Anchor Chain


We are a couple from Alaska heading out this summer for a two or more year long cruise. We’re thinking of upgrading the anchor system on our 38′ steel Waterline cutter to something stout enough for exposed anchorages in places as extreme as Antarctica or Greenland. Currently we have 100 meters of 5/16 BBB with a 70# Bruce-type anchor and a 45″ CQR as backup. A fellow at Rocna anchors is advising us to go to G40 in 3/8″, and upgrading to a larger, 33kg or 40kg main anchor. My question, other than any comments/suggestions you might have regarding what you might advise us to go with, is do you think we can keep our 3/8 system (mostly our hydraulic anchor winch) by going to a G70 chain? I understand that Steve Dashew has gone to stronger, lighter 3/8 G70 so I wonder how you would think I could best apply this variable for our needs. Also, can you direct me to sources where chain higher in strength than G40 could be purchased?

I would appreciate any thoughts/suggestions you might have as we move towards making our final decision. Your expertise is very appreciated.

Kind regards,

Fred Hiltner

Hi Fred:

There is lots of data on SetSail on this subject. Try to website search window (upper right hand corner). Quick answers:

5/16″ System Seven would be my choice for your boat. Try Washington Chain in Seattle, the Acco distributor. We like the Rocna hook. But I’d go to about 100 lbs/45kg, which will allow much shorter scope anchoring. Be sure and get oversized links welded to the chain ends with your order and use an appropriate shackle.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 25, 2010)

5 Responses to “Anchor Chain”

  1. Rocky Says:

    I used 3/8″ HT on my 38′ Hans Christian with a 45# CQR or a 45# Bruce. Never dragged. Once during a hard (but predicted) bolw I set it up with both anchors on the same rode, one 25′ behind the other, that night it blew 70/70 mph. We stayed put.

  2. Paul Herald Ross Says:

    Hey there,

    Was wondering what you guys would recommend for anchor chain for our 52′ pilothouse schooner. I just found a great windlass which has a 3/8 gypsy and am therefore motivated to make that sized chain work for us, but I’m aware that I can go with G4 or possibly G7 and either might fit (I’m not considering BBB). Basically I’m hoping that G4 will be adequately strong for us even in extreme anchoring situations. What say you? Also, would it be excessive to have 400′ on hand? This would give me all-chain for nearly any depth anchorage, with the option of hooking up to 3/4” nylon when needed.

    Thanks for all the terrific content, books and web!

  3. Steve Dashew Says:

    Howdy Paul:
    G4 chain is probably OK for a 52 footer. But 400 feet seems like a lot of weight in the bow. For our own cruising we have 325′, and only use more than 200′ once a year on average.

  4. Alex Fontes Says:

    Hi Steve/ Linda
    I am looking to upgrade my anchoring system (53ft sailboat, 50k lbs) and am leaning towards a 121Lb Spade. I am now researching the chain to go with it, and am considering Schedule 7.
    Based on what i could gather on this site, i understand you have used 3/8″ G70 on some Sundeers (Jedi), Beowulf, WH and the FPBs 64. One characteristic i couldnt find is whether these chains were galvanized or not?
    Also, if i stick to G70, and given that my yacht is at least 10ft smaller than the smallest of the vessels above, could it be that the 3/8″ is a bit oversized for me?
    Any light you can shed on this will be highly appreciated, thank you and Best Regards!

  5. Steve Dashew Says:

    I would look at quarter inch schedule 4 (grade four, high tensile) as the seven would be overkill for in most cases for what you have described. Any weight saved should go into beefing up the achor size.