubber" while at anchor but can serve as a backup to insure no windlass damage if the snubber gets detached.
The tensioner is more useful as a device to eliminate chain rattle on deck.

Tartan34C 03-19-2007 09:08 AM

I think the distinction between them is that a chain stopper is to hold the strain while anchored and the chain tensioner is to tighten it up to prevent rattling while the anchor in stored.

In either case the picture you posted of a stopper doesn’t look substantial enough to use on your boat.
All the best,
Robert Gainer

As fast Cam points out some nylon line or rubber snubbers in the system is worthwhile to take the jolt out while at anchor. Boy, you need to get up early in the day to beat Cam to the keyboard.

1970Columbia34 03-19-2007 09:16 AM

We are using 30' of chain and the rest anchor line. With that do I need either? yeah the picture was just one I grabbed.

Tartan34C 03-19-2007 09:20 AM

Then a chain tensioner would be nice. You can also use a stainless plate with a slot in it. The slot goes over a chain link and you tie the line that is attached to a hole in the plate to your cleat. That also will hold it enough to keep it from rattling.
All the best,
Robert Gainer

TrueBlue 03-19-2007 09:27 AM

We rely on a snubber I fashioned from a 20 ft 5/8" 3-strand nylon dock line. After securing the looped end to a bow cleat, a galv chain hook, which slides freely along this line, is clipped to the chain - after pulling slack to the rode. This setup allows multiple snubber length adjustments while securing the set anchor, eliminates strain on our windlass and also enables me to firmly powerset the bottom tackle without damaging the gypsy or windlass mounts.

To secure our 35# CQR while underway, Nauticat provided a custom fabricated device shown in this cropped photo:

Not very clear, but it consists of a stainless turnbuckle welded to a threaded rod. the bottom is shackled to a deck pad-eye, the top has another specilized shackle which attaches through the anchor's shank eye. Works very well, especially with the otherwise problematic, high bulwarks of the boat.

werebeagle 03-19-2007 09:27 AM

Couldn't you do the same thing with just some small line? Run it through a link and tie off with a slip knot for quick release, then run it to a cleat?

PBzeer 03-19-2007 09:54 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I use a chain stopper, similar to your top photo, but with just a pin. This keeps the chain tight to the anchor, preventing it rubbing on the deck. Underway in heavy seas, I also use a bolt through the bow roller and anchor. At anchor, if only lying to chain, I use a snubber as others have mentioned.

sailingdog 03-19-2007 10:01 AM

The chain stopper is designed to take the some of the load off the windlass, but if you were using an all-chain rode, you really should be using a nylon snubber line—as I don't think a chain stopper is capable of dealing with the loads generated by an anchor rode.

However, I think that 20' is a bit short on the snubber line, since it will probably require you to bring it in and then re-locate the chain hook if you need to let out additional scope for any reason.

The chain tensioner is quite nice for holding an anchor in the roller tightly so that it doesn't rattle, but isn't designed to take much of a load. As a safety measure, I would also secure the anchor to the boat using a piece of 1/4" line or so.

The real use of a chain stopper, the top item pictured in the OP, is when you have to haul up an anchor rode and anchor by hand. It allows you to stop, change your grip on the chain and rest a bit, without having the anchor and rode return to the bottom...

1970Columbia34 03-19-2007 10:06 AM

So since we are just using 30' or chain and the rest anchor line we need a cleat to tie the anchorline off to when anchored to hold the loads created by anchoring instead of the windlass correct?


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