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Not interested. It's not a drum swap. Since it's a one-way up only windlass, you'd have to replace the whole thing, which means major surgery in the anchor locker.

Plus, having chartered and borrowed boats with both all chain and rope rode, I am much happier with rope for a boat my size.

I'm open to comments on my original proposal.

Actually, this is done to recover tandem anchors. A recovery line is run from the secondary anchor to just before the primary, which is generally all chain and recovered with a windlass. Once the primary is in the rollers, the recovery line is taken to a winch or capstan and the secondary is recovered. It is NOT a trip line and MUST be attached to the anchor shackle, not the end of the chain leader.

It works better if this line floats (less fouling), but no float and not much slack. So yeah, attach it to the anchor shackle and the chain (rolling hitch) with little slack.
 

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22- wonder about your post. I've anchored maybe bit over a dozen times in the cheasepeake and half of those in Annapolis where holding hasn't been a problem so have little experience. From friends who are home ported there, more experienced cruisers and other sources have been told:
Area has soupy mud. Big problem is to get past the soup into more solid mud.
It's an area where the advantages of next gen anchors is not felt so much.
Either of two techniques can serve even in a gale.
Go with a heavy anchor and chain. Put it down but put no strain on it even if this means powering close if there's a bit of wind. This allows ground tackle to sink through the soup to find better holding. Then sit for quite awhile before checking for a set.
Go with a danforth or fortress and have it dig through the soup before trusting it.
This year will be in the area for a time waiting for the SDR to take off. Quite interested in what locals think is safe. In one locker have a fortress and chain/rode but normal set up is all chain and a big Rocna. It's a bit of work to switch.
 

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Go with a heavy anchor and chain. Put it down but put no strain on it even if this means powering close if there's a bit of wind. This allows ground tackle to sink through the soup to find better holding. Then sit for quite awhile before checking for a set.
In my experience this is the best technique for the gelatinous ooze found in many Chesapeake anchorages. If you try backing down on your anchor before it has sunk through the upper layers of ooze you will just drag all around the harbor. If it's a calm night let it sink overnight, but then be aware that your depth and scope calculations may be off. I have found that the initial bottom may be 10 feet above where the anchor ends up sometimes, but usually more like 3 or 4 feet. A big Fortress will often just float on the surface of the ooze and not sink at all. Strangely, you can get the Fortress to penetrate and dive by giving it some short hard jerks on short scope. If you can detect enough resistance you can then lengthen scope and try backing down slowly to see if the tension builds. Mostly rope rode may actually be an advantage in that it doesn't impeded the sinking and diving of the anchors as much as chain. I have corresponded with some people in North Carolina who have to anchor their boats out during hurricanes and they use a system of heavy anchors and steel cable because the thin cable allows the anchors to dive deeper.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Thanks everyone for all the advice, even though I sense some cognitive dissonance between your suggestions. It's clear that the optimum choice depends on where you sail/anchor, how often you anchor, your options and willingness to head for a marina or mooring ball in foul weather, etc.

We're not going to be heading out for weeks at a time. Mostly weekends and occasional full week in the upper Bay where there are lots of non-anchoring options if conditions look bad. My wife (and I) are very cautious about conditions, so will avoid forecasted storms. Of course, there's also the possibility of stuff that pops up without a forecast.

By the way, for those that don't know I am pretty sure the OP is anchoring in the Chesapeake which has deep, deep mud in most places. Anchor chain will come aboard with huge gobs of the stinky stuff. Anchoring on mostly rope rode is perfectly safe and probably superior to all chain there, so shorten up on the chain leader, use the engine to break the anchor free. Works perfectly. I have done it hundreds of times on boats in the Chesapeake....
This is correct - strictly in the muddy Chesapeake. I learned about the huge gobs of stinky stuff the hard way, and learned to appreciate the ease of handling rope rode in appropriate conditions. About a year ago we were in Eastern Bay returning from St. Michaels to Galesville in the Mason 44 my friend had lent me. A fast moving thunderstorm was heading across the Bay from the west, so after making radio contact with a couple other boats who had local knowledge we followed them and ducked in behind Kent Point off of Romancoke. The storm appeared to be coming in fast so we had to drop the hook without taking a lot of time to find a shallow spot. We were in 24' of water, so had to put out 200' of chain. As fate would have it, the storm broke up and never blew us at all. Not even a puff of wind. This meant that about 170' of chain was sitting on the mud bottom the whole time. It took us over an hour to hose off the whole chain as it came in, about 5' at a time (in other words, pull in a freeboard length, stop, hose down that section, pull in another freeboard length, etc.).

Not only does my new boat not have a chain gypsy, but it does not have a washdown system either, which is an absolute must for all-chain. So that that further adds to the complexity of switching to all chain. With a short chain and rope, washing down with a bucket or with my portable washdown pump is sufficient.

https://youtu.be/dvZSW6J7JaU

I anchored out in my last boat only a few times - less than expected. With this boat I will anchor more, but still not nearly as much as many of you do, and I will likely be more selective about conditions. So I will not switch to all-chain unless my usage patterns change from what I anticipate.
 

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Although we don't see mud like you guys do see mud. Find a couple of tricks work.
Power up so no strain on chain( should do this anyway).
Take up a bit then drop it. Repeat until most mud gone.
Use wash down real close to chain just before it hits roller. Keeps deck clean and more force to water.
Power around with anchor just below waterline and drop and pick up until clean.
Lastly once everything is put away use wash down on chain inside the locker.
When no water restrictions at a dock put a hose on chain inside the locker.
Even with the chain coated in mud and 150' out 15m job at most. Rare you need to take boat hook to knock mud off. Basically wash down becomes the rinse.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Although we don't see mud like you guys do see mud. Find a couple of tricks work...Even with the chain coated in mud and 150' out 15m job at most...
Thanks for the suggestions. At some point in the past we've done everything you mentioned, including powering around with anchor hanging below the waterline. Nice to know I'm not the only one who has done that.

I was not exaggerating when I said it took us over an hour to get the chain in. The stuff was totally caked in the middle of each link. Since the links are turned 90 degrees from each other, getting the right angle was tough. That boat had a great washdown system (lots of pressure and volume), but it still took forever. What made it even more frustrating was that after we finally got all the tackle hauled in, YET ANOTHER storm was on the horizon. We said the hell with it, and headed across the bay to Galesville anyway (it fell apart also). But this reinforces the fact that being able to pull in your rode quickly is an important safety issue, especially if you have narrow weather window to hit. I got to appreciate rope a lot more after that incident. Maybe someday I'll change my tune after I experience a really tough night on the hook. I need to get a lot more experience under my belt.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Wow. Guess if I'm going to spend time down there should think about switching rodes. The rope one is still virgin.
Don't base it on anything that I wrote. I'm just a newb when it comes to anchoring. I am using what I already have until my experience dictates that I should change to something else. You, on the other hand, probably know what you are doing.
 

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Take Five, what is your hull number? My 34 MkII is #1476 and have the Maxwell VC500 horizontal windlass. I have the Rocna 33# with 40’ of 5/16 proof coil chain and 250’ of 5/8 rode. I usually anchor in 15 -25’ of water, mud bottom. We never use the winch to break the anchor free, only the boat’s engine. I winch in the rode, then hand-over-hand the chain. Stopping periodically (looping the chain over the anchor well cleat) to use the boat brush and bucket to clean the chain. When Mrs. B does it, she runs the rode and chain through the windlass all in one shot. Then has me clean up the mess later (she absolutely detests driving the boat during sea and anchor details). Maxwell has been bought out by Vetus and they do not stock a rebuild kit to go to a combination rode/gypsy and the cost of buying the parts separately approaches the cost of a new winch (that won’t easily fit the old footprint.)
 

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We've anchored in many of the popular spots of the Ches from Sassafrass to Norfolk. 33,000lb, 42'. Our first dozen times were with a Manson Supreme 45 lb. Did have some slow dragging when trying to power set, needed to let it sink down. Then added a Mantus 65 lb. Went back to many of the same oozy places. The Mantus set quickly with powered reverse. I suspect its mostly from the extra weight. We never drag with that Mantus when setting at full throttle reverse from Maine to Bahamas.

I have a manual windlass, Seatiger 555. Ratchet handle in one hand and washdown nozzle in the other. It does take a little extra firefighter effort to hose off all the sticky ooze but not enough to slow us down THAT much. The nice part is that we're usually in 10' with 50' out. Here in Maine, 100' is minimum and usually around 150'. So washing some goo off 40' of chain is nothing, really. And once you're set, you're set.
 

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I've never really understood why a chain needed to be clean. 30 years in the Chesapeake and I've never scrubbed or hosed a chain. Lowered and re-raised quite a few times. Scraped a few anchors (a long-handled plastic scraper lives on the bow), but never felt the need to hose it off. I'm not paid crew, making up work.
 

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I've never really understood why a chain needed to be clean. 30 years in the Chesapeake and I've never scrubbed or hosed a chain. Lowered and re-raised quite a few times. Scraped a few anchors (a long-handled plastic scraper lives on the bow), but never felt the need to hose it off. I'm not paid crew, making up work.


I prefer not to have the mud move from chain locker to bilge and foul my pump.


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Discussion Starter #33
I've never really understood why a chain needed to be clean. 30 years in the Chesapeake and I've never scrubbed or hosed a chain. Lowered and re-raised quite a few times. Scraped a few anchors (a long-handled plastic scraper lives on the bow), but never felt the need to hose it off. I'm not paid crew, making up work.
In my case, the short answer is because it was a borrowed boat, and the owner asked me to do it. I know from multiple times sailing with her (and helping her raise her anchor) that she follows this practice all the time.

I can only speculate why, but on the Mason 44 the anchor locker is not accessible from the deck. The chain goes down a hole into the locker. I believe that the only way to access it is through the front of the V-berth. So if dried mud accumulates in the locker, it could be quite difficult to clean it up. Also, given the inaccessibility, I could imagine that enough dried mud on the chain could jam the chain or foul the gypsy when dropping anchor. However, I have not run that experiment.

I do agree that a little dirt on a chain+rope rode is harmless, especially if the anchor locker can be accessed from the deck for later hosing out.
 

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I prefer not to have the mud move from chain locker to bilge and foul my pump.


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Seems like poor design to have the locker drain to the bilge--both smell and dirt. They should be accessible and well-ventilated. Washing the chain is just a work-around.

My locker has an above-water line drain, is well ventilated, and is bulkheaded from the boat. No stink, dries out, and I can wash out the mud if needed.
 

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Chain is expensive.
Windlaseses are expensive.
Mud stinks.
Pebbles and other junk in mud even when dry can muck up the windless. Some mud dries into something much like cement.
Mud often has caustic properties. Even when benign wet mud takes awhile to dry and facilitates rust underneath or erosion of the zinc on the chain shortening its life and decreasing its strength. Mud free clean chain dries quickly and doesn't smell.
Can't see my painted depth marks well on muddy chain.
Cleanliness is godliness.

One of the very early symptoms of Alzheimer's is decreased sense of smell. I'd worry (grin).

But Gary agree that description of the chain locker on that Mason is surprising. They have a great reputation and that's an important detail.
 

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The Baltic 76 I worked on for years had a locker similar to the Mason. Further aft through a tunnel to a windlass below a deck. Chain locker accessible only from fore peak. Drained to the bilge. Not a great design so we were diligent about washing. The tunnel entrance forced us to remove anchor for long passages and we had a custom plate built to cover it which prevented water ingress when we buried the bow in a wave.


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B this a wander but real curious about your opinion.
Experienced pro captains I have a lot of respect for have given me different advice.
One school says secure your anchor using lines to bow cleats and jam plumbers putty in a thin baggy to prevent leaks through the windlass but leave the anchor out. Their thinking is you never know and may need it in a hurry. Even if that's at the end of the passage.
Others say put it below. Get weight off the bow and truly plug the hole. No chance the anchillata will deploy if it gets snotty. Garbage bags over windless and duck tape. Or even shrink wrap it.
? Where do you stand on that issue?
 

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B this a wander but real curious about your opinion.
Experienced pro captains I have a lot of respect for have given me different advice.
One school says secure your anchor using lines to bow cleats and jam plumbers putty in a thin baggy to prevent leaks through the windlass but leave the anchor out. Their thinking is you never know and may need it in a hurry. Even if that's at the end of the passage.
Others say put it below. Get weight off the bow and truly plug the hole. No chance the anchillata will deploy if it gets snotty. Garbage bags over windless and duck tape. Or even shrink wrap it.
? Where do you stand on that issue?


I liked getting the weight off the bow for long passages like San Diego to Marquesas and would take it off between island groups like i.e. Fiji to Tonga. The design of that Baltic forced us to do it and we were kinda glad we did.
Also take it off for an overnighter if we knew it would be rough as the pump was pretty noisy in the captains cabin.

Beating upwind from Australia to Tahiti we took it off every chance we could as beating into the trades it seemed like the bow was under water more than it was above.

If we were just daysailing between islands we would leave it on and let the bilge pump deal with the quart per wave it would ship.

With a hydraulic winch we had this down to a 10 minute job. Attach halyard to anchor and drop anchor into water, walk anchor just forward of amidships and hoist to lifeline height, discconnect chain and drop it in the water. Anchor hoisted to floor of forepeak. Chain retrieved till we could clip the custom cover plate on and snug it up with windlass.

Never tried the putty thing myself but on other boats I remember a lot of times of undoing the chain and securing anchor with a bit of line and then a thin messenger on chain and drop it down the pipe to be followed by plastic bags, duct tape etc. Never lasted long!
 

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Discussion Starter #39 (Edited)
Is the swivel needed at all? Is the issue related to twist caused by putting tension on three-strand rode.
Time to continue this thread. I have decided that I will not use any trip line or other special retrieval line. After the windlass pulls in the rode, I'll either pull in the chain portion manually, or I'll wrap it around the drum for some mechanical assist. I may eventually follow Chuck Hawley's advice to splice the rode directly to the chain to eliminate the bulky shackle so the rope-chain transition can go around the drum smoothly.

The question of having a swivel is still unresolved. I have a feeling that previous owner put it there for a reason, and that reason is probably because three-strand nylon will want to twist when stretched. With a lightweight anchor like the Fortress, this twist could impact setting and holding. So I'm considering leaving the swivel and/or replacing it with a more heavy duty swivel. I'm curious whether any of you have comments on the Mantus swivel:

Mantus Anchors | Mantus Swivel - Mantus Anchors


 

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Never used a swivel . Don't want anything in the anchor rode line with a weaker point than my line or links of chain

Others I have talked to it becomes a weak point.

The Rocna turns and pivots when it is in the air before it hits the anchor roller and the bail so that takes any twist out, though I've never seen a real twist
 
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