A Drag of a Night

Friday was an R ‘n’ R day aboard Kaleo. Not only were we wiped out from the action of the Coconut Harvest, but we had a eventful and restless Thursday night.

The calm waters before the evening winds picked up

At about midnight, our anchor drag alarm sounded and Matt popped his head out of the companionway to survey the situation. The anchor drag alarm is a handheld GPS with a pre-set radius which goes off if the boat moves beyond a certain distance. We set the alarm in tight anchorages (too many boats close together) or in strong winds as a way to alert us should the anchor come unset. Both conditions were the case for our George Town anchorage.

Matt stuck his head below and said “we’re dragging” over the howl of 25+ knot winds. At a calm but quick pace we started the motor, turned on the depth sounder and dug out the spot light. Several boats were anchored behind us that we needed to avoid dragging into.

Though the hook reset it self and stopped the boat, it placed us uncomfortably close to other vessels. So through hand signals, our hand held radios and shouting over the clamor of the anchor chain being raised we negotiated our way through the sleeping boats out into open and deeper water.

After twenty minutes of motoring around to find a good place that was clear of other boats, we dropped the hook with about 125 feet of chain out (vs. the 70 feet we had down before). Once the hook was firmly set, we fell into an on-and-off sleep while Matt got up every couple of hours to check our position.

We owe a huge thank you to Storyville who responded to our call, offered help, and stayed on the radio with us until the hook was reset. The hook held through the night with no problems and in the morning we moved back to our original spot with more scope.

Later in the afternoon, Morning Glory mentioned there was a calm and protected spot over near them so we picked up the hook and reset closer to the beach and in smooth water. Dead tired and with the in-harbor race the next day, we sunk into the v-berth and slept soundly thorough the night.

Dragging anchor is a reality of cruising and every windy night we hear someone on the radio having the same problem. It’s certainly not something we’d like to experience again and we’re grateful that no damage was done. Matt attributed the anchor working loose to not enough chain out (though we couldn’t put any more because of the proximity of other boats) and the strong wind shifts.

It was a stressful situation for both of us, yet it proved once again, the strength of the bonds we’ve made out here. The following day our “Fleet Family” stopped by to check on us, see if we needed anything and offer reassurance that Kaleo was securely anchored once again.

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