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Old 10-16-2017, 04:12 PM   #1
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An Anchoring Predicament

I am facing a most unusual situation and would love some input from TF'ers. I'm anchored at Atlantic Highlands, NJ in the harbor waiting out the weather to make my run down the coast of NJ on my trip south to FL from CT. I arrived here yesterday and anchored securely, had dinner and went to bed.

The wind really picked up during the night and we were rocking and rolling. I was not in the least concerned as I anchor very frequently and have the latest generation ground tackle. However, a foreign flagged sailboat in front of me must have dragged during the night and was about 15' off my bow this morning. He was a good 600' from me the evening before.

I was able to get his attention (woke him up) by using my hailer. I politely informed him that he was dragging and asked him to please remedy the situation as he would eventually hit me. He said that he was not the owner of the boat and that the owner was not aboard. Then he changed his mind and told me his windlass was broken and he couldn't lift the chain and anchor by hand. To add to this mess his boat was directly over my anchor as best as I could determine making it impossible for me to retrieve and move.

I decided to call the Harbormaster; I was advised it was his day off. I called Towboat US and they said there was nothing they could do. I called the Coasties and was told to call the Municipal Marina. I called and was told there was nothing they could do. Finally the guy on the other boat came out and retrieved about 15' of chain by hand before he gave up. This gave me a bit more room but not enough to let me sleep tonight.

Now this you won't believe---keep in mind I am in New Jersey. About a half hour later a New York City fire boat shows up! They told me that they heard about my predicament on the VHF and decided to come across Raritan Bay to my location in NJ to see if they could help. I was dumbfounded. They went to the sailboat and offered to come aboard and help them retrieve their anchor and move to a safer location and help them to reset their anchor. They refused the help.Can you believe this? The FDNY said that they were not LEOs and could not order them to move.

I have now let out another 50' of chain to separate us more and here I sit waiting for a wind shift to retrieve my anchor. Any wise advice short of physical violence would be appreciated. And yes, I took a lot of pics but go chase a foreign flagged vessel.
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:40 PM   #2
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Tomorrow the harbormaster will be there. It seems odd that there is nobody in charge on his day off.

There's no way I would be held hostage by another boat over my anchor so if I had to I would pull up beside him and retrieve my anchor. Fend him off with a boat hook if necessary.

Won't a tide shift move his boat?
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:41 PM   #3
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I would retrieve my anchor and move. It can be done even if the boat is sitting on top of it. Slowly retrieve your rode and then if your anchor doesn't come up on the very short scope, put some fenders off your bow and use a boat hook to push him to the side. Pull up the last few feet of rode and get the hell out when the anchor comes up.

It works, I have done it that way.

I too am surprised by the NYFD boat showing up, but when a mariner is in trouble it is all hands on deck!!!!

Here is another true story of a foreign flagged boat at the Atlantic Highlands. We were anchored there when a squall came through. An adjacent but not nearby foreign boat dragged. We watched for a while and he finally got it sorted out and we invited him (he was solo) over for a drink. He told us that after the squall passed he dove in and swam underwater (so no one could see him) and tied off his rode to an empty bouy. Then he swam back to his boat and we didn't see a thing. No more problems with squalls.

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Old 10-16-2017, 04:43 PM   #4
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I think I would get out my hack saw, and while waving it in the air, demand that he move his boat or you will take care of the problem for him ( a angle grinder would be quicker but you'll need a really long extension cord)
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:44 PM   #5
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I would also pick up my anchor and move. He should be able to fire up his main and advance forward slightly to allow you to pick up. If not, get someone with a dinghy to push him sideways until you can retrieve your anchor.

I would have had the NYFD try to push him aside so I could retrieve while they were onsite. I would also point out, that the person on watch should be compelled to contact the vessel owner or acting captain under such circumstances. The series of excuses is ridiculous.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:06 PM   #6
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Now this you won't believe---keep in mind I am in New Jersey. About a half hour later a New York City fire boat shows up! They told me that they heard about my predicament on the VHF and decided to come across Raritan Bay to my location in NJ to see if they could help. I was dumbfounded. They went to the sailboat and offered to come aboard and help them retrieve their anchor and move to a safer location and help them to reset their anchor. They refused the help.Can you believe this? The FDNY said that they were not LEOs and could not order them to move.
I certainly believe it. The Captain of the Staten Island Station (the whole station; not just the boat) bought our last trawler. A nicer and more helpful guy you will seldom meet. He bent my ear about how often they have to go out and help when the USCG won't. The NYFD is the best friend you could have in those waters.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:08 PM   #7
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I think I would get out my hack saw, and while waving it in the air, demand that he move his boat or you will take care of the problem for him ( a angle grinder would be quicker but you'll need a really long extension cord)
I have a nice cordless one - would only take 30 seconds
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:21 PM   #8
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I think I'd have to figure out how to move. I know it's a big world out there, especially as compared to an anchor, but I'd be fretting that his anchor would snag mine or my rode and send us both off to leeward with us bashing together. I might even slip my anchor, with a buoy of course.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:57 PM   #9
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Good thing you had the extra rode to let out. Is the rode now at its limit?

I agree with moving your boat while fending off the other if they refuse to move. But then there's always the possibility that you'd pull up both anchors in a twisted mess.

Something sounds fishy aboard the blowboat.
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Old 10-16-2017, 07:12 PM   #10
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I wouldn’t rule out violence so quickly.
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Old 10-16-2017, 07:43 PM   #11
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Unless the anchors or rodes were tangled, it would be fairly easy to pull your anchor even if you wound up alongside of the sailboat with fenders.

Unless it was fairly rough would be the other issue.

If the rodes were tangled, best to get it over with anyway..

Even with no cooperation from the sailboat, I would do it anyway, even if I had to announce everything on ch 16 to have it recorded.
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Old 10-16-2017, 10:13 PM   #12
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You should have VHF called the CG back and updated them on your communications with the marina, harbormaster and the help that was offered by the NYFD, the fact that a collision was possible given conditions and the inability or unwillingness of the crew on board the other vessel to avoid the collision.

Explaining everything that you explained here, including the issue you had with moving your own vessel.

CG communications are all recorded.

Having that formal notification, you would have had a CG vessel show up.
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Old 10-16-2017, 10:14 PM   #13
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Depending on wind conditions, I would consider putting out a buch of extra scope, movig the boat to port or starboard and dropping a second anchor so that you are not directly behind him. Too me, the bigger issue here is what happens if the wind or tide reverse. It seems to me that just putting out extra scope only works if there is no wind or tide reversal.

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Old 10-16-2017, 10:27 PM   #14
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After some thought, I think I would run out all my anchor road, add some line and a fender ball to the end. Then I would anchor near by with my second anchor and deal with it in the morning. No point loosing a nights sleep over it and being anchored in a bad position.

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Old 10-16-2017, 10:27 PM   #15
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I agree with dj. Only wished you had moved earlier. Seems like the boat in question has a clueless skipper/crew. Otherwise, they'd turn on their engine, recover their anchor, and attempt a new anchoring.
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Old 10-17-2017, 12:13 AM   #16
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Well I would have launched my dink and while pulling my anchor, I would have pushed the blow boat aside.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:04 AM   #17
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The sailboat doesn't even have to pull his anchor, just bump in gear upwind or off to the side in order for you to retrieve yours. I would not sit another night under the probability of him tangling your anchor.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:36 AM   #18
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Update. It was so windy and rough I decided to stay the night with extra chain let out to give us room. I judged the the weather to be too rough to safely retrieve my anchor. This morning all was well and oddly enough I slept through the night. BTW the FDNY reported the entire situation to the CG so it was recorded.

Now the wind has shifted and I have a clear shot at my anchor which I will retrieve and move the boat to a "safer" location. I am considering carrying a half dozen or so Rocna's to loan to blow boaters around me when necessary.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:56 AM   #19
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Based on forecast What day are you picking for your run outside of NJ?
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:02 AM   #20
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Based on forecast What day are you picking for your run outside of NJ?
Planning on leaving at first light on Wednesday and trying to make Cape May. If conditions and daylight don't cooperate we make our destination Atlantic City.
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