oops... my anchor is dragging

Today I helped save somebody's beautiful sailboat. While minding my own business and steadily working away building a pump house for a landscaped stream; I noticed a gorgeous 1940's wooden yawl come flying into the creek under full sail with 25 knots of wind on the stern.

The boat we saved looked a lot like this, except with bright blue sails.

It was a picturesque moment for sure.

The captain and first mate, turned the nose of the boat into the wind, the sails flapped wildly and they dropped the anchor. Time for cold beer and rum!!

Not yet.

I turned back to my work, busily cutting, hammering, and pasting things together when my father-in-law called over, "Are you seeing this!?" "He didn't let out enough chain for his anchor." "I think he's dragging!"

Skip ten minutes.

We are fighting against a howling and growling wind to keep their sailboat from dragging into my father-in-law's boat and then the boat at anchor behind his and the rocky shoreline behind that. The captain, keeping himself together although obviously embarrassed, kept shouting his appreciation for our help over the white noise of the wind. After several minutes of confused chaos and the help of a bigger boat from the neighboring marina, we safely towed his 36ft, 26,000 lb piece of flotsam along side our dock and wrestled a few lines onto the pilings. 

Turns out his engine hadn't been run in two years, so as his sailboat started to drag the anchor across the bottom, he became powerless to stop himself. In fact, he just bought this boat and today marked the celebratory christening sail. Talk about a rough first date with the future wife.

I left them this evening, covered in diesel, still trying to get the engine to run. Should they still be there tomorrow, I'll be sure to fix the engine and get pictures, or maybe video of our new friends.

In honor of our new dock friends, I'd like to provide a quick pointer on anchoring.

When it comes to anchoring, it's all about SCOPE. Scope is the ratio between the how much anchor rode (chain/rope) that you have in the water and the depth of the water.

Important rule:     'mas es mejor'   or   ' more is better'

If you ever find yourself dragging an anchor, first thing you ought to do is let out another 50 feet of anchor rode (assuming this means you have space behind you). Then wait and see if it holds.

When it holds... sit back, relax and drink a beer. If it doesn't, turn the engine on, cuss under your breath, and reset the anchor.

1 comment:

  1. We NEVER have to do that

    except for maybe that one time...


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