is down until I can afford some new rigging
and have it stepped...so in the meantime I've been motoring around and practicing my docking
skills. Yesterday was a bright sunny day here in Portland
and everyone was out on the river so I thought I'd try my hand at anchoring
. With the help of my inexperienced friend we set out across the river to drop anchor
in front of some restaurants on the Vancouver side. (I assumed this was a good spot because Iv'e seen several motor
yachts drop anchor
there.) Turning the engine
off facing the current
I slowly lowered the anchor by hand in 33ft of water
This might be a good spot to tell you about my ground tackle. My rhode is made up of 30ft of chain and 290ft of rope
. At the end of this is a Danforth that is at least 2 sizes bigger than necessary (if I am to assume that everyone else has anchors proportionate to their boat size). I'm not totally new to sailing but this is my first big boat and the last time I dropped anchor was in King Harbor, with a crew of 5, and no current
So as you might imagine the rope
quickly started running through my hands as the last of the chain was submerged and the river current began pushing us back. With great exertion and quick maneuvering I got a rap around the bronze bow cleat to halt the rhode's progress. At this point we had 90ft out. So I gingerly let it out until the 120ft marker was just touching the surface of the water
. After securing the rhode to the cleat I made sure we weren't dragging, put it in reverse for security
, and shut off the engine
. For the next two hours we relaxed, pushed off some logs
that drifted down river, and enjoyed watching the anchor line hold firm even when power boaters buzzed by way too close and way too fast.
When we were ready to go I had my friend put it slow forward while I went up front to pull up the line. After a hard won 30ft of rhode was on board and my hands were good and torn up I tried to quickly get a rap around the cleat to take a break. I was able to do so after letting 20ft back out through my sore hands. This went on for maybe 10 minutes but it felt like 40. Finally I smartened up, pulled the rhode back to a cockpit winch
, and pulled it in until I saw chain on deck
. Then I ran forward, pulled up the rest and stowed it in the locker.
Back at the marina I quickly tied up the boat, said goodbye to my friend, went below decks, and put a pillow over my face. This may sound like a minor nuisance but for this new boater it was a little shaking. I think I learned 4 things from this experience.
1) Don't anchor in a strong current...I should have looked for a bend in the river or somewhere less ridiculous.
2) Wear gloves...by the time I started using the winch
my hands were shredded and just turning the handle hurt.
3) Use the winch early...I feel like if I'm in the cockpit
I could run the throttle and tiller as I was pulling the rhode up with the winch. Then once I see the chain It would be pretty simple to run forward, pull the rest by hand, and get the bow cleaned up.
4) Wear a life jacket...I know this is obvious but it didn't really occur to me until I was thinking it over this morning. Every time a boat went by the wake rocked us pretty good and it wouldn't to be hard to get caught off balance heaving the anchor up.
If anyone has any more words of wisdom to impart I'd be happy to hear it. I mostly just needed to write this down to clear my head
. I want to be good at sailing and practice is the only way to do it. Hopefully my mast
will be up soon and I can start scaring myself with the sails