Anchors and Chain

The emergency brake of any ship is its anchor. And on a pre-WWII boat with a huge engine that can only be started with a little engine, it becomes even more important. The anchor winch was until recently fitted with 22 fathoms (132 feet) of chain followed by 22 fathoms of steel cable.

I opted to reuse the existing chain and back it with line instead of steel cable. Cable is used in parts of British Columbia and Alaska where there are jagged rocky bottoms. For here and Puget Sound chain and line are more common as are sand or mud bottom anchorages.

The chain is what really keeps the boat in place, and keeps the anchor from slipping. I always opt for a fathom of heavier chain from the anchor to the anchor winch, as additional insurance. First on the winch is the anchor line. I picked up a coil of line from a friend for a screaming good deal, you can see it here next to the old greased and rusty steel cable:


I spread the line out on the dock and measured it – 44 fathoms, or 264 feet. Then the bitter end needs to be tied to the anchor winch:


Since I haven’t run the hydraulic hoses back through the deck, I needed to spool the line on by hand. I immediately regretted not having completed the hydraulics before doing this part. But after an hour the line was on.


The next part I didn’t really get any pictures of, because it was so messy. To move the anchor winch all the chain was dropped to the chain locker in the forepeak. The chain was really rusty, so I had to drag it out through the deck hatch (which knocked quite a bit of rust off). I then laid it out on a tarp on the front deck and sprayed it with a cold-galvanizing finish. Then all the links were turned over and the other side galvanized. Then as I hand fed the chain onto the winch the links were spray galvanized a third time. Hopefully this will protect that chain a little longer. In the end, 22 fathoms of chain were in place with the new fathom of larger chain between the winch and the anchor:


Finally I added a cover to try to slow down the rusting process. Eventually I’ll have a canvas cover for the whole winch fabricated.




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