Our chafe material of choice in the past has been to take old rags and wire tie them to the appropriate place on the dock line or mooring pendant. However, this tears (literally!) through a lot of rags, uses up a lot of wire ties, looks a bit disreputable, and takes some finagling to undo.
So we decided to look for a better alternative and, when researching chafing gear on the Internet, John came across the Chafe-Pro site. We ordered a few to try out and so far we are impressed:
- The Velcro closures make it very easy to position the gear where we need it and as tightly as we need it.
- We have used one on our mooring pendant, where it crosses the bow roller, through a number of gales and two hurricanes (as pictured above with our mooring safety chain system) and, though there is a bit of chafe showing on the outer covering, the inside layer is intact.
- The soft outer cover means that the chafe gear itself won’t chafe on anything around it.
- The large Velcro hook area bonds to the rope it is protecting, stopping the chafe gear from slipping out of place, meaning lanyards are not needed. (The wire ties in the photograph above are there because we were expecting a hurricane strike, normally we don’t need them.)
What do you use against chafe? Does anyone else have experience with Chafe-Pro? Leave a comment.
In 37 years of anchoring and docking, we have found, for lines, nothing works all that well and that everything works better if the line in question can be kept wet.
In this application water is a pretty good external and internal lubricant. It dissipates heat as internal line fibers chafe among themselves. If it is salt water, it is useful/important to keep things wet (crystals, don’t you know). Fresh is not an issue.
I’d pass on using water as a lubricant in freezing conditions.
Plastic hose, without some kind of lubricant is a line eater, but it is a subtle one. It can cause heat to build up internally leading to weakening and failure, and we have seen clear plastic tubing bonded to line by heat.
Where chain is concerned, we used to use fire-hose that we’d split and then punctured for tie lines.
Then a few years ago, we decided to experiment with sacrificial chain rollers. We used HDPE rollers wiped with dry teflon lubricant and now just use the fire-hose to protect other things from the chain. I tried PTFE grease, and it worked, but so did I cleaning up the mess. Also I didn’t like seeing gobbets of the stuff falling in the water.
Do keep the dry PTFE off lines though or you will sit there watching the line snake dance off the cleats.
Purely opinion, but we just can’t see the value added being equal to the mark-up in products like this one. Also our experience in the tropics is hook and loop fasteners = “sand magnet,” and once they are even a little encumbered by sand, we’ve had to add a safety tie for when they let go.
We seasonally turn things end for end and when anchoring shift the rode back or forth a few feet every few days.
All interesting ideas for chafe prevention, thanks. However, we still like Chafe-Pro because it is an out of the box solution that solves a problem without a lot of our time and effort—all too rare in this game—freeing us to concentrate on other maintenance issues that don’t have such elegant and relatively inexpensive solutions.
On the hook and loop fastening. We have been using Chafe-Pro for 18 months with no degradation so far. I think the secret is that they are using industrial grade hook and loop, which is very different and much more robust than the lower grade used on most marine products.
John, Tis indeed a world of different folks, different strokes, Chris
I think you should try it before you knock it and if you had looked at the product you would know it can’t hold sand. The velcro is large and industrial strength. I am a veteran sailor and know good products, Chafe-pro works very well and I think you haven’t tried it. The cost is low.
Phyllis. A anti chaff method worth a try is a car radiator hose. These are particularly useful with mooring lines. You can get them with a 90 degree bend in them which goes neatly over a anchor roller.
Hi Chris F,
Interesting idea, although we are not really keen on using any type of hose for chafe protection because of the possible heating problem that the other Chris alludes to in the comment above.
If you want to use a DIY solution I would suggest some kind of heavy canvas that will breath and allow water penetration.
A small point…After my vessel was built several years ago in New Brunswick, my friend Scott in Maine, knower of all things maritime, suggested I launch a program of replacing all the WHITE wireties used through out the boat for electrical, hose runs etc. . The reason according to his experience is that the BLACK HDPE ties were far stronger. He was right. One by one, especially in the engine room, the white ones snapped and the replaced black ones have never failed. Must be a difference in plastic formulation.
Hi Dick T,
Wow, who knew, although I can’t ever remember having a wiretie of any colour break in normal use holding cables. Having said that, black it is.
I have no actual knowledge of the causes, but I’ve noticed the same. White tie wraps fail much quicker than black. This seems especially noticeable where it is exposed to much daylight. Sun.
This makes me think it’s related to UV degradation. The black plastic will stop the light at the surface. The white plastic will let it in deeper. UV rays are filtered significantly by several types of material, but maybe not these plastics?
Another option could be that the colouring item in the plastic is changing the strength. As an illustration: Adding pigment to an epoxy solution, you need about 10% volume of white pigment and only 2% of black pigment to get a “saturated” fully covering colour. Meaning, the white epoxy mix has enough pigment substance to noticeably affect the strength properties of the mix. Maybe something like that?
Hi John and Phyllis:
Thanks for the many great articles and chaffe is always a good one. I would like your comments on this idea……
Here is how Bonnie and I handle it. We have a Slocum 43 of about 17 tons with 300′ of 3/8″ chain and a 30kg Spade anchor.
When the anchor is well set and the correct scope is out I then attach a 3/4″ twisted nylon snubber to the chain between the windlass and the bow roller. Then run this back about 2o+ feet to a cleat at the center of the starboard side. This is a clean run on our boat and the snubber does not touch anything except the chain and the cleat. This way the snubber does not go over the bow roller, only the chain does, therefor no chafe to speak of. When in a very strong blow similar to one we had in Calvi, Corsica, I attached a second snubber line to the chain and ran it down to the center, port side cleat. My next step, if necessary, would be to run these snubbers back to the cockpit primary winches but haven’t had to do this yet. I’ve now been using the same snubber line for about 10 years!
Let me know if you have any suggestions.
Merry Christmas and Hope you and yours have a Happy Holidays
A very interesting idea although I’m not sure I fully understand. Does the snubber run from the cleat to the chain outside of everything? If so, I guess the cleat is forward of the maximum beam point of the boat and on the toe rail? Otherwise would the snubber not chafe on the topsides? Also, does this result in the boat hanging at an angle to the wind? Not necessarily a bad idea, I might add. Or am I being thick? Always a possibility!
Merry Christmas to you both.
The snubber line runs inside of the toe rail aft-wards, over the deck, from the attachment point on the chain before it reaches the bow roller. On Aisling, the cleat in question is inside the toe rail and fixed to the deck at approx. max beam. This cleat is normally used for a spring line from the cleat and outside, through a fair-lead, to the dock. When there is strain on the snubber line, it is lifted off the deck a few inches.
John, I have emailed you a picture of my deck plan. Hopefully a picture is still worth a thousand words 🙂
Let me know your thoughts and suggestions.
OK, I really was being thick! Now I get it, the whole snubber is on deck without going over the bow roller or through a fair lead at all. (I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, since I did not even get it after seeing the drawing, but I get there eventually.)
Sounds like a great idea since there is no way the snubber can chafe and if you need to ease some more chain or slip the rode completely in an emergency, you can untie it from the chain easily.
Also, as you said in your email, if you wanted more spring you could lead it through a turning block and back to a cockpit winch making it, what?, 30′ feet long.
All in all, a very interesting and innovative idea. Although it would not work for us since we need to take the load off the chain where it goes through the bow roller so that the chain will not clank back and forth in the roller as the boat swings. The noise from such movement may not be a problem on a fiberglass boat, but on our aluminum boat, it would wake the dead!
That brings to mind one other thought: By having the snubber on deck the bow roller assembly is being subjected to the snatch loads of the chain without amelioration from a snubber. That would worry me, particularly if there was any sea running in the anchorage.
The only other suggestion I would make would be that your 3/4″ snubber rope might be a little heavy since lighter rope has more stretch and spring. On MC we use 5/8″ and we are a substantially heavier boat.
That’s a good point about the line size. Honestly I’m not 100% certain of mine and will check when I return. I do know that I can see the stretch with my method, so it is stretching.
Re the load on the the bow roller…… I’m not sure that is as big an issue because the snubber is still providing a slow, stretched, load on the chain on the roller.
As far as the noise, we still do get some but as you say probably not as much as on a metal boat.
I really enjoy your blog and check it almost every day, well done and keep up the great work!
Merry Christmas…. Rick
Of course, you are right, the snubber will still relieve the snatch loads on the bow roller even though it is aft of it with your system. I seem to be having a real attack of the stupids on this issue!
And anyway, the bow roller and its supporting assembly should be able to take the snatch loads from the chain in heavy conditions in case the snubber breaks, no matter where the snubber is positioned.
Dear Phyllis and John, Here is an idea that is described in detail in Dave Gerr’s excellent Boat Mechanical Systems Handbook.
If you can do it, put a very strong bow eye right on the stem of the boat about 10-12 inches above the waterline (i.e., in the cutwater area). A snubber is shackled to this eye, and when not in use the free end is hauled up one or other bow and made fast inboard. Once the anchor is set, the inboard end of the snubber is taken outside everything and attached to the chain with a rolling hitch or similar just outboard of the anchor roller. The chain is then let out until the load comes on the snubber and the bow eye. With this method, there is no chafe, and moreover the boat is attached to the ground tackle from an advantageous point.
A bow eye of adequate strength is the key, but this should not be a problem for new builds or metal boats of any vintage.
Of course it also doubles as a bobstay attachment for anyone putting a Code O on a sprit.
It’s an interesting idea and one with many advantages. But it has one big problem that I don’t like: It’s a black night and blowing a gale and another boat drags down on you. Your chain goes between the other boat’s rudder and keel. (This has happened to me, only I am embarrassed to say that I was the boat that dragged—a CQR.) The other boat is inextricably fouled on your rode and is crashing against your bow. The only way out of this is to slip your anchor, chain and all. (You can tie a line with a fender to the end to make recovery easy.) But how can you slip since you can’t reach the snubber to cut it and you can’t pull in chain to get to where it’s tied to the chain due to the other boat’s weight? This is just one scenario that might require you to slip the anchor, there are many others.
Keep in mind that we really don’t have any problem with chafe on our snubber. (The picture shows the boat set up for a hurricane strike on our home mooring.) In fact, we have been using the same piece of 5/8 nylon for 5 years and the piece before that went for 10.
We use the Chafe-Pro gear mostly for dock lines, where it works great—quick to install, tough, and easy to remove.
Hi John, You describe one of the situations where a good bread knife or hacksaw lashed to your kelp-cutter (garden hoe) would be called into action.
That said, we like the sound of the Chafe-Pro product for mooring lines. Thank you for the tip. Alan
That would work, but the thought of the amount of damage that would be done while one was lashing the knife to the boat hook and getting the line cut is scary. And the thought of leaning over the bow trying to cut the line with the two boats crashing together is scarier still.
We really like to be set up so that we can slip the chain in a moment. To that end we have a nylon line spliced to the bitter end of the chain that just appears on deck through the hawse pipe when all the chain is out. This can be cut in a heart beat using the sharp knife that lives in a sheath in the cockpit.
Two thoughts. Sailors Solutions offers a hook knife for clearing propeller tangles which has delivered good results for us in other situations (even clearing sapling like weeds in snakey territory).
Second I have a diving knife, with half the blade serrated. In 1972, I made an aluminum spear handle for this knife so we could encourage lemon sharks to leave the vicinity when we were entering, exiting the water off Freeport, GBI. I have since modified that handle to accept the hook knife at the opposite end. Taken together it looks like a dental tool for the Jolly Green Giant. I looked for a picture, but in 11GB I couldn’t find one. Guess it’s too utilitarian.
As to the knife, the serrated cusps are sharpened to 18 degrees with a ceramic rod, the straight portion is “Axe ground” for strength. We can hammer the back of this portion of the blade to cut through some mighty tough stuff when need be. The blade thickness is a tad over 3/16 so it can serve as a pry-bar. It has a stubby “clip point,” but if I were to buy another I would look for a “western tanto” tip (not likely in diving knives).
ANASAZI’s solution is very similar but homemade — the same basic design using Top Gun fabric, which is very chafe-resistant. We add ties of 1/8-inch line, not to keep the gear closed, but to keep it from working up or down a mooring line.
Once you get started, turning these things out is pretty quick work on a sewing machine. And they make good gifts.
Both Top Gun and good Velcro are available by mail-order from Sailrite.
Great source for an elegant DIY solution, thank you. For others that want to follow your example, here is the link to the Topgun material.
Do keep in mind though that Top Gun does not seem to be nearly as heavy as the material used in the Chafe-Pro units.
I myself usepiece od trow away fireman hose, and I am very happy with the result.
There’s a bewildering array of options at the Chafe Pro site. Which style are you using? I’m guessing the “Yacht Series”?
Wow, they have certainly expanded their line up, since last I looked. Yes, I think mine are the Yacht Series, although they did not call them that when I bought them.
Thank you John! To make matters even more confusing, I found an additional one called “ScuffGuard” not listed under their products page. Going to give it a try…
I just got a couple of these since Phyllis recommended them (I get almost everything John and Phyllis recommend…no pressure). I got the Barracuda version for lines up to 35mm for my anchor snubber (the smaller version up to 24mm might have done as well). In case anyone is looking for these in Europe, I couldn’t find them anywhere else except the Chafe-Pro European HQ in Rotterdam. However, they were very responsive by email and happy to ship me a pack of two and invoice me afterwards (ue.orp-efahc@ofni). The Classic Series is recommended for small yachts (as opposed to mega-yachts).
Yikes, that’s going to give me anxiety about getting something wrong! Seriously, thanks for the tip on sourcing in Europe.
I doubt that, John 🙂