How to Connect Rope to a Boat Anchor

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The rope rode is an excellent option for boats 35 feet and under. The chain rode provides more security, but at a serious cost to your vessel's performance, for smaller craft. Rope rode, being lighter, stows well on the foredeck without driving the bow down into the chop, reducing speed; further, the line deploys and retrieves without the encumbrance of a windlass or the hassle of feeding it through the hawsehole. This sounds great, right? Before you go out on the water, however, attach the rope rode to your anchor. Tying a miniature Flemish Eye is the only complex part of the process. The rest is cake.

Things You'll Need

  • 60 to 100 feet three-strand nylon rope
  • 30 to 50 feet galvanized chain-lead
  • 35- to 45-lb. uni-fluke anchor with roll-bar
  • Anchor swivel shackle
  • 6-inch kite string
  • Knife
  • Duct tape
  • Heat shrink tubing
  • Hairdryer
  • Lighter
  • Seize the line just above the point to which you will unlay the braid; leave an approximate length of 15 times the line's diameter.

  • Firmly tie off the seize point with a constrictor knot, using kite string.

  • Melt the tips of the three unlaid strands using a lighter. With duct tape, firmly wrap the melted tips, tapering them to a point.

  • Pass two strands of the line through the eye of the chain-lead and the shrink tubing. Then pass the third strand through the eye and the shrink tubing, but from the opposite direction.

  • Pull all three strands tight, so the seize point is flush with the eye of the chain. Apply the hairdryer on its highest setting, shrinking the tubing to size.

  • Splice each of the strands back into the braid of the line's standing end, over one and under the other. Twist the strands and pull them through tight with each tuck. Do this three times.

  • Using the knife, cut 1/3 the strands' tailing; heat the blade with the lighter first, to melt the line as it's cut.

  • Tuck the strands twice more. Apply the knife again, after reheating the blade, to cut away any excess length, leaving the strand tips flush to the standing end. Your miniature Flemish Eye (or chain splice) is finished. To complete the whole process you just attach the chain-lead to the uni-fluke anchor with the anchor swivel shackle.

Tips & Warnings

  • To make a constrictor knot, wrap the kite string at least twice around the line at the chosen seize-point. Pull the end under and through the second and then the first loop. Pull tight.
  • After the first splice tuck is complete, for all three stands, you may wish to remove the constrictor knot to tighten the splice to the chain.
  • Carry more than one anchor aboard, preferably one of each type and of varying weights; no one anchor is perfect for all conditions. That said, the most versatile of the three anchor types is the uni-fluke anchor with a roll-bar.
  • One of the drawbacks of the rope rode is that it may chafe and wear, especially when anchored on a coral or rocky seabed. Inspect it frequently or risk losing your anchor.

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