Lee Price
Tue 15 May 2007 21:13
N25.24.48 W77.55.17
Well that was eventful, a lesson to us all to be sure.

Note, the co-ordinates listed are the last co-ordinates I took down. Heres the story. I motored out Nassau Harbour yesterday about 11.30 on route to Chub Quay (Cay)(Bloody Americans) I had a magnificent sail, the weather slowly built till in the end I was bounding along at 7kts really thinking I should put a reef in the mainsail. Still, came upon Chub 'Cay' started the motor, lowered the sails and headed for the anchorage. By this time it was blowing good and then the motor died! Oh hell thought I and spilled a little head sail still heading for the anchorage. The motor wouldn't go and in the end I turned the headland of the anchorage and headed up wind as much as I could before furling the sail and lowering the anchor, all was well and I was quite proud of myself for a tricky job well done.

Now you have to understand for those that don't boat that anchoring is not an exact science. I have only dragged my anchor once before and that was on a short scope (not much rope out) in a weedy anchorage.

To cut a long story short, whilst below trying to get the engine going I started to drag. I hadn't been entirely happy with the position I'd anchored in as the wind was from the east putting a large reef know as Mama Rhoda Rock directly astern. I felt the anchor drag and headed forward to scope out more chain, I guess I was around 10/1 ie 50ft out. Normally in the UK 4/1 works just fine.

I went below to struggle some more now aware that my position was not necessarily a safe one. The anchor dragged again, I scoped out more, and again and more.

I called into the marina and asked if they could send a boat for a tow, they kindly agreed but said they only had a small yard boat available. It came out and sure enough it wouldn't budge me but the kindly folk suggested that as I was now holding I'd be fine till morning when they could send someone to help with the engine.

I then got 30ft of line and tied it to a big Bruce anchor, far to heavy for normal operations and although the scope was shorter than I would have liked, I felt good about it. I chucked it out as a safety net and almost instantly dragged on the other anchor again!

The Bruce held for a bit then it dragged too, then the danforth dug in then the Bruce then the danford, all the while getting closer to the reef.

I struggled on with the engine but it was no use. About 9pm I put out a distress call as I could hear the Reef behind and didn't like the sound of the waves on the Rocks. My fear was for the boat, I could easily step off the boat to the shore of the reef and might get the odd cut but would be ok. The boat however would not!

Two boats came to my aid, one a small coaster 4miles out and one the personal motor boat of the Island manager. The coaster would have made a better tow but would not be here in time, by now the anchors were out of the sand and onto the rocky bottom dragging with every rolling wave.

Derran (thats the correct spelling) radioed and said that he didn't want to bring his brand new 33ft power boat to close to the reef and that they would return with the yard boat to bring over a line.

Well, I could have spit at the reef by now so donned lifejacket and got passport and suchlike together just in case the boat didn't make it.

They returned and John boarded my boat with a line, no lifejacket! Talk about the nick of time. Apparently this sort of thing happens all the time, sometimes they save the boats, sometimes they don't.

With a snip of the cutters on the Bruce and a slip of the clutch on the chain we were free of the useless anchors and in tow away from the rocks, finally getting into the marina around 11pm. Not one of my better boating experiences and all down to some rather nasty cost cutting by me.

Today the engine runs, not off the tank but off a jerry can. I circulated the fuel in the tank though a special filter when I got here but didn't drain and clean the tank, the fuel looked ok but the tank it appears was not. Also, the fuel filters are twice the price in Nassau as the States so I didn't replace it, just flushed it out with a view to picking up a new one this trip. As a result the engine stopped, no fuel is being pumped out the tank and that which has passed has completely blocked and already dirty filter. I saved myself $100 and a few hours in time not cleaning the tank properly and have cost myself 2 anchors and 100ft of chain.......TiT. Could have been worse, could have cost me the boat!

Heading back to Nassau tomorrow for a proper tank clean, new filter, new chain and an anchor!