After a few years of seeing 1/2 inch anchor chain hanging from the bow of the boat, it sure gives an uneasy feeling to see what looks like a string of dental floss coming from our bow. I have learned something in the process of anchoring with 3/4 inch nylon rode for the last few weeks, which is why people without an electric anchor windlass prefer to anchor with nylon. Dealing with nylon anchor rode is just SO MUCH easier than chain! In our time here in Mexico, I can easily count on both hands without even needing my toes the number of boats I've seen out at anchor on nylon rode. The questions of cruising with or without a water maker, solar panels, a wind generator, or what dingy and outboard to buy don't have a clear consensus by looking at the real word evidence of what people are doing; however, the question of Nylon vs Chain anchor rode appears to be settled, and chain with its higher costs and weight in the bow is the clear hands down winner for a cruising boat. Sure there are exceptions to everything and no doubt a "Nylon-er" will comment on how much weight they took out of their bow or how they have sailed around the world on nylon and I'm just showing my rode bigotry, but folks I don't worry about my chain chafing on a rock during a blow or about my chain chafing through on the bow roller. In other words, on a boat that continually has the forces of mother nature trying to make her rest comfortably on the ocean bottom, having chain vs nylon rode gives you one less thing to worry about.
It's known as the La Paz Waltz, where wind and current can often have boats riding forward on their anchors and the above photo shows just how dramatic it can be. Our 100lb anchor is somewhere off our stern as the estuary current pushes us forward into the 10kt wind. The photo shows our dental floss nylon rode, but the same would happen with our chain. Positive thinking will let me believe that, the nylon rode rubbing against our hull and keel will scrap away the barnacles. But perhaps I should think more negative and imagine a big red barnacle slowly chewing through the nylon rode while I'm off the boat at a burger or taco stand. Maybe that sound of chain scraping against our hull is comforting after all.