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Marking The Anchor Chain

Anchor chain does no good in the locker, but it is important to know how much chain is out, hence the need to mark the chain.

Paint, and those commercially available markers, last about three drops, and in any case can’t be properly seen at night. We finally settled on using plastic wire ties – one at 30’, two at 60’, three at 90’, one at 120’, two at 150’ and so on. They do not interfere with the anchor winch, last many months, can be distinguished at night and can be easily replaced in seconds while pulling up the anchor on a calm day.

I usually let out a lot of anchor chain at times, when I am uncertain about the bottom or the weather – how does 250 feet in 20 feet of water sound. The aim of anchoring is to allow you to wake up in the same anchorage you went to sleep in. After many thousands of anchorages, I am very happy to say that we have dragged only three times, two of those because I went brain-dead.

One of my anchoring errors occurred in Sicily, when I let out 60’ instead of 150’. I lost count, and my only excuse was that the two women sunbathing on the boat next to us were totally naked.

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