Chain Locker

The sales listing on this boat (Swftsure Yachts, Seattle, WA) claimed the following:

30kg Bruce anchor with 350' 5/16" HT chain

Spade anchor with 50' chain and 300' 1" line rode

When inspecting the boat it was impractical to even look inside the chain locker because of the added boards in the doorway.

Appearances are deceptive. It didn't look like it, but when we dragged it out alongside the boat there was about 350' of 5/16 HT chain on the Bruce anchor. The Spade anchor is attached to 15' of 5/16" and the bitter end of both chains are connected together with a 20' piece of 1/2" line. The first 50' to 75' of chain is rusty, so we might trim that off rather than having it re-galvanized.

Chain and anchor rope are expensive, so this is disappointing. The Spade anchor is considered to be better than the Bruce. Based on the measurements, it is either a Spade 120 or 140 model. The dimension charts indicate that the SP-120 is appropriate for a boat of up to 35,000 lbs. Veritas weighted in at 34,000 lbs. on the travel lift. Because the Spade anchor is highly regarded it will become the bow primary anchor. The Bruce will be sold or donated. It is somewhat difficult to manage, being too wide to drop easily past the bobstay.

Again appearances are deceptive. This boat had a lot of cosmetic work done while the problems continued below the surface. Go to Bobstay and Deck Leaks to see how boat projects expand. The bulkhead for the chain locker extends below the floor of the chain locker and closes off a compartment. There were no limber holes or other openings to allow water drain from the compartment. We cut some because the bulkhead was wet. We found that the compartment was filled with water. After several days we began the process of removing the lower portion of the bulkhead to open the compartment.

Two hundred feet of chain is sufficient for most of our use. About 275' appears to be in good condition. The appropriate line to use on 5/16" chain is 5/8" three stand nylon. The custom divider for the locker was overbuilt and limited access. Still, the space available is too small to have both a chain and a secondary rope. By extending the existing spurling pipe we can move the chain aft about 2 feet and store it under the forward berth.

Before going further we decided to test this arrangement. Although there is enough room for the chain it tends to pile up. Even after cutting some scraps of plywood to make slide into the area the chain stops falling into the locker. At that point it falls off the chainwheel and the chain has to be pulled back into the space by hand (rather than sliding on its own) each time it piles up.

Even dropping the 350' chain in the original locker seems to be problematic. There simply was not enough space and a previous owner had added boards in front of the doors and to the divider for the secondary rode. You could not see inside the locker. Forget servicing the winch or flaking the chain.

The solution we found was a compromise. About, 2/3 of the chain can be stored in the new space while 1/3 (about 100') is stored in the original chain locker. Normaly we will not need more than 100' of chain to anchor properly. If we anchor in deeper water and need to use more chain it will feed without difficulty from the new space. When we raise the anchor first 2/3 of the chain will need to be manually manual pulled into the new space.

To protect the hull from the chain we added a layer of triaxial glass cloth using epoxy resin and coated this with gelcoat. The edges and the partial bulkhead to contain the chain are made from Cousa.