West wind

I’ve been anchored at Manjack Cay for a while, enjoying the hiking, the beach and the sea life.  The anchorage here is open to the west as the island runs mostly north to south separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Sea of Abaco.  With a 15-20 kn west wind forecast I decided I didn’t want to be here and was getting ready to sail to the west side off the Sea of Abaco and snuggle up to shore there to avoid being battered by the wind generated waves.  The wind was already blowing 10-12 From the SSW when I dinghied over to my friends John and Lise on Polynya and ask them what they were doing.  They were on a mooring behind a shoal in the same anchorage i was in and the shoal cut the wave force considerably there.  Nearby Polynya and also on a mooring was Teamwork, a trawler with a couple that have a great deal of experience in the Bahamas.   They suggested I try anchoring between Polynya and Teamwork.  Skylark draws the same depth as both of those boats and the tide was rising so I decided to try it.  If I ran aground on the shoals on the way in I could just wait for the tide if I couldn’t get off.   

So I went in slowly and did run aground in the sand but Bill on Teamwork came over in his dinghy to help me get off and find a spot to anchor.  Because the spot was so tight and the wind still SSW Skylark laid very close ot Polynya.  Very close.  Skylark’s stern was 20 feet from Polynya’s bow.  A boat on a mooring doesn’t swing around much while a boat at anchor will swing 360deg on the length of its anchor chain.  Not a big problem as the wind was forecast to go west and Skylark would swing away from Polynya.  In the meantime both boats were similar size and design so would move to the wind in a similar fashion. 

We all agreed to leave things as they were and move Skylark if we needed to when John, Lise and Bill got back from fishing.  All was well as the wind shifted west and started to pick up.  I started doing a few boat chores and saw Skylark was now alongside Polynya as expected.  The next time I checked Skylark was behind Polynya but the wind was the same.  Skylark was also now in 5.5 feet of water.  Since we were now close to high tide, there wouldn’t be enough water to float Skylark when the tide went out.  More importantly Skylark had dragged anchor to her new position.  Crap.   Now it’s blowing 15, I’m right on top of Polynya, there’s shallow water behind me and in front of me and I need to pick up the anchor.  Picking up a 35 pound anchor with all chain rode into a stiff wind from a ten thousand pound boat alone is a challenge especially in a tight space like that.  Even though the anchor was dragging you can’t just reel it in like a fishing line, you need to move the boat up to it either with the engine or by pulling on the chain.  In 15 kn of wind it’s too much to pull and tricky to get the boat moving up to the anchor with the engine with one person.  Once the boat stops moving forward the bow will fall off downwind.

At this point it seemed prudent to move out of that area as it was going to be tricky to put the anchor down again so out I went.  I decided to head back to the area I had been anchored but as far East and south as I could to get some protection from the waves.  I shoulda headed for the other shore as it got quite windy from the west and the waves were large enough that I was very concerned the anchor would hold.  And there were thunderstorms to the noorth.  I made preparations in case it did drag, or someone else’s anchor dragged and I had to move.  

Around 11pm the wind and waves let up a bit so I went to bed thinking I wouldn’t be able to sleep.  I crashed immediately and woke at 3am when the wind and waves picked up again.  Skylark didn’t drag I’m grateful to say and the wind is shifting back south.  I think I’ll have a nap today.

4 thoughts on “West wind

  1. Captain’s log…i greatly appreciate reading this. Especially since my sweetie has plans to join you ( kinda, sorta). Sailing is a balance. A real metaphor of Life.

  2. Wow! You had some interesting experience! Glad all is well!
    Get’s quite windy….didn’t realize!
    Well at least the waves didn’t take you under. 🌊

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