Originally Posted by CruisingKitty
Anchoring is a spectator sport! Everyone has anchoring "stories". Some are funny, some scary, others just unbelievable. I have been collecting anchoring stories for some time and would love to hear yours.
Decades ago I rode out some hurricanes on the hook, but out in open areas. (Luckily the storms were Catagory 1s, and my Danforths (opposing each other), held. I did however get dragged down on by the boat in front of me, in the middle of the night!
Since then I have sought out ever increasing levels of protection, as long as the boats around me looked like they had responsible and highly skilled skippers.
Sometimes I spiderweb in a canal
. There are a number of these 'VACANT", deep in "ghosts towns", where a development was planned, but never materialized. Unfortunately, the "dufi" might move in after I am already set up!
One of my favorites is to go deep into a maagrove forest, like our Shark River, in the FL, Everglades. There, the river winds for miles in mangroves 40' tall! I would wrap and shackle a 10' chain around the base of about 10 mangrove clusters, at the base. (at or below the water
.) I'm talking about around a 6' across cluster of roots. In the shackeling process, I put in the thimbled eye of numerous 150' or more 5/8" min lines. These are to tie in spider web fashion. In this much protection, the wind
at my mast head
might be 140, but at deck
level it might only be 45! This only works if you are NOT surrounded by idiots doing something similar with 4 or 5, 3/8" ski ropes. (It's happened to me, some boats with washing
machines and stacks of plywood
If the mooring distance is close, like 25' from a fixed point, use three strand nylon for stretch. If the distance is like 75 - 100', you would be better off with lower stretch line like nylon double braid, or three strand polyester. ( I have been in the middle of a canal
, and my nylon lines stretched SO much, that I was hitting the opposite wall!)
(Under an almost breaking load, 50' of three strand nylon can stretch to 75'!)
Doubled up polyester "Textile" chafe gear
is less likely to melt the lines at contact points, than any of the hose or split tubing varieties. In my one "huge" storm, (on the border between a 3 & 4) many lines turned to a solid plastic! In my last post, #62, that monohull
, during the storm, which was up wind
of me... had such a strain, that it popped, (not chafed), a 1" double braid line with a 30,000 pound BL!
Other times I have spiderwebbed between docks, where my lines are long and can stretch with the rising surge. (Like in IVAN)
I have also made a three anchor, (LARGE Danforth types), mooring... I have used it either up a very narrow, protected winding creek, or most recently, I set up my friends sister ship Searunner
During "Ivan", the killer storm, we had gusts over 150 MPH, and a surge around 13' - 15'. We were in a relatively protected bayou, 1/4 mile across, but in the direction that the wind was going to come from, the fetch was about a mile. Although sea level and geography made the results not as critical for us, causing far less damage, the wind and approaching surge were worse than Katrina!
On my boat, I spiderwebbed between the dock
and huricane pilings, that I specifically had the dock owner put about 30' out from the boat. I used 21 lines, with some being stretchy three strand, that were doubled up with others that were not as stretchy, but 1' longer. This way I had shock absorbtion and a limit to how far it would get to the pilings or the dock. I also had anchors bow and stern.
I went from the house at the top of the hill where I was going to stay, out to the boats to adjust lines, about 9 times, as the wind howled and the water
rose. MY lines were almost perfect, but needed one or two loosenings.
As for the evacuated property owner's, monohull
, on the UPwind side of the dock... I had "spiderwebbed" it in a similar manner. IT was about to tear up and destroy both of us, however, as his pilings were not as far out as mine. I went out MANY times to loosen the leeward side of his boat. The last couple of times, required that I do the side stroke, (after midnight of course), with a flashlight in one hand but out of the water. (Luckily, the chop was only about 2') That huge oak tree in the above photos, had already fallen, but I didn't know, and the gusts were to 150 MPH!
Going out and adjusting lines kept these boats and the dock there, unlike most on our "hard hit" side of the bayou.
Earlier, a 28' or so monohull had anchored out 200' away and upwind of our dock, With only one small hook. (I knew he was a future missile) Just before the storm, after the irresponsible owner left, I went out with a large Fortress
and rode, (mine), but his 6" cleats
would never hold. So I took a long section of 1" double braid, folded it in half, and tied a hitch in itself to make a 1' eye. I positioned the eye in front of the bow, with a small line to hold it up, then wrapped the large line's two legs around the sides of the hull
and then up to the base of the mast
, and tied them securely. I included chafe gear
where needed. This eye gave a strong enough attachment point for my large Fortress's rode.
My friend Chuck, with a Searunner
sistership to mine, asked what I thought he should do. The options such as mine, were now all taken. So we set up a three anchor mooring in the far, shallow (3'), end of the bayou. (This was my "invention" from 10 years earlier.)
I will cut and paste this account, from the book that I am working on... "My 40 Year Love Affair With Multihulls".
For Chuck’s Searunner 34, I had suggested my homemade hurricane
mooring for multihulls. We picked a spot in the very shallow end of the bayou, between two spoil islands, knowing that we couldn’t get his Searunner in or out without a really high tide. It was very protected but tight in there, and we had a sunken barge to avoid as well.
I came up with this system ten years earlier for tidal places with reversing currents, or for when you just want to anchor and leave the boat prior to expected landfall of the storm. In this case you don’t want all these lines wrapped around each other when they’re needed most. The first step is to set up the mooring…
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………… ……………….
The mooring starts with a large galvanized oval/fork swivel… (¾”)
Put another 7 or 8” long oval into the fork, so there is a pear shaped oval on each end. This is now about 1’ long. (The larger oval is the bottom one).
This is kept vertical by attaching a 1’ diameter float to the upper “smaller” oval, with a thin 3’ pennant.
The bottom oval has three, 5/8” X 4’ long tails of three strand nylon, with thimbles tightly spliced in. These are connected onto the oval with similar size shackles. Wire them well.
One sets the largest anchor first, by dinghy
(opposite the worst threat). Set it really well! Then using a bowline through a bight, tie the rode to the first of several of these 4’ tails. For safety
, two half hitches after the bowline is a good idea. I got Chuck to double check every step with me.
Then set the next anchor and tie it to the next tail accordingly. I suggest Fortress
37s minimum… or even 55s! This is way cheaper than insurance
, and more reliable.
Now set and attach the third anchor accordingly, in a triangular pattern.
Set it up as tight as possible by hand. It will still drag and stretch to the point that the swivel moves around a bit and lies in the crotch of a “V” when load is applied.
The excess anchor lines that are on the bottom can now be pulled toward their respective anchors about 20’, and put into mesh bags. These bags you then tie to the now tight anchor lines, using the bag’s draw string. This makes the tangle free mooring.
You then pull up to the mooring with your trimaran
and pick up the float. Now connect up your 40’ long X 5/8” double braid bridle
legs to the upper oval. These bridle
legs have thimbles tightly spliced in, and are connected to the oval with large safety
After these bridle legs are run through the ama bow chocks and cleated, as a safety… run an extra leg (or two), from the middle of the upper oval to the bow of the main hull
, then through chocks, & cleat them. Use doubled up textile chafe gear at the chocks.
The outer bridle should be the tighter of the bow lines, for directional control.
There you have it… It takes about two hours to set up. (It could be much longer to retrieve). IF you have good holding, good protection, strong gear and do it right, it should hold a Searunner 34, even in a cate
So, this is how to do the mooring... Meanwhile up at the house I was staying in, I had my largest Fortress 55 ready to swim out to any boat dragging down on me. (IF I could see it... BIG IF!) I have done this before, and yes it can be done. A huge storm is much easier to move around in mostly under water, than walking around, IF the chop is small. To swim out an emergency
hook... You have the mostly rope
rode carefully figure eighted in a canvas rope
bag. (it will be weightless under water) This is attached to a LARGE boat fender
with a 2' long X 1/4" line, using a neat BOW knot
. You do the same with the Fortress but with a different 1/4" line. Then with good fins, mask & snorkle, and wearing a wetsuit, (not foul weather
gear), you side stroke this out to the offending boat, and the fender
holds it up. Then you have to decide weather
to deploy the anchor first, or attach the rope first, by untying the bow knots. If you can't reach the deck
or some attachment point, with the end of the anchor's rode, do a rolling hitch on the lines already on the boat's bow, swim the anchor out, and pull the OTHER bow knot
. YES... It has scared the sh.t out of me on occasion, but my wife and I have put in about 50,000 hours of labor building, outfitting, and re-fitting our boat. It is incentive to do CRAZY things!
In the middle of the worst part of the storm, I finally gave up on going out to the boats... The water got so high in the property owner's house, that I thought the hypothermia or drowning inside would do me in, so I set out for the only modern stilt house in the neighborhood. (the few non evacuees were here) The two blocks were traversed in water up to my arm pits. Cars, boats etc were floating down the street, and all of the varmints, bugs, etc in that top 1' of floating mulch, were looking for high ground, MY head!
All of the boats that I prepared and nursed through the storm, were among the undamaged 2%.
In the end, we lost
our land stuff, my van, and a $30,000 tool trailer
that I make a living with. (all uninsured!) BUT, we still had our boat! After this, we finished the refit
we were in the final stages of, and set out for the Chesapeake, Bahamas
, and then Eastern Caribbean
Well that's about it... Maximize shelter and minimize the projectiles around you. Make a mooring if you need to, and ALWAYS use Danforth / Fortress types opposing each other if you can. (In our case, after the eye passed, the wind reversed at well over 100 MPH!)
The old saying about
: "There is nothing that you can do in a hurricane", is not necessarily true. It depends on your skills at this, and willingness to risk your life. In my case, I figured I was less likely to die in the storm, than to die in the attempt to built another boat. (This one had taken ten years!)