"Have you thought about the logistics of getting 275 feet of chain from a store onto the boat?" Scott asked me before he left. I hadn't. I just figured we'd buy chain, throw it in the car and put it on the boat. If you're dealing with 275 feet of 3/8 G4 chain, however, it's not that easy. Minor oversight.
The whole anchor system thing was one of my jobs and I'd been chipping away at it quite nicely: I researched and determined what size anchor and chain we wanted (73lb Rocna, 3/8 G4 High Test chain), I worked directly with Rocna and got an awesome deal on a new Rocna Anchor (more on this beast later), I found a company that produces our out-of-production windlass and ordered a new gypsy for it (with the help of a blog follower and some internet super-sleuthing) and I contacted West Marine who agreed to price match Defender for our anchor chain. We were good to go! One thing I forgot about, however, was that moving 400 plus pounds of anchor chain is no easy feat. "I'll figure it out" I told Scott with feigned confidence. I think he just shook his head.
To simply measure the chain required the man power of two strapping, young West Marine employees. They laid out the 275 feet along the floor, making a clanking sound for all to hear as it left the barrel (I know because when I checked out the nice girl said, 'Oh so *you* were the one buying the chain'). Lucky for me, my dad is in town for a visit and it was he who had the foresight to ask if we could have a barrel to house the chain and borrow a trolley cart to transport the stuff. They happily obliged. I honestly have no idea how I would have gotten all that chain from the store to the boat otherwise because the barrel and the wheel cart were integral to the operation.
This is how it went: We loaded the chain into the barrel. Wheeled the barrel out to the car. Unloaded the chain out of the barrel and loaded it into the car. Drove home. Unloaded the chain out of the car into the barrel. Wheeled the barrel 3/4 of the way to the boat. Unloaded 1/2 the chain from the barrel so we could lift the barrel and the cart up the step. Reloaded the chain into the barrel. Wheeled cart to boat. Unloaded chain completely. Laid it out all along the docks and marked it every twenty feet (we used the same system we did on Rasmus). And only THEN we were finally able to load the chain onto the boat. The whole process took about three hours. Turns out, loading/unloading 275 feet of heavy chain nine or ten times takes a while! Did I want a beer by the time it was over? You betcha!
So anyway, our windlass works great with our new gypsy, our new anchor looks downright frightening on the bow, and our incredibly heavy chain is all marked and piled up in the chain locker. I was worried that our boat would be bow heavy after all of this but you know what? Our blue beauty barely budged an inch in the water.
The day didn't go off completely without a hitch though (do they ever when working on a boat?); we discovered that the anchor locker will need some modification in order to properly house all the new chain. It's nothing that some plywood, epoxy and fiberglass can't fix but it is another item added to our to-do list. But as long as we keep taking two steps forward and only one back, we're making progress!