Send us your solution to the latest boating conundrum.
The cruise from Plymouth across to the Channel Islands had been a doddle that Gleeful Warrior had taken in her stride. You had fuelled her up with duty-free diesel in Jersey and after a few days in St Helier, motored on towards France and had anchored just off the beach of Cezembre Island for the rest of the day. Next morning you plan to motor quietly into St Malo and do some serious damage to the credit card, stocking up on Calvados.
The sun is shining and the water this late in summer is wonderfully warm. After a swim you climb back on board and fall asleep on deck in the sunshine. This is what boating is all about!
Some time in late afternoon your daughter and her intended wake you because they are worried that the boat seems a bit close to the lighthouse – closer than it was when you first anchored. It doesn’t take you long to realise that you’ve dragged anchor in a south-westerly direction towards Grande Jardine Lighthouse, where the boat at least seems to have found good holding.
The echo-sounder tells you there is still water below your hull, but a quick scan of the chart reveals that the bottom dries and that there are some rocky patches of drying ground hereabouts. A look at the sluicing tide suggests it is not yet low tide. The warning on the chart says ebb tide reaches between six and ten knots at springs and the impeller log is showing six knots already. You decide you have to get under way at once, but when you motor ahead, even with the weight off the chain you find that the windlass is not up to weighing anchor.
Your arm-powered tender lies astern of you, swinging on its painter, its two oars ready for use. It strikes you that you can buoy the anchor and chain, with a view to jettisoning it for recovery later. But as you are getting a fender ready to tie to the chain, you remember that the bitter end is still shackled to the boat inside the chain locker – you never got round to using a rope tail at the end of the chain as was recommended to you. You’re also concerned that the shackle, after years of sitting in the bottom of the anchor locker, will have seized good and proper.
Unless you move quickly you could be on the rocks, and you realise that in effect you’re a prisoner of your own anchoring system. As the enormity of the situation dawns, you are forced to ask yourself: okay, skipper, what now?
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