29 May, 2011

Staying attached to the ground

People in hot air balloons need to stay attached to the ground until all their crew are on board. Boats on the other hand also need to be attached to the bottom when they deploy their anchors. A good sandy bottom, the right type of anchor and the all important chain is all that a yachtsman needs to stop drifting off down wind. Over the years Malua has anchored in many spots from the muddy Derwent near Hobart to the corral reef of Tonga and as far north as the benign sands off Queensland. The anchor and chain has seen it all. Two extremes that the anchor and chain has seen was the mud in the lagoons near Venice and the rocks of Croatia. In Venice after two weeks, try as I may, I could not haul the anchor out of the mud in which it had become embedded The only solution was to dive down and scrape large handfuls of mud off the flukes of the anchor. It was all done by touch because as they say the water was muddied and I could not see a thing. Well after many scoops and a powerful windlass the anchor came free.

After washing the mud off the chain it was evident that it and the anchor had lost some of its galvanising. Not all but the mud had some substance in it that had blackened the chain and removed some of the galvanising. Not to worry our chain is mostly in the water.
After leaving Venice we returned to Croatia on our way south to Greece. Croatia has the worst anchorages in the world. They are deep, full of rocks and the bottom is covered in stone. As the wind changes direction Malua moves and the chain drags over the bottom. The little galvanising left after the Venetian lagoons was now rubbed off completely leaving a shiny steel chain. The problem with steel and salt water is it rust overnight. Brown rusty mass of steel at the bottom of the anchor locker. The next time we set the anchor the rust covered the deck as it went out. Then when you bring it in the rust again covers the foredeck. Not a pretty sight.
At the end of the season in Port Napoleon I took the chain out of the locker a layer it out on a pallet. Unfortunately on my return the travel lift had run over the pallet and ground the well oiled chain into the dust and dirt. Now rust, oil and dirt are not the ingredient of a clean boat...... Regalvanise the chain or purchase a new chain.

Second option was the best to I set about finding 10mm tested galvanised chain which was not made in China. Not a problem just the price was not right. After some scouting and some negotiation I purchased 70meters of French galvanised chain, a drum and had it all delivered to Malua on the hard stand at Port Napoleon.
No rust marks on the bow now, a new chain to keep us attached to the bottom. Only one doesn’t anchor in the canals of France. Well next year we will again let out bright shiny galvanised chain to stay attached to the ground.

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