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Scammed On Anchor Chain, What You Need To know.

In the past four years, we’ve purchased a new anchor chain for our sailboat twice.  Not something any boat owner wants to say.

We only have a few more essential boat projects to tackle before we can splash, sail, and live on the hook once again.  And when I say essential, I mean it.  Because aside from making sure we stay afloat, the ground tackle is the most important part of living on a boat.

So, today we’re swapping out our crappy, rusty, unreliable chain for (hopefully) the last time.  We’re also sharing the cautionary tale of how we got scammed and what we’ve learned along the way.

 

Droning On

Drones have been a big part of our storytelling kit since 2015.  The drones, our skills, and the drone laws have evolved a lot in that time frame.

drone view of the river and boat yard in vava'u tonga

It is very, very important to know the drone laws where you are flying.  They can change drastically from country to country.  (search: drone laws + country name)

Depending on where in the world you are flying, this new under 250-gram drone could be the drone for you.  Why?  Because in some countries a lot of restrictions and licensing requirements go away with this small drone.  That alone makes it a great tool to have in our kit.

The size and weight also make it easier to carry around.  The performance is surprisingly good and it’s very easy to pilot. It is being called the best drone for beginners and I couldn’t agree more.  It packs a lot of punch in a tiny (and affordable) package.

Sailing shots…will I fly this while underway?  No way!  Terra firma or anchor only.  Trying to land our Mavic Pro on the boat while moving at slow 4 knots already gives me a mild panic attack.  It’s a zippy little drone, but the higher the winds, the less stability and control it has.  If you are looking to get shots while sailing or kiteboarding, this is not the drone for you.  Go for the Mavic Pro 2.

Also since this drone is brand new there aren’t any polarizer or ND filters, which you will want to purchase.  As soon as I see filters on the market you better believe we’ll be ordering them.

 

Disclaimer:  DJI sponsored the video (we’re very thankful for that) but we’re free to say what we want.  We talk about lots of gear, cameras included, and we’re sharing our thoughts because it could be helpful information to some of you out there.  Same reason we share everything else.  As always, we only collaborate or recommend products we have personal experience with and add value to our lives/travels.

 

🦆 It’s Hard To Spot A Fake

Our first anchor chain purchase was in Panama.  We requested a very specific chain from a specific manufacturer.

Not all chains are created equal.  It must be high-quality manufacturing through every step: tensile strength matters as does proper welding, and hot-dipped galvanization.

Unfortunately, that isn’t what we were given.  Other than perhaps being a bit too shiny, it looked like a duck, quacked like a duck and cost the same as a duck.  In good faith, we assumed it was a duck.  Or, in this case, a high-quality G43 HT (stamped G4 on the chain) Galvanized steel chain.

It wasn’t until six months, 4,000+ nautical miles, and two countries later that we discovered we had been scammed.  Nothing like being in the most remote island chain in the world to discover your chain is bad.  We will remember the Tuamotus for more than just night diving with hundreds of sharks.

 

Fool me once, shame on you.

We’ve learned a lot and don’t plan on being fooled a second time.

We had done our homework and concluded that the G43 ACCO Marine Chain, manufactured in the USA, certified by NACM (National Association of Chain Manufacturers), and recommended by our fellow sailors was a quality chain that should last us 10 years or more.  There were other brands our fellow sailors recommended from Italy and other countries but we were in the USA, so best to shop local!

Where we failed in our purchase, was to verify that the chain we were purchasing was indeed from that exact manufacture.  Not simply another brand of “G4 HT” chain manufactured cheaply elsewhere.

Because we had sent the link to the ACCO brand we simply assumed that is what we were being sold.  Mistake.  Never assume.  Verify every detail of the purchase.  All the specs including where and who it was manufactured by.

Because clearly, we were not clear enough in our request.  Accept no substitutions.

 

⛓ Anchor Chain Choices Explained

All things considered, it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing (rarely anything is).  The boat, cruising style, bottoms and locations all play into the equation.  Here is my take on anchor chain choices.

  • G3 (grade 30 proof coil) chain. The lowest grade steel for anchor chain. It’s prone to rust, incredibly heavy and not designed to work on a windlass.  In other words, not meant for our boat.
  • BBB or B3 chain. Still heavy but has small, short links that help it grip the anchor windlass. It used to be the most popular type of chain until G4 came out.  West Marine doesn’t even sell a large enough chain size for our boat.  Which tells me, it’s not a popular choice for boats our size.
  • Grade 43, G4 or HT (High Test). It’s a high-carbon steel, has twice the working load of BBB, works well with a windlass and weighs much less than BBB chain.
  • Grade 70, G7 or Transport Chain. It’s 20% stronger than G4 which makes it the strongest, weight for weight, of all anchor chains. Its exceptional hardness resists wear but it’s not compatible with many gypsies nor are there many compatible swivels and such.  Plus, there are some skeptics about the re-galvanizing process used to make this chain. I’m indifferent because I’m no expert.  On paper, it looks very promising.

 

⚓ CURIOSITY’s GROUND TACKLE

  • Lofrans Tigres Windlass with Gypsy made for 3/8 HT chain
  • Mantus 65# stainless steel anchor (best upgrade ever!)
  • Mantus Swivel
  • Anchor Mate (Helps seat our anchor and keep it secure underway.)
  • Bridal and Mantus Chain Hook – Still using the factory bridal line but we upgraded the basic chain hook with the Mantus Hook.  Our old bridal hook fell off the chain 9 times out of 10, our Mantus has never fallen off (mic drop).
  • ACCO G43 Chain – 250ft
  • We also have a spare Fortress anchor with 50ft of chain and 200ft of anchor line.

 

🎥 CAMERA GEAR USED TO FILM THIS VIDEO

See All Of Our Photo & Video Gear here: gonewiththewynns.com/photo-video-gear

 

🎶 MUSIC IN THIS VIDEO:

 

🙏 THANK YOU!

Ups, downs and all arounds, we share it all. We’re able to do so because people like you show up each week, read, watch, comment, share, shop our gear store, and toss a tip in our production jar. If you like what you see, consider joining us on Patreon or there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (39)

  • Bill Nicholson

    Hi Wynn’s,
    Bill Nicholson here. Retired April 2020. Had a 30’ Catalina 30 years ago. Now live in SW Florida, on water and have a 23’ bow rider to explore beaches, bars, and restaurants by water. Love your adventures. I appreciate your respect for local culture and never any derogatory comments. It’s their life. You are a visitor. Love how you guys brought water filters to a remote culture and you play with the children. Your boat life is not just gorging at any McDonalds you can find, kite boarding, and guitar jamming. You two brighten my week. Be safe.

    reply
  • Mandana Karkan

    Hi,

    You mentioned in one of your videos that you had a great health insurance package for world travelling. What company is that with and is there a specific name for the policy?

    Cheers,
    Mandy

    reply
  • Matt

    Don’t feel bad Jason! My 2017 Lagoon came with a factory chain, “the best money can buy”, and I used it on anchorage 200+ nights over the past years in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Nova Scotia, and Chesapeake. I noticed the distal 75 feet was showing flaking and rusting so I flipped the ends last June 2020. Plenty of galvanization on the proximal end but disheartening it rusted so quickly IMO. I was advised to regalvanize it. 1. Cold spray galvanization is worthless for moving parts, also hard to get all the chain covered because of overlap. 2. No one regalvanizes on the east coast as far as I can find (this is anchor chain only I am speaking of) because of lack of a tumbler machine. 3. Wife is always right. 4. Even straight from the factory chain can be suspect.

    Do you know the process for identifying which chain a gypsy takes? I have calipers to measure because I can’t read the stamps on the chain any longer.
    Great stuff, love the high quality and entertaining videos. I buy everything I can thru your links just my small way of saying thank you, and helping you continue.

    Cheers,

    SV Fernweh

    reply
  • Peter M

    Anchoring has all ways been a worry for me, especially at night during a blow. When sleeping I have one eye open and one ear set on “sound wake up mode”. Enjoyed the video and Great job, Thanks!!

    reply
  • Alan Solomon

    Hello, Happy day to you.
    I know nothing about anchor chains. Correction, I used to know nothing about anchor chains. Now I know that galvanized chain is best, it is worth the research and find out who the manufacturer is. Thanks. Good stuff.
    I know you hear it a ton but you guys are so Happy. It is Infectious.
    Toodles..

    reply
  • Jerry

    I bought a drum of 3/8 DC Titan ISO High Test Windlass Chain – G43 (400 ft) for $400 US. Did I get screwed? I picked it up at the seller’s house in Kentucky, It came in the original Titan cardboard drum/barrel with the original factory labels on it. His story was he bought it at an auction for a lakefront cottage friend. When he finally contacted his friend he found out the he didn’t need it since he had already bought anchor chain for his boat. So that’s how lucky me found it on Craig’s list for the price he paid at the auction.

    reply
  • Jon Dudeck

    What happens to the chain detritus? Is there any recycle at all or is it destined for landfill?

    reply
  • Traci W

    Just curious, we’ve passing glances of the trimaran next to curiosity. Any idea of the brand? My husband is convinced its the same brand as ours, but there are so few of them around it seems cool that one would pop up in Tonga.

    reply
  • Mary

    That was pretty cool the way you cool down those coffee beans! It’s crazy that you have that many drones! Love that new small drone, looks like I could fit it in a small purse.

    One more project down! Hopefully not too many more to go…

    reply
  • Greg

    Hi Wynns,

    Just wondering why you went away from that great “intro” sailing through the pacific, that was on videos prior to Fiji. I always thought that was a great intro that put me in a “South Seas” mood. BTW your production quality is just superb. Great editing and given we are in the middle of a pandemic, also inventive content showing that you guys can always make even mundane boat projects look interesting. Looking forward to you guys showing us around Tonga once you can get back on the water. One question for you, or the group reading this – how safe are boat swivels?? I worry incessantly about the swivel holding my 20,000lb boat in a haevy storm. Its rated at 15,000lbs ( not sire what that means) and is 3/8” thick but never quite sure if fatigue is an issue with swivels, or if I should stop worrying about it. Some people seem to swear by not using swivels – thoughts??

    reply
  • Chris B

    Might want to check this little guy out: https://www.nesco.com/product/coffee-bean-roaster/ next time you’re somewhere that shipping isn’t insane. My family has a coffee farm on the Big Island of Hawaii (paradisemeadows.com / hawaiislocalbuzz.com) and we use the older model of this roaster to test new batches of green beans. We started with hand roasting like you are now, except we used a big steel bowl and heat gun with a whisk and welding gloves 😁 Love your videos! Aloha!

    (ps. edit this part out. minor website fix, the save checkbox under the post a comment section mentions the commenters website, which looks like you’ve disabled?)

    reply
  • Pat

    What a great video….you two are the best and you work so well together. What a mess that chain was and what a huge disappointment in the quality but glad you got it all done….thanks again for your videos.

    reply
  • Sheila Clift

    Do you carry graphite or WD40? Both can clean rust off of almost everything

    reply
  • Lynn Davis

    I commend you both on how hard you work!

    reply
  • Mary

    Thank you so much for your videos. While we are not land locked we are dock locked while prepping for longer cruising. Unfortunately, we have illness in our family and our next cruise will be to home. We have learned so much watching both of you on the hard and the work involved. I like watching the products you use and how they performed. We are gearing up to go on the hard on December 1 then splash on the 7th. After watching today, I want to go back to coffee beans and single cup drip Melitta! Ugh, that chain was so foul, so sorry.

    reply
  • Diana Rodgers

    Another great video! I always look forward to your next release. Happy Sails!

    reply
  • Trevo

    Hi Both
    Presume you could not resist researching stainless chain. High spec German chain looks like a great, if expensive, option, how close did you get to going that route?

    reply
  • Kim

    Was looking for info on your electric scooters?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      Info on two brands of electric bikes were in a post from a few weeks ago: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/boat-back-to-life Don’t forget that shopping through the links provided won’t cost you anything extra and will throw a few pennies into the sailing kitty!
      Curious Minion

      reply
      • Mary

        It’s always good to throw a few pennies in the kitty!

        reply
  • Ron

    Another great video. Lots of hard work

    reply
  • James Pierdon

    Your vids are not what they used to be. This sailing on grass is lame. We got to get back out on the sea, or you gonna lose me.

    reply
    • Aboyandhisdog

      This is all part of sailing, James. Maybe you would be happier somewhere else.

      reply
    • Jon Dudeck

      I enjoy the on the hard stuff just as much and always look forward to the nuts and bolts part of cruising. Unless you have FU money it’s going to be integral to the experience.

      reply
  • Marjorie Nehlsen

    Really interesting. Love the background music also. Good luck finishing the anchor project. Ps. That little drone is super cool

    reply
  • Keith Vauquelin

    Team:

    Awesome basic training.

    Another lesson learned. I am paying attention:

    1) several sets of heavy gloves
    2) a cache of WD40 and degreaser
    3) tools for any occasion
    4) old toothbrushes for cleaning duty
    5) dust pan or two, and associated brush
    6) GALVANIZED CHAIN – stainless or galvanized steel, everywhere
    7) a sense of humor
    8) it’s all part of the sailing experience
    9) avoid creepy-crawly multi-legged insecticides – or kill them
    10) have a real and committed to the adventure partner in your co-captain

    Be safe, guys, I am doing my research, daily.

    reply
  • About Creativity

    Thank you both.

    reply
  • Lisa Day

    Didn’t you also flip one of your anchor chains from end to end? Hopefully, this will perform as expected.

    reply

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