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Date: 26 Feb 2014 20:44:31
Title: Guadeloupe - Deshaihes

Position: 16.18N 61.48W

Daily Run: 39 miles

Having spent 3 weeks tied up to the pontoon at the Antigua Yacht Club, I was pleased to set sail again on Tuesday. Jessica, my eldest daughter, had come out for the February half term week, to give me a break from the frantic social life that, inevitably, forms an integral part of yachties in yacht places. The day before my departure, we watched the start of the RORC Caribbean 600-mile race, whose starting line was off English Harbour in Antigua.

I had a roaring beam-reach sail down to Guadeloupe to reach Deshaies at 3pm. The anchorage is known for its fierce katabatic winds and I thought that I had made sure I had sufficient anchor chain out. I had let out 30 metres, but my deep sleep was suddenly overtaken by mega consternation in the middle of a very black night by the sounds of horns and flashing lights. I found that my anchor had dragged and that Luna Quest was about to set onto other boats aft of me. I shouted to the people standing on the foredeck of the nearest, that I needed another man to help me as I could not be at the helm and operate the engine and be weighing anchor at the same time. Within a few minutes I had a very strong young lad from the boat I was about to mow down. He took charge of the anchor while I needed quite a lot of power to edge forward to relieve the strain on the anchor chain. After some considerable time, we managed to get the anchor up, but the dark night was little help in finding another place in the over-crowded anchorage. I decided the drop the anchor back in the same place, but let out 45 metres of anchor chain. After several attempts, we managed to do just that and, hey presto, the dragging stopped. The young man kindly stayed with me for remainder of the night and having given him the best bunk on the boat and made absolutely sure that the anchor was no longer dragging, I, too, turned in and let the 30-knot wind do as it pleased.

I had not been the only boat to drag its anchor; there were several boats on the move amidst a dozen powerful, flashing torches. It all seemed quite chaotic. My dinghy that I had tied to the side of Luna Quest had been threatening to take off or turn turtle. I moved it to the stern where it seemed a lot happier.


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