After a peaceful night in winds up to and perhaps above 30 knots I declined the opportunity to move to a mooring as it would be tricky getting onto a buoy single handed in 30 knots, especially as it does not have a pickup attached.
Less than an hour later I came closer to disaster than I have faced on a boat and that includes losing the rudder offshore, three times, after one of which we took a day and a half to get from the southern North Sea to Harwich.
Fortunately I was standing by the cooker waiting for the kettle to boil when there was a violent lurch and the anchor alarm went off, being right by the hatch I had the washboards out and was on deck in record time, those few seconds saved may have saved me from going aground. As always when I am on board at anchor the key was in the ignition ready and the engine fired up immediately (changing the starter motor / solenoid whilst in Newlyn may have paid off!) and I put the power on with the boat going backwards at a fair clip, healing well over in way more than 30 knots of wind and not really answering the helm with the drag of the anchor and chain.
|The anchor alarm plot annotated. the scale line |
at the top is 40 yards. The wind was from the
south east, 37 knots about half way through the
above and probably well over 40 knots at the start
The boat dragged 40 yards before the engine and anchor checked the boat, I was now very close to a mud bank off the starboard quarter and close to a navigation buoy on the port quarter.
I was then fighting to keep the boat moving into wind whilst trying to get the anchor up (using an electric windlass, I could not have got it up otherwise), the engine controls and tiller are aft and the anchor locker is right forward, it being shallow the chain has to be manually flaked as it comes in, so I was dashing back and forth. Getting the anchor up was sometimes stopped by the chain taking an acute angle around the stem fitting. I think I just brushed the mud bank (it was dead low tide), this time the sharp list away from the wind and reduced draft probably helped me avoid bumping harder.
Finally, although it was not long in time, I was in the deep channel, the anchor came free and the autopilot was able to maintain a heading into wind as I got the anchor the rest of the way up.
Things could still go wrong, the channel out is narrow and with the very strong wind - I saw 37 knots when I risked a few seconds below deck to switch on the instruments for the depth sounder, GPS map, autopilot and the VHF - just in case I had to call for help.
|My track out from switching on the instruments.|
|From the new anchorage when things had quietened down,|
|Looking up river.|
Update Monday evening.
The tide tomorrow is not helpful especially as I could easily take 2 hours to reach the open sea, nor is the wind looking good, it might be onshore when reaching Ireland which could take a long time with variable winds. So with light winds, sometime tomorrow I am planning to move down the Haven to anchor as close as sensible to the open sea. That will gain me an hour and a half and with the tide an hour later I can leave at 03:30 or a bit later and have a favourable tide out past "The Smalls" and into St George's Channel.