... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Monday 3 July 2017

In chains

I had a lovely piling chain once. It came with Andante. It was stainless, and the rings were welded onto the chain, not attached with shackles. We managed to leave it behind on the Trent and Mersey, and I was quite upset at the time.

We bought some more, lengths of chain with a ring shackled to each end. To use them, you have to wriggle one of the rings behing the Armco, fish it out of the water, and pass it through the other ring, then pass the rope through the smaller ring. It's ok - and a lot better than a nappy pin - but the annoying bit is the shackle which, being at right angles to the ring, always manages to get caught on the way out. Anyway, we managed to donate one of these to Grendon dock, so I had the opportunity to pursue an experiment - I'd already tried this with a bit of chain and a carabiner shackle that were lying around, and it seemed to work, so we invested a little over eight pounds at Tradline to come up with these:
All you do is dangle the chain down the back of the Armco, catch it, and attach it to its other end. So that's easier. Then the rope goes through the big loop of chain:
Easier again. The only way it might fall a little short is that I found it (on the basis of one attempt) that it wasn't quite so easy to pull the rope back through. It might also bother some people that it can easily be undone without untying the rope - an occasional concern, I suppose (although I've found that when people want to untie you, they usually manage to do just that - and it isn't an immediately obvious thing to do), but also, possibly, an advantage (as I nearly had to put to the test when Jim disappeared before untying the rope from the fore end t-stud, which I can often barely reach).

And a great deal more secure than a nappy pin.


  1. Used to use that set up, but had the rope through the connector rather than the chain, the chain being both end at the "small" end of the connector, if you keep the rope tight then any mischievous person will find it very difficult to let you go.

  2. The success (or otherwise) of this may depend on the materials used in the carabiners. We use these to tie down a sheet over Sickle's hold when not in active use, but left outside ours rapidly start to corrode at the hinge, to the extent that the spring action is fairly quickly lost. If yours are only out in the elements occasionally, and not used for permanent mooring at Alvecote, this might well take a long while to happen though. Alternatively genuinely all stainless steel parts probably would not corrode, but I have had some deemed to be stainless that still contain parts that do.

  3. Try to find stainless grade components that are 316 grade of stainless rather then 304. 316 is far more corrosion resistant.

  4. What's wrong with piling hooks (nappy pins)? I've not had a problem with them.