February 15, 2011

Bumping and Dragging in Barra

 “Attention the fleet, there’s a powerboat dragging down on two sailboats on the north side of the anchorage.” The VHF squawked the message and we wandered outside to take a look. Indeed, there was a big trawler drifting downwind toward two sailboats.

“I guess I’ll go,” Evan said, hopping in our dingy and joining the small flotilla setting off on the day’s latest rescue. Once aboard the powerboat they discovered the windlass was turned off and there were no keys in the engine. So the guys hauled up the anchor by hand, used their dinghies to manoeuvre the boat (neither would have been possible in a big wind), then re-anchored the boat on the available chain (an amount that wasn’t quite adequate…)
note the boat in the back--showing her bottom
 I don’t want to sound blasé about a dragging boat. But today has been weird. Two boats dragged in very little wind, and three went aground (including the navy…) And while it’s not out of the ordinary boats to go aground in the shallow estuary—most of them do it while underway, not while anchored…

If I were the critical type, I’d point out that some cruisers anchor really badly. I’d suggest it’s a really good idea to know what’s going to be under your boat no matter which direction the wind comes from; I'd say that you should always let out enough scope for a blow and I'd argue that it’s an excellent idea to give your neighbours plenty of room. I’d also mention it’s really good practice to leave your windlass on and a key in the engine so good Samaritans can help you avoid the embarrassment of bowling through the fleet…

But the thing is--stuff happens. And sometimes it’s more fun to be bemused and good humoured about (5!! Before lunch!!) stupid boating moments than it is to be critical about them—especially when they happen to other people…

So I won’t criticize, nope, I won’t.

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