MangoCats

Muddy anchor chain cleaner?

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Say you liked anchoring in a particular bay, except for the fact that the anchor chain comes up covered in noxious black goo.  The goo sprays off pretty well with water, and a mild brushing completely cleans it, but if you don't do those steps, you get the stuff all over the foredeck and anything else that touches the anchor chain (hand pulled...)

I suppose a windlass is one option - though the works would still get slimed and need cleaning.  I've been thinking that I could T off of the raw water intake for the head and use something like a marine AC cooling water pump to deliver pressurized raw water to a hose in the chain locker that I could use to try to mitigate the onboarding of mud, plus a couple of brushes and it would save unpacking and repacking the shore water hose when we get back to the dock.

Any other ideas/suggestions?

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Google "anchor chain washdown", lots of successful systems described on cruisers' forums.

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They make "something like a marine AC cooling water pump". They call it a washdown pump and it's designed specifically to generate higher pressure and flow than you'd use in any other application. You can go further with dedicated chain sprayer nozzles mounted on your bow but that gets (even more) expensive quickly. I just use a coil hose and spray nozzle kept in my chain locker to spray the whole mess down by hand as I bring the chain up.

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I have one of these, which sometimes can be found at eBay or used chandlery. You could fabricate similar with toilet bowl brushes. Mounts to boat hook, scrubs as chain comes in thru it, I work it at/below the water’s surface

AAACD2E1-3DC9-48A3-B02A-F6EF50719380.jpeg

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I deal with this on the Chesapeake.  Not a big deal.  When pulling up the anchor when the chain hits the surface start swishing it around.  Pull it up a littlr further and swish some more.  Splash the anchor a few times and all the black gunk is gone. 

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That doesn't work so good up here in the PNW. The stuff's like glue.

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5 hours ago, Ringmaster said:

I deal with this on the Chesapeake.  Not a big deal.  When pulling up the anchor when the chain hits the surface start swishing it around.  Pull it up a littlr further and swish some more.  Splash the anchor a few times and all the black gunk is gone. 

Great in theory. Works in some ideal anchorages. Ones without wind, current, obstructions above and below the surface, etc. All too often one lacks the luxury of any extra time between when the anchor lets go of the bottom and clunks into the roller.

An aggressive washdown pump is the general solution.

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On 4/22/2019 at 6:48 AM, Max Rockatansky said:

I have one of these, which sometimes can be found at eBay or used chandlery. You could fabricate similar with toilet bowl brushes. Mounts to boat hook, scrubs as chain comes in thru it, I work it at/below the water’s surface

Gotta love the Google.  Saved this little DIY beauty in my "To Do" folder:

https://raindogps34.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/the-chain-scrubber/

 

chain_scrubber2.jpg

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Give your rode some TLC. :)

 

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On 4/26/2019 at 2:36 PM, Ringmaster said:

I deal with this on the Chesapeake.  Not a big deal.  When pulling up the anchor when the chain hits the surface start swishing it around.  Pull it up a littlr further and swish some more.  Splash the anchor a few times and all the black gunk is gone. 

This actually gave me a good laugh.  You could be swishing away all summer long employing this technique in Maine.  In this case there really is no substitute for a washdown hose at the bow so you can blast the mud off and thoroughly clean the chain.  Also, those that don't use all chain may have a somewhat easier time with mud, no having a fair bit of chain dragging around during the lower portion of the tide cycle.  Since I have all chain... there is a lot of very sticky mud to deal with.

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Dyneema instead of nylon: it barely floats, so the rope stays off the bottom.

Note that the coast guard is swapping chain for dyneema on bouys because dyneema lasts longer.

Note that oil platforms are anchored using dyneema because dyneema is more resistant to chafe from sand and mud than chain.

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16 hours ago, carcrash said:

Note that oil platforms are anchored using dyneema because dyneema is lighter weight than chain.

FIFY. (I’m a drilling engineer btw.) And drilling rigs have chain at the bottom (500’) to resist chafe and keep weight at bottom to keep the rode at proper angle  

i think UHWMPE is the greatest thing since sliced bread but as an anchor rode, no. You want some stretch in yer system, and you want the above regards chafe and catenary. 

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Max, not according to what I've been reading in SNAME journals over the past year or so: its because in sand and mud Dyneema lasts longer than chain, and this was the result of specific tests, not simply "what I've seen before." The tests involved oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and in Indonesia that were re-anchored every 6-12 months.

The lack of stretch meant there was very little movement of the rope within the mud, reducing friction and wear within the rope.

There is no catenary when the anchor is at highest load. So using chain so its better in light wind while being much, much weaker when you really need it? Does not make much reasonable sense, even thought we all have decades of experience thinking its needed. There are millennia of believing in magic, but we don't do that any more, right?

All chain rode does not stretch either: a family was lost anchored at Bishop Rock using all chain when the bow of the boat failed. Again, sure when you don't need it, the chain lifts off the bottom reducing impact, and a snubber works well too until there is much load at all.

Once you really, really need the anchor, the rode is straight, and any snubber completely extended and therefore worthless.

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But also, Max, I assume that drilling is like all other forms of engineering and technology: things are done because of procedure and process, not because all procedures and processes are optimal and perfectly up to date. Research continues. I am speaking of state-of-the-art research, not normal practice today.

So I do not disagree with your statement that you see lots of chain on the end of dyneema hawsers.

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In the realm of to-good-to-be true would be an all dyneema rode. But isn't the limiting factor the anchor itself - as in: the anchor design necessitates horizontal (or near horizontal) force to be effective? ..enter the catenary.

But actually, I'm kinda thinking the opposite, the anchor works horizontally not so much to maximize hold (although I suppose it does) but the sailor needs to retrieve it. Pulling straight up trips it - so 90 degrees is just the switch we need (on all the anchors I'm used to).

So.. even if an all dyneema rode can work structurally (and surely it can), what would the attached anchor look like?

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1 hour ago, floater said:

So.. even if an all dyneema rode can work structurally (and surely it can), what would the attached anchor look like?

Without the catenary induced horizontal force your anchor will need to 'look like' a mooring....like the steel counterweight from a large forktruck or a several ton discarded ship's anchor. Both inconvenient to store on deck.

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what. no lightweight anchor for my lightweight rode?

the analysis above (Alain Frassee) does have a solution. But it involves attaching a kellet (which is heavy) to yeah, get the rode on the bottom. So, all of this seems kinda obvious and common sense - but I was branching off of carcrash's insight above that - somebody - had actually tried something like this in real life..

fig47.jpg

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13 hours ago, El Boracho said:

Without the catenary induced horizontal force your anchor will need to 'look like' a mooring....like the steel counterweight from a large forktruck or a several ton discarded ship's anchor. Both inconvenient to store on deck.

you know, thinking more about this, Frassee has a pretty good answer for a ULDB anchoring solution (move the locker aft). It is this: chain weight is the thing, not length. So, carcrash's notion of having a short chain should work (essentially just the length of the foredeck) as long as it's heavy. And for your fear of keeping the rode off the "sharp bits" on the bottom - fuck it - you can't do better than dyneema anyway..

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8 minutes ago, floater said:

you know, thinking more about this, Frassee has a pretty good answer for a ULDB anchoring solution (move the locker aft). It is this: chain weight is the thing, not length. So, carcrash's notion of having a short chain should work (essentially just the length of the foredeck) as long as it's heavy. And for your fear of keeping the rode off the "sharp bits" on the bottom - fuck it - you can't do better than dyneema anyway..

Depends...depends...best to be flexible. Dyneema with a short chain is asking for trouble as there will be little dampening of sharp loads. For me that would be when the boat tacks at anchor. The drilling platform experience is interesting, but only from the perspective of abrasion. Drilling platforms do not wander about the anchorage all day and night, nor do the operators have much concern about convenient retrieval of the anchor. Waking up to the rode tangled around coral, rocks, wrecks and the rudder is less than fun. I think vertical, short and around the rudder post is my favorite. So plenty to recommend enough chain to avoid that chore. Anchored alone over a soft bottom I very often use an aluminum fortress with 30 feet of chain and a very long nylon rode. Dyneema could work as well. Versus in coral or rock it is all chain, nylon snubber, and monitored to be as short as possible for the conditions.

I don't think your statement "chain weight is the thing, not length" is accurate. You need some balance of weight and length for the catenary property to work out right. Otherwise we would simply fit a kellet to the anchor stock.

I am moving my chain locker to the base of the mast, over the front of the keel. The windlass will be at the aft end of the foredeck. That is where the chain lives on crossings anyway so it will eliminate having to move it. One downside is the windlass motor will be a bit of a headbanger. And the chain might smell sometimes, but that will just remind the 'crew' to clean it.

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19 minutes ago, El Boracho said:

Depends...depends...best to be flexible. Dyneema with a short chain is asking for trouble as there will be little dampening of sharp loads. For me that would be when the boat tacks at anchor. The drilling platform experience is interesting, but only from the perspective of abrasion. Drilling platforms do not wander about the anchorage all day and night, nor do the operators have much concern about convenient retrieval of the anchor. Waking up to the rode tangled around coral, rocks, wrecks and the rudder is less than fun. I think vertical, short and around the rudder post is my favorite. So plenty to recommend enough chain to avoid that chore. Anchored alone over a soft bottom I very often use an aluminum fortress with 30 feet of chain and a very long nylon rode. Dyneema could work as well. Versus in coral or rock it is all chain, nylon snubber, and monitored to be as short as possible for the conditions.

I don't think your statement "chain weight is the thing, not length" is accurate. You need some balance of weight and length for the catenary property to work out right. Otherwise we would simply fit a kellet to the anchor stock.

I am moving my chain locker to the base of the mast, over the front of the keel. The windlass will be at the aft end of the foredeck. That is where the chain lives on crossings anyway so it will eliminate having to move it. One downside is the windlass motor will be a bit of a headbanger. And the chain might smell sometimes, but that will just remind the 'crew' to clean it.

good stuff, no doubt your advice is sound and your solution excellent. and it's completely intuitive that much chain is good to avoid sailing at anchor. Further true that having a bunch of slack nylon rode floating around a nightmare (been there, done that). Still, the Fraysee analysis is cool. A couple quotes:

"..an all-chain rode is both dangerous for the anchoring tackle and prone to dragging. On the other hand, an all-nylon rode is safe, but it needs very high scopes that can be incompatible with tight anchorages."

"A short chain + long line rode can be considered as a derivation of the Line + Kellet version, in which we replace the kellet with some length of chain. For a given chain weight, a short and big chain is better than a long and thin one, because it puts the weight closer to the anchor."

"..the Long Chain + Short Nylon Line is the (overall) winner, except for small boats that have on-board weight problems (aha!). Actually, there is no boundary between the mixed-rode versions: one can choose any Chain/Nylon mix inside a wide range, say, from 40/60 to 80/20, with no significant performance differences"

And, as for sailing at anchor - he has a solution for that too: fig235a.jpg

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3 hours ago, bacq2bacq said:


I'm new to this thread, but man, using that thing must be painful

Not so... you attach the brush  to a boathook, put the chain thru the brush, and stand on the front of the boat, keeping the brush just under the water as you take in the chain, or slide the brush u/down the chain as the chain is coming up, it’s not difficult...

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Max, you'll have to excuse my schoolboy humour which clearly underwhelmed.  The dyneema discussion being about "jerk" ie, the first derivative of acceleration, and the prospect of my "chain" being caught in your demonic torture device was just too much for me...

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On 5/29/2019 at 10:14 AM, floater said:

 

good stuff, no doubt your advice is sound and your solution excellent. and it's completely intuitive that much chain is good to avoid sailing at anchor. Further true that having a bunch of slack nylon rode floating around a nightmare (been there, done that). Still, the Fraysee analysis is cool. A couple quotes:

"..an all-chain rode is both dangerous for the anchoring tackle and prone to dragging. On the other hand, an all-nylon rode is safe, but it needs very high scopes that can be incompatible with tight anchorages."

"A short chain + long line rode can be considered as a derivation of the Line + Kellet version, in which we replace the kellet with some length of chain. For a given chain weight, a short and big chain is better than a long and thin one, because it puts the weight closer to the anchor."

"..the Long Chain + Short Nylon Line is the (overall) winner, except for small boats that have on-board weight problems (aha!). Actually, there is no boundary between the mixed-rode versions: one can choose any Chain/Nylon mix inside a wide range, say, from 40/60 to 80/20, with no significant performance differences"

And, as for sailing at anchor - he has a solution for that too: fig235a.jpg

FWIW - more stuff on riding sails.. The winner kind of a cool design: "over the boom" (#3). https://www.practical-sailor.com/issues/45_8/product_update/Rest-Easy-with-a-Riding-Sail_12626-1.html?ET=practicalsailor:e40781:2172099a:&st=email&s=p_Waypoints080319

saildesign.jpg

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Note that the coast guard is swapping chain for dyneema on bouys because dyneema lasts longer.

Note that oil platforms are anchored using dyneema because dyneema is more resistant to chafe from sand and mud than chain.

Cite your sources.

As for sailing at anchor - riding sails are not a good solution. Anchoring under foot is a much better approach.

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El Boracho,

   I like your thinking on ground tackle storage locations.  Something like this (pic below)? 

 Because we use our Soverel 36 for cruising, we wanted to minimize the weight in the rather fine bow.  The mast steps about a foot behind the main bulkhead and I built a chain locker that extends to about 18" above the bilge and looks like the rest of the cabinetry.  Chain likes to stack vertically anyway, so I just let it (the cabinet is narrow and tall).  The lid of that locker is hinged and latches onto gaskets to keep the odor out of the cabin.  The chain leads from the underside of the deck into the locker via a piece of 2" PVC hose.  The hose is flexible enough to let me remove the lid of the locker if necessary to knock down the occasional castle.

 On deck I have a 4" wide "chain trough" lined with UHMW channel (readily available at 4" x 1" x 1/4" thick).  I use a couple of pieces of teak along each side to secure the channel.  The chain is suspended off the deck between the end of the forward cabin and the chain stopper on the foredeck.  The chain has never dragged across the deck there in years of use.

   We've been very happy with the setup.  The only downside is that we have to move the chain out of the trough at anchor so we can open the forward hatch.  We move it to the rail after the anchor is secured and the chain is  secured in the stopper on the foredeck.  When cruising, one side deck usually is fairly full of dinghy masts, rolled awnings and water/gas carboys, so the chain is lead from part way down the anchor chain trough, to the rail on that side of the boat, then along the toenail to the bow. Takes a few seconds.
   And yes, I wish we didn't have to store stuff on the sidekick, but that's the result of hauling more stuff than your boat can nicely store! 

Oh, and yeah, the boat is in my backyard being refit for another cruise, hence the tropical ocean backdrop.

 

IMG_5803_(1).jpg

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Nice! I had not considered simply putting the UHMW directly on and over the hatch. I'm going to think about that trick.

(Why not run the anchors out to the street for hurricane mooring? Heh.)

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Boreal build an anchor locker just in front of the mast, they put the windless at the foot of the mast.  It's then also used to hoist the main.  There are some pictures here.

https://www.sailfeed.com/2016/04/boreal-4447-a-bulletproof-aluminum-centerboard-cruiser-for-high-and-low-latitudes/

There are some interesting articles on the Rocna website about, chain/rope/angel weights and how much of what might work.  You can waste a lot of time over there...

http://kb.rocna.com/kb/Main_Page

A dyneema anchor rode feels all wrong, but they probably said that about aluminium masts.  Perhaps we're all getting old.  The difference might be that your drilling rig is held pretty stationary by multiple anchors, and your yacht wanders about on a single anchor.

My experience of mud and rope is that the rope holds enough mud to stink and is very hard to clean.  Chain picks up a load of mud, but can be completely cleaned and then doesn't stink.  Everyone's mud is different...

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Dyneema anchor rode would be fine if you used a big nylon snubber. Otherwise the jerking loads would be just as bad as an all chain rode without a snubber.

 

 

 

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With dyneema you'd almost need a reel winch. Even on a small boat that would normally haul the anchor by hand the dyneema would be too small and slippery to grip.

Connecting the dyneema to a nylon line will require some thought. Maybe eye splices with thimbles and a shackle or swivel. Something more graceful would be nice though..

Theoretically chain + enough nylon to manage surge and snatch + dyneema to adjust the scope could be the cat's meow.

Till then It's chain & nylon for this Luddite.

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When I first got into multi-hull cruising I did an experiment with a floating rode. Bottom line ;-), IMO, the faster an anchor rode sinks the better. My trial was a week long cruise in a place with strong tidal currents and the weather included strong and gusty winds. The problems were associated with the rode capturing boat bits and then getting into interesting relationships with the boat, the wind and the current. Interesting enough that I went right back to nylon.

I've met folks and shared anchorages with some who have had better experiences. I'm sure it can work well in the right environment. Still I wonder if some users may be trying hard to make the thing work despite the inherent problem. For instance, I shared a number of good anchorages with a boat that was using floating rode. Over dinner discussions the story was that it was wonderful and there were never any problems. I noticed that they engaged in regular and often complicated efforts to free their rudder from their rode. It didn't surprise me that they never considered these evolutions to be problematic. They were unusually hardy folk. Less intrepid reporters might tell a different tale. 

I don't know how quickly Dyneema sinks. It may not be an issue but it might be worth keeping in mind.

 

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Dyneema floats SG .98 I think.

 

Meaning when the tide turns you're going to get it round your rudder and possibly the keel if you have a bulb.  Even worse you could get it round someone else's rudder.  I need another Malt before bed just thinking about it.

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And when you yank on it to get it free, you know the rudder and/or keel will give way first.

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Quote

Muddy anchor chain cleaner?

Foredeck .........

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On 9/8/2019 at 1:47 PM, El Boracho said:

Nice! I had not considered simply putting the UHMW directly on and over the hatch. I'm going to think about that trick.

(Why not run the anchors out to the street for hurricane mooring? Heh.)

It did help that the fwd hatch on Arcturus is flush with the deck, but one could probably still rig a run over a raised hatch.

Your hurricane mooring comment is closer to truth than you know.  I had installed telephone pole-type screw anchors in four locations around the boat and those two lines on the bow in the picture are rigged because this was the day before last year's near miss from hurricane Irma.   I could also have deployed the plow to handle storm surge!  

  Of course, we are 30 miles from the coast and with a couple hundred feet of altitude, so the risk of that was pretty low.  Trees, on the other hand, are bad news in this situation...

To help keep on thread, by the base of the port pulpit stanchion one can see the bronze ball valve and garden-hose connection for the anchor wash.  We also have a teak strip across the deck behind the anchor areas to help keep the muddy wash water off the rest of the foredeck.  From the picture one can see a gap in the middle from when we removed an old windlass.  Pluggin that is part of the refit.

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