Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'll Mark Your Chain Mister!


As the temperature continues to hover in the 'stupid hot' range, we keep inching our way down the short list of items we need to complete before our mini shake down cruise in the next few weeks. The heavy lifting on the plumbing and deck hardware will have to wait until the temperatures drop into the 'slightly dumb' range which should be late September or early October.

One of the tasks on our to do list is to mark the anchor rode. The last time we went out for an overnight, we had to guesstimate how much rode we had out which was not only an inexact science but was a source of much unnecessary worry and angst. We are all about lessening the angst when possible so marking the rode is high on the priority list for our little jaunt. I happily told Mark when he was reading off the list of current To Do items that I was in fact capable and willing to handle the marking of the chain all by my own self. He agreed to let me handle it and I was pleased to be able to help alleviate the work load for him a bit.

The next day, Mark asked me how I planned to mark the rode. I told him since nothing would last forever and since this was intended to be bit of  his much loved redundancy for a chain counter at the helm, I planned on marking the rode every 25 feet with paint using four alternating colors. Very simple, very easy. If you are seeing yellow for the second time, you have 125 feet out. If you are seeing green for the second time, 150 feet and so on. It was quick to do, easy to keep track of as the rode went over the gypsy and would be easy to redo when necessary. This is when Mark's left brain kicked in on him again and he went all Captain Perfecto on me.

Mark informed me that my method was in fact, not simple as I had assumed but was in fact overly difficult due to its lack of complexity. He had a better idea. What I would be doing would be to use a base five number system with an error checking bit and here was a handy diagram he had made for me to follow.

I blinked. I blinked again. Hard. "Dude. You are so over thinking this". "Not at all" he replied. "This system is thousands of years old! It is simplicity itself". I blinked again. I asked him how he expected me to be so precise with the spray paint markings as to carefully delineate individual links. He had a quizzical look on his face "Why, you will just have to use a small brush and thoroughly paint each link.". As I looked upon his satisfied smile, I knew there was no other method that would make him happy. I was now an active participant in a Rube Goldberg project due to that left brain of his.

 After a bit of research, we did opt to mark the rode with cable ties- much cheaper than the rubber inserts chandleries sell and much quicker than putting on multiple coats of paint waiting for each coat to dry. I did get to enjoy a wee bit of subversion though. Mark sent me to get the cable wraps at the store with instructions to purchase black, yellow and red. I was feeling feisty so of course I bought black, yellow and HOT PINK. Ha!


Taking a break
And so it was that we sat out on the scorching dock and marked that chain in a few sweaty hours( you didn't think he'd really be ableto let me go it alone did you?) and I do mean very sweaty. I just hope those little cable wraps stay in place for a bit. I know they will eventually fail but if they could just hang on for a wee bit please. So far they seem to have no difficulty passing over the windlass and going in and out of the chain locker so here's hoping. Thy will probably pop off and it was probably an utter waste of time but Mark is my favorite person to waste time with so how can it be a bad thing?

Another item checked off of our list was to get some 12 strand and splice an anchor bridle. Mark spliced the rope, while Maura burned and whipped the ends. Kitty lent a hand checking our rolling hitch knots. That is 2 items off the list....












23 comments:

  1. Okay, I totally love you guys. This is insane. In our limited experience (with only two colors) we have found that a) the paint wears off really fast and b) so do the ties. We have pink (25) green (50) pink (75) and green/pink (100) repeat to 300. That generally gives a pretty good idea of how much we have out, but you know, if we aren't sure, we just let a little more out. When (and so far this has been at least 3 times on this trip) the paint or the ties wear off (or break) it's super easy to spray a little more on, and get on with our sundowners (or popcorn making).
    …and I love you guys.

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    1. I'm all about the spraypaint/sundowner method. I do find the elaborateness of this marking system that is guaranteed to pop off just at the wrong time to be somewhat hilarious. Much like when a dog chases his own tail. ;)

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  2. This is so complicated I had to read this post twice and I'm still not sure I understand! FWIW we marked our chain with pink at 25, green at 50, pink at 75, green + pink at 100 and repeated. That's more than precise enough. Please have Mark print out a key and laminate it to the foredeck ASAP! And you're in the cockpit and he's on the bow for this, right?

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    1. Vic, it makes him happy and provides me with endless amounts of amusement so I suppose it doesn't matter that I have to allow 3 or 4 markings to go by to remember what they all mean...

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  3. oh and the blog redesign looks great!

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  4. Love the redesign! Nicely done! As for the anchor chain... oish. Just... oish. Ours is spraypainted white, white and yellow, red stripe on the yellow every 100. It's anchoring, ferpetessakes, and it's not anywhere near an exact science. Plus, it wears off, yada yada yada. If the boat doesn't move, you've done it right, and if it does, you haven't. =)

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    1. I am 100% in favor of spray painting. ;)

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  5. That is hilarious! What does it say about me that I totally get and even kind of like Mark's method? It's basically candy land roman numerals, right? We have found as well that cable ties don't last long at all. I am not even sure what we have on right now...? Bits of string or something. But here in the Chesapeake the water we anchor in is always 5 feet deep and muddy, so we don't have to think all that hard about it while we're here. This is a good reminder to start thinking about marking the chain though... on a cool spring day perhaps :)

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    1. It is basically an abacus. An abacus made of cable ties that are guaranteed to pop off.

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  6. heh, seems a bit complicated to me too, but if it works, and makes him happy.

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    1. Exactly. its not going to last more than 3 months anyway and at least we were doing something together.

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  7. Wow! That's pretty intricate. I understand the colors but I probably would've been fine with less markings.

    I like the idea of using zipties, and even thought they'll pop off eventually hopefully you have so many there on each marking that you can slowly replace the ones that pop.

    Although I'd be concerned about the ones marking deeper depths. If you don't use those much maybe they'll pop off then not be there when you need them.

    Anyways, I'm looking forward to your shakedown cruise! Where will you go?

    SO cool your kids help you with the boat stuff. The pictures of Kitty are so stinking cute with that smile:D

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    1. The black zips are so we know where the marks are supposed to end. I hate to admitit, but once you get used to red/pink being 50 and yellow being 10 it DOES allow for accurate counting. But don't tell Mark I said that...

      We aren't going very far at all for our mini shake down- just to Redfish Island (which isn't even an island at all)for nightone to see how badly it sucks. If the hook holds (still waiting on my Manson- apparently it requires a completely redesigned custom bow roller (HMPH!))and its not too ungodly hot we'll head to Galveston for a little bit of Gulf sailing then overnight, then head back to Kemah.

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    2. Oh! What kind of Manson and what weight? I'm excited for your cruise:D.

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    3. We were supposed to get a Manson Supreme 60 lb but now that the Boss is out we might need to rethink this a bit. Our mini shake will be with our Bruce and Fortress.

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  8. I see that you have the patience of a saint. I thought Mike's mother was the only one who qualified for that, but I believe she must pass the crown to you. I wonder if Mark understands how lucky he is that you are both amused by him and love him enough to move over and let him take over? I have yet to deal with the chain issue because the one time I dropped the anchor, the chain moved so fast it scared the crap out of me and I didn't know how to make it stop. I have no idea how much rode I let out. At this point, I back the boat while Mike deals with the chain. I will have to go back and see if I can figure out how that numbering system works. I've seen it before in some book but it made my eyes glaze over.

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  9. I married him because he is an endless source of amusement. ;)Oh and ther markings are supposed to make things easier and as much as I hate to admitit, they do work- so long as they are in place!

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  10. Just for what it's worth.
    The Navy uses Red, White and Blue - repeated.

    At what point will you EVER use less than 50 feet? You draw over 5 and are over 5 off the water - even a simple 3:1 in 10 feet of water takes 45 feet (15 x 3). No marks under 50 are even needed.
    50, 75, 100, red, white, blue - one foot of paint
    125, 150, 175 red, white, blue - six inches paint, six inches blank, six inches paint.
    Next set (third) gets 1 foot of paint, fourth gets the six inch blank space again.
    The paint will wear off, but not all of it at once.

    On rope, just use the simple inserts you can buy at the store. They last a couple years and are easy to splice in.

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    1. Chuck, I made the 50 ft argument and was rebutted with a need from Mark to know how long until the anchor smacks into our bow.
      Seriously. At some point(if you are me) you just give up and go with the flow...

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  11. I totally looked at the number system and thought "Oh an abacus. I get it." Shows that I'm a wee bit homeschooled, me thinks.

    For all the comments you're getting on this that say "What the heck, this is what you shoulda' done," I love this post. My Marc woulda' totally done it your Mark's way too.

    I love you guys!

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    1. Maybe that will be our new catch phrase- 'Its a Mark/Marc thing, you wouldn't understand...'

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  12. This totally made me laugh. I too have the knack (bonafied EE).

    Althought, color blindness notwithstanding, I found this to be way too complicated.

    I subscribe to the KISS - keep it simple stupid methods.

    However, this did give me an idea.

    Why not use stainless steel bird bands, which can be etched, then paint in the etching with a fluorescing paint. You could mark at whatever interval you deemed appropriate. I have no idea if it would work, but the concept seems sound.

    Going for a simple elegant solution that would hopefully last. Low cost at $2 each, stainless, etched numerics that could be periodically repainted.

    http://www.afabirds.org/leg_bands_open.shtml

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    1. Now you are dippping your toe into the over thinking waters. :) The issue is the tension on the rode as it passes over the gypsy- which is what causes nylon bands to eventually fail and would probably be the same case with your stainless option. It might be stainless, but it is very thin. You don't see many birds flying around with shackles and leg irons. ;)

      I'm thinking a bit of spray paint and a counter at the helm is actually the easiest solution.

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