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post #1 of 20 Old 11-03-2018 Thread Starter
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Splicing and marking anchor rode

As I mentioned on another thread last week, I discovered that the thimble at the end of my anchor rode is rusted to the point of losing all mechanical integrity. I have purchased a replacement. I have 200' of twisted nylon rode, and 100' of it appears to have never been used - previous owner had it coiled over a hook in the anchor locker. The 100' that is actively used is marked every 10' with electrical tape, which has lost its adhesive power and can slide along the rode a bit. The unused 100' is unmarked.

Just like people do with halyards, I am going to reverse my anchor rode and splice the thimble into the unused end of the rode. I will re-mark the entire length of rode. I'm curious how those of you who use twisted nylon rode mark your lines. Is electrical tape still the best stuff? How about small plastic wire ties? Do those chafe off or cause other problems when going through a roller and around a windlass? If using wire ties, should they go around the entire line, or just around one of the three strands?

Do you guys have any other ideas for marking the rode?

Also, I'm debating whether to splice thimbles into both ends of the rode so I have a built-in spare if one spindle rusts badly, or the working end of the line is damaged. (Shallow Chesapeake waters virtually ensure that we'll never use the full 200' unless in an emergency.) Any comments on splicing both ends?

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Re: Splicing and marking anchor rode

We use book binding type tape available at the dollar store. I have found that it sticks longer as the end doesn't lift as easily. I purchase it in red and black...1 red at 10', 2 red at 20', and so on, then 1 red and 1 black at 60', and so on. I also have the legend taped under plastic on the underside of the anchor locker door in case I forget.
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Re: Splicing and marking anchor rode

I was mostly chain so painted my code every 2 fathoms.(chart in fathoms) but you get the idea.If you have a thimble both ends. you can have a pendant if you have to let it all out in an emergency. Clip a fender (running clear) and cut the pendant Come back later. Or an easy switcharoo if some clown drags down on you and his prop meets your rode Remember in the surf at Cabo some yrs ago sort of scenario. I like prying the rode open a bit and work a leather strip in. Sew the dangles.
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-04-2018
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Re: Splicing and marking anchor rode

a. I would skip the thimble and splice straight to the chain. Saves the shackle and the thimble. No, there is no chafe. Yes, it is just as strong.

b. You really should be cutting the ends and trimming one link every 5 years. I generally cut off about 10 feet of rope, since that is all that seems chaffed. In this way, I gradually work my way up the rode, one of the reasons I cut off so much. But it really isn't that much, since I will only do this a few times during the life of the rode.

c. Latex paint works great for marking, with red bands every 50 feet or so. It will not weaken the rope and lasts a long time. Just drape the rope across and empty box so that you can pain all sides.

d. Do I misunderstand, or did you say you use a windlass? How are you getting the thimble around the windlass? Generally that is a no-go. If this is the case, use an irony splice--MUCH smoother on a windlass.


e. In an emergency, I imagine you would use your second anchor and rode. Or a knot. I doubt you'd be reversing the rode. Just sayin'.

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Last edited by pdqaltair; 11-04-2018 at 12:32 AM.
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Re: Splicing and marking anchor rode

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Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
a. I would skip the thimble and splice straight to the chain. Saves the shackle and the thimble. No, there is no chafe. Yes, it is just as strong...
I was all ready to ditch the thimble and shackle a year or so ago, but heard strong objections over concern about chafe. It would be very nice to splice directly to chain, because it would feed through my windlass much better (especially with a 3-4-5 splice). I generally avoid pulling the chain around my capstan (no gypsy, so I pull by hand once the chain comes onboard), but in an emergency situation it's nice to be able to crank the chain without the shackle taking out a chunk of fiberglass and/or chrome.

As for the claims of no chafe, has Practical Sailor published tests to verify this? If so, please cite the date so I can go look it up.

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Re: Splicing and marking anchor rode

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I was all ready to ditch the thimble and shackle a year or so ago, but heard strong objections over concern about chafe. It would be very nice to splice directly to chain, because it would feed through my windlass much better (especially with a 3-4-5 splice). I generally avoid pulling the chain around my capstan (no gypsy, so I pull by hand once the chain comes onboard), but in an emergency situation it's nice to be able to crank the chain without the shackle taking out a chunk of fiberglass and/or chrome.

As for the claims of no chafe, has Practical Sailor published tests to verify this? If so, please cite the date so I can go look it up.
Most likely I would have written it. I've been splicing straight to chain for 15 years. Also strongly recommended by Brian Toss and all windlass manufacturers.
https://www.practical-sailor.com/iss...t_12172-1.html
The reason there is no chafe, is that since the splice is tight around the link, the chain flexes at the next link; it's easier. So no chafe under the splice.

There are actually two accepted splices. The irony splice is more complex but smoother, and the common backsplice / chain splice, which is bulky but easy (it's on Animated Knots). There is also a woven splice (AKA shovel splice) that is common in the UK but not here. It is prone to chafe. That may be what they meant.

There is a slight increase in corrosion because the splice retains water around the last link, but it would take 10 years to become important.

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Re: Splicing and marking anchor rode

8 plait nylon will be easier to store and handle.
Splice to chain
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Re: Splicing and marking anchor rode

We only mark our rode every twenty-five feet, starting at 50. I thought most people who use line just slipped a colored bit of cloth woven through the lay at the various points, color coded for each mark, as we do. Say red for 50, blue for 75, green for 100, 2 reds for 150, etc. Simple, neat and easily renewable.
It really doesn't matter if you splice a second thimble on the bitter end, as that end should be secured to the vessel in the chain locker so that you do not have the whole rode run out in a moment of inattention. If it were to run out or you needed to cut your anchor line and buoy it in an emergency, you would do it at the windlass anyway, so a second thimble would never get on deck.

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Re: Splicing and marking anchor rode

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We only mark our rode every twenty-five feet, starting at 50. I thought most people who use line just slipped a colored bit of cloth woven through the lay at the various points, color coded for each mark, as we do. Say red for 50, blue for 75, green for 100, 2 reds for 150, etc. Simple, neat and easily renewable....
Many vertical windlasses will either jam on the cloth or snatch it out of the rope faster than a pickpocket. My Lewmar V700 would not accept markers of any type on chain or rope. They get caught in the space between the spring loaded arm and the gypsy. Horizontal windlasses are fine. Thus, we paint both chain and rope.

It's not about tradition or which is better. It's about what works on the new compact, vertical windlasses.

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Re: Splicing and marking anchor rode

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Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
Many vertical windlasses will either jam on the cloth or snatch it out of the rope faster than a pickpocket. My Lewmar V700 would not accept markers of any type on chain or rope. They get caught in the space between the spring loaded arm and the gypsy. Horizontal windlasses are fine. Thus, we paint both chain and rope.

It's not about tradition or which is better. It's about what works on the new compact, vertical windlasses.
I'll take your word for it, but I don't see how a length of nylon sailcloth woven into the strands (even on braid) will catch on a cat head. As for chain, we use a combination of paint and chain markers in various colors as shown below.
Attached Thumbnails
chain markers.jpg  

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