Poor Anchor Chain Maintenance

James Sterling

Do yourself a favor and properly maintain your chain.  While I've been working on various other refits in the last couple of years we've anchored in fairly shallow waters and not used much of our chain.  We had never pulled it completely out since purchase 3 years ago.  When I finally got down to chain replacement on my list I found myself in a nightmare.  After pulling a good part out, everything stopped.  Closer inspection revealed terribly rusted chain that was kinked and wouldn't come out.  I hammered on links for 2 weeks removing a few feet at a time and then realized the remainder was balled up into what I can only describe as a dragons egg.  Welded together by rust.  I tried everything.  Finally I resorted to soaking it all in 10 gallons of white vinigar with salt for 3 days.  Some progress was made but not enough to get it out.  It was wedged tightly in the locker and would not lift out.  I thought about it a day or two and got creative.  I ran a hook snubber line up thorugh the hawsepipe from the anchor locker and attached it to the primary halyard.  I winched with what I estimate was about 300lbs of force and the whole mess broke free.  At that point, I had to look at it kind of like a diamond cutter as to which link to cut to start making headway.   Then I went to work with a battery powered angle grinder, cutting a section at a time and pulling bits of the mess out through locker access to the forward compartment into a bucket.  This took a lot of time and taught me to take care of the chain.  New chain was eventually marked and installed.  It will come out yearly to reverse and maintain.  Take care of your chain.

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