Selecting the proper anchor rode for your sailboat
Now that you have selected the proper anchor for your sailboat it is next essential that we assist you in selecting the proper anchor rode. Depending on the size and type of your sailboat your choices are either a combination of rope/chain rode or all chain. On our Catalina 30 sailboat we have a rope/chain rode so that is what we will concentrate on in this article.
Lets begin with the chain. Chain in combination with nylon line offers great benefits: it decreases the angle of pull on the anchor allowing it to set and hold more effectively, it’s unaffected by chafe from rocks or sharp surfaces on the bottom, and it’s weight helps form a curve in the rode that helps absorb shock loads in heavy winds and seas. Due to the poor quality of imported chain we recommend purchasing at least “proof coil” chain. It is made from low carbon steel and is stamped “63” on each link. If your sailboat has a windlass a better choice would be “BBB” chain which is slightly stronger with shorter links. West Marine is a good resource when buying marine supplies. Here is a link to their chain selection. For a 30′ cruising sailboat we would recommend 15 feet of 1/4″ chain. To attach the chain to the anchor we use a galvanized D-shackle. The shackle pin should then be secured by twisting stainless seizing wire around the shackle (see photo). They have recently manufactured a stainless self-locking D-shackles that we are starting to use due to the fact that they do not jam in the bow roller.
Next is your anchor line. The rope should be 3-stranded nylon. Nylon rope has elasticity which makes it a great shock absorber against loads caused by wind and waves. To help determine the proper amount of line needed to achieve a 7:1 scope we need to mark the anchor rode. To do this we like to untwist the 3-stranded line and insert anchor rode markers. For a 30 foot cruising sailboat we would recommend 150 feet of 1/2 ” 3-strand nylon line. There you have it. An anchor, chain, and rode creating a seaworthy ground tackle set-up for your cruising sailboat you can feel safe and secure with at any anchorage.