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Old 17-04-2011, 12:29   #1
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Anchoring Stories

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.
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Old 17-04-2011, 12:58   #2
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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.
In a nutshell...

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Old 17-04-2011, 13:19   #3
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Re: Anchoring stories

Here is my story:

My wife and I were anchored in Nantucket some years ago. The Nantucket anchorage is open to the current sweeping in and out of the inlet to the sound. We were enjoying a late afternoon cocktail watching the boats nearby swing to the current.

But one boat wasn't acting normally. It was 90 degrees to the current and pitching up and down. I concluded that its anchor rode was wrapped around its keel (been there, done that) so we kept an eye on it.

After a half hour, the boat swung around into the current and all looked good for a moment. Then we noticed it moving.

I asked my wife to call the harbor patrol and I jumped into my dinghy. Another cruiser nearby noticed what was happening and motioned for me to pick him up. So we dinghied over to the loose boat and went aboard. No one was aboard and the nylon anchor rode was hanging limp over the side.

Fortunately there was a spare anchor and rode in the locker, so we dropped it and it held.

When we got back to my boat, I asked my wife what harbor patrol said- her response was something like ho hum, call us back if you can't get it sorted out. Well if there hadn't been a spare anchor aboard, the boat would have been out past the jetties or on the rocks by the time they arrived.

We kept an eye on the other boat, but the tide wasn't going to change for several hours. An hour or so later the owner came back and found his boat a 1/4 mile from where he left it. They pulled up the anchor and probably secured a mooring (about $65 per day back then).

So what is the moral: Always use an all chain rode, particularly in a reversing current anchorage. Have a spare anchor always ready to deploy. Think about leaving your engine keys behind if you leave ready to go. And don't rely on he harbor patrol in Nantucket.

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Old 17-04-2011, 13:31   #4
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Re: Anchoring Stories

I'm with Kitty, I love hearing stories about anything nautical.. Looking forward to hearing these stories!!
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Old 17-04-2011, 13:32   #5
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Re: Anchoring Stories

So far I haven't screwed the maneuver up so badly that it would be a good story, but I'm sure the day will come.

My only real funny/not so was while we where on a mooring ball at Pinel Island on St. Marten. My four cousins and I where enjoying cold beers when a 30'ish Moorings Charter Boat came into the field. There was a mooring ball right next to us and we where sure the guy was going to grab it. His wife was on the front holding the hook. Well, he didn't slow down too much as he went past us, standing straight up at the helm. He then proceeded to turn 180 degrees and went about 200 yards behind us right onto the reef. Why it was funny was after he passed us on the return, I told my cousins "I hope he knows theres a reef there (which you could see). We tried to pull him free with our dingy but more horses where required.

After the boat was freed they brought it back and grabbed the mooring ball right next to us. I think sometimes good is better then better, if you know what I mean. Anyways, the Moorings made the couple take on a Captain for the next two days. I felt sorry for the guy because I'm sure he oversold his wife on the charter.
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Old 17-04-2011, 14:04   #6
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Re: Anchoring Stories

My dad and I were cruising the ICW back when I was a teenager (way back in the dark ages) and had to stop for a night in the Ft. Lauderdale area. Back then you could still drop the hook in an out of the way spot for the night. Well, we anchored in a little "cul de sac" surrounded by houses, had dinner and turned in for the night. Next thing I know, I'm waking up in the middle of the night to the sight of a dock bouncing up and down outside the companionway (I just KNOW that thing wasn't there when I turned in) . My dad had to crank up our little outboard and get us back out in the middle where we belonged. Nice little early morning interlude. Not a big deal, really. I'll take that kind of story over the time we drug in a early morning squall in the Bahamas.
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Old 17-04-2011, 15:03   #7
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Re: Anchoring Stories

Watched a 40'+ trawler come into the anchorage. He dropped just enough chain for the anchor to touch bottom and stopped the windlass, then tried backing down to set the anchor. did this for about an hour and then left. A few hours later, I hiked over the ridge to another anchorage and there he was 'practicing' the same maneuver.
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Old 17-04-2011, 15:08   #8
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Re: Anchoring Stories

Originally Posted by CruisingKitty View Post
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 on deck!)

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 wired shackles.
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!)

Good luck!!!

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Old 17-04-2011, 15:35   #9
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Re: Anchoring Stories

Originally Posted by Microship View Post
I was playfully making jokes about A Salt and Battery while flexing long-dormant arm muscles
This gave me a good chuckle
Jim - Bahala na!
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Old 17-04-2011, 15:40   #10
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Re: Anchoring Stories

Here's a couple:

We anchored in Swansboro just off the ICW down in North Carolina. Tons of current ripping through the anchorage and a gale blowing from the north so that when the wind eased off we would ride to the current, but then the wind would gust up and slowly push us from astern downwind against the current, until the next lull when we would drift back rapidly on the current until the line became taught. The effect down below was exactly like "crack the whip" when you're ice skating in a line with everyone holding hands, so that the last person gets flung around like on the end of a tether. It was impossible to stand up for long as you would get flung off your feet as the boat cracked the whip on the end of the anchor rode. The wildest ride I've ever had at anchor, yet that single CQR held throughout and we never moved.

Another time we were anchored in Cuttyhunk in a dense fog when a four-boat raft up drifted into visibility and collided with our bow. Of course nobody was onboard so we had to lash off the four-boat pile, all hanging to one anchor, until someone returned. Well the first person back was on the smallest boat of the four and he was tied off on one side of the bunch and despite my earnest warnings he fired up his engine and proceeded to try to motor the four of them back to windward. Since he was the smallest of the lot the whole mess just pivoted around the more massive boats to his side and they went twirling off into a pitch black fog. Since there was almost no wind for the next half hour I could hear feverish motor sounds, reverse, forward, revving up, and lots of voices off in the blackness: "Look out!" "What are you doing!" "You can't anchor there!" This was mixed with periodic curses, shouts, etc. Then I realized that the motor sounds were getting closer again, and out of the fog emerged the four-boat raft up still tied together, still being motored in circles by the one boat on the outside, and of course they dropped the hook again dead to windward of us. They then proceeded to let out all the scope they could so that I could have stepped from my bow into their cockpit. They all retired below and spent the rest of the night anchored like that while I got fitful sleep at best.
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Old 17-04-2011, 15:50   #11
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Re: Anchoring Stories

Feom Hart's Cut at Trinadad, fall of 2008:

Last Sunday, late in the afternoon, I'm up at the open-air bar trying to make sense out of the political stuff via the internet, during a fierce rain squall. The waitress from the restaurant rushes up to me and says that she received a phone call from one of the boats in the anchorage and that I should return to my boat quickly.
So I leave my computer with her and rush out, in my dinghy, to where my boat had been at anchor. Rain, man you could not see more that twenty feet in the thirty knot winds. It rained 55 millimeters in two hours and rained a total of 88 millimeters in six hours. 25 millimeters to the inch.
My boat was gone! I urged my little 4 HP outboard downwind searching for my boat. And there it was, check and jowl next to a 45 foot Hunter. The Hunter had dragged, with no one on board, his anchor acrossed my anchor chain and pulled my anchor out of the mud. Three fellow cruisers were aboard the Hunter and both boats were in danger of going ashore. My boat was the windward boat with the Hunter kind of between my boat and the shore. Later it was reported that the Hunter was touching the bottom with my boat next, when I arrived on the scene.
I rolled onto my boat, jumped in the cockpit, started the engine (the key is ALWAYS in the ignition!!), and put it in gear. I may have used excessive throttle, but my boat started to pull away from the shore! I looked back and I was also towing the Hunter into deeper water also! One of the cruisers had stepped onto my boat from the Hunter to help me, and I broke away from the Hunter so Bob, the other cruiser steered the boat while I went forward to bring the chain and anchor in.
Remember, it's raining and blowing like hell, we're both soaking wet.
I get about half of the chain in, and guess what? No anchor! My 45 pound Bruce is gone.
Bob starts to wig out about having no anchor with which to re-anchor my boat. I just look at him and say my mantra, 'always have a backup', and got my 45 pound Delta anchor out of the lazerett(sp) and took it forward to attach to the remaining chain.
Not only did I save my boat, I'd saved the Hunter too.
The next day was spent dragging my dinghy anchor around trying to snag my chain. I went around to the other cruisers that took part in the rescue efforts and learned that the Hunter had never re-anchored. Dumb **** is still sitting forty feet from shore using my anchor to secure his boat! So I went over to him and asked him if he would raise his anchor. Which he did, and sure enough my chain was still wrapped around his anchor. I couldn't raise my anchor by myself so left it attached to the chain and a fender floating in the water until the next day.
By now it's Tuesday and I finally retrieved the anchor along with about ninety feet of chain and took my boat to the dock to put everything back together. It appears that I wrapped my chain around his anchor and my anchor and broke the chain will towing him off the shore.
Damage appears to be confined to the wood toe rail and a whisker stay (cable to support the bowsprit. and the chain. Additional damage was done to the cutless bearing and housing. The cutless bearing housing is where the prop shaft goes thru the hull into the interior of the boat.
I've submitted a letter to the Customs office asking that they not let this person leave the country until I am satisfied, and I await the appraisers visit in about a week.
ain't this fun??

Further update: his insurance paid for all reparirs including haul-out.
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Old 17-04-2011, 15:52   #12
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We had a father and son dock next to us, arriving in Cape Town from a long journey. He had wanted to get his hands on a horn that was a loud as one could get.
His friend was in the salvage business and called him up to say that he had a wrecked tanker with a massive horn on it and did he want it.
Harry was not about to give up the opportunity and had it shipped in sections in various boxes.
He then assembled the thing into / onto his 50ft yacht - it looked hugely out of proportion but said it had saved his life.
He told us that as he was approaching Cape Town there was severe fog and the ships were signalling by horn.
He says he picked up a large shape on his radar approaching rather quickly and was afraid he couldn't get out of the way in time.
The ship obviously had picked him up as a blip on the radar screen because it signalled very loudly.
Harry says he looked at his son and they decided they better signal back.
Their horn was air over electric and hooked up to 12 dive tank bottles.
They engaged their horn which was louder and deeper than the ships.
He says the next thing they came into vision of the ship through the fog to discover they (the ship) had got such a fright at what they considered a blip on the radar screen to have such a loud horn that they must have been mistaken and immediately dropped all anchor in an emergency stop.
With the ship still reeling under the sudden halt of dropped anchors, Harry says they literally sailed across their bow.
When they were clear to the other side he said they could see the crew on the bridge searching with binoculars for this huge ship with a big horn, only to discover a small sailing boat in the vicinity.
...... and the moral of the story ..... Never judge the size of ones horn by the size of his boat !!!!
In our own style and our own time ...
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Old 17-04-2011, 16:05   #13
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Re: Anchoring Stories

Years ago while anchored in Snug Cove, Bowen Island in B.C., I was lounging in the cockpit enjoying a sundowner on a warm, quiet summer evening when a good size power boat with a 3 story tuna tower over the wheelhouse slowly entered the harbor. The other half dozen boats already anchored in this quiet piece of paradise were all watching as this fellow boater proceeded ot set his anchor.
The skipper was atop the tower armed with his loud hailer while his wife manned the foredeck. On the first pass, very quietly, skipper directed his wife to 'drop the hook' over the loud hailer. She waved and dutifully followed his order and splashed the anchor. She secured the rode and he backed down only to miss the grab.
The 'up anchor' command was given and complied with.
The procedure was repeated at least 3 more times with increasing frustration, louder and more pointed commands from the tower steering station and the foredeck crewmember following each order to the letter with a wave of acknowledgement.
By the 3rd or 4th attempt, everyone in the anchorage was watching the performance with increasing interest. By this time, the skipper was shouting into the loud hailer berating his wife and admonishing her to 'make sure the hook was set this time'.
On the last unsuccessful attempt, Captain Loudmouth unloaded verbally on his passive little wife. She turned, looked up at the top of the tower with hands on her hips, bellowed 'F*CK YOU' and walked into the wheelhouse leaving the anchor rode hanging straight down.
She got a standing ovation from the entire anchorage!
The red faced skipper climbed down to the deck, raised the anchor rode himself, entered the wheelhouse and left the anchorage in a hurry.
I've often wondered what they had for dinner that night!
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Old 17-04-2011, 16:33   #14
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Re: Anchoring Stories

While anchored in St Thomas, (in 35' of water) we had been ashore for the day. Upon our return to the boat a third cruise ship pulled in, and there was no more room for him at the docks. He dropped his huge anchor. I watched curiously for a while, and noticed that his stern was swinging very slowly towards the anchorage. I figured that a dock line or SOMETHING was in the works. I soon realized that he had NO intention of doing anything, but crushing the 5 or 6 boats on our end of the anchorage! His swing rate was now picking up.

I blasted 5 blast on the horn, a number of heads popped up, realized the same thing, and started FRANTICALLY retrieving their anchors! Mine was the only one with NO windlass at all, and I was amazed how fast I got my 275' with 110' of it being chain, in. (First thought: "I've GOT to get a windlass").

About two minutes later as we were motoring out of the harbor and the ship occupied our old spot, a seaplane was taking off and just cleared the top of our mast by about 15'. Sphincter factor of 10!

With the sun getting low we headed for the next island, as we were DONE with this one!

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Old 17-04-2011, 16:48   #15
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Wink Re: Anchoring Stories

A couple of years ago I set anchor in New Harbor, Block Island. The only available anchor spots now are in pretty deep water, around 30-50'. No problem though, it's good holding ground. The boats wind up tight but there's always room for everyone. Well, around dusk, in pulls this very large, (50'+) shiny new center cockpit job. Block, Newport area is the hub of zillion dollar boats that make my old boat look bad. So, after careful consideration, he starts dropping his anchor where it will obviously drag and set right atop my anchor. I yelled over to the captain gentleman that he was going to snag my hook but he assured me he knew exactly what he was doing and I should not worry. Don't worry, be happy. O...K. The next day, sure enough when he tried to retrieve his hook we, together, spent about an hour untangling his anchor from mine. Think I heard him say, "sorry" but am not sure. They were quite old and the women were blue-hairs and looked like kindly grandmothers. I couldn't even be upset. They were well dressed for sailing.

This was a charmed spot because the very next day, another sailboat lost power upwind and drifted directly down on me. Luckily, was able to fend him off and we rafted up. They were real nice folks from Conn. on a maiden voyage to whom I lent all my tools, and manuals, for the next two days (he had none). They also made good drinks after I gave them some water (they had none). My daughter, who is afraid of sailing and had ferried across to meet me was quite impressed that some of the heaps of stuff I keep on board was actually useful to someone.

Ah, the pleasures of boating the Northeast. Is it like this out West? Down South?
smurphny is offline   Reply With Quote

anchor, anchoring

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