Chain lockers

I have a question for the group if possible. I am still in the tear out everything rotted phase on #032, Tusitala. I have been working in the v berth. I have installed drains for both of the anchor/ sail lockers. But as I peer into the darkness of the chain locker, which is under the front of the old berth, I am wondering where the water goes that comes on board with the chain. I now have a small hole at the bottom of the Forward Bulkhead, but that is going to send the extra water, sand, and debris to the bilge in the front head. The chain locker is slightly below the waterline so it can’t drain overboard… Looking for ideas, pictures, anything. Thanks in advance, Paul (#032, Tusitala).

a. From the photo it seems that you have certainly torn everything out! The attached photo may be of help, Keel Sump . My chain locker was a heavily constructed box under the V berth with a large drain opening aft. The bilge connected to the deepest part, at the foot of the mast compression post. As I melted my own lead in ingots I arranged it so that this was the deepest part. If you have factory ballast it may be level all the way, or with a slight slope. I think it is unavoidable that sand and water will come aboard with the chain so the best you can hope for is to have suitable bilge pumps for removing the liquid. In the photo you may be able to make out the strum box for a Whale Gusher 10 diaphragm pump, an electric pump set in the white plastic mount and the small hand pump for removing most of the last drops. If solids accumulate you will need to “dig” them out. I installed a deck wash pump with a discharge at the bow (and in the cockpit) to use as an anchor washdown. It should be able to minimize solids coming aboard. I had a switch for the pump near to the bow (as well as close to the pump) which was in the engine room with its own thru hull. Regards, David Salter (#050, Opportunity).

b. I think mine runs into the sump. While you’ve got it all torn out it’s a good chance to revisit the chain drop; mine drops all the way forward in the bow and runs down the bow and has a tendency to stack up .I’ve got over 300 feet of 3/8 chain and I sometimes have to go down and re-stack it. Bill Schmid (#174 s/v Anakena).

c. You will not collect too much water in the chain locker, that said …………… On our former #186, Visitant, I had a drain at the lowest part of the chain locker with a small hose (3/4″) piped into the Grey Water tank which is below the level of the chain locker. (Side note on chain locker (ours), I found that the 3/8″ chain tends to pile in one place at the foot of the hawse pipe. On occasion, when we had a lot of chain that had to be brought in, I needed to stop the retrieval and go below to move the pile to the side otherwise it would just back up, up to the windlass and jam. Hope that helps, my $0.02 CAD …… Frank B (#186, Visitant).

d. On #010, Insouciance the 300′ of HT chain was led from the windlass to a locker under the forward part of the berth, then via a pipe to an area in the bilge aft of the mast. About 120′ was kept forward with the remaining 180′ pulled aft. It took a crewman below to pull the chain and pile it neatly in the storage area. This method had the advantage of moving a large amount of weight aft which helps to reduce weather helm but requires the services of a crewman. Lester H (#010, Insouciance).

e. Your bulkhead is in better shape than I found mine (formerly Phoenix). Mine was completely rotted out. There was a limber hole, but it was not flush with the hull, so water had constantly pooled behind it and created a moist incubator. Over the years, the moisture got behind the fiberglass backing and everything just fell apart. I have not yet replaced this bulkhead but here is what will happen:
– replace with proper marine ply (the stuff that was used on my boat delaminates like cardboard!);
– make a generous limber hole, flush with the hull;
– place a sieve into the V of the hull to catch debris and keep the bilge sump reasonably clean. Make sure it is easily accessible for cleaning through a V-berth floor hatch;
– install a ventilation grille into the bulkhead;
– install an access hatch for cleaning and drying.
Reasoning: you can’t have standing water on the boat anywhere. It will ruin things in the long term. Thus water and dirt from the wet chain have to drain out of the chain locker. The locker needs to be ventilated, and like all compartments, easily accessible. Good luck, Boris S (#131, Two Crows, formerly “Phoenix”)
[Ed Note: Limber holes should be cut on BOTH sides of the bulkhead to allow for heeling of the boat.]

f. I know what you mean. When the chain piles up, if you don’t have a stainless chain, it can be hard to get at, particularly if you’re in a hurry. We subdivided the starboard forward sail locker, made a hole in the deck and now guide the chain into the forward part of that locker, while using the aft part for storage. Works much better, even if you have to have the locker open while raising the anchor to avoid piling up the chain. We have 100 meters (300 ft for you Yanks). Any water that comes in now drains from the locker as it is above the water line. Have fun. Gerry S (#087, Octopus I)
[ Ed Note: Is there that much space in one sail locker for 300′ of chain? Isn’t it difficult stowing that chain with such a short fall?]

g. Our chain locker drains into a stainless sump in the bilge. The sump is drained with a whale diaphragm pump. The same sump collects grey water from our two showers and head sinks. Endorphin is a centre cockpit with an aft cabin. Best, David H (#195, Endorphin).

h. I have the same configuration as what you describe with the chain locker under the forward bunk. I have a hand pump that pumps out the water that is connected to the bilge in a 3 way where I can specifically focus on the chain locker. As for debris, I just hand clean it out. I try to have a clean chain before it goes to the locker. I do have a problem with this in that as the chain is being fed into the locker, it collects against the hull, so it needs to be hand fed into the locker. The chain bunches up because the opening in the deck is too far ahead, but we knew this when the boat was being built as the windlass needs to be as forward as possible. We had an electric windlass installed last year which needed to be located back a bit and part of the sail lockers had to be permanently fastened because they were in the way. I can still get into the lockers and did not lose any space but lost some of the cover. It anyone out there has a suggestion as to stop the chain from bunching up so the chain falls freely directly into the chain locker, I would be interested in hearing it. I have talked with many people about this problem and no one has suggested anything better. Chris L (#105, Christar).