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Finding anchor chain to fit our winch - UK suppliers ideally

  • Will Lahr
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27 Oct 2023 13:30 #11 by Will Lahr
Thanks for everyone's help on this.  I got a sample of din chain that seems to fit the gipsy, so I could be in luck.   The problem is that I'm not 100% sure what I'm looking for here.  It at least 'nearly' fits, but I'm not clear on what a good or bad fits look like.  The links aren't sitting completely flat, is this normal?   I've only got a short sample at the moment and I'm keen to work out if it's the right thing before buying the 30 meters of this recommended by the surveyor

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  • Peter Smith
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07 Aug 2023 04:52 #12 by Peter Smith
The 3x and 5x applies to pleasure boats ( do those me down).
Refer to the ESTRIN requirements to pass survey.
How and if you anchor is an other story.

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  • Will Lahr
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05 Aug 2023 18:57 #13 by Will Lahr
Thanks everyone for your help - if it's DIN766 chain then it's 16mm.  I've ordered a meter of it to try it out.  Is there any clever way tell the difference between actually fits and nearly fits?  Also what multiple of depth is a normal amount to let out on an old barge?  I've read 3 - 5x depth for yachts, so should i be looking for 5x the deepest water I'm likely to be in? Or 3x? or some other amount?

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  • Colin Stone
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04 Aug 2023 16:01 #14 by Colin Stone
This chain is DN766 16mm. Link size 62 x 43mm. Gipsy is 200mm diameter and the chain slots are 50 x 70mm.

Colin Stone
It's not the destination, it's the glory of the ride.
Barge Register KEI
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  • Martin Ling
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04 Aug 2023 13:20 #15 by Martin Ling
That gypsy does look like it's built for a decently sized chain, and from the proportions of the pockets I'd say you're looking for a "short link" type. The winch is obviously Dutch, so I would presume you're dealing with a metric size. If you are lucky then some size of modern DIN 766 chain may fit, but there may be older standards involved.

Take a rough measurement of the width and length of a gypsy pocket, and that should tell you roughly where to look in a chart of chain sizes.

Also do try the chain that you have - as Balliol notes, it looks too small from the photo, but you can still measure and identify the chain size you have, and try to estimate how much bigger it would need to be to fit.

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  • Balliol Fowden
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04 Aug 2023 12:08 #16 by Balliol Fowden
If the chain pictured is the chain you are referring to then I'm afraid that from the photo at least it appears far too small for the gypsy. A chain link should fit fairly snugly into the oval recess in the gypsy, and the gypsy should be able to pick up three or four links of chain equally snugly in all relevant recesses.

Balliol.

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  • Will Lahr
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04 Aug 2023 11:02 #17 by Will Lahr
I've attached some photos of the winch.  I think my next move is to try the small length of chain that is on the anchor already and see if by some miracle it fits the gypsy.  A quick glance suggests removing the gypsy is non-trivial...

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  • Andy Soper
  • Neeltje
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30 Jul 2023 19:57 #18 by Andy Soper
Strikwerda doesn’t advertise in BF now but he is in the Suppliers Guide -  a unique supplier.

Contact @ strikwerda.lieren@home.nl

Best Wishes
Andy Soper
DBA Director Representation and Treasurer
mv Neeltje
Cookham
0044 (0) 7940598364

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org
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  • Balliol Fowden
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30 Jul 2023 19:02 #19 by Balliol Fowden
I agree with everything said so far. I am presuming your vessel is of Dutch origin. It is a very difficult subject, particularly with an old windlass where the chain gypsy may be worn and therefore impossible to measure accurately.

In the past (and some years ago now) I have relied on the services of Strikwerda Scheepslieren in Friesland, who dealt (and presumably still do) in reclaimed windlasses and chain. I know of no other firm that has the relevant expertise and the potential stocks of old chain. As Martin says you will have to take the windlass to them (or at the very least the gypsy). A suitable fit is indeed essential to avoid potentially dangerous problems.

Balliol.

p.s. as I recall Strikwerda advertise in Blue Flag.
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  • Martin Ling
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30 Jul 2023 13:20 #20 by Martin Ling
The question was not what chain is appropriate for the boat, but finding chain to fit an existing and probably antique gypsy. One also ought to check that the resulting chain size will meet other applicable requirements, but you can't do that until you've determined what fits the gypsy!

I have had this problem, and solved it, but it was a long saga that involved:

- Various unsatisfying attempts to determine the required size by measuring the gypsy.
- Buying and trying samples based on those measurements, none of which matched.
- Loading the winch onto a trailer, taking it to a chain supplier, and trying out every size they had, none of which matched either.
- Determining, by elimination, that the only possible option was an in-between imperial size which was not available from stock anywhere.
- Blindly ordering the full length of chain in that size from Maggi in Italy, because we were by then on a schedule and needed a solution.
- Finding that the new chain had the perfect pitch, but was very slightly wide such that it could sometimes jam in the gypsy pockets.
- Very slightly grinding out the sides of the gypsy pockets with a finger belt sander, after which the chain now runs perfectly.

My advice is as follows.

Firstly, tell us all about your winch. Post photos of it. Give the history of the ship. If you are lucky, someone will have a matching winch and tell you what chain size fits theirs. If not, then at least the provenance of the winch may give a clue as to whether you are looking for an imperial or metric based size, and which standards the chain may have been specified to.

Secondly, understand how chain is specified. Mostly you will see it sold by its wire size, but the most important measurement for a gypsy is the pitch, which is the measurement from the start of one link to the start of the next when the chain is taut. Also important is the breadth, which is the full width of a link. Most of the chain you will see sold today is standardised to DIN 766, which defines all the other measurements as a function of the wire size. Unfortunately what you need may be a size made to some older standard with different relationships between the measurements.

Next, some notes on measurement. I found trying to measure the gypsy itself to be a futile exercise. The pockets are complex curved shapes and any measurements you can take will vary significantly depending on what depth you measure at. All you can really do is offer up some chain and see how it fits. It should be obvious if its pitch is much too long, or much too short, or if its breadth or wire size is too big to fit the pockets. Thus by elimination, you can limit the ranges of each dimension.

When you have got into the right ballpark, you will probably find that there are multiple available sizes of chain which will run over the gypsy. You then need to be very careful, because if you're close, but not quite right, the chain may either slip under load or jam in the winch. Both failures can be quite intermittent. So ideally you want to take samples of all the possible sizes, spend quite some time running them back and forth under load, and look very closely at how they are fitting into the gypsy.

In our case I found that a 13mm chain with a 39mm pitch was very slightly too short, and a 14mm chain with 42mm pitch was definitely too long. My guess was that the original chain size for our gypsy was an old 1/2" size which would have had a pitch of 40.4mm. This was no longer available anywhere, but we were able to get a 13.5mm size with a 40.5mm pitch from Maggi, and very slightly grind the sides of the pockets to take the wider links.

We got our chain via EYE Marine in Ipswich, who were very helpful and invited us to bring the winch over and try out everything they had. That turned out to be by far the best approach.
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