Line and Gear
Depending upon the size and type of your boat, and where you anchor--your
choices for an anchor line are
either an all-rope anchor rode, a combination of
rope and chain, or all chain.
The best all around line for anchoring is nylon
in three-strand twist.
Three-strand line can absorb shock and the constant tugging associated with anchoring much better than braided line or chain alone. Chain may also be used,
especially in anchorages that are primarily rock or coral, which may cut a nylon
line. A length of chain should be used between the anchor and a longer length of
line. The chain will add weight to set your anchor without making it too heavy
to lift manually, while serving to exert a horizontal pull on the anchor to set
Nylon Three-Strand line is the leading choice for use as an anchoring line. Lines
generally come in a "soft" or "medium" lie. Soft lines are generally softer to
the touch, and loosely woven. These aren't as good as medium or hard lines for
anchoring, as they are more prone to unraveling and chafing. Tightly wrapped
lines are the best choice for anchoring.
Lines that have been treated with a wax-like coating are available. These lines help
the line resist water/salt absorption. To help keep your lines in good shape,
clean them from time to time by soaking them in soapy water. Never use bleach,
as it can break down the line.
Chain may be used instead of nylon line for anchoring. Chain has several benefits,
including added weight, chafe and wear resistance, and high strength. It also
lowers the angle of pull on the anchor, which helps it to set more firn\mly into the bottom.
Chain is generally found made of galvanized steel, though you can find stainless steel
and vinyl coated chain, which is designed to be non-marring to your deck.
comes in three general varieties: "Proof Coil" is the most common, and is
adequate for most marine uses. "BBB" ("Triple B" or "3B") chain has thicker,
shorter links than proof chain. BBB is slightly stronger than proof chain, and
is generally used for windlasses. Finally, "Hi-Test" chain is made of hardened
steel, and is stronger and lighter than proof coil. Hi-test chain is favored by
those wishing to avoid carrying too much weight.
Combination Chain and Nylon Line
Combination anchor-rodes consist of both chain and nylon line. You may buy a combination rode, or you may make one yourself. Generally, it is recommended to
have either one foot of chain for each foot of boat length, or to have one pound
of chain for each pound of anchor length. Which ever method you choose, having
more chain than necessary is never a
As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its' weakest link...Make sure that
your anchor and line are attached to each
other with adequate gear. Some lines
come with plastic thimbles or eyes--but metal, either marine-grade stainless
steel or hot-dipped galvanized steel, is best. Swivels and shackles should
inspected regularly for wear, and to ensure that the connections are tight and