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Re: What if No-Chain?
I don't use any chain at current and I don't have chafe issues. The boat is just so light, I anchor in shallow water, I seek protection from wind and current. My background is in commercial towing, big stuff and I have used both fibre and cable for towing (never used chain for towing anything other than farm equipment), I have anchored plenty with chain. So I'm a little bit familiar with how the materials respond in different situations, but not an expert (no laboratory testing or in depth knowledge of construction, engineering etc.).
I don't have much to say on anchors, I use traditional anchors, because I can get them used cheap, but there are surely better options.
If Nylon, I think Id go double braided and keep an eye out for chafe. When towing we used to use some kind of Kevlar cored nylon, but I cant remember (and possibly never knew) the brand name, but it was good stuff, it would stand up under load pretty well. I think there are some pretty good nylons out there, where, the outer sheath is designed more for chafe resistance and the core for strength, but don't know brand names. Might want to check climbing (mountaineering) suppliers in addition to yachting suppliers
The other option that might be worth considering is polyester, it doesn't have the elasticity of nylon but seems to be a little more chafe resistant, and it seems like chafe is a little more detectable by sight (maybe due to the lower elasticity). I don't think elasticity is as big of a deal with a small boat, but I am not sure.
For chaffing gear, I think the key is to go with organic materials. I frequently here gripes about the performance of fire hose as chafe gear, but I think they may be using rubberised or synthetic hose. If you use the outer protective sheath, the canvas bit, it works really well because it absorbs water for cooling and breaths really well. Even better than canvas, in my opinion is leather chafe gear, if you have access to scrap leather some how.
On the elasticity front, you can fix some kind of weight to partially sink your rode, it will work a little bit like a counter weight on an elevator to reduce surge. I use a 10 lb mushroom anchor for this purpose, but other things would no doubt work as well (maybe there is a product just for this).
So, a bit of rambling there, I use a really simple system, double braid to a traditional anchor,
however, if I was doing a trip with a lot of anchoring in gnarley conditions on a small boat, I might go with something like a fairly good quality heavy anchor of your choice (heavier than if you used chain), a heavy polyester line (heavier than recommended), leather chafe gear, a hard thimble at the anchor, and a mushroom anchor to act as a counter weight (or Kellet).