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Old 12-17-2010, 02:09 PM   #1
Seafarer's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 144

In the book I bought about anchors and line handling it mentioned an "up to 33% improvement" of holding power in soft bottoms by using a wire rope between the anchor and the chain. Apparently the wire rope doesn't create as much resistance and the anchor buries itself deeper into a soft bottom.

The question I have is, how do I put a wire rope on the anchor? I've heard of wire splicing, but am unsure if this is safe in this application. It would need to have a WLL of better than 5,000lbs to match the rest of my ground tackle. Using this webpage ( Wire Rope ) I have surmised that 5/8" 7x19 with Flemish splices should be more than strong enough.

The length of the rope would be determined by the distance between the end of the anchor and my windlass when the anchor is raised. I would splice around a thimble for added abrasion resistance. There would be an anchor swivel between the wire rope and the chain.

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Old 12-17-2010, 03:03 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 27

I can see the advantage to the setting of the anchor in soft bottom material. However, I would have some concern about routine handling of the rode since the 5/8" dia. wire, with the related swivel and shack;les would seriously complicate the deploying and recovery of the anchor. Most bow rollers won't pass a large shackle or a 5/8" wire rope thimble. In my all chain rode, I use a bullet shaped double/flex swivel to get the anchor stock over the roller. And if your cable is of a length close to your water depth, that it the worst time to be dealing with a problem of handling this wire rope/cable.

Another problem that I see, might be, the handling and storage of a coil of 5/8" wire rope. I'm not sure what the minimum bend radius or coil diameter is for 7 x19 wire is, but I would research that and take it into consideration. Also chain is forgiving when it gets tangled or kinked in bottom or deck handling, wire would be destroyed if it was kinked when you take a strain on it to set the anchor or pull it out against a kink.

If I were going to leave my boat on an anchor in sand or mud for a long period of time, I think I would consider this method since I would only be dealing with the above mentioned problems occasionally. And I might get more than one nights sound sleep.

KISS (with all due respect)


Ingrid 38 (buider/owner), Huckins 53 ('61)
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:39 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

The US Navy did surprising studies showing cable to be better than chain specifically in mud/sand for anchoring/holding big ships. However, for a yacht, I agree with keep it simple. We have an all chain rode, the weight of it is warm reassurance that we'll have adequate holding. The issues of termination of wire rope, minimum bend diameter, and all--make me think "forget it" stick with chain as well.
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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