How to Select the Correct Anchor Chain
There are several types of anchor or windlass chain available. The four common types are DIN 766, Grade L, Grade 30 and BBB. DIN 766 is commonly used in Europe and is very similar in size to Grade L. Grade L is a common chain used in Australasia. Grade 30 or proof coil and BBB is well known in the American market.
Concerning the strength of the chain, the most popular varieties of galvanised steel include high-test or grade 40, usually marked HT, G4, G43, BBB or grade 30 (marked as BBB and proof coil), also grade 30 (often marked PC, PC3, or G3). Each has advantages and shortcomings. BBB, proof coil and Grade L are generally made from low-carbon steel. Heat treated, high-test (HT) chains are made from a high carbon manganese alloy. High test chains are becoming more readily available worldwide due to weight savings and the importance of anchoring safety.
HT or G43 chain is widely used because of its “strength-to-link” factor: Its working load limit is nearly twice that of BBB chain or Grade 30 and it has the highest weight-to-working load ratio. In other words, it allows the use of a smaller link, which means more chain can be stored in a given chain locker. Its links are also windlass calibrated, which means that they should fit most chainwheels with an “HT” designation. Such links also tend to resist tangling in the locker.
Most windlass companies like Lewmar, Lofrans, and Quick use DIN766 as standard but this can also depend on the country the windlass was sold in. Muir Windlasses made in Australia are sold worldwide and have a selection of Chain wheels to suit all types of chain.
It is very important to check with the supplier when purchasing a new windlass that the chain wheel or Chain Gypsy fitted is correct to ensure a suitable fit for your chain. Sourcing the correct chain can be difficult in certain countries and due to weight, shipping costs can be very high. Inspect your chain carefully and regularly. Most high-quality chain from reputable manufacturers is stamped with a designation indicating the grade.
Then there is Stud-link chain, used mainly by Superyachts and commercial ships. This type of chain is not readily available in chandleries but can be special ordered.
[above picture] EMA G43 High Test Chain undergo an independent breaking test in Thailand
- Scott Bradley