Refit Update – April in Maine

Kelly sews chain markers.

Itching to move parts from our cluttered kitchen and onto the boat, we loaded the car with boxes and tools, and drove the 2 1/2 hours north to Rockland. We’re working outside on a frosty morning in March. It’s one of those days when you’re not quite sure if rain will hit or pass by. But the work is getting accomplished.

Our big “task for the day” was to install the new chain and anchor. Chain is 5/16” Grade 43 “G4” hardened and hot-dipped galvanized carbon steel. Attached to that mouthful of chain is a new 55 pound Spade anchor (pic below) using Crosby G-209A forged shackles. Crosby shackles are the strongest available to fit the 5/16” chain, but are literally the weakest link with a working load limit = 5,333 lbs. (I’m fairly confident that there’s some safety factor in that number).

Using a Sailrite hot knife we cut 4 1/2” long x 1/2” wide pieces of brightly colored nylon webbing. (Paracord Planet) Colors of the rainbow (red, pink, orange, yellow, etc) are now attached every 15 feet (approximately 5 meters), allowing us to know how much chain is out.

On an earlier trip, I dropped the old anchor and rusty chain onto a pallet below the bow. Now, after cleaning out all the dirt and rusty fragments from the locker-depths, Kelly went down the ladder and dragged the newly-marked, spic-and-span chain toward the bow and tied a retrieval line that I’d dropped down through the roller. Because it’s too cold and batteries aren’t connected, I hauled up the new chain, hand-over-hand, to initially attach a new “emergency detachment line” from a padeye below in the chain locker. Since the foredeck is only 12 feet or so off the ground, it really wasn’t too heavy and went up without much fuss.

See earlier post: What A Drag for why we bought new ground tackle. Note also the old cable ties (yellow).

We spent the rest of that day out of the drizzle, snaking wire up through the steering pedestal (power, microphone & NMEA 2K). Fun stuff. Seemingly, roving a wire bundle a measly 4 feet should be a simple task. But so quintessential to everything done on a boat: you transform into a Gumby-like contortionist while blind and using one hand. Why do I love this work so much?! (I really do 🙂 Move another sticky note!

We borrowed a friend’s piece of white-board to mark the milestones, and do a celebratory dance when one little sticky note moves from left to right.

Our lives are deceivingly simple: coffee, work, more coffee, eat, sleep, repeat and look forward to the day when we move back aboard and set off (success!)

In a few days we’ll load up again for the drive north, thereafter expecting to move a few more sticky notes.

Here’s a short list of new items fully-completed recently:

  • Diesel Engine, fuel management, insulation, exhaust
  • Fuel tank (doubles our capacity!)
  • Anchor and chain, marked with pretty rainbow colors
  • Helm-mounted instrument pod
  • Bottom – blasted, faired, painted (epoxy barrier and copper)
  • Hoses – holding tank plumbing (no stink here) and scuppers
  • Toilet (household size)
  • Bottom instruments: depth, speed, temperature and sonar
  • Whisker pole
  • Fender covers
Fayaway in the shop during re-power and bottom job.

Priorities remaining, in various stages of completion:

  • Finish the Electronics:
    • Chart plotters (helm & nav station), networked
    • Instrument pod at companionway (wind, depth, speed, etc)
    • VHF & WiFi radios, exterior satellite and gps antennas
  • Sails (ordered in October!)
  • Water-maker
  • Electric water heater
  • Cockpit enclosure
  • Solar panels mounted (permanent frame)
  • Space heater (hydronic)

4 thoughts on “Refit Update – April in Maine

  1. Nic and Judy Waterman

    Hi Chris, Is your chain locker split to allow two chain feeds from a double bow roller? Interested to know what kind of windlass you have and whether it has two gypsies. (I have to make do with a single bow roller and a capstan windlass when I do a Bahamian mooring for a hurricane/storms in the creek here) I attach the secondary rode (rope and chain) to the main chain (same as yours) at about 100ft using a wichard 5/16 SS(316) shackle (only one I could find that fits through g4 link) then increase single chain rode from there creasing a single pivot point mooring I finish up with a Mantus bridle to reduce shock load. I use a mantus swivel on the main anchor. Which has a working load of 4340 lbs and an ultimate strength of 21700 lbs. but the wichard shackle is still the weakest link (according to West marine has a breaking strength of 5950 lbs so working load probably around 2000 lbs) Would appreciate any comments on attaching 1 chain to another. Tried jamming with a 7/16 and 1/2 shackle – it works but cumbersome to attach in times of stress and sometimes jams in bow roller when retrieving. Have also considered a free sliding very large shackle but again cumbersome and need a float to be able to retrieve. Also not sure I want it to move up and down the chain. I will look up the dimensions of that Crosby shackle but it is probably too thick and the pin not long enough. As alway enjoying your blog. Nic


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nic, It’s a Muir windlass with dual vertical capstan & gypsy (rope and chain). Maybe I have those terms mixed up, but yes there are two sections in the chain locker. Ironically (because of vertical orientation) chain from the starboard bow roller winds clockwise around the wildcat and gets dumped into the port side of the locker. We have a secondary 200+ ft section of rope rode spliced directly to a 30ft piece of chain sitting on the starboard side of the locker (shackle is within reach from a hawsepipe above), but I keep the spare anchor in a different locker for now).

      The best advice I have received as to solving the “weak link” shackle issue is to have a larger link added (welded) to the end of the chain which will accept the larger shackle. I’m not yet willing to take that step).

      I bought a second Crosby 7/16″ shackle for the purpose you describe, as I’m also unaware of a better method of attachment.


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