After mentioning that I need to get the anchor chain galvanised, I was deluged with gloomy warnings that nobody does it any more. Chain is so cheap nowadays that it’s considered as disposable as electric kettles.

But I’m very attached to my chain. I expect it’s as old as the boat – so, 48 years – and, at a chunky 10mm, is far too heavy for a boat of less than 10metres.

On the other hand, it does match the 20kg Rocna and I sleep very well knowing I have all that down there on the bottom. Also, I remember the story of how Alfred and Rosemarie Alecio lost Iron Horse in the Indian Ocean.

I have tried to look up the reference. Nevertheless, I am so sure I remember every detail that I will repeat it here (and stand to be corrected). They had an old boat too – and, although they had no reason to doubt the steel fitting which passed through the wooden mast and to hold the shrouds (no I don’t know what it’s called), they reasoned that since it had been there for twenty or thirty years, it must need replacing. They had a new one made in the Far East.

It failed. It just broke and they lost the mast – and in due course, their beloved boat which was also their home. They were picked up by a tanker off Madagascar.

I have great faith in my chain – more than I would in a new one. The saving is by-the-bye.

The place to go used to be the Wedge Group in Birmingham. They had a machine that kept it moving in the tank so that no spots got missed. However, they have moved premises and didn’t feel it economic to set up the chain facility again.

One by one. I called all the other UK galvanisers on Google. One by one,  they called back and said they had stopped doing anchor chain, suggesting I buy a new one.

Except for Highland Metals in Elgin. They said, “of course”. Apparently, they hang the chain on wires and jiggle it from time to time. You don’t get a perfect result, but most people consider it good enough.

Elgin is only 15 minutes from Lossiemouth where there is a “man with a van”. So I shall put in there on the way to the Shetlands this year. Turn-around is two weeks, apparently, so a circuit of the Moray Firth and a few days in Edinburgh seems like a plan.

7 Responses to Galvanising

  • There’s a place in Wickford, Essex, which does galvanise….they did my mast step, bout two years ago. If interested will check it out.

  • You don’t need to go to Scotland! Try BMT in GT Yarmouth. Ask for David Cowley and mention my name.

  • John, once again thanks for a most interesting blog.

  • If the re-galvanising is ‘ less than perfect ‘ will you really be able to sleep on windy anchorages without extra worry ? 48 years sound a lot to me even for good stuff.

    • The reason I’m getting it done is not because I’m worried about the strength of the chain – even the last link which is attached to the stainless Ultra swivel still has more than 9.5mm at its thinnest. More important is the rust stain on the deck and the fact that I come away with orange hands every time I touch it.

      • Rust stains sound familiar to me, when PBO reviewed my boat I was told by David Harding I’d missed on making the front cover because of the stained foredeck !

  • My chain on Contender is also the original, coming up to 50 years. Both the previous owners and I had been in the galvanizing business, so we “knew where to go to get it done”. Yes Wedge used to do a good job, but while the demand still exists, they said it was uneconomic to repair the vibrating machine that jiggled the chain on withdrawl from the zinc. (I tried to encourage them to reinstate it). One year I got a group of yacht owners together and we did a group purchase, 25 chains and about as many anchors all regalvanized over a period of a few weeks. (allowing lots of time is attractive to galvanizers). But generally they consider it a pest, as its fiddly, and is really only a small order for most galvanizers. But my chain keeps on going.