reading MJBrown's comments on this thread
reminded me of something that happened about 6 months ago when I watched a Beneteau ~40' try to pull all the way up to the beach to anchor while perpendicular to the wind (and upwind of where everyone else was anchored) on the south side of Sandy Cay (B.V.I.) on New Year’s Day 2010. He forgot to pull in the painter line, had about 35' out I'd guess, we were 1/4 mile away watching from the deck of our rented 47' Juneau. After watching the boat hit bottom hard two times between swells, the guy on the bow threw the anchor onto shore, and the guy at the helm put the engine full astern, they backed off the beach about 30 feet before the painter line audibly went SMACK against the side of the hull as it wrapped the line around the prop, and pulled the slack in until it was tight up to the stern cleat.
At this point the guy is now 300' upwind of an entire anchor field of boats, with the current also following the wind, and with no engine, but he's got his hook out, so what does he do???
He raises the anchor.
Now he is adrift, without an engine, still upwind of the field of boats at anchor, but closing in on them rapidly. We have a small dinghy with an 8hp engine, and no way to attach a tow line, and we're too far away to get there before he would drift into the other boats otherwise we would have already been on the way.
Closest to him is a captained charter cat about 50' in length, and we notice the captain is in the dingy, it has a tow pole (probably used for pulling kids tubing), and he has a 65hp engine. What we don't realize is that the captain is unaware of the situation, and is getting ready to raise the dinghy on the davit, not go assist the vessel in distress.
the charter guests are all up on the trampoline of the cat and watching the boat come closer and closer to them and when it's about 30 feet away (there was 1-2kts of current here, and 10kt winds, the boat was moving pretty quick.) they run back and yell to the captain what's happening.
he leaps out of the dinghy, and sprints forward to check, runs back to the dinghy, and as quickly as he can, gets the dinghy up and in-between the two boats to act as a fender, but not before they hit once.
Before he is able to get a tow line to the vessel, it drifts to the port side of the big cat, and toward the next cat at anchor roughly 150ft away. The captain of the 2nd cat gets his dinghy and uses it as a fender as well, while the 1st cat captain gets a tow line to the drifting vessel and begins to tow him to safety.
It really should end there, but it doesn't.
the 'captain' of the 40' Beneteau, now being towed, waits until he is about 50' directly upwind of the first boat he hit, and drops his anchor, and tries to throw off the tow line... After a stream of expletives that were clearly audible to us from 1/4 mile away from the captain towing them, to the guy being towed, he raises the anchor, and drops anchor about a half mile upwind.