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Joining Links Safety warning


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Due to a anchor system failure we got asked to test some chain joining links by a somewhat aggrieved boat owner.

 

In the testing we found the items in question to be scary weak and they have a huge potential to cause serious harm.

 

The items in question are these things, Stainless Steel joining links and they are being sold in many chandlers.
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The most spooky part being the lack of information some sellers have or tell people about these things, they are very very weak and many places do not show that or tell you that so people are buying them expecting them to be a 'matching' component when they are nothing of the sort. Having a quick suss I see many websites with no technical info but only lots of marketing speak.

 

But then as the boat owner pointed out a red flag should have popped up when the Stainless ones are less than 1/2 the cost of the steel ones i.e. he was a dumbarse not to have questioned why such a huge difference. A SS one for $9 with nothing on it next to a steel ones with lots on them for $25 should have rung big bells.

 

Anyway we are seeing loads like this -

A 10mm SS joining link failing at 2000kg odd, a reputable steel one will go to over 5000kg. A lower grade 10mm G30 chain, like most from china are will fail around 5000kg on a god day, the shocker chinese made will still get to 3500kg odd. A non-asian made 10mm will go to 6500kg or more, some up to 11,000kg. So the 10mm SS links are massively weak, weaker in fact than a good 7mm chain.

 

We grabbed some 12mm SS links as well, mystery shopped in the Westhaven area for them and from differing chandlers. They are being sold around NZ by many though.

 

A low grade G30 chain made in china 12mm chain will bust around 6500-7000kg, a non asian made will be around 9500kg up to 15800kg. A reputable manufactured C type joining link in steel would be 9,000kg at least. The SS links being sold by some NZ outlets fail at only 3000-3400kg. NZ's most popular 8mm short link anchor chain will fail at some load above 4000kg.

 

We have never seen a SS joining link we'd sell, even to a fizz nasty owned by a politician, and these tests confirm that we are right. We'd only recommend the use of C links made by Maggi or Crosby in steel. We have tested those in the past and found them to do what they say they will. There maybe others available but we don't know of or have ever seen them in NZ.

 

So onto the subjects of the product knowledge and respect for their customers/end users some places have...................Hmmmmm.........  or obviously don't.

 

Post made as anchoring is very important and these links are so massively weak that they could kill unsuspecting boaters......... who would have relied on the chandler not to have screwed them over just for the mighty buck. The test results have been passed onto authorities who should be concerned.... but probably won't be.

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Yes GS, way scarier than even we imagined and we already had them tagged as 100% dodgy, hence the post as people will have these in their systems now and probably don't realise they have weakened them so dramatically.

 

Standards?? Yes and No. The ones we happily recommend are done to the US Federal Spec, which is a US based anal one BUT they also come from 1st world reputable manufacturers, which means a lot more than 'complies with Fed blaa blaa blaa' as china will say anything you ask if for so we see a lot claiming to be 'to the So n So Standard' when if fact they are not even close.

 

The marine industry, as most I'd think, has a LOT of gear in it being sold claiming to be of a certain Standard when it's not even close or in some cases doesn't even exist in the standard. Accountants seem to have way too much input into product choices for many outlets. You can see why when you see the massive margins you can get with chinese made product, not to mention you get to sell a lot twice or 3 times when we only used to have to buy it once.

 

But then all the buyers doesn't always seem that smart and in todays world they need to be more than ever before.

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imho

 

there has always been a lot of dodgy product on the market

 

any market

 

the best way to avoid it has always to buy expensive stuff from reputable sellers

 

and not even that has ever been 95% perfect

 

start pricing your way down

 

to the bottom feeders and you end up "saving" a lot

 

for something that could end but being very, very expensive

 

given normal cycles

 

hasn't this always been the case?

 

and in a far from perfect world isn't it always likely to be that way? 

 

anyone for an end-grain balsa sandwich?

 

highly recommended from the best at 1 stage

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19th century English writer John Ruskin wrote the following, which is surely as

relevant in business today as when it was written...

 

 

1. “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay to little.

2. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all.

3. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

4. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done.

5. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”

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Yeap I'd agree with that Tim.

 

The hassle these days is it's super easy for anyone to sell anything. The hassle bit is many buying the anything don't know what they are buying so it often becomes all about the price. I'd spend a 1/4 of everyday sorting out issues created by someone else selling someone the wrong stuff. It shouldn't have to happen!!!!!

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Here's an interesting addition to this convo.

 

You can buy a 10mm SS C link from NZ chandlers for less than 10 NZ dollars. But as you can see above they are sh*t and could easily kill you.

 

I asked a EU mob we get gear from and they make the same things. A 10mm one would cost us 34 Euros (NZ$56.60 each) at the factory door.  But it will break at a load over 6400kg and that will be verified by a Classification Society, in this case Germanischer Lloyd, the German version of Llyods Register.

 

As a FYI - Classification Societies are a bit like Maritime NZ's Safe Ship Management, where boats are checked to make sure they are built to a Standard, used to the standard and are kept in the standard. They set all sorts of rules to make sure things aren't too bodgy. Some manufacturers can become 'Approved' facilities meaning all their work is sort of pre-OKed as they have been found to be damn good, Manson Anchors is one mob in NZ who have that lofty title. The Classification Societies are way way more anal and have way way more power than MNZ....unless you are a 2 man fishing boat off Bluff, in which case it is MNZ that sets rules. 90% of superboats are in 'Class' often LR, Lloyds Register. which is the most common.

 

As another FYI - Little old us here at Chains Whips and Spurs,opps...... Chains Leather and Lace, damn.... whoever we are, were the 1st organisation in the entire world to become LR Approved Splicers. Pretty flash sh*t for a little mob down the arse end of the world.

 

 

 

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As a FYI - Classification Societies are a bit like Maritime NZ's Safe Ship Management, where boats are checked to make sure they are built to a Standard, used to the standard and are kept in the standard. They set all sorts of rules to make sure things aren't too bodgy. Some manufacturers can become 'Approved' facilities meaning all their work is sort of pre-OKed as they have been found to be damn good, Manson Anchors is one mob in NZ who have that lofty title. The Classification Societies are way way more anal and have way way more power than MNZ....unless you are a 2 man fishing boat off Bluff, in which case it is MNZ that sets rules. 90% of superboats are in 'Class' often LR, Lloyds Register. which is the most common.

 

 

As KM may well know not all Classification Societies are same, there are a number that are below par and accept lower standards.

 

Also some focus on certain trades - so may be difficult in those they do not know well.

 

BTW if you look at the load line markings on a ship you can tell the CS of the ship - either side of the plimsoll mark are letters, "L    R" = Lloyds

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To true Rigger.

 

There are one or 2 Societies that are like the small dodgy mechanic dude up the ROW that does WoF's, pay the coin and your car will get what it needs to bounce off the powers that be.

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I'd say dodgy for sure E. They just have none of what all the known reliable one have on them, like a manufacturers mark.

 

Generally with gear like this from the east you don;'t get any numbers unless you push a little. If you do get numbers they are often copy and pasted from a western manufacturer and are usually well wrong. Certificates are generally about the same as your 7yo would knock up in a spreadsheet in 2 mins and contain about the same info a 7yo would know. Or the other one is to write your own Test Cert for asian made product. Most don't have most of the info they should but they are good to make dodgy look OK to the unsuspecting.

 

That is yet another Aussie mob selling Chinese made, There's been a few dabbling this side of the Tassie lately. They are selling nothing you can't already get here, and get here often cheaper. The aussie market is struggling big time so I'm guessing they are just cruising for whatever business they can grab.

 

I see they are just makin sh*t up with these swivels

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The Safe Working Loads this mob is publishing are Bulllllllll excrement by a factor of at least 2. That is a red flag for the seller as the SWL's are clearly marked on the swivels. They come out of asian under a range of brand names, the mob who makes them uses the Nautilus brand name you can see on that one.. They are available here, again under a range of brand names. They have been implicated in 2 batches of failures. Nice lookers though and OK if you aren't going to be pushing any load limits...... assuming they made them properly this this batch.  One downside of these is they use very very small retaining pins that don't handle side loads well at all. OK for a small off the beach fisho but for a bigger or more seriously used boats they do make us nervous.

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That swivel is the same as that one I spoke with KM about - a mate had me splice his new anchor warp - I saw the swivel he had, got in contact with KM and the swivel went into the recycling bin.

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Back when I was an employed person, I was spending $38 each for a nylon sling made in NZ with a 4 KT SWL to load MDF into my company's ships. The cargo was pre-slung so we were using 100s of them. The bean counters thought $38 was too much so I went to China looking for something cheaper. One Chinese manufacturer told me he would produce a sling to the same dimensions for $10,and what SWL would I like with that? I was assured that his tame Germanisher Lloyd rep would issue the necessary certificates for whatever tonnage I wanted. Regrettably, the biggest fight I had was with my own people when I rejected the Chinese made stuff.

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one thought re swivels, it is recommended to put 2 or 3 links of chain between the swivel and the anchor so that any side loading is removed from the swivel. It is the side pull that can break or weaken even a "good" brand.

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Yep, Steve has and excellent point. Here is the thread we had a while ago discussing anchor swivels http://crew.org.nz/forum/index.php/topic/11544-anchor-connections-warning/?hl=anchor+swivels&do=findComment&comment=149672

Let the buyer/user beware, nad make sure, if you have one, it is installed correctly.

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It's only the bigger heavier cruises who need to worry about that stuff. I'd say for every swivel not directly onto the shank there is 1000 who are direct onto the shank.

 

One mob pushing hard what Steve is saying are known to have weaker shanks so that's a tad of spin to protect their product more than the swivels. It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

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Fair enough K-me, but why not recommend that a buyer goes the extra step and removes a known weakness. Most users wouldn't have a clue as to what is good or not, they rely on the integrity of the seller.

Once upon a time that used to be enough in NZ

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To true Steve but the vast majority of the time that swivel issue just isn't and never will be one so you do run the risk of introducing 'worry' when there is no need for it. There is more than enough scare marketing to freak most out already so we have to run a fine line between providing good helpful advise and freaking people out for no good reason. There is more to it than just adding a few links in here and there.

 

'Integrity of the seller', Yeap once upon a time that was a big thing but for many the lure of the buck is more important and for some they simply can't afford to have too much integrity sadly so they are faced with 'do I tell them and possibly lose the sale or do I feed the kids this week?'. Yes there are many that close to the line. But it's good to say there are still a fair few with plenty of integrity out there.

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