Splice Rope to a Sailboat Anchor Chain

Learning how to splice a rope to a sailboat anchor chain is a great idea if you own a boat. With very little time and effort, you can accomplish a professional looking task that will last for a long time. Having a manageable rope inside the boat is far more desirable to having a chain attached to the anchor in the boat. In fact, the chain and anchor can be stored from a fitting outside the boat, and out of the way, and lowered with the rope when desired.

Materials Needed:

A short, sturdy chain for the anchor.

  • A length of flexible, nautical grade rope
  • Hair dryer
  • Plastic or electrical tape
  • Whipping twine
  • Awl for separating rope strands

Steps for Splicing Rope to Chain

Step 1: Unravel one end of a flexible length of nautical roping approximately 15 inches from one end. The rope should be of a size that would be conveniently stored aboard the boat without being easily fouled or in the way.

Step 2: Use either whipping twine or electrical tape and tightly wrap each of the unraveled strands to prevent further unraveling while splicing the rope to the anchor chain. Alternately, nautical roping can be carefully melted at the ends to prevent unraveling. In addition to keeping the strands from unraveling, the idea here is to form a sharp spike with which to begin weaving each strand into the rope later on.

Step 3: Using the awl, carefully thread two rope strands through the end link of the anchor chain. These will face your left. Now thread the remaining strand through the link and to the right. Apply a low heat from a hair dryer while pulling the strands back tightly.

Step 4: The unraveled portion of the rope is called the standing strand. Pass one of the left facing strands under a standing strand. Pass the right facing strand under the lower standing strand. Finally, pass the remaining left facing strand under the upper standing strand. Continue to pass each of the strands into the standing strand for approximately six times, pulling as tightly as permissible each time. Warming the splice will help to pull the strands through, and later cooling will hold them in place more securely.

Step 5: Strands that have been cut to precisely the correct length may not require some slight trimming. If strands are too long, it would be easier to trim them than to attempt another tucking maneuver.

Step 6: After sufficient tucks have been made and satisfactory strength is achieved it is time to taper and finish the splice. Factory made splices are often elegantly tapered, however modern, hand-made splices do not lend themselves to factory methods and an alternative method must be used. Using a hot, flat knife, flatten and spread the ends of each of the tucked strands. This will neatly seal the ends, and the flattened end will be too thick to pass back through the standing strand, causing the splice to come apart.