Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Anchor Chain"
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Thread: "Anchor Chain"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Anchor Chain

Aaron Norlund


I think the consensus with 5/16"HT is that it is as good as 3/8"BBB. Possible downsides include thee chain not being as heavy, and thus not inducing as much catenary, and rust have a higher depreciating ratio due to there being less metal.

Best Marine Imports still has 5/16" HT for $2.00/ft. It's US made and quality stuff. I'm going to buy 350 one of these days when I have $700 sitting around:
BMI Chains

Aaron N.

Kevin Donahue and Marilyn Falconer

3/8" BBB working load is 2750# and weighs 164# per 100' 5/16"G4 (aka HT) working load is 3900# and weighs 110# per 100'. If you have a windlass you may have to change the gypsy.

Douglas and Jody Frye

I am thinking about replaceing my 3/8 BBB with 5/16 HT, would be able to carry more chain with the same weight. I know the 5/16 HT is stonger but is there a down side to this?


If you have an S-L Hyspeed manual windlass (as I do), you do not need a new gypsy, it works! Every now and then, you get a break.

Douglas and Jody Frye

Thanks to everyone for there input. I have the SL 555 with the B74 Gipsy, so maybe I am limited to the 3/8 BBB chain. I have 100ft 3/8 BBB now and was looking to get something closer to 300ft so was looking at the 5/16 HT. 270ft of 5/16 HT was about the same weight for 200ft of the 3/8 BBB. Aaron has a good point about the catenary and the rust on the 5/16 HT.


Jim Focha and Julie Gwin

5/16 HT is worth it to not have anymore weight forward of the mast than necessary. Especially if you can?t pull the chain back to the mast but have to leave it in the anchor locker. Rust will have little if any effect on strength but will be real messy when it gets bad. We have 330? HT and after five years and two years of full time cruising we need to swap it end for end and should get another five years out of it. The catenary was unnoticeable over the 3/8? BBB we had before. We put out 125-150? almost every time we anchor and more if we even think it?s needed. We have a Lofrans electric windless and is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment we have. The down side to HT I?ve been told and not confirmed is that it loses 20% of it?s strength when regalvanized.

Bud Taplin

Doug, The key to having the correct gypsy is not the size of the chain, it is the number of links per foot that counts. You need to check the number of links in a foot of the chain that you are currently using, and try to find a high test chain that has the same number of links per foot.
My SL catalog shows the 555 with a RCB70 gypsy will handle 3/8" BBB and 5/16" HT chain. That said, I do know that different manufacturers of 5/16" HT chain do have different number of links per foot.

Kevin Donahue and Marilyn Falconer

I have an old S/L reference guide lists the B74 as an all chain gypsy for 3/8BBB or 9.5mm European.

Pitch (the inside length of the link)is the key dimension in fitting chain to a gypsy.

5/16HT has a pitch of 26.0mm, 3/8BBB has a pitch of 27.5mm. Size for size BBB chain has shorter links than HT/G4.

Due to their slow operating speed (directly tied to ones aderenaline level)manual windlass gypsys were designed with tappered pockets that allowed for a loose fit. Often multiple sizes of chain can be fit, like in Bud's RCB 70 example above. On a horizontal windlass typically only 2 pockets are completely engaging the chain at any time. As a result you have some flexability in chain fit.

With a differance of only 1.5mm per link, you may want to get a 12' length attach some weight to the end of it and see if it works on your existing gypsy.


Aaron Norlund


I didn't mean to say that catenary and rust are reason enough not to switch to 5/16" HT. Used asked for cons and those are the onlý things I can think of that I seen discussed.

I believe the weight lost, strength gained, and area recovered due to its smaller size, are worth switching for. I intend to switch to 5/16".


Dave Kall

Just keep in mind that the lower weight will mandate a good stretchable snubber. With the lower weight you'll end up pulling the chain taught more often. It is the snap that will break the chain.

Fair Winds

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