Why you should both pull in the painter line, and learn to anchor properly... - SailNet Community

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Old 05-26-2010
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Why you should both pull in the painter line, and learn to anchor properly...

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 Yearís 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.
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Old 05-26-2010
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Hey, this is par for the course in BVI's. Something like this happens every day during the height of the charter season.
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Old 05-26-2010
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I forgot to mention, it wasn't a chartered boat, unless he rented it directly from the owner.
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Old 05-26-2010
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See!! You don't need nexflex when there are a few Bozos around.
That was entertainment that will be talked about for a few weeks.
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Old 05-26-2010
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Wish I'd been there.

Dang, wish I'd been there. You can't buy entertainment like that!
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Old 05-26-2010
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We had some anchoring entertainment this spring at Sandy Spit. A 40' charter monohull motored into the center of about 5 anchored boats in about 15 feet of water, drops hook and lets out about 30 feet of chain.
It was clear that the "Captain" was trying to do everything at once as everyone else was just peering into the water or looking around enjoying the scenery. Then (while the motor was still running) the Captain jumps over board with mask and floats over the anchor intermittently yelling to someone at the helm to "back her up." This went on for a good ten minutes until the Captain called it good an swam over to the spit with everyone aboard for an hour or so. 1 boat left as a result, 1 let out more scope to get further away and we all waited to see what would happen next.
I was happy to be upwind of them but kept an eye out anyway. The captain then swam over other boat's anchors attempting to gleam wisdom on anchoring and promptly got aboard, pulled anchor and motored off.
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Old 05-26-2010
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Polypropylene line for the painter might have avoided at least one aspect of the train wreck.
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Old 05-26-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shayw View Post
We had some anchoring entertainment this spring at Sandy Spit. A 40' charter monohull motored into the center of about 5 anchored boats in about 15 feet of water, drops hook and lets out about 30 feet of chain.
It was clear that the "Captain" was trying to do everything at once as everyone else was just peering into the water or looking around enjoying the scenery. Then (while the motor was still running) the Captain jumps over board with mask and floats over the anchor intermittently yelling to someone at the helm to "back her up." This went on for a good ten minutes until the Captain called it good an swam over to the spit with everyone aboard for an hour or so. 1 boat left as a result, 1 let out more scope to get further away and we all waited to see what would happen next.
I was happy to be upwind of them but kept an eye out anyway. The captain then swam over other boat's anchors attempting to gleam wisdom on anchoring and promptly got aboard, pulled anchor and motored off.
It is my own inexperience, probably, but isn't it reasonable to dive on an anchor to make sure it is dug in well ? I wouldn't think anything bad if I watched someone do that, I'd just think they were being extra cautious.

If I knew I was going to be anchored somewhere for a while and I was concerned about the anchorage I might dive on an anchor to make sure it was dug in, especially if I knew a large storm was coming.
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Old 05-26-2010
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DT great story!!

Vasco, you are incorrect---something like that happens multiple times per day!!!!

Sailortjk1, poly may have helped but my friend at a local charter company tells me that their poly painters usually end up wrapped and destroyed prior to the 4-6 month typical lifespan (UV is wicked here)

WM, I almost always dive my anchor. I started doing it as a newbie as visual confirmation that all was OK and still do. About a year ago I anchored in a nice sandy area with a 5:1 scope, backed down and was confident the anchor was secure. Slipped on the mask and jumped over to take a peek. Much to my surprise a lone piece of coral had perfectly wedged itself into my anchor between the flukes and the shank. The tip of one fluke was barely hooked on the only other piece of coral in the area. Had the wind shifted I believe the anchor would have come unhooked and drug without resetting. I generally set my anchor drag alarm as well at night.
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Old 05-26-2010
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Great story! (and so typical ... )

My favorite anchor story - we're crewing for another couple on their Valiant 40 in Maine. We're in an anchorage that could hold >50 boats, but we're out of season and the only boat in the anchorage. Another boat comes in, and drops their anchor just about on top of ours - what?? and backs up till we're almost side by side, but they're a little ahead of us because they let out less scope. They had the whole f*-ing anchorage to choose from, its so obvious they're clueless, we decide to leave. So as we're taking in the anchor chain, we're moving forward until we may possibly hit the other boat. Dan goes forward with a fender to put between us just in case. The guy on the other boat looks at our friend at the helm and says "What's with the guy with the fender? Does he think we're going to hit?" My friend, totally deadpan, replies, "Oh, he teaches sailing at the Naval Academy; he's just used to working with people who don't know what they're doing." The clueless anchorer never realized he was the "person who didn't know what they were doing" that was being referred to ...

Went out to watch the Blue Angels today, and there were many many examples of clueless anchoring in Annapolis Harbor. Don't know if my favorite example was the 3 powerboats rafted up hanging on the anchor of the smallest of the 3; or maybe it was the guy who anchored then slid a fender down the anchor line (what was that supposed to be? kinda like a trip line?)
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