Chain Spill Pipe

Hey Guys,

I’m looking for ideas and solutions for chain spill pipes. If anyone has some pics, please post them. Thanks.


Hi Ben, I am not familiar with the the term, “Chain Spill Pipe” , is that the same as a “Chain Down Pipe” which acts as a conduit to guide the chain into the chain locker below, from the deck at the windless ?

I found info on a chain down pipe, from reading the Cruisers Encyclopedia, by Steve Dashew.

I installed one using the Dashew’s advice, and it has worked a treat on Calliste, but of course I built a specialized chainlocker to receive the end of the chain down pipe .

Don’t have piks of it though, sorry .


Hi Ben, removing a dbl post.

Right, thats what I mean, a down pipe (that makes me think of automobile exhaust systems). I’m looking for any ideas for a good one that is removable. Anyone got any pics or ideas?


Douglas, can I ask you about the chain locker you talk about. I hear about setting the chain as far aft as possible to limit weight up front and all its sequellae. I assume your specialised locker was set aft? As I am building hull 126, it may be an opportunity to follow your suggestions. Any advice would be helpful.

Hi Stewart, gee, you get the advantage of designing and installing your chain locker, first hand.

I will try to take some photos of my chain locker and down (spill) pipe, in a few days.

My BCC has a bit different forepeak layout, because I removed the Oak wood sampson posts, and instead, installed bronze bits on deck, with a thwartship maple beam underneith.

I did retro-fit the standard black plastic holding tank, then built the chainlocker just aft of that. This makes my downpipe slant aft.

I stow 300’ of 5/16" HT chain in that locker, un-attended, so I also had to install a water catchment tank, under the head floor.

I used the guidelines advisors in the Dashew’s Cruising Encyclopedia, and the sysem is working well.

Sorry for the double post above, wish I knew how to deleat the second post, drats !


Thanks Douglas, the news I hear from so many folks is get the chain as far back as possible, a couple of photos would be most useful, I am indeed quite fortunate to be able to scratch the brains of so many on the forum. (Including yourself-thanks again)


Iduna’s chain spill pipe is made from 4" diameter black PVC pipe. It is led aft from the chain pipe in the deck at perhaps a 45 degree angle. The chain locker is located about 2 ft forward of the forward portion of the scuttle hatch.

I plan to install a vented door on the front side of the chain locker. Sometimes the chain piles up near the chain spill pipe where it enters the chain locker. This prevents the chain from sliding down the spill pipe. Although there is a removable lid on top of the chain locker, the door will make it easier to move the chain aft in the chain locker. As it is now, we have to remove stored “stuff” above the chain locker to reach the chain.


OK cool thanks Rod, If I ever get this boat in the water, I’ll sail down there for a visit and check it out!

Dredging this thread up again, as I’m looking for more pics and ideas. Specifically: connection to the underside of deck as well as the lower end where it dumps to chain pile.

3 or 4" PVC pipe or hose sounds good, but how does it connect?

I know Douglas has that thru hull coming down which makes for a nice place to attach hose, but without that, I wonder what solutions are out there. Something homemade I bet…


Hi Ben , I don’t see the need that Rod had, to have such a large diameter down pipe, but maybe he has his reasons.

I had a difficult time trying to figure out a down pipe system, on my own.

Guess I got most of my info from the Dashew Cruising Encyclopedia, and that info worked for me.

A bit tricky about a chain locker drain, but that was worked out, too.

As a single hander, I had to have a “self-stow”, system, because more than once I woke up to, being on a v windy, lee shore, and raising the anchor and motoring off was a necessity.

My handheld electric windless control, is just barely reachable from being in the cockpit with one hand on it and the other hand on the tiller, at the same time, and yes that has saved my bacon , more than once.

Ok , so I installed spurs on the prop shaft, too , incase erant lines were in the water, during my emergency exits.

It only takes one time to foul your prop and stop your engine, on a crab pot line, during a big blow, before you decide that spurs are cheap insurance, and yes, that did happen to me, too, more than once, before the spurs installation.

A good anchoring system is worth every penny you put into it, then think of a back-up, too !


Thanks Douglas, i’ll give that book a look and see what I can garner from it. It’s one I’ve never explored before… but heard good things about. Yeah 4" seems big to me, I wanna keep the space clear for access as much as possible. The hole in the deck is only 2" I think, so no need to go much larger than that… I have yet to splice nylon to my chain… thimble fitting will be an issue I think with such a small opening. I do believe Rods boat has the windlass further forward than ours… hence his aft sloping down pipe.

I just glassed over the holes in the bulkhead fwd of the mast to contain the chain water.

What exactly is the SELF STOW you speak of?


I think this pipe is 3"

Hi Ben , what I ment about “self-stow” , is that the chain will come in over the bowsprit roller and self-stow in the chain locker.

That Dashew book has some good guidelines, like have verticle sides on the chain locker, that there should be at least a 2’ drop from the end of the down pipe, that the locker sides should be not too far apart, more like a tall square, verticle column, to prevent the chain castles from falling over and geting tangled when at sea and healed .

I made a plywood box as a chain locker mock-up, then droped the chain in, trying to see how it piled up, and how high it needed to be, to hold the chain.

I also looked at work yard gantry’s that had chain hoists, and buckets to catch the chain as it came off the hoist.

If you are double handed you can have your mate below flaking and stowing the chain, as it comes in, but I didn’t have that help.

Usually I am on the fore deck using a salt water wash down hose in one hand, to rince off the incoming chain, with the electric handheld anchor windless control in the other hand, and the tiller on autopilot.