This area shown on the pictures at Airlie Beach including the rock wall has not good holding--I have dragged an anchor
there myself in only a moderate breeze. I ended up having to go elsewhere where I could pay out a much longer scope
on a stickier bottom than sand or sandy mud. There were too many boats there to pay out more scope
. The place gets very crowded at times.
Most of the boats on moorings are unattended, used on weekends only. Some of these boats may well have been at anchor
and dragged their anchors into the mooring
chains of others. Perhaps this mooring
was then unable to secure two vessels in the strong winds and seas--vessels which probably slammed against each other doing further damage--and may have dragged into still more vessels as a result. These moorings have numbered red floats and I see one red float in the shallows.
Some of the vessels which held to their anchors and did not wash ashore appear to have been damaged by other boats drifting into them. The place is pretty crowded most of the time--and that rock wall would be fairly unforgiving to a glass or wooden hull
driven ashore there. Those who realised what was about to happen could have moved further away and rigged for the storm--I am sure many folk did just that--but most of the boats damaged were probably unattended.
How a large tourist cruise
yacht could be lost
on Hook Island, or why it was not riding at anchor in a safe haven (there are two of them close by) with good holding mud, we will have to wait to find out. Maybe it was thought to be safely secured to a permanent mooring. There are some off Hook Island. Perhaps the tide was exceptionally low and they could not make the entrances to Nara or Macona inlets.
I have no idea what kind of watchkeeping allowed the vessel to snap a mooring cable early in the morning, yet it apparently did not occasion enough instant alarm
to start the diesels immediately and make for open water
. Again--we will have to wait for any report. Luckily no one was hurt.
I think those boats which dragged at Airlie Beach were damaged by other vessels dragging inadequate anchors--a sort of domino effect--because as they drifted they might well have picked up more anchor chains on the bottom. Many yachts have inadequate anchors, having two smaller or medium sized ones for the vessel either side of the bow rather than one large one on the bow. Small or medium sized anchors might be OK for calm waters and gentle currents--no good for a storm or really strong current
, which can happen without a lot of warning. If a big anchor is dragging one can always deploy extra ones if necessary. Small or medium sized anchors drag a lot in those waters, where tides are fast and strong winds can come up quickly.
A very sad state of affairs. I wonder how many of them contemplating their damaged vessels are uninsured? Quite a few I should imagine. I feel so sorry for them in their loss.