Dragging Anchor

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 9 Mar 2016 23:12
At anchor Reeds Bay, Hilo, the Big Island, Hawai’i
Wind: North, F4-5 moderate to fresh breeze
Sea: slight Swell: negligible
Weather: overcast, mild

The wind picked up last night from the north, pretty much as forecast, at about 20 knots with gusts to 30, and some rain bucketed down briefly. Early on it looked like 'Sylph' was going to hold her anchor but at 3 a.m. the GPS's anchor alarm sounded and we started to drift slowly but inexorably towards the shore. A half hour later it was clear that the anchor was not going to reset so I prepared a second anchor, the fisherman which often holds well in hard rocky bottom (the bottom of Reeds Bay is old lava flow), then started the engine and heaved in the fifty meters of chain I had hanging over the bow. This took me close to an hour to get home then, with the CQR on the bow roller, I attached the fisherman to its crown with five meters of chain, motored to a good clear spot and lowered the whole lot over the side. So, at about 5.30 we were riding to two anchors set in tandem. Unfortunately the extra anchor has not proven sufficient to keep Sylph in place. I was hoping that the fisherman would find a crevice and its pointy fluke would catch hold of a firm piece of rock, but it seems that the bottom is just too smooth.

Meanwhile, Harald has been a little luckier. It would seem that over the past several days while swinging around in the changing wind conditions Fram's anchor chain has wrapped itself around a solid piece of rock and held him fast. I spoke with him on the radio this morning and, despite Fram holding firm, he intends to stay on board until the wind drops in case his chain works itself loose from its rocky hold. If it does that then the Fram is likely to drag quite quickly and with the rocks only about 100 or so meters behind her he could be in a lot of trouble in very short order.

The forecast is for the wind to slowly ease tonight, so hopefully by tomorrow we will be free to go ashore again and will be able to provision for our respective voyages. Harald is planning on returning to Australia by way of the Marshall Islands and PNG, entering Australia at Gove, while I intend to return to Australia by way of Fiji, making Sydney my port of entry if possible. With today pretty much a write off as far as completing any preparations for getting underway concerned, I will work towards clearing out on Friday to depart either Saturday or Sunday.

All is well.