I did something really stupid yesterday, and I have to get it off my chest.
I was sailing out of Weymouth bound for home in the Solent, about 50 miles East along the South Coast of England
For various reasons we did not get off in time to make the tidal gate at the Needles, and I decided to anchor
out. We could have easily gone into Poole and tied up in a marina, but I was just itching to spend a night at anchor
. The forecast
was F5 to F6 SW backing to SE -- I thought. There is a lovely bay South of Poole called Studland, with great holding and wide open spaces just right for our boat with her 100 meters of 1/2" chain. There is protection from the West and South, but by Southeast it's iffy, and no protection at all from the East
I cavalierly ignored the issue of shelter -- we have a huge anchor and a ton of chain, the holding is good, what's the problem.
I also did not pay enough attention to the weather
-- in the event, the wind
backed all the way to the East.
I spent a sleepless, uncomfortable night as the boat rolled and pitched and the wind
howled. Naturally, the 121 pound Rocna
didn't budge an inch, as I expected.
But to my utter horror, when I went up the next morning, I found that the snubber had parted with the pitching in the 6 odd foot seas we were completely exposed to. I don't have a chain stopper, and so the only thing separating us from a lee shore was the safety
line I rigged with a chain hook, the other end made fast to a bow cleat. Yikes!! Thank God that held.
Getting the anchor up wasn't all that easy, either, with waves threatening to come over the bow, despite more than six feet of freeboard near the bow.
What a piece of poor seamanship on my part! I swear I will never do it again!
I will never again anchor out without convincing shelter, if I don't have to!
And I will install a chain stopper and use a stouter snubber!