Anchors are expensive and maintaining them is a challenge for all cruisers, regardless of cruising ground. If you put your anchor in the water…. and sometimes if you don’t, sooner or later it’s going to end up rusty.
Arriving back at the dock in Florida for a mini-refit after six years cruising the Western Caribbean, we were dismayed to see our well-seasoned anchor looking sadly neglected. Unfortunately, a rusting anchor and chain is much more than a cosmetic issue. Rust weakens anchors and chains, compromising safety.
Ironically, we turned down an opportunity to get the anchor and chain re-galvanized with a group of other cruisers in the Rio Dulce, Guatemala. At the time, it was only a few years old and didn’t need re-galvanized. How were we to know how difficult it would be when we returned to Florida three years later?
Naively we checked with the marina dockmaster and other cruisers in the marina to find a competent place to re-galvanize. Everyone looked at us like we’d lost our minds and recommended buying a new anchor and chain, which was NOT in our re-fit budget! After numerous telephone calls and research, we concluded there was no way to get the anchor re-galvanized and we skipped over it on the refit list, moving on to other projects.
Meanwhile our trusty anchor and chain continued to rust. We finally located a potential location for re-galvanizing, several hours away, but they had a huge minimum order and Winterlude’s anchor was only 44 pounds. Plus, we discovered during the re-galvanizing process, the lead in our Spade anchor would melt and need replaced. This option was sounding less and less ideal and more and more complicated.
Posting questions on internet forums yielded many responses, but no solutions – until my phone rang out of the blue. Since everyone, including “Peggy”, knows that customer service is dead in America, imagine our surprise to be talking to our Spade anchor’s USA distributor, Sea Tech & Fun USA. They were calling to let us know the company had been diligently working to perfect an epoxy refinishing kit that would retard future corrosion PLUS we could do it ourselves! To get a Downloadable PDF Spade Anchor Epoxy Refinishing Brochure, click here!
The rusty chain was no longer an issue because we took advantage of a sale price at the St Pete Boat Show and replaced our 5/16 high test chain.
Here’s how easy the anchor project was … of course, the jury is still out on how long it will last, but since we are almost ready to cast off the docklines again, we jumped at the opportunity to try it!
- All the corrosion and grease must be removed from the anchor. Ideally the first coat of epoxy will be applied immediately or at least within a few hours as the anchor is cleaned. For best results, the anchor should be sandblasted – especially if it’s like ours and really rusty. If it’s not so rusty, it is possible to use a wire brush to remove the corrosion. The sandblaster gave us another tip – after sandblasting don’t touch the anchor with your bare hands – skin oils will speed the corrosion process all over again.
- Returning to the dock, we mixed one third of the two part epoxy according to the instructions in the kit and applied the first coat. The mixture is a thick silvery color similar to the original color of the anchor. It went on easily with a paint brush and cleaned up with acetone. Keep in mind, don’t mix more than you’ll use for one coat because two part epoxy will cure and be hard as a rock when you attempt the 2ndcoat the next day. Also keep in mind, the lower the humidity, the faster it will cure.
- After letting it dry for 24 hours, we mixed the second batch of two part epoxy and brushed it on for the second coat.
- Day Three … the forecast was for rain late in the afternoon so we mixed the last third of the two part epoxy and applied the 3rd coat early. After six hours the epoxy is not sticky to the touch and the rain held off so all was well.
The Sea Tech & Fun USA folks advised us in advance that if we didn’t care for the brush strokes in the epoxy, it was perfectly acceptable to lightly sand the finish and thin the final coat of epoxy just a bit with acetone before applying it. We opted not to try and minimize the brush strokes – aboard Winterlude we’re all about practical and getting the anchor back in the water. The brush strokes didn’t bother us but others might feel differently.
After the third application, the anchor needs to set and cure for at least three days before using it again. We’re looking forward swinging on the hook once again!
For more information on the Anchor Refinishing Kit, contact Sea Tech & Fun USA at 321-409-5714 or e-mail at www.spadeanchorusa.com. Ask for Evan & tell him Commuter Cruiser sent you!
NOTE: We are not affiliated with this company or product in any way other than happy customers.