What a drag

Rich Carey
Mon 5 Feb 2018 12:39

18 20.275N 65 37.958W

Easy 3 hour hop across to the island of Culebra. Here we found customs at the airport, and easily cleared in, having got all our paperwork right as usual. It’s so critical to do the research and work to get it right. Lots of shallows around, so zig zagged our way into the bay – no worries. Found a nice restaurant and a bit of wifi – all pretty good for the first night – never moved an inch on anchor. But then:

The forecast was for strengthening wind overnight (second night), but no more than 20-25 knots - brisk all right, but not bad. I had the anchor alarm on my phone set to shriek if we dragged. Ever had a 'free' app let you down? Yeah.

At 05:00 I heard some noises that were a bit 'odd' and started to slowly get mesel into gear, when the vice admiral yelled 'we've dragged!!!". I was by this stage in gear 0.5, and rolled over to look at the alarm, which read that we'd dragged 251 meters! Come again .... AAAGGGHHHHH!!!!! I was on deck in three ticks and we were 5 meters off the shore, lined up perfectly in a gap between two jetties, and still floating - albeit with the odd couple of unnerving underwater bumps. Within 60 seconds we had the engines on and we were gingerly motoring forward whilst picking up chain.

Unbelievably unlucky to have dragged, unbelievably lucky where we'd dragged to. There are so many busted jetties and sawn off posts sticking out of the shoreline, and we'd 'landed' in the best possible place. We motored out and re-anchored pretty much exactly where we’d been. We then awaited the sun (90 minutes), and I went to for a swim - absolutely no issues with underwaterworld - not a mark. Maybe we just dreamed it! Nope!

Lessons learned:

1. Check that your crappy appy behaves as anticipated. On this occasion its 'Alarm' played as a media sound device, and not as an 'Alarm'. This meant that it was muted by the phone's 'quiet hours' setting . DOH!
2. Run two different anchor alarms on two different devices. Belt and braces.
3. Mud, especially with a bit of weed around, ain't that great for holding. If you're expecting even a mild turn of weather, lob your spare anchor over the side with a bit of slack - it'll help.

I often say that if we bust the boat, we'll just go and do something else, but it would not be a good ending to a grand adventure. The safest place to be in a boat, is AWAY from land, not cuddled up to it for reassurance. Out on the oceans you just don't hit stuff, so as long as you're weather aware, sensible, and have all the right safety equipment, you're not in any more danger than on an average car journey. Karen disagreed, saying the safest place was in a ship yard (boat hauled out), but after all the fallen, busted, boats we’ve seen in ship yards (hundreds) ….

All’s well on x86, but feeling mighty fortunate.


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