1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: Epiphany at 0'dark:30...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Epiphany at 0'dark:30...

A cold front breezed through last night, and I do mean 'breezed'...to about 25 - 30 knots worth, and you could feel it, even tucked safely away here inside No Name Harbour. I wasn't sleepy, so I was up reading while waiting for the eventual wind shift so that I could do one last anchor check and go to bed. It was about 2 am.
The anchor alarm went off, indicating I had shifted 50 feet from where I had set it. A quick look confirmed that this was the expected wind shift from the west into the north, so I reset the alarm and went back below to finish the chapter, sip a little more wine, and then to bed.
About fifteen minutes later, the alarm went off again. I wasn't too concerned, and then I looked out the companionway....damn, the seawall was perhaps 20 yards away. I was dragging.
I grabbed my jeans - although in the past, I've had to run on deck in less when things got excessively 'interesting' shall we say - went to the windlass and started bringing up the rode. The problem here can be that the boat continues slipping backwards as you bring in line, and drags even faster as you reduce scope. Fortunately, there was enough bite left in the anchor to pull me forward, lessening the urgency of this maneuver from panic to merely 'oh s$%t, here we go again...' We all know that feeling, don't we?
I had two options - re-anchor and sit for at least an hour to make sure it was holding - or tie to the seawall, and risk the wrath of the park ranger in the morning. Well, some choices are real easy, aren't they?
I'd brought back the bowline with me after raising the anchor, so all I had to do was slide over to the seawall and tie up. With the winds running parallel to it and on my nose, this was going to be easy. Also, it gave me a good excuse to take the pup ashore and walk off a bit of the stress.
Back in the boat, I pondered the situation. I had sat out a 55 knot squall in this same harbour with this same gear, two years ago. Didn't budge an inch. Why, in much less wind, had I dragged this time? And what was I going to do to stop it from happening again? I suspected that the bottom here was fairly chewed up from other anchors, but that knowledge didn't solve my problem. Plus, other boats were holding well. Perhaps I needed to get a 45 pound CQR? Or would another anchor be a better idea.
Two friends, Bill and Paul, had been talking up their new anchors recently, so I decided to research the new generation of anchors online for some answers. In the midst of my reading, I got a pm from another night owl, Dave Skolnick of the SSCA. Talk about the perfect expert at the perfect time, Dave is a delivery captain and hugely knowledgeable. We discussed the situation and I started looking into his recommendations, along with those of Bill and Paul.
This morning, I awoke after a carefree (read, tied to the seawall) sleep, and made a phone call. I spoke with the owner of the company about my problem and my needs. My new Mantus anchor, 35 pounds, will be delivered in just a few days.
The interesting thing about this anchor is that it is shipped disassembled. You bolt it together. Test specs for it indicates that it is a very high performing anchor, and resets easily and quickly, both important factors in getting a good night's sleep, or leaving the boat for the day.
The other interesting thing is that we just discussed anchoring here on LiveBloggin' the other day...so to find myself having to make this decision after ten years with the same anchor and system gave me some new insight to what others are experiencing as they prepare for their own cruises.
I'll come back to this issue when the new anchor arrives, and do a video on assembling and installing it. In the meantime, I'm hoping the wind drops for this evening....
The last post, the Rant, was surprisingly popular, with over 1400 views in just two days from as far away as New Zealand, and some fun responses. Glad you folks enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to your own thoughts on my new anchor. Make sure you comment below.
For those of you up north, stay calm - spring is coming.