99 Problems…

May 30, 2015 at 8:49 am

But a dragging anchor ain’t one…

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This is an anchor ‘angel’ or ‘chum’. It’s a lump of lead weighing about 15 kilos. You tie a bowline through it and round your anchor line and lower it down the line til it touches the bottom. Then you tie it off tight. So theoretically under the water you have your anchor, set in well, then a line of chain (20m in my case) and the chum sits at the end of the chain before the rode  comes up to your boat.

The idea is that whatever forces are at play on your boat, the ‘angel’ has to be lifted before anything can start to move your chain, let alone get at your anchor.

Works a dream. I sat out a gusty, veering f7 yesterday swinging in a much reduced circle around the ‘angel’ whereas without it we’d have been all over the place and probably pulled the Danforth out.

Anchoring problems? What anchoring problems?

Back problems, maybe…

Cawsand Gaffer

May 22, 2015 at 7:16 am

Took this last night. He sailed past as I was having my tea anchored just off Cawsand.

Anyone know what it is?

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Trouble at Cremyll

May 16, 2015 at 6:26 pm

Duet and I left the comfort of Plymouth Yacht Haven yesterday afternoon and headed over to Millbrook to pick up some stainless steel fittings for the Navik. I stopped to pick up Bill Churchouse who was anchored at Cremyll on the way, and we ducked in alongside at Voyager Boatyard at high tide, very conscious that it dries. All went smoothly and we beat a hasty retreat.

After dropping Bill back off on his boat I dropped anchor nearby in 8 meters, just by the entrance to the channel up to Millbrook, at the end of the Cremyll moorings. The SW wind was pretty fresh and I let out 20m chain and another 20m rope as the wind was due to freshen over night. It did, but we held fast. However, I was aware that with so much scope I was in danger of riding out of the channel and onto the nearby mud flats. Low tide at 11pm passed without too much incident. We touched briefly but right on low tide, and I started the engine and pushed us off back into the channel where I threw out the little Danforth kedge I keep in a bucket on the pushpit, to help keep us out in deeper water. I didn’t sleep at all well at all though. The wind did freshen and I was mindful of dragging, or swinging round on the tide out of the channel onto the drying mud. I slept with the anchor alarm set to 20m on my handheld gps under my pillow (so if we moved more than 20m it would sound and I would wake). But I still woke a good few times as waves slapped the hull. The wind in the rigging had an ominous tone and it was very cold, even with my hot water bottle and thermals.

By 7.30 I was up and we had swung round on the tide, as the height of tide had lifted the kedge out and we were only in 1.2m of water (under the keel), and with 3 1/2 hours to go til the next low tide I knew I was heading for trouble, so I pulled in the dangling kedge and then upped anchor and moved, anchoring again further out in 7m again, probably only 10m away, such was the steep sides of the channel under the water. I didn’t bother with the kedge again though I didn’t let out as much scope this time either.

We held again well in the soft mud, however at some point next the wind veered to the NW and was by now gusting a good, regular f6.

The effect of this was to push us round and up onto the mud, but I didn’t notice in time… At just after 10am I was lying in my bunk and could feel Duet was touching the bottom, just a gentle sticking in the soft mud and an odd motion, but the depth sounder said there was still 0.8m of water under the keel. Which was odd as it had been bang on in the night; I tested it with a weighted line.

By 20 past 10 I’d tried to motor off, and Bill had arrived by dinghy but we were well and truly stuck fast. I’d done a quick calculation on the tidal curve in the almanac and knew we still had at least half a metre to drop: We were in trouble.

As I’d come to accept we were stuck, but still had some side to side movement I’d stood on the leeward side, which also happened to be the side away from the tide so she would settle that side down and wouldn’t get swamped by the incoming tide later. It was pretty clear that with still more than an hour to low tide, we were going over.

So started our gradual incline. I say gradual but it was actually pretty quick… Bill and I prepared by lashing the jerry cans (my heaviest items aboard) to the high side rail. I shut the seacocks so they wouldn’t fill with mud, closed all the locker doors along the sides of the cabin and moved items from the high side of the boat to the low side as they started sliding about.

By 11am I was wedged in the bottom of the cabin sole as the boat was at more than 45 degrees and sitting on the bunks was by now impossible. And Bill was sitting on the cockpit floor. We had Radio 2 on and joked about making a cup of tea.

It was all pretty solid and actually quite peaceful with the tide tinkling on the last parts of the hull in the water. It was also interesting to see what moved, as might happen, worst case scenario, in a knock down. I was surprised to find jars came out of the lower lockers at a relatively benign angle.

I have to admit now, that I was persuaded to abandon ship just before low tide itself, and watched her refloat from the comfort of a neighbouring boat, drinking coffee… But it was pretty quick again, and she came straight back up with no problem at all. After all, that’s what the keel is for, and luckily we were in lovely soft mud. A rocky shore, or a bigger fetch and bigger waves would have needed different tactics to protect the boat from puncturing her side, but she’s solid and just lay on her side like an indignant seal.

The wind and the tide did try and push her up onto the shore as she lifted, but her anchor snubbed her and she righted with a little rocking motion.

By 1230 she was upright, and I was back aboard. No real drama, but I’ve learnt alot today.

And if it’s never happened to you; it will… And when it does; don’t panic ;o)

Thanks for the photos and the help Bill.

And Denis for the coffee.

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You can just see me to the left practicing my "Abandon Ship" drill. Smug bilge keeler to the right...

You can just see me to the left practicing my “Abandon Ship” drill. Smug bilge keeler to the right…

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