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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We Have Discovered 'Boating'!

Last weekend, we discovered that people do other things with boats besides 'build' or 'work' on them!

A small boat diversion.

Took the small boat out last weekend for the first time this year. We felt sorta bad as we usually get out earlier in the year (sometimes March or April). Time on this boat has, so far, been spent doing maintenance things like cleaning and varnishing. But this outing was not without excitement. The first spring/summer three day holiday weekend of the year (in the US) and warmish weather in the PNW makes for LOTS of boaters on the water. The big excitement was the small craft advisory issued by the National Weather Service for Saturday night, calling for high winds out of the SW. Often, these SCA's never happen, but not this time.

Saturday afternoon we dropped anchor in a popular anchorage, a small bay packed with at least 30 boats. Having heard the SCA, we selected a spot in the south end of the bay, hoping the south edge would shield some of the winds. At about 11pm, the winds started to gust (we estimate 30-35 knots). Around midnight, we heard a number of horns across the bay. Looking out, there were spotlights from other boaters turned on boats that appeared to be dragging their anchors. Boaters were up and about in their dinghies, in the dark, trying to help sort things out. We appeared to be fine with our Bruce anchor tied to 70 feet of rode (50 feet chain + 20 feet line) in 10 feet of water. As we were upwind of most boats, there was no danger of others dragging onto us.

By morning, we discovered that some had departed, and some had arrived from a more exposed anchorage around the corner. More noticeably, there were two boats on the rocks.


This was not a big deal as they were able to float off during the next high tide. But, on the other side of the island, there were more boats on the rocks, one requiring USCG assistance (chopper and cutter). Something about 'taking on water' was heard over the VHF.

By Monday morning we were one of only five boats in the bay. I guess everyone else had enough and went home.

Looking back, we are somewhat amused. We are pretty picky about how we set our anchor. Usually involving a number of "tugs" in reverse to ensure that it is set. All to often, we see boats come in, stop, drop their anchor and rode in one big pile and call it 'set'. In fact, the day before these high evening winds, one big trawler did just that right next to us (the boat was gone by morning). Why not spend the extra few minutes setting for that peace of mind?

Anyway, I guess I am ranting. Enough. Checkout this great post on anchors and anchoring (comments too).

Obligitory Westsail stuff: waiting on parts. Then lots will be happening.  Stay tuned.

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