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Special Section – AnchoringAnchor and Mooring Chains: Vinyl-Covered Chain is the Pits

Stainless chain resists best, but attracts barnacles.

Chain Jams and Other Anchor Windlass Woes

I spent last weekend tuning the rig aboard boatbuilder Robert Helmicks Endeavour 42, Lost Boys, and got a first-hand look at the problems reader Scott Rimmer encountered with his vertical windlass back in 2009. When Helmick's son, Kameron, went to work deploying the anchor, he soon ran into trouble; the chain was jammed in the naval pipe, kinked with hockles. Helmick started plying me with questions about anchor swivels-questions we often get at the magazine.

Mantus Anchor-chain Hook

Practical Sailor recently looked at various ways to take the load off the windlass and roller by means of a short rope snubber or bridle, but we did not talk about how to attach a snubber to the chain. The Mantus Chain Hook takes an innovative approach, and seemed particularly useful for catamaran owners with long bridles. Testers put the 1/4-inch stainless Mantus hook through more than 50 anchoring cycles and dozens of tide cycles aboard a PDQ 32. Find out how the Mantus fared.

Earthquake and Tsunami Awareness and Response

John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal of Mahina Expeditions bluewater voyaging school have weathered a few earthquakes and tsunamis in their decades of teaching others aboard their Hallberg-Rassy 46 sailboat, Mahina Tiare III. In the wake of the 2009 tsunami on Samoa, they devised an earthquake/tsunami awareness and response system that they now include in the Mahina Expeditions curriculum. With the goal of helping other sailors, the Neals have allowed Practical Sailor to post this strategy here on Inside Practical Sailor.

Pencil-Thin Anchor Rode

Would you trust a pencil-thin, anchor chain that touts greater strength than the locker-full of high-quality, 3/8-inch, galvanized short-link chain that youve counted on for years? Would you even want a lighter chain? After all, the chains heft creates catenary, that all-essential dip in the anchor rode that improves your anchors holding ability.

Rebuilding a Cape Dory 36 Part II

In Part I of this series, I described the steps we took to set our rebuild up for success. Part II describes our gutting the interior, painting the topsides and designing and installing the interior. As described in Part I, we chose a Cape Dory 36. The effort expended in rebuilding a substandard boat is […]
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Choosing the Perfect Hurricane Hole

Even though we get plenty of warning for named storms, there never seems to be enough time to make all the necessary preparations. And once the weather starts to deteriorate, setting storm gear becomes difficult and exhausting – if you can reach the hurricane hole at all. If you are cruising in a hurricane-prone area this year, dedicate some time in June (or sooner) to take a dry-run to your chosen spot. Strip the boat and deploy the gear as you would use it. This will give you a clear picture of how much time you need to prepare.

Anchor Rode Report

In our continuous research of ground tackle, we noticed that large oil rigs are often anchored into place with a spider web of stranded wire-or in some cases, Dyneema, a low-stretch, high-strength synthetic fiber. We wondered whether Dyneema or a wire cable might have some application in recreational sailboat anchoring, and we launched field tests to find out. These tests also looked at how changing the diameter of your anchor chain affects anchor performance.

Anchor Shackles: The $15 Insurance Policy

Were always amazed how a sailor can spend months agonizing and wringing his hands over which anchor to purchase, and then, when he finally shells out $700 or much more for the anchor, hell attach it to a shackle that has no business being on a boat. Weve plowed through the topic of shackles in several recent issues, but we havent looked specifically at anchor shackles for more than a decade. Choosing a properly sized, high-quality shackle is important, but its also essential to be familiar with proper use.

Changing Views on Chain Hooks

There are a number of ways to attach a snubber to an anchor chain. A gripping hitch, a soft-shackle, or a chain hook are the most common. Of the three, Practical Sailor has a strong preference for a camel hitch or similar gripping knot, but for the many who seek a faster, simpler way to attach a snubber, here is a look at chain hooks.