Monday, September 19, 2011

Marking Chain

Knowing how much rode you have out is essential to proper anchoring. When I had an all-fiber rode I would measure it as deployed, counting the fathoms by arm span. I could time the windlass (about 6 feet per second) but I always loose count. My windlass doesn't like anything attached to the chain, so paint was the most obvious choice. But how to mark 100 feet of chain on-deck without making a mess?
  • Flake out the chain in even loops. In this case, 10-foot lengths fit across the tramp.
  • Pick marking points and temporarily mark with tape. I chose 25, 50, 75, and 100 feet.
  • Collect a box from the dumpster, notch it as needed, and paint away. Plain-old Rustoleum or anything similar will hold-up for years; it chips going through the windlass but remains visible.
  • Just leave the box on-deck until your next visit, to make sure it's dry. No rush.
Easy and fast. Neat too--I painted the chain on the deck in a light breeze with no real risk of over-spray mess.

My 100-foot mark is long because I like to keep the splice off the windlass. It passes fine, but the windlass doesn't grip rope well, so hand tensioning is required.


PS. Not my original idea. I saw it posted somewhere, tried it this past weekend, and deemed it worth sharing. Good boat keeping common sense tip.

2 comments:

  1. Any special kind of Paint?

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  2. No, just ordinary Rustoleum (or in this case Best Deal Hardware's version). I've done this before--the paint chips going through the gypsy but remains quite visible for many years. I don't think epoxy paint would bring any worthwhile advantage.

    (posted edited to add this info)

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