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I have 45m of 8mm calibrated galvanised anchor chain on my fin-keeled Moody 31.

Last year, I anchored in some places where the water was 10m deep. I felt uncomfortable not having any more chain to put out. I would like to have closer to 60m.

At the same time, I don’t want to shell out for a new chain when mine is virtually new and I rarely need all of it. Most of the time it’s just a big weight up in the bow.

If I add warp to the chain, what kind of boat rope should I use and how should I attach it?

Three strand or octoplait and what thickness? Is splicing into the chain the best option or is a hard eye and shackle better?

If I go for rope rather than chain, do I need to go for more than an additional 15m?

Paul Colley


Julian Anderson of rope supplier DSM Group replies:

There are various schools of thought on the matter.

When talking about anchoring it is always worth bearing in mind that it is the catenary weight that holds the vessel in position.

Of the options, you should really only consider a polyester or a nylon rope as those are both materials that sink reliably.

Some people like to have nylon because it stretches more than polyester.

Although this is true, nylon also shrinks when it gets wet and hardens too.

I’m sure most readers will have experienced an old bit of nylon rope that is almost wire-hard.

It’s also something of a misnomer that the stretch of nylon is all that useful.

I believe that if you are in a situation where that stretch might become useful then it is the sort of situation you would want to avoid and you are probably anchored incorrectly.

In terms of the style of rope, generally you should go for an eight-strand square plait.

In part this is because it is laid much loser than a three strand, but mainly it means you can splice the rope into a length of the anchor chain and so not create a bigger section that could be difficult to get through a hawse or bow roller.

Once again, nylon’s tendency to shrink when wet counts against it as it can concertina up the length of anchor chain where it has been spliced.

There are manufacturers like Gleistein that produce anchor rope with particles of encapsulated lead inside a double braid polyester construction but in this case it sounds like there is plenty of chain on the boat so this is unnecessary.

It is something to consider for those who have less chain as it adds to the catenary weight and provides better holding.


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