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Old 07-07-2020, 10:28 AM   #1
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It finally happened to us

We took our boat for an over-night trip on a remote spot on the Napa River in California. We pulled to the side of a channel in shallow water. The tides were negative at the time of anchoring; only about six feet below our keel. We laid out about a 6:1 chain rode and set it in reverse.

The next morning we decided to depart, started the engines and pulled up the anchor. We were surprised to find a section of 1 1/2” braided steel cable looped over the flukes of the anchor. We could not lift the cable off the anchor. Too heavy. Who knows how much cable we pulled up.

We tied off the cable to a cleat with a rope and lowered the anchor enough to untangle it with the help of our boat hook. After stowing the anchor on the pulpit, we lowered the cable back to the bottom, retrieved the rope and went on our way.

We got lucky! Two things were in our favor. The first was shallow water. We were able to pull the anchor and cable above the water to enable us to work on it. Can’t imagine snagging a cable in deeper water and not being able to pull the mess to the surface. The second was our bow pulpit. This gave us room to tie off the cable and free the anchor without damage to the stem.

We’re thinking of buying a lottery ticket! One thing for sure, we won’t anchor East of day marker #9 on the Napa River again.
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:33 AM   #2
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Do you think a trip line would have freed the anchor?
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:42 AM   #3
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Do you think a trip line would have freed the anchor?
It very well could have. I use a trip line occasionally in deeper water but didn’t give it a thought in the six to ten feet we were anchored in. My wife and I had a discussion about our trip line on our way back to the marina. We’re going to use it, regardless of depth, from now on.
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:44 AM   #4
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Do you think a trip line would have freed the anchor?
No way to know but it certainly wouldn't hurt!
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:49 AM   #5
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No way to know but it certainly wouldn't hurt!
Walt, what I’ll never know is how we had two tidal reversals and managed to stay hooked to the cable. Maybe we hooked the cable just after the last tidal reversal.
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:57 AM   #6
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Last year I anchored 12 nights (48 tide reversals) and pulled up some heavy cable on my Manson Supreme.

I have no idea when it fouled.
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:58 AM   #7
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Been there, done that!

Last summer in Friday Harbor we anchored in "our spot" in about 20'. Pulled the anchor the next day, and it came up real slow. Turns out we hooked an old steel frame (probably off a barge or fishing boat) that was about 6' wide, 4' tall, and 15' long. By the time we finally decoupled from it, we had drifted out into the middle part of the bay and dropped the damn thing in 80' of water. We're confident it shouldn't foul anyone ever again...
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giggitoni View Post
We got lucky! Two things were in our favor. The first was shallow water. We were able to pull the anchor and cable above the water to enable us to work on it. Can’t imagine snagging a cable in deeper water and not being able to pull the mess to the surface. The second was our bow pulpit. This gave us room to tie off the cable and free the anchor without damage to the stem.

We’re thinking of buying a lottery ticket! One thing for sure, we won’t anchor East of day marker #9 on the Napa River again.
Yikes! Sounds like it could've been worse. Is the hazard marked? If not maybe add a marker through active captain for where you were for others to avoid?

This past weekend I found several old moorings with old, submerged floats in a bay outside Roche Harbor, WA and they were not marked!
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:14 AM   #9
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Some years ago, I was only in my seventies then, we were taking a group Wounded Warriors out on our boat to see a Red Bull Air race, while anchored in San Diego Bay. When the race was over, I winched up the anchor and there was a 5/8" steel cable wrapped around the anchor. I could not clear the cable from the anchor until a Navy security boat came by with a really strong young seaman to lift the cable off the anchor.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:11 PM   #10
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Next time, maybe risk illegal overnight parking at the city's dock or go a half-hour south to anchor in safer waters? ... Ray, your fix was pure seamanship.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:42 PM   #11
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You confirmed my paranoid anchoring thoughts. Glad you escaped the horror.
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:33 AM   #12
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Same thing happened to us when anchored off Key Biscayne (Miami) in maybe 10 ft. Of water. It was a thick, heavy looking cable like the one used to kill the shark in Jaws II. Got it off the same way you did, but we were sure worried about the possible damage to the insulation. Hard to believe our windlass actually pulled it up.
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:57 AM   #13
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Same thing happened to us when anchored off Key Biscayne (Miami) in maybe 10 ft. Of water. It was a thick, heavy looking cable like the one used to kill the shark in Jaws II. Got it off the same way you did, but we were sure worried about the possible damage to the insulation. Hard to believe our windlass actually pulled it up.
I was glad to see our windless (Loffrens Tigres) cleared the water, too. I’ll never worry about our all chain rode again!
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:59 AM   #14
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Next time, maybe risk illegal overnight parking at the city's dock or go a half-hour south to anchor in safer waters? ... Ray, your fix was pure seamanship.
Thanks, Mark. I read it on TF once!
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Old 07-08-2020, 03:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giggitoni View Post
I was glad to see our windless (Loffrens Tigres) cleared the water, too. I’ll never worry about our all chain rode again!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seevee View Post
Do you think a trip line would have freed the anchor?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giggitoni View Post
It very well could have. I use a trip line occasionally in deeper water but didn’t give it a thought in the six to ten feet we were anchored in. My wife and I had a discussion about our trip line on our way back to the marina. We’re going to use it, regardless of depth, from now on.
This is also one of those unplanned for situations where the tripping slot on the shanks of the Super Sarca, (and I think the Manson Supreme also has one), can save the day. I know this because I inadvertently picked up an under water power cable I had not seen the warning signs of because we anchored on a foul and dark night.

By using the shank trip slot, by motoring forward gently with only a tiny amount of slack in the chain, after gently lowering the cable over the fluke down to the bottom, it popped free beautifully with the special shackle sliding forward down the trip slot of the S-Sarca.
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Old 07-08-2020, 04:19 AM   #16
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I hooked a cable years ago and was able to get free in a similar manner, a piece of line to hold the cable while I lowered the anchor.

Another time I hooked a piece of machinery that made my windlass work very hard. Got it up, moved over close to shore so no one else would likely find it and beat it off with my hatchet. Luckily there was a thin spot where the anchor had lifted the prize so it broke free after a few whacks.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:31 AM   #17
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Our rivers, bays and anchorages are literally a garbage dump. If the area has not been dredged and has been in the same place for a number of years there is no telling what is down there.

A number of years ago an ore boat in Duluth was coming into a turn up the Cluquet river a bit too hot and with the current high he needed to drop his Port anchor to make the swing.When he retrieved his anchor there was a car hooked to it complete with two bodies.It solved a missing persons case which was almost 20 years old.

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Old 07-08-2020, 07:16 AM   #18
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Every boater's, or nearly, fear is snagging a cable and being unable to get free. Here's a thought. In desperation how about a die grinder with a cut-off wheel? Milwaukee makes a battery-operated product that lasts a long time on a charge. Or, if you are able, as we are, to carry a pancake compressor one could use an air-powered grinder. But, what are your thoughts about that cable jumping up and causing injury when the cable lets go? As for access to the cable, it could be either leaning over the pulpit or launch the dinghy.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:26 AM   #19
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We picked up a power line one night, next to the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, after anchoring next to the bridge after dark

Nothing like hearing the windless groan and slow down before pulling a thick power cable out of the water, and looking over and seeing the sign "Cable Crossing" that you missed in the dark the night before!

We finally looped a line around it from bow pulpit, cleated it off, then let the anchor down, then pulled it free and in, and then had to cut the line, it so tight on the cleats.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:31 AM   #20
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We finally looped a line around it from bow pulpit, cleated it off, then let the anchor down, then pulled it free and in, and then had to cut the line, it so tight on the cleats.

That's exactly what I was thinking I'd do. Might be worth keeping a few older lines around that you don't care about damaging or losing in case of a situation like this.
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