I got a question this weekend about our anchoring bridle (which we love) and I realized that I’d never written about it or, more specifically, the Mantus Chain Hook. It’s laying on the deck of our boat in the above picture — in use, most of it is below water.
On our previous boat, a Tayana 37, we used two 3-stand nylon lines as snubbers, tying them to the chain with rolling hitches and then cleating them to the forward cleats.
The boat had come with a bridle and two chain hooks (the Eye GrabHook and the ABI Chain Grabber in the photo below), but if the winds were light, both would just fall off the anchor chain. Not good! The others did not impress us as being more likely to stay on.
The whole purpose of snubbers or a bridle is to prevent shock loading on the anchor chain. With the snubber or bridle in place, the line slowly stretches and puts pressure on the anchor chain, digging the anchor in. Without it, a gust will jerk the chain and quite possibly pop the anchor loose.
Dave and I feel that snubbers or a bridle are a key component to anchoring safely and securely.
So on our previous boat, since we couldn’t find a hook that didn’t fall off, we used snubbers and attached them to the chain with rolling hitches (snubbers are separate lines for each side of the boat; a bridle brings the two lines from each side of the boat together in a V and then has one attachment point to the chain). They worked well, but were a pain to put on and take off – and trying to take them off quickly in an emergency would have been just about impossible; we would have had to cut them off.
A bridle with a chain hook is much simpler to use and faster to remove in an emergency situation. But until Mantus came out with theirs, we just weren’t confident that any hook would stay on. The Mantus Hook was a game-changer for us. (Disclosure: Mantus is a TBG sponsor and I do make a little on purchases made through the links here; however – and this is a biggie – anchoring gear is of critical importance to any boat. I use and recommend Mantus because I think it’s the best and not because I make a bit of money. My life depends on my choices!)
Mantus put together a very short video (48 seconds) showing how their chain hook works. You can see how it positively locks into the chain both by sliding over a link and also having a gate that closes:
The bridle we have is one that came with Barefoot Gal – we simply replaced the old “fall off” chain hook with the Mantus one. It’s made of 3-stand nylon line. The diameter of the line depends on the size, weight and windage of the boat – it has to be sized so that the line will stretch under pressure and thus this is one case where bigger is NOT better. Too large a diameter won’t have the stretch needed! Ours – for a 34’ Gemini catamaran – is 5/8”.You can make your own bridle or retrofit a Mantus chain hook on an existing bridle as we did. If you don’t already have a bridle, a good option is to just buy a premade one from Mantus – it comes pre-spliced with all the hardware and even chafe gear (as well as the Mantus chain hook, of course!).
Chain hooks are sized according the size chain that you have on your anchor. To learn more or buy the Mantus chain hook or bridle:
Mantus has worldwide distributors, so if you are outside the US you can contact them to see where to get them locally. BTW, Mantus customer service is fantastic if you have any other questions, too!
One additional note: if a serious storm were approaching, we’d use our dock lines to make snubbers (with rolling hitches) as back ups to the bridle — we have always been “belt and suspenders” types with backup snubbers whenever weather threatened.