The dilemma of advise

South Pacific Familyadventure 2008
Claes Brodin
Tue 14 Mar 2023 19:21

Waking up in Ponza to a beautiful morning we knew in the evening there would be a gale from SW of 28kts gusting 32-34 (turning W to NW later ). Coming back from a walk in town the wind started to pick up from SW.

With that direction our problem was the dock of rock only protected by hard black rubber in some places making fenderprotection difficult. Wind from SW and a bay with swell would blow a moving Dora Mac onto the dock.

We discussed options with the head of coast guard (who was not a local) as well as with the harbourmaster (local) and explained our problem. The only other option would be to anchor in the other part of the bay well protected from all westerly winds and with sand/good holding.

Allthough a bay only open to NE we were told the surge also from westerly gales could be very strong making anchor difficult. The head of coastguard finally told me "You can anchor in that bay and you can stay alongside here at the dock. You are the captain and you must decide"

I answered " I will decide but I have never been in Ponza and want to have your advise before making a decision "  I turned to the harbourmaster with local knowledge and asked "where would you moor your boat" "Here at the dock" was his answer and so was also my decision.

Arranging all fenders for a night blown onto the dock a fisherman approached us with a mobilephone.

"I heard you talking with the coast guard-don´t believe them. This is what happens at this dock in westerly gales " showing us a film on his phone from masses of water flooding through the dock in strong westerly winds. To me it all sounded strange but he did not want to join me discussing again with the coast guard.

Now the weight of "the basket for anchoring" was heavier than "moored on the dock" and with the wind constantly picking up we left the dock and anchored in the bay at 5mtrs. Getting a good hold in sand also on reverse 1200rpm we secured Dora Mac outside and closed all doors. In the end we are talking about maximum 32kts of wind so this should all be ok I told Mercedes . "Tomorrow we will know if this was a right decision or not ".After sunset around 19.00hrs the wind started to pick up considerably. Now it was just to wait with anchor watch alarm as well as anchor watch. 

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