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RegisteredUser 10-06-2017 07:17 PM

Not Getting the All-Chain Thing
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Assuming cruising....all over this flat the edges....
Why are some boats hauling around 250' of steel chain?
Then they have a snubber system made of rope to subdue shock loads....well promoted as a must-have...

The steel chain is fairly abrasion resistant, provides catenary, but when it's straight's what its strength is.
Your rope snubber may be weaker than the chain, allowing more give, or it could be equal to and even greater strength than the chain's limit.

If gnarly coral heads and and great whites with a nylon/poly appetites are below the limit of the chain, why would you want to carry that extra weight?

No anchors were harmed or mentioned. This is not anchor fight.

Does 250+ lbs of chain make for better dreams?

smackdaddy 10-06-2017 07:36 PM

Re: Not Getting the All-Chain Thing
I've never bought into the all-chain mantra. We've got ~60' of chain, then 300' of 3/4" nylon 3-strand spliced into that. The 3-strand is stronger than the chain. You just have to take at least some modicum of care to make sure your rode doesn't get fouled on sharp stuff...but you don't have to use snubbers. I've slept very well at anchor.

Faster 10-06-2017 07:51 PM

Re: Not Getting the All-Chain Thing
A boat with all chain will not 'sail' around the anchorage as much as one with chain & rope, so there's some security in that (but that is also problematic for those of us without all-chain trying to anchor nearby)

The weight of the chain is disadvantageous on smaller boats, for sure.. and all chain would be overkill.

Our boat could probably handle all chain (might even improve trim overall ;)) but without a windlass it's a non starter....

I think, besides the caternary/stability of chain, you also eliminate one transition/attachment point (i.e potential failure point) in the entire system, and in certain areas coral heads are definitely a concern - hard to be certain that you don't end up with rope on the bottom at some point.

capta 10-06-2017 08:15 PM

Re: Not Getting the All-Chain Thing
1 Attachment(s)
I think the attached picture says it all when deciding whether to use chain or rope! The picture is of a rusty 200#plus anchor fouled our chain about half way from the anchor to the bow. Just how long would a bit of rope have held up?
If one is day to day anchoring on rocky or coral bottoms without chain, it is almost a certainty that the rope will wrap around something or rub on the bottom and chafe through, sooner or later. Chain just won't do that. I've even seen line chafe through on a perfectly clean seeming sandy (or mud) bottom, because there was something (a steel I beam, a bit of an old wreck, an anchor, etc) down there, unknown to the anchorer.
For my taste, on any boat under 60', I think 200 feet is sufficient quantity of chain to carry. Most of us do not have a windlass strong enough to pull chain up from much deeper, and I would hesitate to anchor a small craft in water over 75' for any length of time anyway. With our Rocna, we've found she'll hold pretty darn well at 2:1 in a good bottom, by the way.
As discussed in so many threads, a snub line is a great addition to all chain, but it is mostly to silence the chain and give some elasticity to an all metal system, until things get really hairy. Then the snub is what keeps the chain from breaking, once it is tight from the bow to the anchor. None of us can afford to carry chain strong enough to actually hold the weight of our boats, so the catenary and snub make the BBB chain just as strong as the expensive HT chains.

MarkofSeaLife 10-06-2017 08:36 PM

Re: Not Getting the All-Chain Thing
I have 272 feet of chain.
Yep, I know the exact length.

All chain really is good.


smackdaddy 10-06-2017 08:50 PM

Re: Not Getting the All-Chain Thing
1 Attachment(s)
I caught a crusty bike with our rode once. That was cool.

TQA 10-06-2017 09:59 PM

Re: Not Getting the All-Chain Thing
I have 230 ft of chain on my best bower and 210 ft on my second anchor.

When the squall hits at 4 am and it is pitch black raining hard and blowing 50 knots I sleep better on chain. Although I do go up for a look

I have had a rope rode on a stern anchor chafe through in 3 hours. The culprit being a lump of coral.

I am a long term cruiser. I would guess that 95% + of my fellow cruisers are on all chain

smackdaddy 10-06-2017 10:08 PM

Re: Not Getting the All-Chain Thing
It really depends on where you're anchoring. If, like us, most of your anchoring is in 10'-20' of water, 60'-80' of chain and the rest rode is a good combo. If you're doing 5:1 - 7:1 scope you'll have mostly chain out in the crusties anyway with the rode just coming up to the boat - essentially acting like the snubber. And you'll be WAY lighter than having 200'+ feet of chain.

roverhi 10-06-2017 10:11 PM

Re: Not Getting the All-Chain Thing
If you are going to anchor regularly like on a cruise, chain is the only way to go. If you are just going to anchor intermittantly like weekend or short vacation cruises, rope rode will suffice IF you can find a place to tie up at a dock should it get nasty. Line's weak point is chafe. Get caught out in 30mph plus winds and you'll need to constantly work the line to prevent chafe from severing it. With high winds, the stretch of the line will pull the typical chafing gear through a chock leaving the line unprotected. Won't take more than an hour or two to have you sailing onto a downwind shore. I've had the pleasure of depending on line during a blow. Was forced to spend hours on the foredeck in really nasty conditions to constantly let out line to change chafe points. Fortunately didn't run out of available line. The force on the line was so strong could not get chafing gear back into position where it would do some good.

Faster 10-06-2017 10:26 PM

Re: Not Getting the All-Chain Thing
True, Rover, good point.... the best ground tackle available won't help if the rode parts at the deck.. I remember a series of photos that MaineSail posted years back of anchors sawing through rope mooring pennants in short order.

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