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Letters Questioning on Anchoring Article


RE: Volume XXX, Number 1, August 2010. Article : “Anchoring in Puget Sound”


Mr. Huston, you have opened a door and I would like


to stick my Teva, deck-callused foot in and ask a question. Once and for all, could you address the difference in


rode requirements and ratios for an all chain system versus a rope and chain system? Your primer article carried the oft quoted, “... recommend a ratio of 7:1...” but goes on to say that “..the 4:1 is more the standard...”. As one of the reasons for a long rode is to ensure that at least the last few feet of chain stays flat on the seabed so as to not disturb the anchor, a heavy chain should accomplish this with far less scope than a shorter chain and lightweight nylon.


In general terms, what ratio of all chain is equal to rope and chain at, say 4:1? Lastly, would you be willing to address the value of a kellet or sentinel, placed on the rode?


Thanks for your great articles. Al & Becca Szymanski


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• On Olympia’s East Bay


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(360) 528-8049 - marina@portolympia.com Swantown Boatworks


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www.portolympia.com 48° NORTH, SEPTEMBER 2010 PAGE 20 Mike Huston replies:


I wish I could settle the chain vs. nylon ‘issue’ for you but it is not that simple. You are correct about wanting the angle at which the rode pulls on the anchor as close to parallel to the bottom as possible. You are also correct that, under normal conditions, having more chain helps with this goal. Adding a kellet does the same thing, it adds weight that has to be lifted. However, should the conditions become severe enough to pull the chain taut, scope becomes the only way of assuring this low angle. And, while it varies from boat to boat, the wind needed to do this is not all that strong; I would guess anything over 30 knots would do the trick. This is why I suggested in last month’s article that scope be increased from 4:1 to 7:1 (or higher) when conditions warrant. Having all chain rode or adding a kellet will also help absorb


shock from wind gusts or waves. But again, if the rode is already taut this advantage goes away for all-chain systems. This is where having some nylon rode becomes very useful, its ability to stretch makes it a very good shock absorber. So, bottom line, there is no such thing as the ideal system; it depends on the boat, the expected conditions and the type of sailing/cruising being done. We have all chain on our current boat; we like the simplicity since it is in charter, has a windlass and is large enough to handle the weight. On our previous boat we had 120 feet of chain and then nylon. I liked that setup also; in most cases we put out all the chain and a little nylon which we tied to the bow cleat; so there was no need for a snubber. And as we just discussed, at 4:1 we had the weight advantage of an all chain system but when we went out to 7:1 we had good shock absorption.


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