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Why not just get the BBB chain that is spec’d for the wildcat, if you’re trading it out.
 

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Good point. Upon closer inspection of the chain there were also links in it that connected different chain, so it's possible the original piece was BBB and then they added G4. Who knows. It's a mess. The only problem with changing to 5/16 is I'm not sure if it's strong enough fo the boat which is 21,000 lbs and a 45lb Bruce.
No chain you can fit aboard your boat is going to be strong enough to hold your boat (21,000#) if it is straight from the anchor to the boat, not even our ½" BBB! You must set yourself up with a nylon snub line for elasticity in the setup. Personally, I'd always go with the heaviest chain your gypsy can handle, not the more expensive smaller size G-4.
In 1971 I had my 3/8" BBB chain break in Hanalei Bay, Kauai when the wind swung north and the boat began pitching in the rising seas. I immediately thereafter set up a snub line and have always used one when anchoring since and have never broken my chain again.
 
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Discussion Starter #23
Yes, I always use a snubber, and I am in Hawaii, so I know the winds you are talking about! Thanks for your feedback. BBB is much heavier in the Bow when talking about 250-300 feet, but is what I'm considering at this point. I just hate spending the money - again, specially if there might be a less expensive option out there. Doesn't look like I can get a different gypsy since SL is out of business. And it's good to pick your brains. I will remove the gypsy tomorrow and take it to the chain company and sort this once and for all. I appreciate everyone's feedback! You are all very helpful.
 

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BBB is much heavier in the Bow when talking about 250-300 feet,
I've very rarely found I needed more than 200 feet of chain. Probably the deepest I've ever had to anchor was at Cook's monument in Kealakekua Bay at around 150' but that's a very unique situation where you drop your anchor to 150' and back up to the monument until your pick hooks into the side of the crater almost directly below you.
200' gives you 3:1 scope in 65' of water in normal conditions, which is all you really need with a good anchor and an all chain rode.
I doubt you'll want or need to anchor in 60 feet of water or more in storm conditions, as you'd probably be in a pretty exposed position in that much water. I try to tuck into 30 feet or less for hurricanes and the like, giving me 6+:1 scope with 200' of chain on my #1, never mind the other 4 anchors and rode I would have out if conditions warranted.
 
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I have exactly the same problem as the OP. Had BBB chain but it was rusted badly where the bitter end sat in the anchor locker. A LOT of rust! So I checked out the SL 555 manual and it clearly states either BBB or Hi Test, both 3/8”.

Found some G4 (Hi Test) and installed it yesterday. And – it skips just like the OP says.

Diameter of long side of both BBB and G4 links are the same, but inside diameter differ, as others have mentioned, is larger on the G4 than the BBB.

So why does the manual say both G4 and BBB will work? Have measurements chained? (haha)

So what is the resolution besides having to by 200’ of 3/8” BBB? Might Simpson-Lawrence replace the gipsy. Are they still around?

Any ideas?
 

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I have exactly the same problem as the OP. Had BBB chain but it was rusted badly where the bitter end sat in the anchor locker. A LOT of rust! So I checked out the SL 555 manual and it clearly states either BBB or Hi Test, both 3/8”.

Found some G4 (Hi Test) and installed it yesterday. And – it skips just like the OP says.

Diameter of long side of both BBB and G4 links are the same, but inside diameter differ, as others have mentioned.

So why does the manual say both G4 and BBB will work? Have measurements chained? (haha)

So what is the resolution besides having to by 200’ of 3/8” BBB? Might Simpson-Lawrence replace the gipsy. Are they still around?

Any ideas?
There is nothing similar in the dimensions of HT and BBB chain, and as you have found out, they are not interchangeable. Simpson-Lawrence should be able to sell you a HT gypsy, though it probably won't be cheap.
I keep trying to tell folks that HT chain is a waste of money. The way chain works is by using the catenary curve to cushion any shock to the chain. BBB chain weighs more per foot than HT and therefore does a better job. Way too many folks think that just because HT is stronger it is better, but if you check the specks, you'll see that neither BBB or HT is strong enough to actually hold the boat, should the chain be tight between the anchor and the boat. Therefore you are better off with the BBB as it is actually the chain designed for anchoring.
I'm sorry you are in this predicament, but you are not alone. A lot of folks make this very expensive mistake.
Just as an informational note, our windlass manufacturer (Lofrans) has a pretty strange way of numbering their gypsies, so we ended up with the wrong one a few times, @ $1200.00 each! We did end up getting things straightened out, but it was a lot of out of pocket money and time.
 
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There is nothing similar in the dimensions of HT and BBB chain, and as you have found out, they are not interchangeable. Simpson-Lawrence should be able to sell you a HT gypsy, though it probably won't be cheap.
Exactly. A casual measurement of one link might look close but if you measure a longer piece or look at the specs you will see that 3/8" HT and 3/8" BBB are not the same. At least in my SL windlass what matters is links/ft which is of course determined by the link dimensions. 5/16 HT and 3/8 BBB are close enough that either works perfectly but 3/8 HT definitely not.

By the way, the SL manuals are nonsense. Mine (the origional) claims that my gypsy will use 3/8 BBB or HT, 5/16 BBB or HT and 8-10 other chain sizes including metric which absolutely wrong. Spoke with John at SL Spares in UK and he confirmed the manual was marketing BS.

He is by the way, the go to guy for parts on old SL windlasses. He worked at SL for years and bought out rights and parts to all the old models when SL discontinued support.


I keep trying to tell folks that HT chain is a waste of money. The way chain works is by using the catenary curve to cushion any shock to the chain. BBB chain weighs more per foot than HT and therefore does a better job. Way too many folks think that just because HT is stronger it is better, but if you check the specks, you'll see that neither BBB or HT is strong enough to actually hold the boat, should the chain be tight between the anchor and the boat. Therefore you are better off with the BBB as it is actually the chain designed for anchoring.
Respectfully I don't completely agree with this. First I'm sure you agree that a snubber is much more effective at cushioning the shock than the catenary of the chain. Also catenary may work at lower winds speeds but when it really starts to blow the catenary on either size chain will be small enough that the effect will be effectively nil.
 

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Respectfully I don't completely agree with this. First I'm sure you agree that a snubber is much more effective at cushioning the shock than the catenary of the chain. Also catenary may work at lower winds speeds but when it really starts to blow the catenary on either size chain will be small enough that the effect will be effectively nil.
Obviously, we all use snubbers to minimize the stress on our anchor tackle, but that wasn't really this discussion.
Please explain why you think stronger chain makes any difference if the chain comes tight between the boat and anchor. No chain anyone can ever carry on any boat (even a ship) is going to be strong enough to hold the vessel outright. You have a better chance of the chain not breaking with more weight than strength, IMO.
As for higher wind speeds, one would hope that the vessel's operator would let out more scope to add more catenary.
 

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For some of us, lower total chain weight is vital. Also for some of us, anchoring is usually in less than 10', where catenary is useless. Having equal strength chain at much lower weight is a better choice for us.

By the time it really matters, catenary is no longer helpful.

Mark
 

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Obviously, we all use snubbers to minimize the stress on our anchor tackle, but that wasn't really this discussion.
The mention of using a snubber I thought directly related to your point of catenary minimizing shock load on an anchor rode.


Please explain why you think stronger chain makes any difference if the chain comes tight between the boat and anchor. No chain anyone can ever carry on any boat (even a ship) is going to be strong enough to hold the vessel outright. You have a better chance of the chain not breaking with more weight than strength, IMO.
As for higher wind speeds, one would hope that the vessel's operator would let out more scope to add more catenary.
I never said stronger chain makes a difference in the way you state. I said only that the weight of 3/8 vs 5/16 chain does not have a significant effect on catenary and shock.

Regarding more scope, once you reach about 7-8/1 scope you are reaching the point of diminishing returns and adding more realizes almost no benefit. In really strong winds, in my experience, too much scope will allow a much wider arc for the vessel to sail at anchor which I think increases stress on the anchoring system.

Finally 5/16 HT is rated stronger than 3/8 BBB (yes I'm aware of the difference in how they're rated and other implications) but is lighter, keeping weight out of the ends of the boat. As a very, very secondary benefit, it's also cheaper than 3/8 BBB.
 

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Shock absorption and cantenary...

Its not much above 20knots when my chain is tight. Maybe its 22, 25...whatever. my guess... i can not physically pull in chain at that point.
At that point, its all snubber. I usually tie on 20ish ft of 1/2" 3-strand snubber.
At that load, chain strength is not a factor.
 

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Thanks everyone for this discussion. Very informative. I think I'll be switching my G4 3/8 to BBB 3/8.

Anyone want to buy 200' of brand new G4 3/8? :)
 

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And reading all this - l think I'll need to lengthen the snubber line as well. I think I only have about 10'
 
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