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Eliminating chain noise

May 16, 2017 Boat Maintenance ,Technology

Do you anchor mainly on your chain? Does your vessel ‘sail’ back and forth in strong winds, with the chain stretched out tight? Is the chain pulling hard on the winch? Does the noise of the chain resonating through the boat drive you crazy? Use a bridle or a snubber.

A bridle takes the strain off the chain rode, offloading the gypsy on the windlass and reduces the stress on the windlass deck joint. The load is shared by the deck cleats that are designed for high loads. There is no noise, no chain jerking and snagging on the foredeck.

If the bridle’s long enough/and or has enough stretch it can absorb the shock loads from waves and wind gusts.

With a long bridle the chain is lowered below the waterline and offers better effective scope and additional shock absorption.

It’s often suggest that using all chain rode the catenary effect from the sagging chain from its weight will provide sufficient shock absorption. This might be true for large ships, but on a cruising vessel the catenary effect from the chain does not provide significant shock absorption. You only have to look at the chain shape under water in a 25-knot breeze to see that the catenary effect is no longer a factor because the chain is oriented in a straight line.

Boat Illustration 002 Layers (Small)

Different boats need different lengths of bridles depending on the configuration of the bow, cleats, etc. I’d recommend 16mm Nylon rope as it has good stretch characteristics.

Some boat owners prefer a single line snubber that goes over the bow roller. A chafe guard is advised if there is a risk of chafing. Others prefer to share the load between the two forward cleats.

The length really depends a lot on the type of boat and the use it will get.  If it’s generally only anchored in sheltered water then a short snubber that only extends say a metre over the roller is fine as it’s only there to eliminate chain noise.

For unprotected and deep anchorages, a longer snubber to take some shock loading is preferable.  Maybe 3m past the roller?

There are various chain hooks on the market. The eye grab hook is very popular.

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