We had an interesting experience in Newport
this past week. The wind
was blowing about 20k from the NE in the anchorage and we set down our 35# CQR
with 125 of chain in 22' of water
on the north edge of the anchorage opposite Goat Island.
As we settled down to our position the admiral said she wanted more space to the yacht anchored to the west. So I began to retrieve the anchor
with our Maxwell
. I slowly got the boat over the anchor
but the anchor did not break out and come up easily as it usually does.
Working the windlass
slowly so as not to overload the circuit and blow the breaker... I slowly lifted up what appeared to be a cable. The odd thing was that the 3-4" encrusted cable was twisted in a single
loop around the flukes. I tried to release the anchor as fast as the windlass would go.. and the 1100 runs very fast compared to most... thinking the anchor would drop down fast enough for the looped cable to fall away. No luck.
Called the Harbor Master who came out at 11pm and together we attempted to get the cable off. We tried to tie a 25' x 1" line to the shackle just forward of the fluke swivel and have him pull the anchor foward as I let out chain to allow the flukes to face downward so the cable would slip off. No luck. We were securely anchored to the abandoned cable.
The Harbor Master called a diver who came at 0600 the next morning. It was still blowing at about 18k and I thought that there would be a lot of pressure on the chain rode
. He dove down followed the chain to the anchor, lifted it up and slipped the thick cable off the flukes and reset the anchor in less than 5 minutes! WOW that was quick.
Apparently the chain was laying in the mud at the bottom and there was not much force on the rode
... at least not enough to prevent him from lifting the anchor to windward and getting the heavy cable off in 18 knots of breeze!
It got me thinking that if I wasn't "singlehanding" (wife won't work the boat)... I might have attached a long line to the anchor as we tried with the Harbor Master... but much longer... laid out lots of chain so that there was lots on the sea floor and as little tension on it as possible and then gone out in the dink and motored off to windward pull the anchor with me so that it would free itself from the cable and reset to windward.
Of course, I would want someone on board with the engine
ready to power foward if the anchor did not reset so that we would not drift back into the yachts anchored to leeward. With no winds I might have done this alone, but 20K and no anchor will send the yacht drifting through the crowded anchorage. OUCH.
I still can't figure out how the cable twisted into a loop. It was quick thick and the wind
did not shift after we set the anchor. Also, we have a swivel which I would have thought might have prevented the twisting of the loop. But maybe it enabled it! The Harbor Master told that every year 25-30 yachts snag cables
in the anchorage.
I suspect that if the cable was not wrapped, with the help of the Harbor Master we would have been able to free it from the flukes.
I often attach a float to the anchor which I can use to pull the anchor off if it get stuck. However, several other boats complained about the float because in the crowded anchorage they were concerned about it wrapping their prop in the wind shifted as it is common for boats to have their anchor "under" another yacht in the crowded anchorage.
We won't be dropping the hook in that location again!