My disaster also involved a fouled prop... Many years ago when I first sailed down the Carib I had with me a few in crew one of the was an ex CG guy, manager of the SI yacht club and now the harbor master of Greenport, and boat owner. Clearly he was not novice
So we sailed from Pointe a Pitre to Ile de Saints one weekend... and the winds were pretty stiff as I recall
and we dropped the sails
and motored into the anchorage to look for a spot for the evening... Great plans... a French meal etc... sight seeing the next day....
The anchorage was very crowded by I though anchor
in the lee of the tall hill/mountain to the east... Of course that's were most of the boat were. OK we'll find a spot. We did but it was definitely a tight fit. But the bottom was something like 30 or 35' and we'd need a lot of scope
. I decided to hook a float to the anchor so no one would drop their hook on or close to mine. Seemed like a clever idea.
So I clip on the float with apparently too much scope
on it's painter... and the boat was not actually dropping back.. the chain was dropping down and the float was bobbing unseen along side the boat. Buddy puts it in reverse to back the boat down and set the anchor and the painter gets wrapped around the prop and the engine
stops of course. Lovely. Obviously the anchor could not set... YIKES
I had a spare in the anchor locker
with 200 feet of nylon and a bruce... so first brought all the chain up which must have been in a pile under the boat. Of course we are not sitting still and we begin to be blown down wind
through the crowd of anchored boats. Buddy is try to steer to avoid hitting anyone. Thank dog we didn't. I am trying to get the new rode
and read to deploy the Bruce and we are now behind all the anchored boats and bearing down on a French tall cruise
Two choices... roll out the head
sail and sail downwind out of the harbor... or deply the bruce and hope the anchor sets and were and not banging up against the tall ship. YIKES.
I dropped the bruce and released the line... all 200' of it. and the hook grabbed and the bow turned to windward. PHEW. Close to the French not not too close to get in trouble. YIKES. We almost got in to a really really bad situation.
Sailing out was not a great idea because we'd have to figure out how to dive the boat out there... it was getting to night and that seemed completely a non starter. Sail back to Freeman Bay at Antigua
In the morning some guy in a dink..a fellow sailor and diver who witnessed the ordeal offered to dive and cut the painter. In 3 minutes the prop was free, the engine
fired... we retrieved.... we offered goodies to the diver and headed off to shallower water
to anchor with the chain.
That one ended OK... but it clearly could have been a terrible disaster. I still have the occasional nightmare.
Painters and props don't get get along too well.