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The Decision-Making Checklist for Buying Anchor Chain

14 May 2021

For any yacht owner, the investment of buying a new anchor chain is going to be fairly sizeable, simply because a substantial length of chain is a costly item, both to buy and to transport! There are several technical points to tick off when making this purchase. Following a checklist as you navigate making your selection is the best way to avoid making a mistake that you may pay for later, in terms of functionality, compatibility and from a financial standpoint. With all of that in mind, read on to discover our guide to the must-knows when buying anchor chain and links to a hoard of useful information elsewhere on the Jimmy Green Marine website. Read on to become more knowledgeable on all things anchor chain related.

Anchor Chain

Is it time to replace your anchor chain?

It is not often that sailing warrants bringing TV host Anne Robinson to mind, but the echo of her voice reminding you about the weakest link might be a valuable ally! Indeed, the weakest link, be it a chain link or another component of your windlass or rode, unquestionably defines the strength of your entire anchorage setup. This makes diligent attention to any degradation a must. Hopefully, you will be in the habit of inspecting your anchor chain whenever you use it, but scheduling a closer annual inspection is always a good idea.

  • Check for signs of corrosion
  • Check for bent or misshapen links
  • Check for signs of stress
  • Examine other components of your rode
  • Inspect your Windlass for signs of wear and tear

When it comes to your anchor chain specifically, signs of corrosion and bent or stretched links is what you need to watch for. While anchor chain is created with longevity in mind, unanticipated factors such as electrolysis caused by an electrical earth leak, may speed corrosion along. Keeping a keen eye is the best way to avoid taking potential risks in the realm of anchor chain. Chain links should always appear uniform and not misshapen. You can measure ten chain links and compare the result to the specs that your chain rating should adhere to, in order to check for stretch. Ultimately, replacing a tired chain is a much merrier option than risking an anchorage failure that may lay waste to your planned adventures.

Anchor Chain and Windlass

The nitty-gritty of anchor chain

To drop or raise anchor, you rely on the snug compatibility between the gypsy on your windlass and the size and calibration of your chain. Calibrated means that each link is manufactured to the same dimensions within a given tolerance. The wrong rating of chain, be it in terms of chain size, calibration or grade, will potentially mean that your chain could jump or break when under tension, putting your anchor, your craft and your crew at risk. As you pick from our selection of anchor chain, you will want to ensure that you have precise chain dimensions to hand. A ten-link long measurement will help you identify between different chain calibrations, such as DIN766 and ISO4565. Assess your anchorage aspirations to steer what Load Capacity (strength) equating to Grade 40 or 70, will best meet your needs.

  • Start with manufacturer guidance
  • Measure the diameter of the bar from which the chain is made
  • Measure ten links of chain, outside edge to outside edge
  • Measure the pitch, or the inside length of each link
  • Consider the length and displacement of your vessel
  • Consider your anchoring needs when selecting chain calibration/grade
  • Check out our in-depth guide to assessing anchor chain needs
  • If in doubt, contact our team for assistance

It is important to recognise that a range of chain sizes and calibrations are available, each with different ratings and characteristics. Doing a little homework ensures a perfect match, and a great place to start is with the recommendations of your windlass manufacturer. If you do not have these to hand, a manual inspection, looking for an indication of specs on the windlass itself can be fruitful. This should always be paired with measuring your existing chain (if you have one) and considering vessel size and displacement, alongside your anchoring ambitions. The potential anchorage depth, seabed holding characteristics, the length of fetch, and degree of exposure to prevailing winds of your intended expeditions should all be considered.

Anchor Rode, Chain and Rope

Composing your rode

Beyond having the right specs to suit your windlass, your anchor chain will need to be ordered with the unique needs of you and your vessel in mind. Many opt to combine anchor chain with a spliced warp. This delivers both the strength and durability of chain, while adding the safeguarding shock-absorption and weight reduction that its warp companion can offer. To safely meet this need, we provide a splicing service which allows you to receive your warp and chain rode ready-made, securely spliced and ready for action. Why seek a professional splicing service? Well, simply put, Anne Robinson's voice returns once again!

  • Consider vessel length and displacement
  • Consider anchoring ambitions when determining length
  • Consider if your rode will be chain alone, or a combination
  • Match warp diameter with chain size, taking break load into account
  • Consider usage when balancing chain to warp ratio
  • Consider weight when balancing chain to warp ratio
  • Consider if you want a spliced rode, or two separate connectable parts
  • Consider adding a chain snubber to the mix if using anchor chain alone

Whatever the make-up of your rode, you need to be certain that it will be up to the task at hand. There are some general rules of thumb for rode lengths, which you can check out in our comprehensive guide to ordering custom build anchor warps - spliced to chain, based on the length and displacement of your boat. However, in addition to these two core factors, there are a few other things to weigh up. It is important to assess the conditions under which you intend to drop anchor, and then equip yourself for a worst-case scenario. Keep in mind that multihull vessels will likely ask more of their anchor rodes, so stepping-up your chain size and warp diameter is a wise call in the case of a catamaran. Finally, if opting for a longer rode consider the weight impact to your bow when assessing length of chain versus length of rope.

Jimmy Green Marine take great pride in stocking only the highest quality of anchor chains. With understanding of the importance of this purchase for our seafaring customers, we are always on hand to help you make the optimal anchor chain selection. If you would like guidance in this or any other area, check out our Knowledge Centre or make contact with our friendly team for advice.

Related products

10mm Titan Grade 40 Calibrated Anchor Chain

G3 Stainless Steel Calibrated Anchor Chain 316L
8mm DIN766 MF Grade 40 Hot Dip, Solid Zinc Galvanised Calibrated Anchor Chain
Author: Jimmy Green

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