Ijin Marine Limited

Ijin Marine Limited

Professional Supplier of Machinery & Hardware

What is the problem with anchor-chain swivel connectors?

Swivel connectors have become popular with their use quite widespread, but they are not free of drawbacks.
Often they are simply unnecessary. Their purpose is to prevent the chain twisting if the boat swings, but unless a boat is anchored for a long time and its chain is very short, it is very unlikely that the chain’s twisting will become a problem. They are also designed to help straighten the anchor on board more easily if it was twisted when raised, but the fact is it will straighten out anyway even if it did not turn, and the chain will not have twisted more than half the turn (because even if the chain turned several times, it would have untwisted while the anchor was being raised).
There are many ways of ensuring that the anchor is correctly retrieved aboard. For example, on the points where the length of the extended chain, every ten metres, are marked, you could mark one side of a link with paint or tape to indicate whether the chain is correctly positioned or not, helping you correct it if necessary before the weight of the anchor complicates the operation.
The biggest problem with swivel connectors is not that they are often superfluous, but that they may in fact be dangerous. If the anchor and the chain are aligned, i.e. in their normal working position, there is normally no problem with them. The problem arises if the boat swings and the chain starts to pull sideways. If this happens, too much stress is being exerted on the swivel connector and may break in some cases. It should be remembered that if the anchor is very embedded, a great deal of force is required to reposition it, with the situation even more difficult if the anchor is fouled. Even better quality swivel connectors, which normally include a ball that allows the chain to pull laterally up to 30°, are not equipped for the chain to pull perpendicularly to the shank.
If you consider a swivel connector necessary, we strongly recommend you do not install it on the anchor directly, and leave a section of chain (which can be larger in diameter) between the anchor and the swivel connector.
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