some of the gear we're taking on the trip


Rocna 15kg Anchor

I've gone for a 15kg Rocna. They seem to be pretty butch and they have had very good reviews regarding holding power. To see us testing the anchor on Bexhill beach click here (



Anchor Chocks

I made a dummy of these chocks in plastic and aluminium which Chris at CB Marine has converted into glorious 316 Stainless. The stock fitting uses an aeroplane ball release pin to secure the anchor quickly.


Anchor Chain – Aqua 7

My new 60m length of grade 70 hot dipped galvanised chain has now arrived from Italy. It has taken about a year to place the order. Seemly expressions like “I would like to buy…” must Google translate in Italian to “Please do not contact me under any circumstances…”. Luckily Francesca who works for me speaks fluent Italian and after only a few months of perseverance we eventually managed to place the order. Yippee.
            You are probably wondering why I am buying chain from Italy when companies such as Bradney Chain in England make good quality chain and are pretty efficient and easy to deal with. I wonder myself sometimes as one of the objectives was never achieved. The main reason I went to Italy is because the Grade of the chain is grade 70. If you are not aware of the grading system it was originally based on the strength of a 1” diameter chain. So a 1” grade 30 chain would break at 30 tons. Grade 40 would break at 40 tons etc. Most anchor chains are grade 30 or “high test” grade 40. So my new chain is about twice as strong as most anchor chains. It has a working load limit of 1,400 kg and a breaking strength of 7,135 kg – enough to lift the boat in the air plus another two tonnes. Generally lifting chains are grade 80 but there is a very good reason why anchor chains normally stop at grade 40. It is because the process of hot dip galvanising can cause hydrogen embrittlement in these higher grades which are made from alloy steel.
            So the reason I bought my chain from MaggiGroup Chain in Italy (email , but don’t hold your breath) is that they are one of only a couple of companies worldwide who seem to have got this problem cracked but hopefully not “cracked”. My original idea was to get 7mm diameter chain rather than 8mm and thus save 20% weight whilst still increasing the strength. However 8mm was the smallest size available so I haven’t saved any weight (84kg) but I have over doubled the strength without adding any weight.
            Did I need to? Well, my chain needed replacing or re-galvanising so I was going to spend some money in any case. I have bought a massive Rocna anchor which will bite like a pitbull. In extreme circumstances it could have broken a grade 30 chain (with a working load limit of around 750 kg). As this years sailing is about as extreme as it gets I think it was a good move. In ten years time when it comes to need regalvanising then it will probably have to be sent back to Italy.
If you can reduce the diameter of your chain and up the strength then I would think Aqua 7 is worth considering. We might consider holding stocks at Flints.
            How much did it cost? EUR532.00 including delivery and tax. (£450.00 or £7.50 per metre). To get the same strength in grade 40 you would need 12mm chain which costs about £14.00 per metre – Jimmy Green Marine plus delivery. It would also weigh 228 kg! So I haven’t spent £450.00 but saved £390.00!


Canon EOS550D

I’m a bit of a Canon fan having had them for the years. I’m just finding getting slide films and converting them digitally is now getting harder and harder and I wanted video equipment so I needed to buy another camera. This camera is very very light, takes 18 megapixels plus 2 hours of high definition video of staggering quality. I found I used the little Panasonic much more because this is still a bulky camera and it is not weatherproof. The lens I am currently using is 28-105 but I could do with a telephoto lens too. Taking video is straightforward but I need to find out how to zoom smoothly and I think a good quality small tripod would help for panning shots. Wind in the microphone is also a problem which needs solving, perhaps a separate microphone/ headset would help. Cost about £750.00.


Panasonic DMC FT2

This was recommended by a camera expert I chatted to at the Beale Park Boat Show. It is a brilliant small light camera which is ruggedized in the same way Panasonic make Tough Book computers. The camera can be dropped 2m, frozen to minus 10 and used underwater to 10m. It takes 14 megapixel pictures and high definition video. The great thing about it is you can keep it in your pocket without noticing it so it is always there when you need it. Battery life and memory seems amazing. I haven’t seen any pictures blown up on a big screen yet but I am hoping they’ll be good. Cost about £350.00


Merino Beanie Hats

These are very small and lightweight pure merino hats that are very comfortable and are a great extra layer under a proper peaked hat or helmet. Good for running too as they can be stuffed into a small pocket. Cost about £18.00


Rab Alpine Generator Jacket

It has always been a bit of a mystery to me how to regulate your temperature when you are climbing. You generate huge amounts of heat climbing but freeze when you stop. If you take off your jacket to put on an extra layer you chill off even more and it takes a long to warm up. Wearing the extra layer to begin with just causes sweat which is bad news when you stop. The Rab jacket was suggested by Dave Hollinger as a good solution. It weighs about 500g and stuffs down small. The idea is you quickly put it over your shell jacket as soon as you stop. It is toasty warm. I’ve been using mine after I finish a run. They cost about £106.00 plus vat. Interestingly they were about £300.00 in Chamonix. So I haven’t really spent another £100.00 but I’ve saved £194.00.


Video Hood

Shooting video on ordinary cameras has one drawback. It is very hard to follow moving objects using the screen on the back of the camera – almost impossible. This hood device enables the camera to be used just like a video camera. As used by Simon King, the otter man. It clips onto the hotshoe and can be quickly folded out of the way when not needs. Pricey though! £200.00.

Sumara of Weymouth