October 28, 2012
So far we’re pretty happy with our decision to anchor out. A friend sent us some photos from the Deltaville Marina and the dock we were on yesterday is already under water. We’ve had steady rain all day and winds are building, but so far we are very comfortable. Our winds are now in the high 20’s with gusts into the high 30’s. We can see that the docks at some of the local private homes and at the Fishing Bay marina are now underwater. And the real storm hasn’t reached us yet – this is just the warm-up.
The heavy rain has turned up a couple small leaks on board. One is in the port guest cabin and we’ve been trying to identify and fix it since we bought the boat. It’s still leaking but we’re now pretty confident we’ve identified where and why, so hopefully we’ll be able to fix it for good. For now, we’ve got a chamois and bucket set up to catch water. We’ve got another very small leak from the overhead hatch in the starboard guest cabin but it’s not major. A bit more frustrating is that despite a fair amount of work done in the anchor locker over the past couple weeks, we still have some water seeping into the machinery space in the bow. Again not major, but this heavy rain does give us a chance to examine all the leaks more closely. At least they are fresh water, not salt, and won’t do any real damage.
We have our Nobletec charting software set up to help us ensure we are not dragging our anchor. You’ll see in the photo the boat icon, which shows our current position. Then you’ll see the pink spot – this is the actual track of the boat since we dropped anchor yesterday afternoon. I’ve added the black lines extending 70 meters (about 210 feet) from where we dropped the anchor as a visual guide. As you can see, we swing a bit on the anchor chain, but are pretty well staying put. Fortunately, we can also see this display on the TV screen in our master cabin, so can keep an eye on things from there.
We’re also monitoring the wind using our Furuno RD-33 instrument. We have it set to show the wind direction, current wind speed, and highest recorded wind speed. As of this morning, our highest gust was 33 knots. As I write this, we’ve now seen 40.2 knots, but expect it will get a lot higher over the coming 48 hours. We’ve donned our foul weather gear and done some checks outside. It’s amazing how comfortable it is inside and what a difference in sound, feel, and temperature once we venture out on deck. We’ve still got cell phone coverage, internet, and DirecTV.
A couple people have asked about our anchor set up. We have two 300-pound CQR anchors set up on our bow each with 100 meters of chain. One is connected to an electric windlass (winch) and the other to a hydraulic, giving us some options. As you think about anchoring, it is not the weight of the anchor and chain that keep the boat safe, but the anchor digging into the mud. The weight of the anchor and chain help this process, but the key is setting the anchor in the bottom. There are three theories regarding anchoring for heavy weather. One, both anchors are deployed at approximately 45 degrees separation. Two, deploy one and keep the second in the ready. Three, deploy the first anchor, put out some chain – about 15 meters – and then add the second anchor to this chain, the theory being the second anchor acts more like a huge weight to prevent the chain from being lifted up and thereby keeping the first anchor in the ground. We prefer the second option and while we could do three, it would be very difficult to attach the 300 lb anchor to the chain while on the bow and even more difficult to retrieve. The key problem with option one is the risk of fouling the two anchors (getting them tangled together). We have set our port side anchor, the one on the electric windlass and have a snubber line bridle set up. This is a line that goes out through the hausers (openings) on either side of the bow. A “claw” then connects this line to the anchor chain and enough chain is let out so that the strain is taken by the line, rather than by the single windlass connection. We do not have an engine running now, but if the winds strengthen significantly we have the option of keeping an engine running to allow us to take some strain off the chain and be ready in the event of an emergency.
Today was spent baking cinnamon bread, watching movies, catching up on emails, relaxing,Click on any photo to enlarge and you can now REPLY to blog update emails and it will post your reply to the blog as a comment! Hurray, it’s about time WordPress! I’ll update the blog frequently until after the storm is past, then will go back to a more normal 3-4 week update cycle.