Galvanising Our Anchor And Chain

Anchor windlass and chain with Force fitting

We’re currently in Penang, Malaysia, staying at the Straights Quay marina, run by the amiable and accomodating John. There are many things for the yachtie to do whilst visiting this large island, not least taking in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown (more on that in a later blog post), but the first thing one should consider is getting your anchor and chain galvanised.


Steelway of Penang offer a pick-up and drop-off service and can turn around galvanising in less than a week. A man comes first thing in the morning with a wobbly old trolley and picks up your gear. Try and have as much ready as possible. One of the things we couldn’t do in a hurry was remove the 50m marker inserts from the chain, so they were duly galvanised in the process! There is only one person who picks the gear up so expect to give him a hand up the steep slope to the marina entry gate. This is no mean feat when shifting a quarter of a ton of steel!

[one_half last=”no”]The steep ramp from Straights Quay marina, Penang [/one_half] [one_half last=”yes”]Unravelling anchor and chain on the dock of Straights Quay marina[/one_half]

The steel goes through a seven-stage process:

[checklist icon=”anchor” iconcolor=”#ffffff” circle=”yes”]
  • Degreasing with caustic soda to remove oil, grease and other dirt
  • Rinsing to remove the caustic soda
  • Pickling in an acid bath to remove the rust
  • Rinsing to remove the acid
  • Flux Solution (zinc ammonium chloride and film flux) to prevent oxidisation
  • Hot dip galvanising at 450 degrees in molten zinc
  • Quenching in chilled water, which holds an almost pure zinc coating to the entire surface

Esper's Rocna anchor re-galvanised

Due to the many anchorages we’d covered in the last five years our chain and anchor were fairly rusty. Having not used the gear for five months we successfully filled the foredeck with rust flakes when we dropped anchor the other night, so getting it re-galvanised was essential.

[GARD align=”center”]


We opted to go for the double-coating, which works out at RM5.90 per kilo. That’s just over a quid, which when you compare to the price of a new chain, is pretty cost-effective. Our Rocna is 33kg, whilst 1m of 10mm chain weighs in at 2.3kg. I’d calculated the total cost to be around RM1,300 and was charged RM1,450. It wasn’t until the chain was returned that we realised we actually carry 110m of chain, not 90m! We did once put out 80m in Turkey, so I’m loathe to chop off the remainder for the sake of losing a bit of weight. If I were that bothered by its effect on the performance of the boat, I’ll clear out some of the crap in the forepeak first!

I have been told this galvanising process should only be done once, and there’s certainly some wear on the first half of our chain, so we swapped the ends over, a practice many yachties do each season.

Galvanised chain with Force swivel connection

We now have a nice, shiny new Rocna and loads of ‘new’ chain that makes a proper clanking noise as it wraps around the windlass, rather than the grinding sound we’d got used to! It sounds good and looks great but we’ll report back on the quality of the process in due course. Our friends on Roam II had their gear done two years ago… and it still looks new.

Steelway was formed in 1990 and is an established business. You can catch them at the following address and contact details. I would recommend calling, not emailing, to arrange a pick-up.

Lot 166, Jalan Perindustrian Bukit Minyak,
Kawasan Perindustrian Bukit Minyak,
Mukim 13, 14000 Bukit Mertajam,
Penang, Malaysia.

Tel : +604.501 6333, 501 6336, 501 6338
Fax : +604.501 6339
Contact Person : T.B.Goh
Mobile : 012 4259376
Email :
Website :

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2 Comments on “Galvanising Our Anchor And Chain”

  1. Interesting post. Fascinating to hear about keeping the boat ship shape and the maintenance. 
    I’ll be down your way soon, visiting friends in Thailand over Xmas and then taking the train down to do my coastal skipper course which is based in Langkawi. Have you met Barry and Lynette who run the Langkawi Yacht School?
    I’ve been following your site for a while and it would be cool to meet up with you guys and have a beer when I’m over there. My only criticism of your blog is that you don’t update it enough. More great writing, adventure stories, great photography and cat pictures would be welcome!
    If you’re around Langkawi over New Year, I’ll send you a message on G+
    (Keith Masey on G+)

    1. Hi Keith, we’d love to hook up. We’ll be in Rebak for Christmas and New Year and then after that we’re at anchor. We have friends coming to visit throughout end Dec and Jan so send us a message via the website with your email address so we can PM you. I don’t think I’ve met Barry, but Langkawi is a small place so I probably know him by sight. Yes, we’re feeling rather guilty about not updating the blog enough. We get so caught up in our own websites (my photography and Liz’s writing) that we sometimes neglect the big one. However, now we are at anchor and back in ‘sailing mode’, we’re going to be more inclined to blog on FTB once more. Expect more adventures, photos and feline musings!

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