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Remember when I wrote about anchor snubbers three weeks ago? Below is a pic of our snubber that we prudently replaced yesterday. Ugly, isn’t it?

The snubber is 3 months old but the damage shown in the pic was done in only a day or two. How did it happen? A portion of the lazy loop of chain that we keep on the inboard side of the chain hook got wrapped over the snubber. It was the chain rubbing on the rope that caused the chafe.

Why did it occur? I have noted that when three strand line is put under load it has a tendency to twist. As it turns, which always happens in the same direction, the chain, locked onto the chain hook, will sometimes wrap overtop of the line. This, as you can see, is bad!

How could it be prevented? Off the top of my head, I think that if an actual bridle was used instead of a single-line snubber, the chain may not be able to turn like that. I don’t know for certain but I’m going to experiment with it. Either way, this is something that is worth us taking note of and monitoring.

The above pic was taken this morning by our friend Bruno while he was on his way to work.


  1. Interesting. I know that even a 3-strand bridle can do that if the angle is narrow enough (I used some very long bridles in testing). I have also had this happen when I have rotated many times in the tide. My solution was to run chafe gear up the snubber about 2 feet. How far from the hook was the chafe?

    But I have not heard this reported by others.

    Of course, climbing rope and double braid do not rotate.

    • It was maybe 2-3 feet from the hook. I just tossed the line so I can’t verify.

      Some friends just commented on Facebook that they had been experiencing the same thing. Their solution involved splicing a short length of chain onto the end of their snubber, just before the hook.

  2. I’ve kicked this around with a handful of people that are deeply immersed in the topic, checked some experiences, and I have these thoughts:

    Running a snubber over the roller with the chain has caused many sailors grief. A bridle solves these:
    * If the chain is retrieved over the rope under load, even for a fraction of a second, the snubber can be invisibly ruined (internal damage).
    * Because the snubber is right next to the chain, wrapping is more likely.

    A long bridle can be rigged with only a little projecting past the bow. I do this because I anchor in shallow waters and like to keep the apex off the bottom (chafe). I run the snubber down the side deck to the midships cleat and have chafe gear where it goes through the chock, but others have a block there to eliminate chafe. Some take it clear back to the stern cleats.

    • In our case the snubber runs over a second bow roller, adjacent to the one with the primary anchor’s chain.

      As for the midship cleat, would you believe that we don’t have one? It’s very strange, but apparently that’s how these Maramus were made. Some people have added fixed ones. Others have cleats that attach to the genoa track.

  3. Good thing you caught it in time. BTW, I listened to your podcast on the sailing site where you talked about mono vs cat (or kitten!). Good interview.

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