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BARGES: All about barges and barging - building, buying, maintaining, equipment, handling on the water, etc.
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TOPIC: Anchor-chain and warp

Anchor-chain and warp 05 May 2020 15:33 #115730

My experience has always been the quality of sleep is directly proportional to the weight of the anchor and the length of chain deployed.

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Anchor-chain and warp 01 May 2020 16:12 #115675

I meant to say Brittany, not Danforth!

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Anchor-chain and warp 01 May 2020 16:09 #115674

> I will also have to get used to Danforth anchors and see how they hold, having used CQRs, a Bruces, and (most recently) a couple of Rocnas. The Rocnas were superb, but you'd have a job to stow one on a barge.

Danforth are not very suitable inland - stocks are a menace! Most consider the most suitable type is a Pool anchor. Historic vessels often use Hall anchors (similar to Pool but less good holding for their weight). I have a horrible Spade anchor that often wins on holding tests at sea, but is very awkward and far less good inland. I chose a Britany as an aft / emergency anchor as it folds flat, has no stock and easily stowed in an aft locker.

Peter

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Anchor-chain and warp 01 May 2020 15:53 #115673

  • Bruce Bosworth
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Thank you all for your advice and opinions. I had no idea when I raised my query that it would cause such controversy. Most of my cruising is on inland waters, but once a year I navigate to Bristol from Sharpness via Portishead. Whenever I go out for more than a short trip to my local pub. I carry a substantial tool kit which includes an angle grinder with a metal cutting blade. Therefore I shall take Balliol's advice and cut the chain should it be necessary.

Thank you again.

Bruce
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Anchor-chain and warp 01 May 2020 15:26 #115672

Perhaps I failed to make myself clear:

First, I don't advocate using "a bit of string" on the bitter end; of course it must be substantial, and my experience is that numerous turns of very strong cord are sufficient. Nor do I advocate (I have seen some sailors do) wrapping the chain itself around the bits; rather, the chain should be held by a claw on a rope strop attached to the bits or to a strong Sampson post .

I acknowledge that all my anchoring experience has been on yachts and catamarans at sea (the biggest being a 60 ton schooner), and yachts are not as massively built as Dutch barges. But I learned a lesson when my yacht club (as they were annually contracted to do) renewed the mooring strop but attached it not to the bits but to the windlass, a large alloy Simpson-Lawrence unit. A few days later in a howling North-Easterly storm, the windlass broke in half and the yacht was severely damaged when it ran aground on rocks. The windlass was designed to raise and lower an anchor, not to hold a boat safe in a gale.

No doubt, I will learn more now that I am returning to canals (although I never had to anchor in my narrowboat 35 year's ago). I will also have to get used to Danforth anchors and see how they hold, having used CQRs, a Bruces, and (most recently) a couple of Rocnas. The Rocnas were superb, but you'd have a job to stow one on a barge.

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Anchor-chain and warp 01 May 2020 13:24 #115668

  • Balliol Fowden
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Trevor Lyons wrote: In

On a yacht I was aboard some years ago, the anchor chain's bitter end was secured by several turns of relatively thin cord which was very easy to cut in an emergency, thereby letting the chain pass easily through the chain pipe.


Sorry Trevor, but that is precisely one of the points I was trying to make.

If the rope/lanyard/cord is not sufficiently strong to reasonably equate with the load capacity of the remainder of the ground tackle then it is a significant weak link in the chain (no pun intended). If the anchor is deployed in an emergency and the cable is not braked before it runs out fully then the attachment could fail. Equally, it is not unknown for a chain to jump the gypsy and run free, thus beyond the control of the windlass brake, particularly if for example the last few metres of chain from the bottom of the locker is rusty with seized links.

Perhaps a lanyard made from as many falls of Kevlar cord as will pass through a chain link might come close, but you would have to see how many falls could be poked through the chain link and then calculate it.

Balliol.
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Anchor-chain and warp 01 May 2020 13:00 #115666

In Liesbosch Dredger v SS Edison [1933] AC 449 a passing steamship fouled the dredger's anchor and sank it. Although the two vessel's hulls did not make contact, this was still classed as a collision; and as the dredger was lawfully anchored, the steamship was held 100% responsible. This would seem the kind of situation where easy separation of boat and chain would be advisable, whether by having a rope bitter end or a handy angle grinder.

On a yacht I was aboard some years ago, the anchor chain's bitter end was secured by several turns of relatively thin cord which was very easy to cut in an emergency, thereby letting the chain pass easily through the chain pipe.

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Anchor-chain and warp 01 May 2020 11:44 #115663

As Balliol there is no regulatory requirement for securing the bitter end for our ships.

(In the Royal Navy the Navigating officer was responsible for ensuring and confirming in the log that the bitter end was secured to ship in the chain locker on build and after refit. We didn't use string - shackle to a dead eye)

Having used Neeltje's anchor in anger as an emergency brake when the engine lost cooling under London Bridge going upstream against a full spring ebb tide I can confirm that the brake on a barge windlass is more than adequate to hold the ship. I don't agree with the suggestion to range cable on deck and wrap around bollards. Use a wire strop or moused bar as a back-up stopper in extremis and check frequently for any movement. In extreme weather it mat be necessary to veer more cable to maintain the catenary - easy to veer on the brake - not so easy from the bitts.
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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
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Anchor-chain and warp 01 May 2020 11:27 #115662

  • Balliol Fowden
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Trevor Lyons wrote: Conventional wisdom has it that an anchor chain should never be fixed to the boat; instead there should be a short length of rope at the chain's end that can be quickly cut to release the anchor in an emergency. .

In a sea-going boat, it's common practise to have an anchor rode consisting of both rope and chain to give some elasticity when at anchor; but on a barge anchoring in shoal waters that's hardly necessary.

(Of course, when anchoring, the strain should not be taken by the windlass; the chain should be made good on the bits).




I am not convinced that there is any regulatory requirement for any quick release mechanism at the bitter end of an anchor cable that applies to our types of ships.

Most would agree that in inland waters the likelihood of needing to release the chain/cable in an emergency is very small. At sea, the reasoning is that if caught for example on a lee shore or in rapidly worsening weather it may be desirable to jettison the ground tackle. That is unlikely in most inland scenarios.

If the bitter end attachment is designed to be quickly released then the bitter end can only really be the last standard chain link. Any shackle or other connection may not pass through the navel pipe or around the windlass gypsy. Indeed many barges have their bitter end retained by a large shackle or enlarged link that specifically will not pass through the navel pipe, so that the bitter end is in effect secured.

Any rope or lanyard that will pass through the last chain link (without any form of shackle) cannot be large enough to be able to take any significant percentage of the designed load of the chain. Any significant load if the cable is allowed to run out to full extent could break the lanyard and release the bitter end inadvertently.

There are various possible designs of chain claws or other quick release devices that could be fitted in a chain locker but these should really be remotely operable from on deck for safety reasons.

Furthermore, if any form of chain stopper, devil's claw or the like has been used on deck to take the load off the anchor windlass then it is perfectly likely that this will jam under excess load.

Personally and if the eventuality arose I would plan to cut the chain on deck just above the hawse pipe. An angle grinder and cutting disc will do this in seconds. Even my little cordless angle grinder cut through several 1/2" bolts the other day in no time at all and without going flat.

Balliol.
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Anchor-chain and warp 30 Apr 2020 20:30 #115655

Conventional wisdom has it that an anchor chain should never be fixed to the boat; instead there should be a short length of rope at the chain's end that can be quickly cut to release the anchor in an emergency. .

In a sea-going boat, it's common practise to have an anchor rode consisting of both rope and chain to give some elasticity when at anchor; but on a barge anchoring in shoal waters that's hardly necessary.

(Of course, when anchoring, the strain should not be taken by the windlass; the chain should be made good on the bits).

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Anchor-chain and warp 30 Apr 2020 16:34 #115654

  • Steve Van de Pas
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I certainly wouldn't, it's not necessary and it weakens the chain as a whole
make sure that the end of the chain is wall-tight, so that it cannot be lost when unwinding and can be pulled loose

I have applied a white link (paint) on 5/10 / and 15M so that I see how much chain remains, so that I can stop unwinding in time
keep in mind that enormous forces occur, especially on current
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res non verba,
Tx for the beer :-)

Anchor-chain and warp 30 Apr 2020 15:02 #115651

  • Bruce Bosworth
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My barge is fitted with a 50kg anchor operated by a hydraulic winch (or manually). The substantial chain is secured to a fixing in the chain locker below the deck. Should there be a warp between the permanent fixing on the hull and the end of the chain?

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