You do not have to be a sailor or a sailing enthusiast to know that every boat/ship needs an anchor and reliable anchoring equipment. You are most likely to imagine a huge hook-like tool that is linked to the boat by a chain. What you might be tempted to think is that all anchor chains are the same. The truth of the matter is that an anchor chain can come in various grades and types. It is vital for any sailor to choose the right anchor chain.
Without an anchor chain, you expose yourself and your ship/boat to great danger. If you are in the middle of the sea and you find yourself in a situation where you need to dock because your ship/boat cannot move ahead, you will need an anchor chain that is reliable and long enough to get your boat anchored in the deep waters. Without one, your vessel will drift off with the water current.
Types of anchor chains
An anchor chain has its specifications and features that enhance effectiveness. Some of the most popular are galvanized-steel windlass chains, anchor chains made of low-carbon steel and heat-treated high-test chains made from high carbon-manganese alloy. High Test chains are popular because of their high load limit and strength. They are thus great for really heavy anchors used on big ships.
How long should an anchor chain be?
To determine whether you have the right length, you need to put a couple of things into consideration. For one, you need to keep in mind the distance from the bow of your ship/boat to the surface of the water. It is easy not to remember this, but it is actually very important. You also need to consider the depth of the water on which you will sail. Use a navigation chart to know the maximum depth. There are ships that have the technology to indicate this information, thus making it easy for the crew to know whether there is enough chain to get the anchor to the sea bed.
You further need to consider the maximum height of tides. The seas and oceans do not have the same depth all the time. In fact water levels change at different times of the day. You thus need to know the highest tide heights of different seasons and days. Once you know the height, you add it to the total length of the line reel. With the depth of the water in hand, you can go ahead and get a chain with a 7:1 scope in mind. This means the chain should be seven times longer than the water depth. This is one of the estimation ways to get the optimum length.
Once you have the chain you need, you need to constantly inspect and maintain it. Keeping it in condition will prevent you from losing your anchor at sea. All the links should evenly fit in the wildcat’s recess. Be sure that the end if the chain is attached to your vessel or boat. This is usually done using a spliced-on section of a line that can reach the deck. If you do it all right, you can set sail and not worry about drifting away in the roaming waters.
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