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The very first time I dropped my anchor was in 80 feet of water in the middle of the night sheltering behind an island I couldn't see. I have 200'+ of chain on one anchor and lots of chain and even more rope rode on the other. The boat didn't drag, but I would have liked to put out lots more rode. Moral of the story: more is better.

The problem is getting it all back into the chain locker in a way that makes dropping anchor the next time easy. The chain can pile up and fall over itself, preventing it from coming out easily during the next deployment. Ideally you can push the chain down into the bottom/aft part of the chain locker as you bring it in, but that ain't easy when you're in a hurry and single handed.

2004 PS37
 

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ante2ope,

... Just how easy or hard is it to get that much chain in the chain locker? Seems it would be quite an undertaking. ...
Exactly the same as S/V Sapphire: I have a stick/poker to push the chain into the aft end of chain locker (starboard side of locker divider) as it comes aboard. I push the poker through the port deck hawsepipe hole. It's not elegant, but it works. You just need to be sure that most of the chain goes into the bottom (aft) of the chain locker instead of piling up in the forward end -- from which it will probably topple over backwards and prevent deploying the chain the next time, when Murphy's Law says you'll really need it to come out fast.

And when I have a willing first mate aboard, I sometimes let him/her bring the chain up while I go below to guide the chain into the locker, or vice-versa (but it's a sweaty job on a hot day).

I have a Muir vertical electric windlass, with the chain dropping straight down via a hawsepipe extension tube (if that's what it's called). A hawsepipe extension cantered a bit aft might work well in stowing the chain better, but then you wouldn't be able to use the forward part of the chain locker.
 
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