I thought people might find it interesting to hear about a close call we had last weekend, how we got into it, and how we got out of it.
It was my wife's birthday on Saturday and we had arranged to have a party at a local beach bar with a jetty that one can anchor off stern too, or 'Med' Moor'.
This is a fairly standard practice over this side of the pond so we didn't really think much of it in the planning process.
It is easier at this point to include a few images for better understanding.
As you can see there was a slight breeze on the port side at this point.
However, a thunderstorm was forecast and brewing that was making me pretty nervous.
Keeping an eye to the north, or STB side of us, I saw the rain approaching a few miles away being proceeded by a line of white caps indicating some pretty strong wind on its way.
I got back on board and started the engines and put them in gear ahead to hold the boat steady when the wind hit.
From experience of this area, I knew the wind would only last 1/2 hour (which it did) and given it was my wife's birthday and there were 50 people arriving shortly, I didn't want to move the boat even though my brain was screaming at me to get out of there. And there in lies my big mistake!
When the wind hit, it came in a gust of over 30 knots and heeled the boat what must have been 15 degrees or more.
The anchor dragged and even though I increased the revs to try to hold her in situ', there was nothing I could do to prevent us being pushed over to port. The main problem was the mooring line configuration back to a single central bollard on the dock which did not allow me to leverage or spring on my stern lines.
So we ended up like this with our port quarter bouncing on a rock in the increasing sea state.
This was starting to put a bit of a dampener on the birthday party!
I could see the waves increasing and was not happy about the fact that we were bouncing on a rock (thankfully it was flat). I couldn't just release the mooring lines and get out of there without ended up on the beach. So the only thing I could think to do was put the engines in tick over ahead with the helm hard to STB so that the prop wash would hold us firmly planted against the rock.
I figured this was the lesser of two evils, and it worked as it should have by stopping the boat bouncing on the rock and holding her firm even in the increasing seas.
However, I knew it was only a matter of time before serious damage would occur, and that I had to get out of this situation. We are about 3 minutes in at this point.
Having sailed traditional single screw no bow thruster sailing ships as a profession has given me a good understanding of the use of mooring lines for springing out of situations. So that was the next step here.
I let go the stb stern line that was preventing the boat from moving forwards and put all the weight on the port line at the same time swinging the helm over hard to port so that the prop wash was pushing the port quarter away from the rock.
I also took up the slack on the anchor as it came to us.
We ended up tethered like this.
The trouble was that I knew I could not stay like this with the increasing wind and sea, so had to get out of there.
I figured if I tried slip the last mooring line, I would not have time to get it aboard and it would end up with it trailing and potentially ending up in the prop which would mean absolute disaster.
So with my wife manning the windlass, I grabbed the trusty knife, cut the remaining mooring line as my wife brought up on the windlass. Then in record speed I literately flew up onto the fly bridge to the engine controls.
With the line cut, the boat swung free as the chain came in moving ahead of and missing the rocks. As soon as we were clear I hammered the port engine revs ahead and Stb astern to swing her head to wind so that the anchor could come aboard and we could breath a sigh of relief.
1. Always listen to your gut feeling
2. Always listen to your gut feeling!
I do wonder if it is a good idea to post this and the comments I may get for it, but if my near disaster can help anyone avoid the same thing, then it is worth it.