Anchored for the night on the river Colne above Mersey Island,I had paid out most of my anchor
chain owing to strong wind forecast
. Late at night,before turning in,I noticed a couple of large ex Thames sand barges dropping anchor
,one rather close,upstream of me. They spent surprisingly little time with the anchoring
process and shortly thereafter disappeared below,never to be seen on deck
I tried raising them on the VHF
to warn them of their far too close anchorage and the forthcoming squall during the night,but to no avail. Their sister ship (barge) had,more sensibly,anchored a good way off with plenty of clearance.
I spent a restless night,periodically checking the position of the barge looming up ahead in the darkness until I realized to my horror that she was indeed dragging her anchor,in MY direction and coming down OVER my anchor chain which was already paid out to the limit.
At around 2 am,she was so close,I dared not delay any longer and started the engine
,fastened the end of my anchor chain to one of my big fenders and scuppered it overboard
After some searching around in the dark I luckily found a vacant mooring buoy a little further upstream and tied up for the rest of the night.
In the morning,I was able to raise the other barge by VHF
and inquired as to whether they had noticed the stupid and hazardous behavior of their companion. This skipper
seemed more experienced and made a great apology,shortly thereafter telling his companion in no uncertain terms to immediately pick up all my chain and fender
and bring it to me with an apology.
Later that evening we all had a jolly time at the local Brightlingsea Yachting Club.