WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR ANCHOR GETS STONED
We spent the late afternoon watching this megayacht dragging its anchor through the bay.
It was a slow drag, and there were no vessels anchored behind the powerboat that were threatened by the wayward yacht.
The megayacht appeared unconcerned by the slow drag, and after about an hour, they finally decided to sort out the anchoring debacle. They needed to establish a secure anchorage because it was getting late, and they needed to reset the anchor before dark.
They had been securely anchored behind us for two days before they started dragging. When the wind came up to 25 knots today, the megayacht began sailing to port and starboard loading the anchor until it finally dragged.
Usually an anchor will reset in the lulls between wind gusts unless the anchor has a problem.
This anchor had a problem.
It was a giant Bruce anchor weighing several hundred pounds. The anchor was about half as long as I am tall. It was a big one.
So what happened?
The reason most anchors drag is because they were never properly set in the first place, or they have been fouled by sea grass or rocks.
In this particular location there is lots of sea grass on the bottom as well as an ample supply of rocks.
When the anchor started to drag, I would have guessed the anchor was fouled by sea grass. I was wrong. Instead, it was fouled by a large mama jama boulder.
When the wind came up and the anchor started to drag, it encountered a large boulder that became ensnared in the flukes of the Bruce anchor. The rock was large and easily weighed more than a hundred pounds.
When the megayacht raised the anchor, the large rock was there for all to see. It was big and heavy, and it wasn’t going anywhere. Positive thinking doesn’t work with heavy rocks fouling anchors.
They took a long boat hook and probed and poked at the rock - which only made the rock laugh harder at them. They tried using a boat hook and rope to dislodge the rock to no avail.
Finally, a brave crew member climbed over the bow and down on the anchor where he spent a few minutes kindly asking the rock to leave - which it did not. He then got aggressive, and with great effort, he was able to lift and cast the recalcitrant rock into the sea.
There are several lessons to be learned from this experience.
First, it’s always nice to have a valiant low paid disposable crew member on board who is willing to risk his life to climb down the anchor chain to dislodge unwelcome boulders from Bruce anchors.
Second, when your anchor starts dragging, it’s a waste of time waiting to see if the dragging will stop. You need to start your engines, put them in full reverse, and if the anchor does not immediately dig in, the anchor is fouled, and you need to pull up your anchor, and then reanchor in a different spot.
Third, when you anchor in sea grass and rocks, there is no place for optimism in the anchoring ritual. The anchor is either holding or it is not. If you can’t back down on your anchor with full throttle in reverse, then the anchor is not going to hold when the wind is blowing over 25 knots.
Fourth, drop your anchor in a location where you will not be hit by other yachts if they drag anchor. You can’t do this all the time, but most of the time you know the prevailing directions of wind and current, and you can pick a place to anchor where a poorly anchored yacht will not hit yours when their anchor drags.
I want to thank the megayacht for the great entertainment this afternoon, and reinforcing all of these lessons in the minds of the crew of Exit Only.
Hopefully now we can all anchor long and prosper.
Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.
Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.
If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.
Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.
Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.
Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.
After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.
Captain Dave and his family spent eleven years sailing around the world on their Privilege 39 catamaran, Exit Only. During the trip, the crew shot 200 hours of video with professional cameras to show people what it's like to sail on a small boat around the world.
The Red Sea Chronicles is a one hour and twenty-two minute feature film showing their adventures as Exit Only sails through Pirate Alley in the Gulf of Aden and up the Red Sea. The professional footage documents their experiences in Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, and the Suez Canal. It chronicles the rigors of traveling in a remote section of the world rarely visited by cruisers. Exit Only dodges Yemeni pirates, fights a gale and sand storms in the Bab al Mandeb at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The crew explores deserted islands on the western shores of the Red Sea, and learns to check the cruising guides for land mines before venturing ashore.
The Red Sea Chronicles also has outstanding Special Features including an Instructional Video on Storm Management that tells sailors how to deal with storms at sea.
The Red Sea Chronicles is a first class adventure that stokes the sailing dreams of both experienced and wannabe sailors alike.
Join Team Maxingout as they sail through Pirate Alley and up the Red Sea
See what it's like to cruise on a catamaran before you spend a bazillion dollars purchasing one
After watching the Red Sea Chronicles you will be able to see yourself sailing on the ocean of your dreams
Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.