anchor chain rode

i am purchasing a rocna 15. i am considering g4 1/4" chain instead of 5/16th BBB. anybody out there using 1/4"
my hull displaces 12,000 lbs.

Jo anne,
How would this sync with your windlass? Is your anchor locker for the chain right up in the bow? How much of the 1/4 HT would you carry?

I used 1/4 HT on my Falmouth for years with great success. Hauled anchor by hand. I had started with a bronze windlass by ABI and 200’ of 5/16 BBB. But it was WAY to much weight in the bow. Once I removed the windlass and went to 1/4, Angelsea sailed like a witch to weather. Instead of plunging her bow into the oncoming seas and almost stopping.

The 1/4 HT is stronger than the 5/16 BBB. So I don’t see why not, particularly if all of it is right up front. Or you could do like I did for Shanti, to save weight. I use 5/16 HT. If your going to use 5/16 might as well go HT. But Shanti only has 150’ of 5/16 HT, then another 200’ of multiplate 5/8 nylon. You could apply this with your 1/4".

I use a ratio of 5-1 for up to 30’ of water with chain. Then go to 3-1 for depths over that. So 3-1 allows me to use all chain up to 50’. Over that, or heavier weather I get into my nylon rode. Since you will be using lighter chain I would increase your scope sooner rather than later as the weather picks up. Say over 20knts.

Hope this helps in your decision.


i don’t have a windlass- i was hoping the 1/4" g4 would work and i wouldn’t need one.a pail (134’)weighs around 95 lbs. the chain falls into the forward anchor locker. i have 150-200’ of 5/8" nylon rode. i might just coil that up and store it aft. i’ll add probably around 75’ of nylon rode and tie it off in the anchor locker to give me a little more scope and i can cut it loose it need be.

i am going to need a chain stopper with use in conjunction with my snubber. do you have a recommendation?

thanks for the help

Jo Anne, I am not sure if you have my book or not but I mention that HT chain is only as good as the strength of the shackles you use. I have a chart comparing the HT chain to the shackle that fits the link. Many shackles that are equal in strength to the HT chain, the pin will not pass through the link of the chain. That said, there may now be available shackles that do match the strength of the chain but check it out before you buy. It seems you would be defeating your purpose if you use a much weaker shackle.

Also remember that the objective of chain is its weight. The weight of the chain on the bottom provides a horizontal pull on the anchor. When you reduce the weight by going to a stronger chain, you have reduced the weight on the bottom. Sometimes it may be better to go to shorter lengths of chain but of more weight.

If you want to pursue this further, email me directly.


Jo Anne,
I never used a chain stopper. Just used a snubber, then threw 2-3 wraps around the sampson posts.

Rogers right about the weight. I would say you are on the edge as far as 1/4 vs 5/16 in the weight department. Granted a Falmouth cutter is not quite as large as your boat, many times I watched my anchor on the bottom while diving. In fairly high winds also. Always saw about 1/4 of the chain on the bottom in about 25 knts. So I was always getting a horizontal pull. They say if your chain is lifted up to a 10 degree angle you only have 65% of your holding power left.

That’s why I suggested using more scope once it starts to pipe up. And to do that sooner rather than later. After all it does you no good sitting in your locker.

Just remember all this will influence how well you sleep. It’s not an easy decision.

at first blush- it appears that there is no alloy shackle that will fit the 1/4"HT
and match it strength. i am digging further, if i get a positive response i will post it to the list.

on to plan b…

Jo Anne:

We owned a custom built aft-cabin Flicka. Displacement was 6,000 lb, LOD 20’, LOA 27’ and the beam was 8’. The mast was 33’tall measured from the cabin top. Ground tackle was as follows:

  1. 25 lb Original CQR

  2. 125 ft 5/16" chain

  3. 150 ft 1/2" rode (nylon 3-strand)

We used a nylon snubber to secure the chain with a taught-line hitch. The end of the snubber was secured to the boat by taking several turns on a bronze bollard followed by a half hitch.

The Flicka has a very high bow, unlike the FC 22. In 12 ft of water and winds gusting to 35 mph, we held fast by deploying about 100 ft of chain. If the winds were higher, we would deploy 125 ft of chain and 25 ft of rode. We never dragged because of the amount of chain deployed and the weight of the chain.

To recovered our anchor, the first mate would sit on the shuttle hatch and slowly pull the chain aboard. Once the boat started to move, pulling in the chain was relatively easy. To break the anchor out, we used a short piece of rope. The was tied to the anchor chain with a taught-line hitch, then several turns were taken around one of our mast winches. The Chesapeake has mud bottom and we were always able to win the anchor in this fashion.

The FC 22 is a great boat and I believe it sails better than a BCC. I had an opportunity to sail one and was impressed.


P.S. Please post photos.

I had 150’ of 1/4" G4 on my Nor’sea @ 8500 lbs. with a 35lb CQR. I think you’d be best off with the 5/16" on yer 26’ and work on a way to get some of yer chain further aft towards the mast, but easily accesible when needed.

Sleep is more important to me than reducing weight in the bow.

Jo Anne,

Do you have a standard 22’ FC? If so, I’ve always seen quoted displacements around 7500lbs. How sure are you of that 12,000 figure?

yep- she’s a falmouth 26

OK, now we are dancing. I think you need a 35 lb plow anchor and 5/16 hi-test chain to hold a Falmouth 26. The more chain the better.


… and a windlass :frowning:

I did see a nice ABI style at Sailorman in Ft Lauderdale a few weeks ago… might be there still. $1k though… but if it’s the real deal could be a good find. Ask Stewart (#126) He found an ABI recently… might have a lead for you.

Also food for thought, underwater weight is about half of that same weight, topside.

It blew me away, when diving on my 35lb CQR, once, underwater it was quite light and easy to lift and move away from rocks and hand-set it in sand, near-by .

fwiw - the rocna 15 (kg) is a 33 lb anchor.

i spoke with reps for columbus mckinnon and crosby group- they make alloy shackles- there is no alloy shackle that will match to the 1/4" G4. smallest shackle would be a 3/8 for a 5/16" G4

as for sailorman, i knew thats where this was going!

any more recs for a manual windlass?

The very best manual anchor windless that I have ever seen is what Roger found in NZ , and mounted that on deck on Xiphias, congratulations to Mark Fuller , for inheriting that “bullet proof” windless.

The sad part is that , or so I am told, is that Maxwell bought out that patent, and that wonderful NZ windless is no longer in production , drats ,!

Roger, thus has heaps of anchoring and winch info , trust his advice ! You can see Roger’s Austrailian female crew using that windless in his video , if you need to see that one in action.

Sometimes , I have considered my anchoring system, as like a garage, that I would park my expensive car, into , yes I would have a 60 K garage , if I had a 100 K BMW .

Ask Pete Langly of PT Foundry, just how important a good anchoring system is, his parent’s sailboat was lost in the South Pacific in a typhoon, because their anchoring system failed, and they had to shift to another spot .

I agree with Roger, Ben, Rod, and others–5/16" is much better for its catenary. If you plan to cruise in those wilder parts of the world where the wind can come up at 2AM (or when you’re not on board!)at 40k or more, then I think you’ll regret going with 1/4" chain. 40k gusts aren’t all that uncommon and if there’s any fetch, the waves can straighten out your chain and jerk directly on the anchor. Not good!

You might consider a 2nd hand SL555 manual windlass. Maxwell (NZ) and Muir (Australia) made similar windlasses. The ABI version in bronze is a lot heavier. We picked up a used SL555 in NZ–a friend was going to an electric windlass and sold it for just a few hundred dollars. It’s 2 speed, and handles rope/chain rodes with a combination gypsy. Our bower anchor (35 lb CQR) is set up with all 5/16" BBB chain (235’). I have used the rope side of the windlass when kedging off sand banks several times.

We started out cruising with the lighter SL510 windlass and found out that it was a poor choice. In a 40k Chubosco in the Sea of Cortez at 2AM, it wasn’t powerful enough to pull in some chain so I could retie the snubber. So I let out more chain, tied on a new snubber, and decided to upgrade the windlass! The SL510 is designed around bicycle brake parts (Bendix?) that were prone to rusting, and don’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Dan Shaula BCC 58

Anchor talk is always fun…

We saw a 60 knot burst (multiple locations verified speed) come through here a month ago. It was the proverbial white squall. The full blow lasted about 3 minutes, then it settled into 35 knots steady for a few hours. I was sitting in about 7’ water on 60’ of 5/16" and a single 35lb CQR. I drug about 10’ while the anchor set deep I assume. One boat next to me drug over 100 yards in about 30 seconds. Others drug until they bumped the soft sandy bottom.

Ya never know when these little fronts will come through and pack that kind of wind. I sure was happy I had about 9:1 out!

I have a SL555 that I rebuilt last year, I have 275’ of 5/16 HT chain on a 20kg Rocna. I love the windlass, rebuild parts were avalible fron John McMaster For years I was hauling by hand, I do not miss it.

I found a very interesting web site from France.

Go to rode body and have some fun. He offers a number of excel spread sheets that calculate all kinds of scenarios re: anchor rodes.

The first part has a wind force calculator. Based on ABYC data. He concludes that data has about a 3x safety factor based on actual measurements on boats and analysis of different 40’ boat profiles, head on and at 30 degrees off the wind. So I used a boat length of 30’ (instead of 26’)and reduced that by 50% for my calculations. I noted this based one of the tables he has for a boat head on to the wind vs. 30 degrees off the wind (yaw), the force doubles. So for my max force I doubled what the wind force calculator gave me. (Which was reduced by 50%)

This guy really gets into the math. A very good read! His conclusions recommend chain and line combo. Don’t worry, he summarizes. And the spread sheets are easy to use.

So I took his spread sheets and ran 2 scenarios for a 26’ Falmouth. one all 5/16 chain, and one 100’ of 1/4HT and 1/2? line.

I came away from this endeavor with these conclusions that were new to me or reinforced some of my previous conclusions.

All chain puts much higher dynamic force on the whole system. If you were to use all chain 5/16, it may as well be HT because of the increased dynamic loads it incurs and the next size up for an anchor. Now we are really getting into some weight.

It?s good to have at least 25-30? or more of nylon line payed out with the chain. This really takes some dynamic load out of the system.

When the wind gets up to 30kts, it?s time for a second anchor. With all chain you will be easily surpassing the WLL of 5/16 BBB when yawing.

The first section of the chain as it comes off the bow adds very little to the centenary effect of the chain weight. So it may as well be line.

So enough for now. I have posted all this and more over on Shanti?s blog at

Have fun!

This thread prompted me to research the gound tackle topic a bit deeper also.

It appears to me that current generation anchors and recent tests are challenging conventional wisdom. Heavy chain and cantenary don’t help much unless you are in deep water so no need to carry the extra weight. Go with less and lighter HT chain. 100 ft of 1/4 inch G7 weighs 84 lbs and has a WLL of 3160 lbs., more than 5/16 in BBB. Spend the weight saving on a larger anchor.

Here is another: Nylon is the wrong rope for an anchor rode on a vessel our size. Too much stretch promotes yawing and chafing; internally generated heat robs line strength. Multi-plait polyester is preferable.

Steve Dashew, Morgans Cloud and Rocna Knowledge Base websites elaborate at length.

I draw my own conclusions in a couple of recent entries on my blog.