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EXCITEMENT AT 1:30 A.M. July 28, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.

Yea, on boats things happen at inconvenient times. If you recall, I wrote of coming home to a boat dragging anchor to find out it was our boat. That was one of those times that things happened at a very convenient time. We just stepped on board.

Blissfully sound asleep at about 1+ a.m. Now everyone has heard the noise of wind in the trees. Now our boat is a ketch. It has two masts and miles of standing rigging to hold them up in the air. It also has miles of running rigging to control the sails when they are up. Those are our trees. Our rigging starts making sounds at about10 knots. As the wind increases so does the noise. Both at some mathematical factor I do not want to get into.

As an example, years ago we were living at a marina in Pensacola. The mate and I were watching TV when a storm came up and the rigging started making more and more noise. The remote control is in my hand as usual and I am on the ball hitting the volume. More and more I mash that little button and the TV responds with more volume. The good Lord responds with more wind. After a couple rounds and we still can not hear the program, I concede. God one, Ralph zippo. Guess I should have know that. The noise from the rigging was as loud as I had ever heard it. Maybe still the loudest.

1 am the wind is screeching through the rigging. The Mate who is super sensitive about dragging anchor, especially since it was only a few days before is also screeching about getting out and insuring we were not dragging. I am the one dragging and get on some swim trunks that happen to be the handiest clothes available. Out into the cockpit and it is cold. The wind must be coming from 60,000 feet and did not warm up at all on the way down. It is also raining sideways. I can see maybe 300 yards. Beyond that things were hard to clearly make out. I am surrounded by 5 boats, all within 150 feet. If you drag, that gives you no time to respond. I get the radar up and can not make out any boats in the anchorage. Did I mention it was raining. I played with the gain controls and only get to see better rain images. When the GPS is on it tracks every inch the boat moves. That gives us a track to see when anchoring and how much you move around the anchor. This will eventually draw and arch from the anchor to the boat. That is good. I also take bearing on something on land to give me a visual point to insure we are not dragging. This is best if it is on your beam (off the side of the boat). We are in the trade winds and they blows from the east or close to it, always. Well almost always. The wind was blowing very much out of the south. That put my anchor bearing on the bow. Now the bow is dancing around on the anchor plus of minus 20 degrees. Anchor bearing is totally useless. My GPS track is almost as useless. It has never drawn an arch in this direction.

One of the boats behind me has a buoy on its anchor. That is usually 15-20 feet away. Because it is the rainy season, we have kept the windshield and side curtains up. That allow us to use the cockpit when it is raining. The cockpit is the coolest place on the boat. Now remember the rain is going sideways. I can therefore stick my body out the back of the cockpit without getting wet. So with binoculars I am leaning out looking for that little buoy. Finally with a lightening flash, I spot it about where it is suppose to be. Thank God.

Believe it or not, I did not check the wind speed. The GPS gives me a lot of data including wind speed, and I was to occupied to check the wind speed till it had died down to 14 knots. A lady we were talking with the next morning said 55 knots steady. Now she is in the bay beside where we are anchored and they and not as protected as we are. They say. We have an island with 2 hills about 150 feet high. There is a valley between the hills that is maybe 20 above the water. The other side of the hills and valley is open water to Africa. Because of our protection we were still probably hitting 50 knots. It was screeching.

After that the week was pretty calm. Saturday night we hosted a cocktail party for one of our boat buddies that are heading home to Canada for a month or so to visit friends. We did a wine tasting thing with everyone bring a bottle of wine. It was a good time.

We did go grocery shopping and stop at the boat store for a few hundred dollars of repair and spare parts. Should be about restocked after the trip here.



1. Jane And Bernie - July 28, 2014

Good to know Captain and/or God always have situation well in hand, however, cocktail party only sounds inviting!

2. katherinejacobs2014 - July 28, 2014

Pretty exciting post. Sounded like you couldn’t have done anything with the wind and rain like it was even if

you had discovered you were dragging, am I right? Since I knew it turned out o.k. it was a pretty comical picture

I had in my head of the whole experience. 🙂


Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 01:15:46 +0000 To: katherinejacobs@hotmail.com

sailingnightwatch - August 27, 2014

First you take bearing to insure you are not moving. You would have your instruments up and running and possibly the engine. If you begin to drag you have few options. Raising the anchor could be done, maybe. That would be the last resort. Running the engine forward slowly can take the strain off the anchor. If you are dragging, if you have room behind you, you can leave out more anchor rode and hope the anchor resets itself. You can let it drag and hope you clear any dangers, then get in a position you can motor towards the anchor and raise it up. A slow, laborious, dangerous adventure. If you get it up, you can go and re-anchor. When we were in Nevis, a gale hit and we ran the engine for several hours. We were on a mooring and our boat was tied to it with one 3/4 inch line. It was a nervous time. we were about 100 yards from the beach and if we would have broke loose we would have little time to get headed out to sea.

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