|The rusty chain getting unloaded.|
Actually it all started because we desperately needed to do something about our anchor chain getting rustier and rustier. Going on four years of nearly constant anchoring, the chain was getting bad. The solution is to either buy new chain or get the old chain re-galvanized. A new chain in the States would run over $1000.00 dollars and then we would have to get it here. Here in Mexico, you would be hard pressed to find the right type of chain and the quality would be suspect. Anchor chain comes in specific sizes that fit the gypsy on the windlass, which hoist the chain and anchor off the bottom. For all those reasons, re-galvanizing was the right thing to do. Anyway, to ship it with a local trucking company, have it acid-bathed and dipped should cost about $250.00, so it seemed a no-brainer. There is a galvanization plant in Mexicali, Mexico up near the border that can "dip" our chain in a vat of hot molten galvanization and make it like new.
Since we were land-locked for a couple of weeks and not using the anchor, it seemed the perfect time to get this taken care of. However, the chain was really rusty and it ideally should be sand blasted first. Paying for sand-blasting is expensive, but leave it to cheap cruisers to come up with an alternative. I do not know where I first heard of the idea but I know I didn't come up with it on my own. Somewhere, some cruiser did it first and told another. I think I heard about it from Hal on Airborne. Anyway, chain dragging is an inexpensive, innovative poor man's approach to sand blasting.
|Hotel California's Rick enjoying "male time."|
Jack and I grabbed our friend Ricky on Hotel California and the three of us hauled the 200' of rusty 3/8" chain off the boat, tossed it in the back of the Volvo wagon and headed for the desert. We drove way out, because we figured we needed to get out of populated areas due to the violent dust storm we were anticipating creating. We selected a power line road, unloaded the chain, and strapped it to the rear bumper. Killing two birds with one stone, we let Jack drive so he could get some driving time in. With Jack at the helm we took off in to the desert Chain Dragging.
It was quite impressive! The chain was heavy enough to bog the car down in some of the sandier spots. When we got going 30 mph or so it would dig into the surface and disappear three or more inches under the sand. Corners were tough towing 200' of chain but Jack managed well and we only took out a few acres of brush, but no cactus were damaged. And the results were beautiful. The chain was shiny when we were done and it was tempting just to toss it back on the boat. But off we went to Castores, the local trucking company and they put it on a pallet and whisked it away promising it would be in Mexicali (almost a thousand miles away) in two days. Well nine days later I was getting worried but last night we had confirmation that our chain had just arrived in Mexicali at the Galvanization plant. Now lets hope it makes it back.