Cold Front at Staniel Cay

Valt & Sandy
Thu 21 Feb 2013 16:06
Feb. 16, 2013

At 2:30 pm the long awaited cold front began its entrance. The 15-20 k winds switched to the SW and then W, the worst direction for us tucked up against the western side of Big Majors Spot. The 3-5' ( sometimes more) waves soon followed. It was rolling in the anchorage, but by 6:30 pm it was calm enough to eat our supper of beef stew with chunks of homemade bread. After that came rains. Free boat wash. The wind continued to clock around to the NW. This was better for us because a row of islands gave us some protection. But the waves continued from the SW and roll us gently, side to side. We watched a movie, read some books, and before we knew it the clock read 11:45 pm. Time for bed. The anchor held firm. It was not bad. We slept with an alarm clock set to wake us every two hours as well as an anchor alarm to alert us if the boat moved. Many sailors sit up all night in a storm on "anchor watch". At 5:00 am we heard a call for help: a 65' Hatteras had dragged anchor and was up against the rocks in the anchorage between the Majors. It was too far, too rough, and too dark for us to try to help. He pleaded continuously for someone to come in a dinghy and push his stern off the rocks. Finally a small rubber dink nearby with an 8 hp outboard went to help. By dawn he was free and headed for the marina. He had sustained only prop damage.

The storm was less than anticipated. All week weather reports analyzed the front. Some predicted 35-40k winds. A panic set in as people tried to find shelter, some as early as Tuesday. Although marinas here charge $2.75-4.00 per foot, per night, for dockage, plus $80 per night for electricity,all were overfilled. Even mooring balls in poor shelter from the winds were full. Our anchorage of 50 boats dwindled to 15-20. But we had moved in close to the beach early. The few hours of SW winds would be unpleasant, but as soon as they switched even a little, we would be good. Although still in the 20s the next few days, we were in perfect position for most of the storm.

Early that morning a flock of boats came into our area. Some dropped anchor closer than usual, but everyone needed a spot out of the wind. Somehow there is always room for one more boat.

The winds would switch NE and then E. We were perfectly positioned. Tomorrow we might go to the settlement for so errands.