Anchor, Chain Locker, and Anchor Roller, Part 2, Analysis, Part II

The Garhauer anchor roller, the Suncor chain pipe, and the southern yellow pine mock-up
Having decided on the major hardware that I needed for the new anchoring system, and having decided on a general layout, I now needed to figure out some of the specifics about this layout. Primarily at this point I needed to figure out where exactly I should locate the chain pipe, because this would determine the specific location of the anchor roller and the block of wood, insofar as I wanted there to be a fair lead between the chain pipe and the roller. The issues surrounding my choice of the specific location for the chain pipe on Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, is the subject of this posting.
You'll recall from the first posting that I wanted my set-up to look generally like the set-up of the Ericson 25 owner in Alaska with whom I had conversed on the subject. We see his boat below. He purchased a large anchor roller and a chain pipe. He canted the large anchor roller to port so as to avoid the stemhead and also the two legs of the pulpit. He secured the anchor roller both to the stem and to a block of teak aft of the stem.
As I said, my focus in the present posting is on my placement of my chain pipe on my boat, Oystercatcher. The first question I asked myself was whether I should orient the oval chain pipe fore to aft, such as we see in the photo above, or port to starboard, such as we see in the photo below. This photo that we see below is of my friend's set-up on his Stamas 27 powerboat. His port-to-starboard orientation of the chain pipe made a lot of sense to me, because it allowed for the fairest lead possible from the chain pipe to the roller. Why? Because these hinged-lid chain pipes, such as you see above and below, both have cutouts in their sides for the chains. This is what allows you to shut the hinged lid fully without it being impeded by the chain.
With this in mind, I oriented my chain pipe in a port-to-starboard fashion and created a mock-up block of wood out of southern yellow pine. This mock-up was not as thick as the real block would need to be, but this at least gave me some sense of what the real block could look like. The real block would serve two primary purposes. On the one hand it would provide part of the foundation for the large, Garhauer anchor roller that I had purchased; on the other, it would help conceal the hole for the old ventilation cowl that I had earlier removed. You'll notice that by necessity I needed to orient the block of wood fore-to-aft along the centerline of the boat. Otherwise, I would not be able to conceal the fiberglass patch that would exist where the old hole for the ventilation cowl had been located. This fore-to-aft, centerline orientation (as opposed to a canted-to-port orientation) did not bother me one bit, because, as you will recall from my first posting, I had striven to find some solution to my anchor-roller location problem that would allow for a centerline orientation. This did not mean that I now planned to orient the roller itself along the centerline, but that I now saw that I could perhaps fool the human eye into perceiving the anchor roller, canted to port, in a more pleasing way. In short, I was now thinking that a fore-to-aft, centerline orientation of the block would downplay the somewhat awkward appearance of the canted-to-port orientation of the anchor roller.
Things seemed to be coming together quite nicely as I continued to think my way through this problem. Yes, now was the time to patch that old hole for the ventilation cowl so that I could start to move forward with my plans for the installation of the chain pipe and the creation of the wooden block.
In my first move toward patching this hole. I removed the flange that surrounded it.
The previous owner had installed this flange with a haphazard assortment of screws and washers. He actually used some old terminals from some wiring job somewhere as washers for the nuts.
This sloppy work was a good indication of the major problem that I was about to discover.
The balsa deck core around the hole was completely rotten due to water intrusion in this area.
This meant that to repair this deck core I would either need to cut away the fiberglass of the deck or cut away the fiberglass underneath the deck to get to the rotten core. I opted come in from below.
With my Dremel in hand in the V-berth of the boat, I reached up into the chain locker and began to remove portions of the fiberglass beneath the deck. Fortunately, it appeared that the water had entered through the 12 volt DC receptacle forward of the hole. It had then crept toward the large hole where it perhaps dripped down into the chain locker. This appeared to have prevented the water from creeping farther aft toward that part of the foredeck where I planned to install the new chain pipe. That was good.
Before cutting out any more fiberglass from the underside of the deck, I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and cut the hole for the new chain pipe. The more I had thought about it, the more I liked the fore-to-aft orientation of the chain pipe. It just looked so much better this way on this boat. I had seen countless other boats with the fore-to-aft orientation, so I figured that this orientation could not be that bad in terms of the fair lead of the chain and rode from the chain pipe to the anchor roller.
Fortunately, this plug revealed that the balsa core indeed was not rotten in this area of the foredeck aft of the large hole.
There was some discoloration, but the core fully resisted my pokings and proddings with a putty knife.
I really liked the fore-to-aft orientation of the new chain pipe.
I was limited in terms of the distance I could locate the chain pipe aft of the large hole. If you look closely, you can see a portion of the bulkhead at the top of the picture below. This small bulkhead separated the chain locker from the V-berth. To put it simply, if I had situated the chain pipe farther aft, then I would have had to store the chain in the V-berth instead of the chain locker.
My work in the tiny confines of this chain locker was horrible. This was the most difficult project I tackled on this boat, and it was made all the more difficult by the fact that it was an unexpected project. On top of that, it was August in the Carolina Lowcountry. In this posting I'm just touching upon part of the story, especially as it relates to the chain pipe. For a thorough description of the actual repairs that I made, see my earlier article, "Deck Core Repair, Chain Locker,"
While I was at it, I went ahead and pulled the bow cleats, since these too were part of the anchoring system as I envisioned it.
The stainless steel screws and the aluminum cleats were hopelessly corroded. Try as I might to remove the screws from the cleats after I had removed them from the deck, I never succeeded.
I eventually discarded these cleats and ordered two new Schaefer brand stainless steel cleats from Defender in Connecticut.
I constructed a plywood replacement for the rotten balsa core that I had removed from the underside of the deck. This plywood was exterior grade and 3/8 inch in thickness, just like the 3/8 inch balsa core. I cut slits in one side of the plywood to make it easier for me to force the board to conform to the curvature of the deck.
I used RAKA brand epoxy for the project, as I did for many other projects in the refitting of Oystercatcher.
Working with a friend, I glued the plywood into place on the underside of the deck. Screws pulled the plywood up snug against the deck.
After the epoxy had cured, I removed the screws and applied cloth to the underside of the plywood. This created a fiberglass skin that overlapped with the existing fiberglass skin.
This abbreviated summary, like so many abbreviated summaries you read on the various sailing forums, makes this job seem like it was a snap. It was, in fact, anything but that. It was a hellish job that I never want to do on any boat ever again.

Now that this unpleasant and unexpected, but entirely necessary sub-project was complete, I could finally return to my primary goal - that of creating a new anchoring system for Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.

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