Sailing is a big hobby for me and my wife. We had 1 year trip to Caribbean in early 90,s living on anchor and also anchor in Norway, Svalbard, Shetland and other different places. Anchoring is also a matter of safety. If you had problem with the motor it is good to have the possibility to stop boat from drifting against for example a rocky shoreline. When we went to cromox chain with electric windlass and wireless remote control with meter counter we thought we had the best. Easy to anchor, easy to pull the anchor up, and the chain never gets stuck in the anchor box. We always use snubber line and also tripping line, if the anchor gets stuck underneath something on the sea bottom. On sea our anchor sits tight on the bow with help from a turnbuckle in the bow plus one extra safety line. So we are very happy with our anchor gear.
Now to our problem. For two years ago we noticed some brown colored part of the chain. Looking closer we could see some pores on some of the links. I contacted Ketten Wälder and send some photos. Because the chain was in the warranty time it should not be a problem for us. This was in the summer and I was in Norway. Later when I was at home again I send the chain to Ketten Wälder and they send the damaged part to a laboratory. After some months they find out that some kind of acid maybe was the problem. Ok acid on the sea bottom from the war or what? When I have anchored in Norway it is in anchor places which is well known so for me, it does not sound that it is acid on the sea bottom. But anyway I get a new chain from Ketten Wälder and I was really happy.
This year 2018 I sailed to Norway and anchored one night and I didn´t think so much about the chain. Sailed to Shetland then Faeroe islands and back to Shetland and I anchored 2 nights in Colla Firth. When I looked at the anchor chain, I saw a brown layer on the chain where it broke the waterline. What is this? Pulled up about 2 meters so I could examine the brown stuff. It was a thick layer of rust clay or something like that. Contacted Ketten Wälder again and of course they said that I must have some problem in the boat. Try to take pictures of everything and send it to us.
Anchor box is made of fiberglass, no electrical involved with that. I have earlier open the anchor box and it is like new inside no clay, no nothing, because it is a stainless steel chain living inside there. It is not even water there because the chain does not catch water like a galvanized chain. The windlass is the only electrical part which is connected to the anchor system. I started to measure and found that I had 12 volts + in the chassis of the electric motor. How is that possible? Phoned the General Agent in Sweden and asked them if I maybe could have connected something wrong with the remote? No way they said. All other electrical wires like + and - are where they supposed to be. I checked this 3 times at least before calling the General Agent. So it is likely something wrong with the windlass motor. When I came home I send the windlass motor to the General Agent which after 2 months repaired it and send it back to me. Called them and ask what was wrong? Some bits on the plus wire inside the motor were against the chassis. But the windless was too old for send it to Lofrans for warranty. It is about 5 years old now.
So what have I learned from this. Always shut of the main switch as soon as possible. Check the windless regularly for + in chassis because it will work as normal and no fuse will break of the circuit so you will never know before it is too late. I am very grateful to Ketten Wälder for all support, mail contacts and discussions that we have had the last 2 years. I could highly recommend a chain from Ketten Wälder. Compare working load to a High tensile galvanized and you can maybe go down 1 size. Then it is not so big difference in price as you maybe first think. Windlass would be happier, less water in anchor box, much less, or no clay on deck, much more space in anchor box (chain flows out like water) and no need for pushing down the chain pyramid inside the box. Remember to have shackle with break limit under the chains brake limit next to your anchor so you always keep your chain.