Top Menu

Yesterday’s post mentioned the 300 feet of new anchor chain that we added to One Love. I wrote about how easy it was to get the chain on board. What I neglected to mention that I was so caught up in how well that was working that I didn’t connect the bitter end of the chain to the boat. I only realized my mistake when that end of the chain was buried under the huge pile. Doh! A mental note was made to rectify that at the first opportunity. That opportunity came yesterday afternoon.

After the conclusion of the charter show, which went fantastic by the way, Rebecca, Michael and I were eager to get off the dock. We cast off our lines and then motored the short distance from Yacht Haven Grand Marina through Haulover Cut to Elephant Bay. This anchorage is chock full of private mooring balls so it is a bit tricky to find a good place to anchor. We managed to find a spot between a couple of vacant balls that we figured would be adequate for the night as long as no boats came to use them (of course, one did later in the evening).

After rigging our bridle and settling in we proceeded to lower the majority of the remaining chain into the water so that I could retrieve the unconnected bitter end. Once I was able to take hold of it I set about splicing a short (25′) length of line to the chain so that I could tie it to the boat. Although it would have been easier to simply shackle the chain to the U-bolt in the anchor locker, I prefer to have the rode tied to the boat so that in the event of some drama where we’d have to let our anchor go, the line can simply be cut, a process which would be much faster than fumbling with a potentially rusty shackle.

Although it’s been some time since I have done that splice, it turned out well IMO. Once I had the line tied to the boat I will admit that I felt much better about the situation. We could have called it quits right then but we still had one more issue to deal with – we needed to mark our anchor rode. That again would have been easier to do before we loaded it all onto the boat but with all the work that was going on prepping for the show, I didn’t want to invest the time in looking after it.

With the three of us working together, we came up with a system of bringing the rode up in 4′ segments, marking the chain with a sharpie marker and then at each 25′ length, branding the chain with colorful tie wraps. As the anchorage was calm, we were able to get all but the first three marks (25′, 50′ and 75′) on the chain. Perhaps we’ll get to that as we bring our anchor up later this morning.

Note: Why fasten the bitter end of the anchor rode to the boat? As I relayed the details of our day’s work to a cruising friend of ours last evening, a friend who shall remain nameless, she shared the story of a time when she (and her husband) accidentally let their anchor and all of their chain run off the boat. Oops! It happens.


  1. Nice splice. Working with nylon rope is difficult, your splice work looks very neat.
    Your comment about not tying on the bitter end made me think of similar scene in the movie “Captain Ron”. I am sure you would have remembered about not tying it on seconds before watching the end splash into the water.

  2. Quite agree about securing the bitter end, and some people forgetting then losing the lot.

    I am surprised you didn’t put say another 100ft of rope rode on the back of the chain. Just to give you more scope if needed without incurring much more weight.


  3. Hi Mike,

    Haven’t you started marking your chain from the wrong end? I would assume you want to know how much chain is in the water, not how much is left on the boat. In a perfect world, where you have EXACTLY 300 feet of chain, and your measurement are precise, it wouldnt matter and you could start at either end. In our actual world however, I think it’s likely that you will get to your anchor and find you have some random amount of chain between your last zip tie and your anchor. You could still make that work of course, just remember the first tie is 12 or 17 or however mant feet and add 25 for each tie after that. But that sounds like an unnecessary amount of math. I suspect you’ll be better off to start over by measuring from the anchor and marking as you let the anchor out.

    Just one landlubber’s idea, hopefully there’s something I’m missing. Love the blog, good luck with the charters!

  4. Mike,

    If the zip ties ever give you trouble, we had good luck with these:

    (when we aren’t at the dock!)


  5. a. I was on a boat (not mine) that anchored without the bitter end secured. After I stopped laughing–which took a while–I volunteered to go get it more an extra ration of beer, which I didn’t really need now that I think about it.

    b. My windlass hates zip ties, spitting them out in a few cycles. I find paint very easy, with this shortcut method:
    I like 100 feet of chain for the Chesapeake, but you need double that, for certain.

    c. Some folks talk about markers you can feel. With a windlass that is plain lunacy. I’ll admit that I’ve (very stupidly) nearly sucked my hand through the windlass twice (gloves saved my bacon both times). I’m not touching that chain, no more. I’ve got a headlamp, thank you.

    d. What the heck kind of chain was that in the prior post? It looked like it was spot welded from tube fittings. On the other hand with this chain, about 2 links and you don’t need an anchor:

    • The paint does look good and I actually remember that post now. Maybe next time we’re on a dock…

      As for the chain pic you posted, one link of that would serve as the anchor!

  6. You are smart to have a short length of line between the chain and the bitts. We once had to cut our chain away and return for the whole mess later:

    Your anchor splice looks great. When I re-made ours after the anchor fiasco it was not nearly as neat. I was working with older, stiff line, though — hard to even get a fid through.

  7. From your post “Note: Why fasten the bitter end of the anchor rode to the boat? As I relayed the details of our day’s work to a cruising friend of ours last evening, a friend who shall remain nameless, she shared the story of a time when she (and her husband) accidentally let their anchor and all of their chain run off the boat. Oops! It happens.”

    Yep, Captains who have sailed all their lives have made that mistake, Your article does a good job of explaining why that happens.

  8. Um.. I was the one who lost the anchor. EW was the one who hadn’t attached the bitter end. I knew that. I totally knew it. I was the one who marked the chain. I’d attach the blog post about this incident, but found out I never wrote one for it. My bad. Nice article, Mike, and great splice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.