I prefer the first drop to be 2:1 and either drift or back away from it or a few seconds, so the rest of the drop isn't just piling up in a 200lb mushroom or fouling around the anchor itself.
Hey Minnie, I think you may have missread my post. How I mark my chain has nothing to do with how I play it out. We do not let anything pile at all. Proper anchoring is a skill quickly learned as a cruiser, or your voyage will likely end just as quickly!! We begin dropping the hook after the boat is beginning to slip backwards, or just before. We do not let any of it pool at the bottom. That's a recipe for disaster. We play out the chain until we are at the desired scope and facing with the other boats. At that point I put the engine lightly (if it is not already) in reverse until the slack is taken out of the chain, then give it a good burst to set it into the bottom. If it does not set, I pull it back in and re-do. When my anchor sets, it is SET.
(knock on wood) To date, I have never drug anchor with this anchor. My anchor is over-sized for this boat (x2) and I use all chain. I did drag once on a danforth on one of my first boats, but that is the only time I have ever drug.
I am also a bit miffed at how so many of you have lost the paint on your chain? We anchor out more than most and this paint is still holding strong 5-6 years later! Here, just took this pic:
Now, it has chipped off in many places, but that is why we paint the chain in about two foot segments (which also makes it easier to read). It wouldn't hurt to re-do it, but it is not terribly necessary and I have no shortage of other projects!!
I have used those little marker things. We had them on the 380. My gypsy did eat one of them eventually. But I got tired of them because it is hard to see them clearly at night or when trying to anchor in a hurry. I am a fan of painting. It is cheap, simple, and allows the owner to choose his marking points. Not to mention, the person at the helm can often see the markings as it is played out if the boat is not falling off perfectly straight (which it never does). Plus, if you use the flourescent paint like I suggest, it is easy to see at night both for you and passing boats. By leaving the paint just above the surface, it is easy to spot by both night and day... a real plus for a crowded anchorage or where drunks abound.
My only issue with painting is that initially, some of the paint will chip off and gets down into the locker. It is nothing but a nuisance, but I hate seeing those flakes down in there.
Anyways, my opinions.