What Chain Connector Will Fit My Gypsy?

Regarding your recent article on joining chain segments, Ive been coastal cruising from Canada to Panama since 1983, and continuously since 2005. I have wondered about using a single 5/16-inch shackle, which will connect two lengths of 3/8-inch, G-43 chain. The Crosby top of the line 5/16-inch will go around the gypsy pretty well. I tried it, but I am reluctant to use it. Any thoughts?

Ground Tackle Inspection Tips

Your anchoring system is only as strong as its weakest component, which includes not only the rode, but also shackles, splices, mooring bitts, cleats - in short, any gear used to secure your boat while at anchor. Proper maintenance includes inspection of these as well as laying the rode out for thorough examination at least annually.

Mailport: Tourniquets at Sea

Add a tourniquet to your first aid kit and know how to use correctly - it is less likely to accidentally loosen or inflict additional tissue damage.For further training, I would refer you to the American Red Cross, they have a Basic and Advanced First Aid certification, and along with the American Heart Association offer classes in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

High-Tech Anchor Rode

My primary anchor is a big hunk of steel on an all-chain rode, handled by a windlass. Secure in all bottoms, idiot proof, easy to handle, and thus perfect for everyday use. But when the need arises to set a second anchor-either to restrict swing or to increase holding in horrible mud-the last thing I want is a heavy steel anchor connected to chain that I have to drag across deck.

Fenders and Lines for Seawalls

To the lubber, tying-up to a bulkhead seems like the simplest of all docking situations. Perhaps with floating docks this is true. You just throw in a few fenders and tie a few lines. Simple. But in the world of tidal bulkheads with pilings or rough concrete facings, it is often a hammer and anvil situation, with the wind and waves hammer incessantly as the anvil moves up and down with the tide, causing fenders to slip out of position.

Dodging a Bullet When Caught on Bulkhead

The following is aimed primarily at boats that are unable to leave an alongside dock or bulkhead before wind and seas become dangerous. Any fetch beyond 200 yards is dangerous, and there may be nothing you can do to protect the boat. However, if you are in a protected marina, well up a creek, and the storm is moderate, these actions can help. Just remember that low breakwaters will be overtopped, wooden breakwaters fall apart, other boats will come loose, and there will be lumber in the water from broken docks.

Make Your Own Rugged Fender Boards

We described a simple home-built version several years ago (Practical Sailor, December 2011); here we present a few simple upgrades on the same basic design, allowing for simpler deployment, better fender retention, and more stable positioning. Pressure treated lumber provides inexpensive durability.

Reliable Chain Connections

We often get asked about joining two shots of chain together without compromising strength. You have a number of options-including some that are just plain bad. The important thing is to make sure the connector is of the highest quality and that it matches or exceeds the strength of your existing chain.

Carving Out Cores

A modified roofing nail is perhaps the most versatile tool for removing core when sealing fastener holes. It is much easier to control than bent nails or cut-down allen keys, which can jump around as they spin. Core removal is more uniform. Wood chips are finer and easier to remove. It is faster than a Dremel cutter and undercuts twice as far.

Caring For Your Marine Diesel Engine

Expecting calms for most of the passage, we set out in a flat calm with 70 gallons of fuel. Six hours later, around mid-day, the engine wailed, screeched, clanged, and died. Hardly a ripple stirred the Gulf of Panama.