How to Maintain an Anchor and Rode

Our original anchor was crusted with barnacles and moderately rusted. The chain was rusted nearly into a solid mass. And the rode, besides its metal thimble being equally rusted, had soaked up rusty water and acted as a sponge that badly stained the bilge.

BEFORE - A smelly mess!
BEFORE – A smelly mess!

A clean anchor means clean sails

I started on the anchor with an abrasive wheel attached to a drill to remove most of the build-up. I followed that up with several applications of Muriatic acid that I already had on hand from past masonry projects. The acid cleaned off most of the remaining calcification and prepared the surfaces for several coats of galvanized spray paint.

The anchor chain was rusted to the point of being unserviceable. I replaced it with an inexpensive one from WalMart.

The rode is 200′ of Nylon three-strand rope that I wanted to salvage. I soaked it all day in a 5 gallon bucket filled with a mild bleach solution and rinsed it several times well. Bleach is normally not recommended for use with Nylon, so I’ll keep an eye on it for fraying and replace it, if necessary. I also cut off the damaged thimble and spliced on a new rust-proof Nylon one.

The restored assembly should work well for many years to come if I take proper care to rinse it and let it dry thoroughly before stowing it back in its bilge locker. Now, I store it in a 3 gallon bucket with drainage holes in the bottom and a smaller plastic container riveted in the center. The bucket makes it easier to store, move, deploy, and dry. The coils play out without tangling when I drop the anchor and the center container separates the chain from the rode while they dry to prevent staining.

A bucket makes using and storing the anchor rode and chain easy
A bucket makes using and storing the anchor rode and chain easy

Restoring the badly stained bilge compartment is described in a separate post.

The Bottom Line

Suggested price: $189.99
$tingy Sailor cost: $26.83
Savings: $163.16

How do you decide whether to restore or replace?


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