Interested in the continuing saga of the Happy Dance To Do list, chain, and another exciting update on our engine woes? If so, read on…
First, the engine. See this little part? We (aka Marty) now know how to remove and install the fuel shutoff solenoid. So we’ve got the part in our hot little hands and we’ll get a new one on our trip north. Hopefully, that will solve our engine woes. Stay tuned to this blog channel until January when we install the new part and fire her up!
When we’re in a marina, our To Do list usually gets plenty of attention. This week we’ve crossed off a number of big items; we’re getting the fire extinguishers recharged, the life raft is headed to San Diego to get repacked and re-certified, we’ve emptied the v-berth in preparation for a swap meet and have already sold a number of items that we no longer use. The other big to do, that is now tah-dahh is that we’ve replaced our anchor chain.
Chain is heavy, dirty, sometimes a little kinky, and I’m glad to say we’re finally done playing with it! I guess it’s kind of a cruiser thing to be excited about getting new chain. We all have those expenses that aren’t very glamorous, but that are critical to our personal lifestyles. For us, anchor, chain and windlass, a.k.a. ground tackle, represents our security and we trust that lifeline to hold us safe as we sleep or as we ride out rough weather on the hook.
When we bought Happy Dance she had a Delta anchor with 300 feet of 5/16 inch chain with 150 feet of rope rode in the anchor locker. We replaced the Delta anchor with a 55 pound Rocna anchor, but kept the original chain. We have no way of knowing how old the chain was when we got it, but we have used it for four years and it’s seen lots of ups and downs! One summer while we were away the chain rusted horribly, and since then it’s been flaking rust off with each use so that the anchor locker was full of yucky rusty shavings. The chain itself was looking a bit sketchy too, so we decided it was time for new chain!
Thankfully we were able to get our hands on new 5/16 inch chain here in La Cruz, and didn’t have to deal with trying to ship it in. We ordered 300 feet, but the store cut it a little short (guess they didn’t know that saying…measure twice cut once), so we only got 250 feet since it was now the longest length they had. We hope not to need the full 300 feet, and luckily anchorages in our current cruising areas are fairly shallow so that we rarely put out more than 125-150 feet. When we were in the NW and Alaska, the anchorages were much deeper and we often used more than that. At any rate, we went ahead and purchased the 250 feet and started the process of changing out the chain. UGH!
First job was to empty the anchor locker. Pulling 300 feet of rusty, nasty chain out was a dirty job. We laid it out on the dock so that we could see what we had and clean it. Then we pulled out the nylon rode from the bottom of the locker that was covered in mud and rust. We tied the nylon line into a bundle, tied it to the boat, and tossed it overboard for a soak. Marty started cleaning out the locker and I started washing down the chain. Day one, done!
The next day we hauled up the nylon rode and started cleaning it off with the hose. Amazingly, it came clean and is totally usable. We also measured out the old chain and determined that the bottom 150 feet of it was still good. So when the new chain arrived we borrowed the store’s huge chain cutter and cut off the rusty end. Then it was time to measure out the new chain and put markers on it so that Marty would be able to tell how much chain is out when we anchor. Day two done!
Now we have 150 feet of old chain that we’ll use for our spare anchor, the Delta, and we have 250 feet of new chain that we’ll use on the primary anchor, our much loved Rocna. The next step was to splice the nylon line to each length of chain, whip the ends and tie it into the chain locker and reload everything back into the locker. We’ve seen boats where the chain is directly attached to the anchor locker; NOT a good idea considering that someday it may be critical to be able to cut the boat free from the anchor. With Marty feeding and me layering the nylon and chain neatly into the locker we soon had it all filled up. Attach the anchor, and PHEW, we’re done! Time for a cerveza!
We only carry our primary anchor on the bow with the spare stowed in the bilge, but we’ll keep all the chain in the locker for easier access. At some point we’ll divide the anchor locker so that we can keep each set of rode separate, but for now we have it layered with the thought being that the only reason we’d use the spare chain is if the primary is either lost or already in use. So we realize it’s not the best way to have it stored, but it will do for now. Long story short we feel better with a clean anchor locker that will no longer drip rust stains down the bow, and with lovely new strong chain to keep us safe. It’s kind of funny how our must have’s have changed since becoming cruisers!
So now we can cross that item off the to do list and get back to watching sunrises and sunsets…ahhh…have I mentioned I love this life?
P.S….Aretha even sang a song about us…
Chain, chain, chain
(Chain, chain, chain)
Chain of fools….