Hanging In There

By NEMROD Sailing
Series - Boat Related Things.
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Hanging on your anchor is a wonderful feeling. Seeing the chain enter the water to the depths below, contemplating what is happening down there. The tug of the chain as you pull back to set the anchor on the sea bed. This is all good fun on a sunny warm day anchored in 5 meters of crystal clear water. You have the urge to go for a swim and see the anchor well dug into the sandy bottom.

Life is not always that simple. You arrive late to an unknown anchorage. The bottom cannot be seen. The depth is deeper than ideal. The variables are endless. As long as the anchor holds firm when pulled down I at least feel the best has been done.

The wind picks up, the sea swell rolls past with an increasing effect on the boat. Keeping an eye on a fixed point on land or another boat gives you a good idea if you are dragging. I find my mind sliding down the chain towards the tip of the anchor. The linkage from me to the tip of the anchor involves a number of items. First attaching the chain to the boat is a chain lock.

Looks really strong and is well bolted through the deck. Shown in the image above holding the anchor in the bow roller. The anchor rides here when not in use.

Next comes the chain itself. We have an 8mm galvanised chain new in 2018. This is the standard size provided by the boat manufacturer for our boat so should be adequate. Then comes the attachment devices to the anchor and the anchor itself. We purchased a 33kg Rocna anchor. This is one size heavier than the recommended 25kg Rocna. It fits like a glove in the Leopard 39 anchor locker. The windlass seems to handle it well even retrieving the anchor at 15 meters depth.

Anyway that is the preamble so lets get down to business. The weakest link in the system is always the place to start. New chain, good sized anchor with a strong fixing point to the deck. That leaves the connection between the chain and the anchor. Image below shows our original setup.

It’s probably not that bad for 99% of the situations we might find ourselves in. Yep but what about the 1% where things get a little hairy. One limiting factor is the 8mm chain links internal width. While I am feeling motivated to sort things out and install my new 33kg Rocna lets get the weakest link sorted out as good as we can.

Two aspects can be tackled. First let’s try to get all the shackles in the same galvanised material and find the strongest shackle that will fit both the chain and the anchor. I started with galvanised D shackles and realised the largest shackle for an 8mm chain was actually quite small. Looking through my bigger shackles I had a stainless steel one for the anchor that just fitted the galvanised shackle.

Not bad for starters. Time to explore the world outside my box of onboard supplies. Maggi sell an oversized link for the chain. There are plenty of proof tested galvanised large shackles for the anchor. Great these look perfect.

OOPS the large anchor shackle does not fit through the oversized link.

Back to the stainless steel anchor shackle for now. assemble and go for a well deserved coffee break.

Looking better but not quite finished. Nothing better than a justifiable reason to visit the Chandlery.