Anchor Rode Questions and Answers

3/8" G7 chain with an oversized end link attached the right way to a SPADE anchor using a Crosby 209 shackle that matches the chain strength. Oversized link is not required with G4 chain.

Over the years we have answered many questions about putting together a good anchor rode. In this chapter we have gathered some of those answers together.

  1. Introduction
  2. 4 Vital Anchor Selection Criteria and a Review of SPADE
  3. SARCA Excel Anchor—A Real World Test
  4. SPADE, SARCA Excel, or Some Other Anchor?
  5. Rocna Resetting Failures and evaluation of Vulcan and Mantus
  6. Some Thoughts On The Ultra Anchor, Roll Bars and Swivels
  7. Specifying Primary Anchor Size
  8. Kedge (Secondary Anchor)—Recommended Type and Size
  9. Third Anchors, Storm Anchors and Spare Anchors
  10. Anchor Tests—The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Silly
  11. Making Anchor Tests More Meaningful
  12. We Love The Way Our Anchor Drags 
  13. Things to Know About Anchor Chain
  14. Selecting a Chain Grade
  15. Anchor Chain Catenary, When it Matters and When it Doesn’t
  16. Anchoring—Snubbers
  17. Anchor Rode Questions and Answers
  18. Q&A: Hybrid Rope And Chain Anchor Rodes
  19. Anchor Swivels, Just Say No
  20. A Windlass That Makes The Grade
  21. The Perfect Anchor Roller
  22. Install A Wash-down Pump—And Save Money!
  23. Anchoring—Kellets
  24. Anchoring—Chain: Stoppers, Termination and Marking
  25. 20 Tips To Get Anchored and Stay Anchored
  26. Choosing an Anchorage
  27. Choosing a Spot
  28. 15 Steps To Getting Securely Anchored
  29. One Anchor or Two?
  30. Two Anchors Done Right
  31. It’s Often Better to Anchor Than Pick Up a Mooring
  32. Yawing at Anchor, The Theory and The Solution
  33. Yawing at The Anchor, an Alternative Cure
  34. How To Use An Anchor Trip Line
  35. ShoreFasts—Part 1, When to Use Them
  36. ShoreFasts—Part 2, Example Setups Plus Tips and Tricks
  37. ShoreFasts—Part 3, The Gear
  38. Gale And Storm Preparation, At Anchor Or On A Mooring
  39. Storm Preparation, All Chain On Deck
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Charlie Sinclair

I got 400 feet of HT from Acco and had them add a large link at both ends. This way I use a over size shackle to ensure no loss of strength.

Charlie

Charlie Sinclair

The Shackles I use are “Crosby” the pin in these shackles are painted red and have the work load stamped right on it

Bob Hinden

Regarding the Crosby G209A shackles. I have been using them for some time and like that they are about 2x stronger than the regular galvanized shackles and well matched to HT anchor chain.

I notice that after a while the pin starts rusting. I assume that’s because it isn’t galvanized. At what point to you replace the shackles?

In the picture at the start of this article, I notice you use two shackles between the chain and the anchor. I have only been using one. Why two?

Thanks, Bob

Ee Kiat Goh

Hi John, I come across this anchor shackle which has a breaking load that far exceeds that of the chain without using an oversize link. Have I misunderstood your comment above? Thanks, https://titanmarineproducts.com/product/high-strength-forged-hot-dipped-galvanized-shackles/

Bob Hinden

I am using 5/16″ HT chain with a 3/8″ G209A shackle with a Spade S140. I think the 5/16″ HT chain links do take the body of the shackle, so I can use a single shackle.

I was wondering if you were using two shackels for some other reason, but it sounds like that was the only way to connect the chain to the anchor.

Thanks!

Dana

I’m purchasing a new primary anchor and rode for a 40 foot, 20,000 lb boat. Mostly coastal causing in New England. Your comments regarding sizing anchor rodes and anchors have been invaluable. I searched for “plait” rope on your site but got nothing. Do you have an opinion on using plait instead of three strand?

Bo

I have a short length of 3/8″ Grade 43 chain which has an unwelded link. I cut it from a longer length many years ago and saved it as a reminder as to why it’s so important to inspect every link of chain. It will scare the ‘you know what’ out of you to see it… Not all chain manufacturers put these lower grade chains through pull tests at the point of manufacturer, and this piece came from an Italian manufacturer.

I also wanted to suggest that anyone purchasing a new chain make extensive measurements of a few links after their thorough link by link inspection. Using calipers measure and record the inside length and width dimensions of a single link, measure the diameter at the bearing points (inter link points), and measure the outside length of a link. All future inspections can then be compared to this benchmark. Any length increase is cause to replace the chain as a load equal to 4-5 times the max working load limit has been imposed. Any stretch must reject! A 10% loss of interlink bearing area metal is another rejection criteria.

The National Association of Chain Manufacturers has an easy to find standard on the web. Search for NACM WELDED STEEL CHAIN SPECIFICATIONS. It is kind of like batteries… you can never know enough.

Thanks for the great info you have provided here.

Paul

I’m going to bite the bullet and replace my primary anchor and rode. What I have now — 55kg Bruce-type with chain and rope rode — has worked just fine. But I’m paranoid. (That’s probably because my previous boat, that day behind a Delta, dragged when I was at the top of the mast! What an awful feeling. Believe me, a man can get down a mast faster than a monkey if he — the man — needs to.)

Regarding the new anchor, my boat is 46 feet and 20 tons. My plan now is to get the Spade S160, which is three sizes up from the nominally recommended size for a boat this length, and one size up for a boat of this weight — and one size up from what Spade USA recommends for this boat. That’s the anchor.

The “problem” is the rode. I’ve got a drum windlass on deck (like on a fishing boat). It’s so much more convenient than sending the rode down below (for starters, no mess!), but it has two disadvantages, the first obvious: (1) there’s all that weight on deck; (2) there’s limited space on the drum. The upshot is that I cannot have an all-chain rode, certainly not with anything like the chain size I’m currently using. Now I’ve got about 50 feet of chain and about 250 feet of rope. I don’t know the chain size (which I cannot get easily because I’m half a world away from the boat), but it’s big.

Here’s where I need advice: what chain and rope should I get to maximize the amount of chain I can use? Put another way, what’s the minimum size chain, and of which type, and minimum size rope, and of which type, that would work here — of course with lots of extra strength built in (oversized, but not absurdly oversized)?

Thanks for any advice you can give (or words of caution, comfort, etc.).
P.S. I know I’ll get lots of sideways looks having a windlass drum on deck, but that’s just the way it is. For what it’s worth, it works for commercial fishermen (but so does the Bruce anchor, but I guess that most of them don’t actually hang off the anchor while asleep).

Paul

To add a bit, I checked my paperwork and it says that I have 60’ of 5/16” chain and 240’ of 3-strand 3/4″ nylon rope. That fills up my windlass drum — not helped by a very large swivel, which I plan to eliminate, between chain and rope. I thought the chain was bigger. Each link is very large. (One nice thing about a drum windlass like this is that the size and shape of the links is irrelevant to fitting on the windlass.)

Stan Carlyle

Hi Paul
It depends where you are going. I spent this summer in northwestern British Columbia and southeast Alaska. Many of the anchorages were 90 to over 100 feet deep. I have 400 feet of 3/8 BBB chain plus 85 feet of nylon and felt that it was barely enough for my 15 ton sailboat. Also in a number of anchorages the bottom was bare rock with nothing for the anchor to grab onto.

Paul

Oh my. I’d love to be able to anchor in water that deep, but it’s just not possible with my setup. I also spent much of the summer in BC, and anchoring almost everywhere was out of the question. It gets very deep very fast there (which is why the anchorages are chockablock full by about 2pm). Alas, I’m limited by the size of the drum on my windlass for practical purposes. What I need is to get as much rode on as possible on that drum. If my recollection of some other information on this website is correct, that rules out BBB chain due to its weight. I will have no choice but to stay with mostly rope, but I hope to add more chain. The replacement anchor (Spade S160 probably) will weigh about 33 pounds less than the current anchor, so even with a bit more chain I wouldn’t be adding much weight on deck. The question for me is what chain and rope to use to maximize the the space I have while being very strong indeed.

Paul

Thanks John. Just what I needed. I hope this may be useful to other readers, too.

BUT, of course answers beget more questions! …

I like the idea of the G70, but didn’t you have some issues with fitting the rode together — with fitting shackles and the like?

Regarding the rope, can you suggest a specific type of braided rope? I assume you don’t mean that same stuff we all use for running rigging. (Sorry if this is a dumb question.)

What I’d love to find is a website the actually compares the overall dimensions of different chains and ropes. To me that’s another attribute that really matters. But I haven’t found such a website yet.

Eric Klem

Hi Paul,

The advice given by John is good. Let me throw out another idea that I have no personal experience with but may appeal to you if you are willing to be a bit of a guinea pig (not generally what most try to do with anchoring).

The idea is centered around the fact that you have a drum windlass, I can’t see this working with any other setup. You would have your Spade anchor, as much length of 3/8″ chain as possible and then the remaining rode would be dyneema. The major advantages of doing this are that 1) it is far more chafe resistant than nylon 2) you can use a far smaller size such as 1/2″ versus 7/8″ or 1″ 3) it is far lighter so you are not carrying as much weight on deck.

There are 3 issues why this doesn’t work for most people but I think it could work for you. The first issue is that windlasses can’t grip it but when you are on a drum, it doesn’t matter and actually many cranes and winches are now going from cable to synthetic line. The next issue is that it floats which can be overcome by putting wire through the center or other weighting techniques. Finally, it is very stiff so it needs an external shock absorber. The obvious answer to this is a snubber but then you need a way to attach that. My suggestion would be to splice up eyes on either end of 50′ lengths and hitch them together (this has shown to be extremely strong) to get your total desired rode length so you would have an eye every 50′ where you could attach your snubber.

Eric

Paul

Thanks Eric. I like your thinking.

My first reaction is that it might be a good idea to do something like this but to have 50 feet of nylon/stretchy line after the chain to act as a built-in snubber (which is effectively what a chain-rope combo normally accomplishes): 100 feet of chain, 50 feet of three-strand (or braid), as much Dyneema as the drum can hold, a shortish piece of nylon attached to windlass/boat with the ability to unshackle this and shackle in another 200 feet or so of rope for deep anchoring in an extreme situation (but the latter raises issues of recovery).

I do wish this were the only thing do to on the boat. It’s actually one of a hundred tasks…

Ernest

Hi John,
I’m asking about your thoughts to the chain/anchor link. The logical way seems to be to attach the chain using a suitable shackle at the end of the shaft. Which might give troubles if the anchor gets fouled under something, be it chain, stone, or wreckage parts.
On internet I have found two different ways of solving this problem (besides pre-rigging a trip line). One of the possibilities shown (and obviously actually used) is to fasten the chain not to the shaft but to the mounting point/hole for the rip line, and just somehow weakly fasten it to the shaft by means of a light rope, or plastic binder, so when stuck a good pull from the right direction would break the binder and transfer the pull to the trip line hole. You can see solutions to this here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoTmy6yYdlQ) and here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLgF9xNmuAg).
To me these methods seem blatant unsafe, if not dangerous, as I would suspect the weak link to the shaft might also break in adverse conditions, effectively unanchoring your boat.
I found another solution called AnchorResue from Scanmar (see here https://www.scanmarinternational.com/anchoring and a video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HEh3cKywYc), for me the only way except a rigged tripline without compromising safety.
I would be interested in your opinion!

Joerg esdorn

Hi John, I have 10 mm galvanized G70 chain on my boat which is currently connected to the Spade anchor by a stainless Wasi swivel. I am trying to replace the swivel with a galvanized shackle and do not have an oversized link at the end of the chain. I’ve come across this Maggi shackle which seems to solve the issue of mismatched breaking loads for chain and shackles. https://jimmygreen.com/aqua7-grade-70/55699-maggi-oversized-link-for-calibrated-chain. Do you have experience with this shackle?

Mel Cohen

Hi
My wife and I have been cruising the Caribbean Central America and the med for 20 years. Upon your recommendation five years ago we changed from a CQR to a spade Ancor. It is fabulous.

We have 300 feet of 3/8 G 40 chain which is 34 years old. It looks fine but I am beginning to question if it is time to replace it?

Also it is time to replace the snubber which is 5/8 or three-quarter inch three strand braided nylon.

Our shackles are 209 A Crosby.
We have an 8 inch section of chain between the anchor and the chain Road. This is to allow the anchor to straighten itself as we do not have a swivel between the anchor and the road.Our Kong swivel will not fit through the anchor.

We are currently in the med And have not seen any good sources of chain. Any suggestions?

All the very best

Mel

Urs Huber

hi,
as a newbie to offshore sailing, I’m reading through all the anchor tackle and -rode posts.
One thing I was wondering about, but could not find any answer is:
If weight in the chain is not so important – hence the advantage of G70 chain – why is everybody using “short link” chain and not long-, or C-link chain, which would be lighter, stow better and is easier to accommodate shackles ?

Carol Kemble

Hi John, A quick question on securing galvanized anchor shackles. I plan to mouse the pin with Monel wire. In that case should / could I also use Loctite (blue? red?) or alternatively Tef-gel to make service / replacement easier down the road? Thanks!

Ee Kiat Goh

Hi John, if you have a primary and secondary anchor, do you store their respective rode in 2 separate compartment in the anchor locker? I believe you have both rode using chain. If your primary anchor rode is 150m (say), how long would you have for your primary anchor rode?

Ee Kiat Goh

Hi John, what type of shackle do you use to string up your rode to rode and rode to anchor of your secondary anchor? If I need to join up 2 pieces of chain (100m+100Mm), what type of chain joint would you recommend? The chain shop tells me that a welded link can be as strong as an unwelded link and it is very common for sailors to extend the length of their chain that way.. I thought i might seek your advice ..

Ee Kiat Goh

Hi John, i suppose your secondary rode is for your second anchor. When you say “secondary rode” i assume that there is not chain in the bags. Only nylon anchor lines.

Peter Sweitzer

Hi John,
New member here and really glad I joined.
In this article, you picture the shackle attached to the anchor with the “D” going through the anchor slot and shackle pin on the chain. In the article “ Gale And Storm Preparation, At Anchor Or On A Mooring”, it is setup the other way, “D” on the chain and pin in the anchor slot. Which way is preferred/correct?

Dave Meindl

Hi John,
Somewhere in one of your articles you mentioned a material that you used for grating in your anchor locker. I scoured the ‘Anchoring’ book articles and used the search function but have not had success finding that information. What was the material you used? I thought this might be a semi-appropriate place for this comment 🙂
Thanks!

Glenn Pullen

Timely query, as I have been looking for this also. On Youtube, Patrick Childress #50 / Don’t Buy New Anchor Chain CHEAP! (at about 12:00 in) mentions using a ‘draining mat’. Looks like a Amazon search for ‘Drainage Tile Shower Matting’ gives many options, or use a google search for ‘shower draining mat’, under the images tab, to get more examples. This also seems like a good option for promoting air flow in my bilge storage areas on my (new to me) steel hulled sloop. Another item off the list!

Marc Dacey

We use in places a snap-together plastic grid that stands about 1/2 inch tall, called “Dri-Dek” (see https://www.dri-dek.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIg4TjoZLj6AIVjobACh3DEw60EAAYAiAAEgJfsfD_BwE). There are very similar and cheaper alternatives available at most large hardware stores. We use it in our anchor well to avoid chipping the paint and as “flooring” in our engine bay, where minor spills are not unknown. Lastly, we use it in our aft deck helm station for non-slip purposes.

Eric Klem

Hi Dave,

We use Dri-Deck at the bottom of our locker cut to the appropriate shape. I have not run head to head testing but the section of chain on the bottom does not look any worse than the rest of the chain if that means anything. We also use it at the bottom of our propane lockers and I can say that it has helped the tanks last longer there before starting to rust (the design of our locker does allow limited rain water in and it is possible we get some seawater through the drain when it is rough). Maybe more importantly, I haven’t found any negatives of having it in either location.

Eric

Dave Meindl

Thanks,
I like that the Dri-Deck is raised up a little to allow for drainage. Great idea about the propane locker also.

William Buttner

John, I have just ordered a Spade anchor after several episodes of dragging our CQR up in Scotland (in fairly benign conditions, so there was some operator error for sure), but I am off the boat and trying to figure out what size Crosby shackle to procure to attach the anchor to the rode when I get back to the boat. We have an all 7/16″ chain anchor rode with an oversized link at the end, so I am trying to figure out what is the largest Crosby shackle that can fit into the hole in the anchor stock of the Spade, the width of that hole is 19 mm I believe. 19 ton boat.
Also I am seeing different things about whether the bow of the shackle or the pin goes through the anchor stock. Thanks.

Peter Sweitzer

William, check this page from SPADE French website. Hope it helps.
https://spade-anchor.com/-plan-dimensions-and-templates-.html

Peter Sweitzer

scroll to the bottom where it gives dimensions with approximate hole dimensions or a given size.

Peter Sweitzer

Also, if I understood it right, John said the pin goes through the anchor with the chain on the bow.

Peter Sweitzer

Damn! And all this time I thought I understood you correctly…

Bernard Stockman

I have a question about the shackle.

NoMad has a SPADE S-180 (45 kg) and 100 meter anchor chain  Din766 G43 10 mm (Working Load Limit 2450 kg, Manufacturing proof force 4900 kg, Breaking Force 9800 kg). There is no oversized end link.
I never used a swivel. I have two shackles: a 12 mm and 14 mm:
Wichard D Shackle 12 mm ( Working Load 2080, WLL 1200, Breaking Load 6000) or Wichard D shackle 14 mm (WL 2400, WLL 1600, Breaking Load 8000).
The 14 mm shackle has the best match with the chain strength and looks better. But the 14 mm pin exerts forces more sideways in chainlink, there is a gap at the top of the link. The 12 mm exerts force in the longitudinal direction of the link.

Do you think that the side forces of the 14 mm pin in the link could weaken the link?

14 mm.jpeg
Bernard Stockman

Thanks for your advice John. Meanwhile I have found the Crosby shackles in Belgium. I ordered different sizes as you suggested.

Edmond Rees

Hi John – a rookie cruiser question. Given the doubt surrounding the efficacy of the catenary “effect” in bigger breeze and the concern about weight in the bow…particularly if I do not know how my boat will perform (2011 Dufour 405) in heavier seas with say 350ft of G43 chain weight… but I am willing to replace the anchor rode regularly – would I not be better served by using less chain (say 100ft) and rope (250ft) of equal working load and lesser weight?

Dan Tisoskey

John,

In this case, the more I read, the more confusing the subject gets or too many choices…

I recently changed boats from a Downeast 32 to a Wauquiez Pretorien 35. My Downeast was loaded in the stern and the bow and being only 32′, it was a wild ride with hobby horsing in a steep chop.

Going from an ultra heavy cruiser to a racer / cruiser (in today’s world a cruiser / racer) I am trying to have a boat that is actually fun to sail.

With this being said, I am looking to lighten up the load in the bow and the anchor is what I am going after. I transferred by beloved 45lb. steel Spade which is rated for a much heaver displacement than the 13,500 lb Pretorien.

I am emailing you to ask your opinion on this setup: 45lb galvanized, steel Spade on the bow, 50′ of chain linked to 400′ of rode with a shackle. Rode would be 8 plait (I would think 5/8″?) or, any opinions on Dyneema with a snubber?

I do have a Lofrans manual windlass and I would use the drum for the plait and transfer over to the gypsy when I go to the chain.

I think this would lighten the load, allow for stretch, and be safe?

My travels will be mostly the northeast (New Jersey, New England, Maine, maybe a trip to Bermuda & Nova Scotia)

I did read the forum post and anchors and rode and found you did use a short chain on a CQR without too much issues when you first stared sailing.

Any info & advice would be much appreciated.

Dan Tisoskey

John,

Thanks for your feedback. Based on my sailing and mostly coastal cruising, I decided on 250′ of 5/8 braid with 25′ of 3/8 chain attached to my 45lb steel Spade. My thinking – if 90% of my anchoring will be in 25′ of water or less, than I can transfer the chain when close to directly over the anchor and use the manual windlass. Also, 25′ of chain will add 40lbs of weight to the 45′ anchor – all the weight will be in the right spot. – Trying to justify and sell myself on not using an all chain rode…