Friday, October 14, 2011

Well that wasn't very fun

We just sat out a near gale at anchor. It blew a sustained 30 knots with gusts upward of 35 knots. The really exciting part was that we weren't expecting it. We downloaded weather forecasts yesterday and the forecast for today was for some rain showers and around 15 knots of wind. We were going to sail off with Shalimar and head to another anchorage but we woke to some decent rain and overcast skies and decided to wait until it cleared up before we left. We were watching a movie when it really started raining and blowing. It was blowing out of the east and where we're anchored off of Lifuka island is fairly protected from that direction. The proximity of land to windward kept the waves from getting too big but it was unnerving to look outside of the boat and see driving sheets of rain and wind streaks on the water. We had to move some stuff around on deck to make sure it didn't blow away and had to reconfigure our dinghy situation a bit to make sure we didn't lose any gear but we didn't have to do anything too drastic. We were anchored on a sandy bottom in about 18 feet of water and I had let out around 125 feet of chain so I wasn't too worried about dragging.

After a movie and a half, things got a bit worse. The wind shifted around to the northeast and that meant that the wind had more of a chance to blow over the water and build up some choppy waves. This makes the boat bounce around and makes it harder for the anchor to do its job. Architeuthis ended up doing fine but Shalimar had some problems. Their anchor snubber (stretchy thing that you use to keep the anchor chain from jerking on the boat too much) broke. When it broke, their anchor chain had an altercation with the rigging on the underside of their bowsprit. The anchor chain won the altercation and the rigging lost. Their dolphin striker (yes, it's really called a dolphin striker - google it, I'm too lazy to explain exactly what it is) got bent and, in the ensuing battle to get their snubber situation sorted out, Ryan's finger got hurt. Certainly a bummer but the dolphin striker shouldn't be too hard to repair (and it has to be repaired before Shalimar can sail again) and it doesn't sound like Ryan's figure dislocation deal will be too debilitating.

Meanwhile, aboard Architeuthis, we hustled to set up a back up anchor snubber to avoid similar problems. By the time I finished setting it up, the wind was starting to die down. Oh well, I guess not everyday can be perfect and given the fact that we're surrounded by reef here I suppose things could have been a lot worse.

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