Send your questions to yachtingmonthly@ti-media.com for an expert answer and the chance to win a bottle of Chilgrove Bluewater Gin

Question

I currently have 45m of 8mm calibrated galvanised anchor chain on my fin-keeled Moody 31. Having anchored in some places last year where I needed to anchor in 10m of water, I felt uncomfortable with not having any more chain to put out. I would have like to have closer to 60m.

At the same time, I am reluctant to shell out for a new chain when mine is virtually new and I rarely need all of it, so most of the time it’s just a big weight up in the bow. If I were to add warp to the chain, what kind of 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? And if I’m going for rope rather than chain, do I need to go for more than an additional 15m?

Paul Colley

Answer

Julian Anderson of rope supplier DSM Group replies:

There are various schools of thought on the matter, but 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. My own view is 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.

 

Send your questions to yachtingmonthly@ti-media.com for an expert answer and the chance to win a bottle of Chilgrove Bluewater Gin

Chilgrove Bluewater Gin