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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 01-10-2003
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Chain rode/size & length

Ahoy you live aboards,
Looking for advice on chain size and length for my rode.
Intend moving on board this spring and sailing coastal waters of US and Caribbean.
What has been proven as enough.
Want to be safe but not go overboard in size & length.
Thanks in advance.

Ray & Joanne
Dream Catcher
38'' Irwin CC
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Old 01-10-2003
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Chain rode/size & length

R&J:

There''s always mixed opinion on rode & anchor choices. I''d encourage you to do a little reading on your own from ''expert sources'' as it will help you form an opinion based on test data and what you end up concluding is best for your boat. Earl Hinz book on Anchors & Anchoring is straightforward and very practical. Oceanography & Seamanship is the best text I''ve read on this subject but is far bigger, more complex and farther reaching than you might want.

Were I setting up a 38'' Irwin for Caribbean sailing (meaning from shallow Bahamas banks to the deeper anchorages off e.g. Chaguaramas Bay in Trinidad, I''d want to have 3 anchors & rodes (two is the minimum, and who says you might only lose one near a chandelry!).

Primary: 45# CQR (my preference; others will suggest Deepset or Bruce), at least 100'' 5/16" HT chain + 100'' 5/8" nylon line. You''ll anchor to all-chain 95% of the time but have enough rode for all conditions. You want a 1/2" 30'' nylon snubber line for the chain and a beefy windlass to handle all this when upping anchor in a surgy harbor or with wind against tide. If choosing HT chain (stronger but lighter than BBB), don''t overlook using HT shackles.

Secondary: Large fluked anchor (Fortress or WM) of 20# or so, with 50'' of 5/16" HT chain and 150'' of 5/8" nylon line; use as a kedge, when doing a Bahamian moor, or for added security in a blow.

Back-up: A back-up burying anchor (CQR, Bruce or Deepset) with at least 50'' of chain and 150'' of nylon line.

I''d encourage you to look at the whole bow section of your boat. What will the chain rode chafe on, if anything, when the bow is rising/falling in a surge? How will you lead the snubber line, protect it from chafe, and secure it? How will you store, deploy and stow your primary rode? Your secondary rode? When putting out the kedge in the dink?

Folks sometimes use colored plastic wire ties to mark increments of chain (e.g. Red-White-Blue in 25'' increments) or scraps of nylon fabric - it helps to know how much chain you''ve put out.

Lots more to think about. Again, consider picking up Hinz book and take a look.

Jack
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Old 01-13-2003
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Chain rode/size & length

Thanks Jack,
We are installing a windlass in this off season.
We have decided on a 44lb Bruce for our main anchor and using our current Fortress 21lb as the second. The prior owner also had a stern Fortress 21 lb. in the lazzerate. Rode make up not certain.
Our concern is the make up of the rode. In researching we have had comments from all chain with a mixture in between to all you need is heavy rope.
We chartered in the Caribbean for many years prior to buying our boat and have some knowledge of what works better.
Again thanks for your input.

Ray & Joanne
Dream Catcher
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Old 01-13-2003
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Chain rode/size & length

R&J:

Sounds like you''re on your way, and the anchors you mention seem quite appropriate. Don''t overlook the importance of the chain-to-rope splice if you elect a mix of rode materials. (Using a conventional thimble and large shackle to join the rope to the chain often isn''t possible if you are trying to have your rode flake belowdecks via a hawsepipe from your windlass).

The critical point is to do the splice smartly, wrap it for protection, but then inspect and perhaps refresh it every year or two if the spliced area is used often. I was recently revisiting a series of write-ups from West Marine, Earl Hinz (several magazine articles) and HAWK''s crew, Evans & Beth. My conclusion was that the data didn''t suggest any particular type of splice was heavily favored over all others, but that doing the splice well and checking it visually on occasion were important.

Please take a careful look at how you''ll handle the kedge & rode when taking them out in the dink. Inflatables (and for that matter, hard dinks) can get pretty chewed up in the course of that exercise. A thoughtfully placed cleat or two on the transom, and perhaps a little chafing gear over the transom''s edge, will be appreciated by the dink and make the job much easier to execute.

Jack
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Old 01-13-2003
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Chain rode/size & length

Again Thanks Jack.
Will be visiting West Marine site and looking for the Hinz book and articles.
The info. you provided is greatly appreciated.

Ray & Joanne
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Old 03-06-2003
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Chain rode/size & length

Agree with anchor weights but think you should go with all chain anchor cable on your main anchor of at least 60 metres - you can permanently attach a 20 metre rope rode after this for emergency/cut and run. The extra weight is not much (equal to a small person on the foredeck) and you will not wake up in the middle of the night when it starts blowing worrying that you are about to chafe through your cable (especially when near coral or rocks which slice through rope in no time)! A Fortress anchor can be used as a kedge with very little or no chain to heave off (and easy to handle in the dinghy) or with 10 metres chain and warp for a calm overnight anchorage.
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