S/V Hello World's Travel Log

anchor shackles

We just bought shiny new ground tackle. Big Rocna and lots of chain. 5/16" G40 ACCO chain, to be exact, with a working load of 3,900 lbs. We spent alot of money on this chain but in a big blow, it's that chain that keeps the boat tied to the anchor.

With some help, of course. The chain will be attached to the anchor via a shackle. I recently walked into my standard boat chandlery and requested a 3/8" shackle as that is the largest shackle that will fit inside the links of our 5/16" chain. Happily, the salesperson handed me a shackle off the wall. Working load limit? 2,000 lbs.

"No," I explained. "My chain has a working load limit of 3,900 lbs. I need a shackle that will match that."

"Oh, we've been selling these for years and no one has ever said anything about it."

Well, in that case, I'll just buy this here Chinese shackle and reduce the strength of my entire ground tackle by 50% after spending all that money to get high test chain and blissfully sleep through any gale at anchor knowing that our local chandlery has been selling these things for years! How could this plan possibly fail??


I could go out and buy a high quality shackle. If you have high test (G40) chain and are shopping [insert chandlery name here] for shackles, you'll likely be disappointed. But under no circumstances should you settle for the crap shackle they'll want to sell you. There are American manufacturers that sell alloy shackles that will fit inside your chain links and match the WLL of your chain.

I went with a Crosby G209-A 3/8" galvanized screw pin shackle. I bought it at Obert Marine here in Seattle. Even at a commercial marine supplier, the guy thought I was nuts. "What kinda boat do you have that you need alloy shackles?" "The kind of boat that doesn't want to end up on the rocks in a blow." But at least he sold me the shackles.

The lesson I'm taking from this? Know what you want. Don't DON'T trust the guy behind the counter at [crap chandlery] to know what's best for your boat.


aileen said...

was the guy johnny dipshit???

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying your blog, and completely agree with the above sentiment of taking responsibility to do the background research.

One thing that I would point out however, is that WLL and Breaking Load Limit are rated differently. And your 5/16" HT with a WLL has a BLL of 3x that. Shackles generally have a BLL of 6x the WLL, and as such a shackle with a WLL of 1 ton may in fact be strong enough for your system.

Thanks for your posts and happy sailing!