Chain & Anchors

Actually this story is more about the chain than anchors. And all obervations are infuenced by the weight of your yacht, deep or swallow anchoring, multi hull and a few other parameters.

Take our SW1260, supplied for a circumnavigation, she weighs, all in, about 26.500 lbs or 12.000 kg and is in most tables a 42´ heavy. Calculations and reference tables are done with 30 knots, 7 bft, wind.

LightMediumHeavyChainWeight /m
46’–50′41’–45′37’–40′5/16″ or 8mm
PC/BBB/HT
1,4 kg
51’–60′46’–54′41’–48′3/8″ PC/BBB ~
10 mm grade30
or 5/16″ G4
~ 8mm grade43
2,1 kg
1,4 kg
Diameter of chain based on the 1/16¨ per 10´ or 9´ or 8´ length rule
( Light, Medium, Heavy)

Maxwell HRC8 Windlasses

The standard windlass is a Maxwell HRC8 which is able to handle 5/16″ BB, 5/16″ ISO G4, 8mm DIN 766, 8mm ISO 4565. For 10mm, 3/8¨ chain a H10-model is necessary.

Chain Length and Grade

Oké let’s start with the basics, old fashion is a 7 to 1 ratio on chain length to depth. With modern anchors, it’s 3 to 1 for calm and or swallow anchoring up to 5 to 1 for a rougher, deeper anchoring, is oké. So the upgrade from Seawind to 80 mtr is on a lower limit. I prefer 100 meters of chain.

RVS chain
Example of a chain, 8 mm RVS (318) grade 60, beautiful, strong and expensive

I think that the standard chain Seawind offers is Grade L aka PC/BBB/grade30 and again on the lower limit. In my opinion grade43 should be the standard and I prefer grade70. See the table for strength and weight and prices. (In Holland, prices in Q1 2022)

grade (8 mm)WLL in kgBLL in kggewicht kg/m€/m (ex VAT)
308203250 1,48,47
4312004400 1,47,77 – 9,83
70320070001,49,87 – 20,50
50-60
(RVS 316)
300062001,437 – 40
30 (10 mm)127551002,311,61
WLL = Working Load Limit, BLL = Breaking Load Limit

So my strategy is upgrading to the Seawind option of 80 mtr standard chain. It will last a year. Afterwards I would order 100 mtr (DIN 766, Ø 8 x 24 mm) chain grade 70 or 43. Far stronger and enough length for my sailing area, the Pacific. Buying a 8 mm higher grade chain is always less expensive than upgrading to a HCR10 Maxwell and 10 mm chain, grade 43.

Anchor

Modern plow or scoop anchors (Excel, Delta, Spade, Mantus, Manson perform well compared to an older plow like CQR or a claw anchor like a Bruce or a Danforth anchor like a Fortress.

I would strongly advise to upgrade from the standard 45 lb CQR anchor to a 48 lb Sarca Excel No 5 galvanised anchor. The Excel anchor is well known for its good initial setting on a relatively short chain and its holding power. The big question is what is the right size anchor, I find this article on the UK site of Jim Green helpful.

LOA (mtr)10-1212-1515-17
Weight (ton)3,5-77-1515-21
Sarca weight (kg/lb)16/3522/4830/66
Sarca type456
Sarca Excel Supplier Recommendations

I am comfortable with the Sarca Excel #5 and find it a balanced solution with a Maxwell HCR8 windlass and a 8 mm chain, grade 43.

We opted for the secondary anchor, a nice 35 lb Delta to be used as stern, tandem or temporary anchor.

Other important stuff

Buy an anchor swivel, always a pleasure to position the anchor on the bow roller. Most swivels attach directly to the anchor, using a bit of blue lock-tide. On 8 mm chain you use a 10 mm swivel. Almost all modern swivels like Mantus, Ultra, Lewmar are stainless steel and corrode your anchor and chain. Swivels are expensive. Rex Francis, designer of the Sarca Excel is not a fan of swivels because of lesser resetting of the anchor and lateral forces breaks swivels. Something to think about.

Buy the Anchor Bridle, it´s not an option. To release the tension of the chain from the windlass, you need an anchor bridle. I prefer nylon double braided because of its quality to stretch and flex.

Length indicators, 1 white tie wrap = 10 mtr of chain, 2 tie wraps etc. Or buy any fancy indicator.

Have a 8 and a 10 mm high quality Bow shackle with you. Always handy when something brakes. I also like a Kong Stainless Steel Universal Chain Lock

And I always carry a spare chain hook. A RVS hook will get bent and forged one breaks.

5 thoughts on “Chain & Anchors”

  1. The only thing about the Excel anchor that I do not like is the shape of the shaft just above the fluke – the is nothing to prevent the chain wrapping around the shaft is the anchor is not fully dug in (which sometimes happens I.e. when there is a rock or boulder in the bottom). When the chain gets wrapped around the shaft the anchor will not hold any longer. This once happened to me with a Bruce, I was not amused then!

  2. I have owned 2 Seawind 1260’s and am now waiting on a 1370. A few corrections – I think you will find the actual weight of a 1260 closer to 13,000Kg. That was what both my boats weighed after they had been delivered – and with all rigging, sails & a dinghy.

    I put Sarca Excel #6 on both boats. Absolutly fantastic anchor – never dragged once. One of my boats had 8mm chain and the second 10mm – which was required for charter work in Sydney harbour.

  3. Is a standard 1260 really that heavy ? It’s advertised as much much lower!!

    Also, I have a Sarca #5 I think (22kg). I purchased a second hand #7 (36kg) for North QLD tides. Have I wasted my money? Is it too much?

  4. Agree, we opted for the Sarca #6 and have been very happy as it really digs in.
    I have also just added a Mantus mooring shackle for when we have to use a mooring. Moorings often have marine growth that can cut through ropes.

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