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I’ve been working on a much longer series of posts detailing all the work that’s been done while we’ve been in Palmetto, but while that’s in progress, I wanted to share/vent about the debacle we’ve gone through with our anchor chain.
Since we’re planning on anchoring in some deep waters in places like French Polynesia, we wanted to have lots of anchor chain on board. The generally accepted length is 300′. My first mistake was ordering 300′ of 1/2″ BBB chain in France. The 1/2″ chain was the size of chain that came with the boat, but what I didn’t realize was that 300′ of it weighed over 800 pounds! As soon as we got that much chain on the boat, we immediately became way too bow heavy which I believe contributed to the pounding we experienced on our Atlantic crossing.
So on the advice of our boat guru Pat, we planned on swap out to 5/16″ Acco G4 chain. This is a different type of chain that was still strong enough to securely hold Starry Horizons, but weighs about a third of the 1/2″ BBB chain! It would have been a quick and easy way to put the boat on an extreme diet.
At this point, we need a bit of a boat terminology lesson to make sure everyone is on the same page. A windlass is the term for the whole unit that raises our anchor chain. Ours is manufactured by Quick and we have their Dylan model. The gypsy is the part of the windlass that rotates while grabbing the chain to pull it in or out. Everybody good? Great.
So in order to swap out from 1/2″ chain to 5/16″ chain, we needed to swap out the gypsy that came with the boat, for one that could handle 5/16″ chain. While we were in Miami, our dealer gave us a Quick gypsy that was rated for 5/16″ chain and told us that was what we needed. Believing that we had what we needed to make the swap, Amy worked very hard to sell and get rid of our 1/2″ chain and I ordered brand spankin new 5/16″ chain.
We got the new chain on the boat last week and yesterday morning, I set out to swap out the gypsy and what do I find? The new gypsy doesn’t actually fit into the windlass (aren’t you glad for your terminology lesson right now?)! Not a good sign, but I was hoping perhaps we had just been given the a gypsy for the wrong model of Quick windlass. So to the internets we go and I quickly discovered that Quick does not actually make a gypsy for their Dylan model windlass that will handle 5/16″ chain.
I’ll admit to a few curse words and unmentionable rants at this point but given how many issues we’d already had with anchor chain, I was rather frustrated. Amy and I quickly made the decision that we did not want to replace our entire windlass, but instead would swap out our chain, yet again, for 3/8″ Acco G4 chain, which will fit in a gypsy that Quick does make for our windlass. (Edit: Since I’ve been asked a few times, the 3/8″ G4 chain should end up weighing about half of the original 1/2″ chain, so about 400lbs)
Fortunately, another boat that Pat is helping to outfit needs 5/16″ chain so we’ll be able to sell our chain to them rather than having to struggle through Craigslist again. Now we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that our new chain will arrive before all the rest of our projects wrap up so we don’t experience any more delays getting out of Florida!