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Anchor Drags

A couple of hours after writing my blog last night, I was in bed sleeping when the anchor alarm went off - the boat was dragging its anchor. I jumped up wide awake, running through the boat turning everything on as I went, leapt into the cockpit, and started the engine. The wind had really picked up and was blowing in through the harbour entrance bringing whitecapped waves with it and we were now very close to the rocks of the breakwater. I was alone onboard at the time and I knew it was going to be difficult to steer the boat into the wind whilst getting the anchor up at the same time. I motored forward then ran to the bows but only managed to get about three metres of chain up before the wind had blown Zamindar close to the rocks again. I rushed back to the cockpit, put the revs up, and managed to get the boat turned around again and motored forward. To make things even more tricky there were boats anchored to each side of me which I had to avoid getting blown into as well. I realised that I had no choice but to motor forward fast and attempt to drag the anchor until I was far enough away to run out to the bows and bring the chain up but the risk was that while I was doing this it could catch onto something on the harbour floor and get stuck. I gave it a try then sprinted forward to pull up some chain. The wind was howling and coming through in gusts so I had to repeat this about eight times, each time running back to motor away from the rocks as we got close, but finally I got the anchor up and breathed a sigh of relief. I motored further out, dropped the anchor and lots of chain, and really hoped it would dig in or else I'd have to go through the whole thing again. I stood and waited as the boat began to drift back towards the rocks, but slowly she started to turn into the wind; the anchor was holding. I kept the engine running for the next hour or so just in case, and ironically, now that we were well anchored, the wind calmed down.

When I'd anchored I'd tried to dive on the anchor but due to the water being fairly deep and visibility being only about one metre it was impossible to find it so I hadn't been totally sure how well it was dug in. The other factor that contributed to us dragging was that we'd anchored reasonably close to the harbour wall due to it being one of the few spaces when we arrived, and so when the wind picked up I didn't have enough room to dump the huge amount of chain that I normally would. Anyway, today I wired in the remote control for the anchor windlass so that now I can raise and lower the anchor from the cockpit while I steer - just in case a similar situation occurs again. I know, however, that after a couple of beers one night I'll probably fall asleep on top of it and lift the boat's anchor.

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