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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Catalina 350 that came with a Bruce anchor and an all-chain rode. I obviously need some sort of snubber to use with it, but can't really decide what's the best way to go. There's various chain hooks and such out there, or I could just put a shackle on the chain. Any suggestions on what I should get? How thick/what kind of line should I use?

I'm looking for a farily cost effective solution here; it'll be used in the near term for anchoring in the mud around Galveston bay; I don't think we'll be using it all that often.
 

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The right-sized chain hook spliced onto a 6- 10 foot three strand nylon strop should do the job, I'd think that a 5/8 or 3/4 strop would be plenty. A shackle is too difficult to remove in a hurry (in the middle of the night, for example)

I also think you'll find yourself using it quite a lot.. it really softens the pull and limits noise if there's any motion at all.
 

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Get 30 feet of 5/8 nylon 3 strand and splice a stainless chain hook on it. In most conditions you'll not use all thirty feet but when it starts honking you'll have it. 5/8 is ideal for your size and will stretch nicely giving you the needed elasticity.
 

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I'd second what Vasco said, but recommend going with 45-60' of snubber... since in many situations, when it starts to really blow, you'll want to let more scope out. If the snubber is too short, you won't be able to do that without hauling it in to unhook the snubber and then letting out the scope and then re-attaching the snubber. If you have a long snubber to begin with—you can just ease out both the chain and snubber to add scope. A 45' snubber would allow you to let you go from 5-to-1, up to 7-to-1 scope in 15' of water, assuming you had let out about 10' of snubber initially. :)

A longer snubber also allows you to adjust it more easily to spread chafe out along more of the snubber... :)
 

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Dawg has it right about the length. I suggest buying TWO 3 strand dock lines of the same size you use at the dock with the spiced eyes already done. Buy a galvanized large shacle and put the loops on the shackle body...then buy a galvanized chain hook of the right size for your chain and put the shackle pin through the hole in the hook. Seize the shackle pin with monel wire and you are done.
 

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I use 20' of 1/2" 3 strand. I have a hook spliced on one end on a thimble to fit the chain and the other end has a large eye splice to fit over the deck cleat leading over the bow roller. Since there is about a 60% strech factor it has served well for 6 years on a 45, 26,000 boat with no signs of wear.
 

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That might be fine as a lunch hook snubber, but if you're anchored out over night and a storm hits when you're asleep, I would be hesistant to be sitting on a 35' boat using a 1/2" diameter snubber.
I use 20' of 1/2" 3 strand. I have a hook spliced on one end on a thimble to fit the chain and the other end has a large eye splice to fit over the deck cleat leading over the bow roller. Since there is about a 60% strech factor it has served well for 6 years on a 45, 26,000 boat with no signs of wear.
 

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First beware of « Wichard chain hooks » as their breaking strength is quite low.

Snubber:

The main purpose of a snubber is to give ELASTICITY that an all chain rode doesn’t have.

To have the max of elasticity, you need to have:
- the longest snubber you can afford (45 to 60’ is OK).
- the smallest diameter in relation to the strength of your mooring line
- For a 35’ boat we suggest a 8 mm chain (5/16) (breaking strength 3200 daN)
- The corresponding three strand Nylon rope will be a diameter of 12 mm (1/2’’) (breaking strength 3000 daN)

João Nodari
 

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I've used mine in 50+ knots and haven't had a problem. I must mention that the chain is 3/8" and the water is usually about 25-35 feet deep, so the weight and angle of the chain does act as a bit of buffer.
 

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One other thing I put three feet of vinyl hose on mine for chafe. I use 1" hose on my 5/8 snubber. To prevent the hose from running I use a hot spike to put a hole in it and thread a small line through the hole. When you're all set tie the line to the snubber and it won't run.
 

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First beware of « Wichard chain hooks » as their breaking strength is quite low.
João,

True. The chain grip I use is rated at only 1000# working load. When heavy weather is imminent I shackle directly to the chain. If you have a more effective solution I would be pleased to hear it.

sail fast, dave
S/V Auspicious
 

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SVA-

The best chain snubber hook I've seen is a flat stainless steel plate that is about 4" x 6" x 1/2" with two holes in it and a short slot cut into it. The slot slips around the chain, the two holes are for shackles that are attached to a snubbing bridle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hmmmm....I can't say I'm really much less confused, but at least I have some good ideas. It seems like there are a lot of different schools of thought.

Here's a dumb question: how does a chain hook work? It seems like it would/could fall out unless tension is maintained on the chain.
 

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soul...tension IS maintained by hauling on the snubbers till there is significant slack on the chain between the hook and the boat. But the fact that the hook CAN fall off (usually in totally benign conditions...never when there is a load on) is a good reason to use a chain stopper on deck as well to prevent strain on the windlass.
 

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BTW, the chain stopper, if you have one, should have a damn big backing plate on it. :)
 

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We religiously use snubber lines while anchoring on chain rodes. However, my primary purpose is to reduce the amount of wear and tear on deck hardware, as well as to dampen chain noise belowdecks, rather than to try and rectify any real or perceived shortcomings of inelastic anchor rodes with regard to overall holding power of the anchor.

Fortunately, protecting deck hardware from inelastic shockloading by chain rodes only requires a modest amount of elasticity. Just think of the clear difference between dropping a ceramic plate on a wood floor instead of a concrete floor. The wood floor must only have moved a few thousands of an inch...

Although it may be tempting to go to longer, stronger and more elastic snubber lines -- as evident from the discussions in this thread -- we should try to avoid creating what is know as a "kinetic rope" (more precisely a kinetic energy recovery rope - KERR) in the world of offroad wheeling and caterpillaring.

The purpose of a KERR, typically made of the same elastic nylon rope used for snubber lines, is to transfer kinetic energy delivered by the towing vehicle while the rope stretches, into potential energy that is going to be ADDED to the energy that the towing vehicle can deliver as soon as the rope is fully stretched.

There are some You tube videos, I believe, that show the awesome power of the KERR technique, e.g. when extracting battle tanks from the mud. The forces created should be intimidating to anyone who realizes that KERR ropes have at times pulled vehicles from the mud while leaving their wheels and axles behind. Also, a second belay line needs to be used in case the KERR line, or one of its hooks/shackles or attachment points break, since the resulting whiplash has at times catapulted hooks or shackles straight through radiators or even imbedded them in engine blocks.....

Perhaps you might argue that circumstances at anchor are very different. But, are they really.....? Some of us have probably experienced being trapped in an anchorage with substantial waves rolling in, or even breaking around us, with the bow of our vessel being driven back with great force. I submit, that under such wave-generated impact conditions (or even impacts generated by sailing wildly at anchor), the boundaries between KERR snatching and anchor snubbing are likely to be vague at best and nonexistent at worse.

If so, what practical consequences are there to be distilled for sailors?
IMHO:
(1) the elasticity of a snubber line (or an elastic anchor rode itself) is at best a two-edged sword; under certain conditions the destructive forces on anchor and deckware are likely to be amplified instead of reduced;
(2) therefore the minimum amount of elasticity necessary to control shockloading on deckware is likely to be the optimum choice; and
(3) under dynamic load conditions snubber lines should be treated with the same respect off-road recovery specialists treat their KERRs (i.e. one should keep one's distance and the rope should be replaced regularly).

Have fun!

Flying Dutchman
 

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If you have a more effective solution I would be pleased to hear it.
S/V Auspicious
I've been using this very simple hook, during YEARS of full time living aboard



This is the type described by Sailingdog, it NEVER have fall of.

Note the small hole at the corner opposite to the slot, you can attach there a small line and remotely remove the hook (with the chain under tension)

Happy anchoring

João
 

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vasco-

His snubber didn't snap, more likely it was chafed through by the CQR anchor sitting on the bow roller...
Here's what happens when your snubber is too short. Took this picture of a Gulfstar anchored behind me a couple of years ago. Snubber snapped. His jib sheets are a bit slack too. :) Chain hook's hanging in good though.

 
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