News Home Video Gallery Newsletters Photo Gallery Cruising Int

 

Sail-World.com : Voyaging with Velella: Dragging anchor in crowded La Cruz

Voyaging with Velella: Dragging anchor in crowded La Cruz

'Anchorage at the lovely La Cruz de Huanacaxtle'    .
The American Sailing Association's Meghan Cleary, her partner Prescott and their kitten Nessie are on a planned 9-month cruise in the tropics, currently sailing the west coast of Mexico. An unattended yacht dragging in the anchorage can ruin your whole day, particularly if it's heading for you!

We’ve been living at anchor in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, hanging out between visits to beautiful Banderas Bay. The water is flat here and the winds are consistently great for sailing, kind of like the Mexican equivalent of San Francisco, minus the fog.

Despite the good sailing here, anchoring options are scant, with La Cruz being the only place that’s really protected from prevailing winds and swell, both in Banderas Bay and 30 miles on either side of the entrance. Luckily, La Cruz has an enormous anchorage, and as I write this, we are one of perhaps 55 boats seeking shelter from a howling norther coming out of the Sea of Cortez.

Northers are a common weather pattern in the Sea in the winter, and the strong ones can affect us even way down here. Southern Californians will can commiserate; the Santa Anas that howl over the Pacific there from an easterly direction are a result of the same high pressure system that produces northers in the Sea of Cortez. The Sea also has the nice feature of basically being a 600-mile wind tunnel. So we’ve got that going down here.

By noon, the clouds marched in and piled up and it feels just like home in the Pacific Northwest. The wind is screaming down our dorade vents and we put hot chocolate on the stove. We thought about lighting the propane furnace (but then decided that we’ve gone soft and refused to be that wimpy. We put pants on instead).

Yachties to the rescue - but no key! -  .. .  
All 55 boats here are hard-back on their anchors, and you can see people out on their decks checking for snubber chafe frequently. We snapped the sail covers closed so they wouldn’t flap, and turned on the GPS anchor alarm to alert us right away if we pulled the hook. No sooner had we done that than we hear on the radio 'La Cruz anchorage: There’s a boat on the run.'

We turned up the handset and recognized our friend Will’s voice responding 'Can you describe where the boat is that’s dragging and I’ll come help you get a hold of it?'

'It’s the Melinda, the pretty little schooner, she’s on the run and headed past the green boat in the middle of the anchorage.'

At first she was difficult to spot from our vantage point, because she was headed almost straight for us. When people started to realize which boat it was, several dinghys zipped over to help. The first tactic when dragging anchor–whether in your boat or on someone else’s–is to let out more scope on the chain, which is exactly what they did. Letting out more scope changes the ratio of water depth to horizontal pull on the anchor (and the more horizontal pull, the better chance the anchor has of digging in). But it was soon clear that letting out more scope would not stop this boat from dragging because she had already gained too much speed. And she was dragging her hook right across a row of boats, threatening to pull out their anchors too.

Guiding her through the other anchored boats -  .. .  
She was headed fast towards a neighboring boat who we happened to know was engineless. If Melinda pulled our neighbor’s hook out, he’d have to raise sail and maneuver out of that forest of boats fast–and in high winds. So Prescott rowed our dinghy over to our neighbor’s boat to lend a hand on deck. We decided I should stay onboard Velella because we were also in the wayward boat’s path–I wanted to be able to fend her off if need be.

Meanwhile, the people rescuing Melinda were having a hard time because the owner had not left the keys in the ignition when he left the boat. While it’s counterintuitive to leave the keys in the ignition when you go ashore, it’s a good idea for this very reason. The community of cruisers is a tight one, and people are always looking out for each other’s boats when people go ashore. It’s a good idea to leave your keys in the ignition in the event that someone has to jump on your boat and help you out!

Anchoring her with plenty of scope in a safe place -  .. .  
As it was, there was no way to turn on the engine of the dragging schooner. With a small fleet of four dinghys acting as tugs alongside, and a guy at the tiller of the schooner steering her, they were able to push the bow this way and that as she drifted through the anchorage, keeping her clear of all other boats. When they reached a large clear spot, they dropped the hook again and let out plenty of scope, letting the strong wind help set her back on the hook.

The captain of the wayward boat came back just as they were getting the hook set again. To his credit, he got on the radio and gave a gracious apology and thank you to everyone who had helped. The responses were 'Well said,' and 'Don’t worry about it, it happens to everybody,' and 'We’re all here to take care of each other,' along with a series of microphone clicks on the VHF (a sailor’s substitute for a round of applause).

Morals of the story:
1. It’s always, always better to have too much scope than too little when anchoring.
2. Leave your keys in the ignition when you go ashore so other cruisers can more easily help you out if there are problems while you’re gone!
3. Most importantly, being gracious about your mistakes is an excellent way to make friends, both in sailing and in life.




by Meghan Cleary, American Sailing Association

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=80188

11:27 PM Thu 10 Feb 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

19 Mar 2014  How to anchor and 'never utter a word'
10 Jan 2014  Cruising seminars from Fremantle around the coast to Cairns
10 Dec 2013  Cruising seminars from Fremantle around the coast to Cairns
04 Dec 2013  Remove the mast, check the rigging - at home!
24 Nov 2013  Young Endeavour seeks sailors between 16-23 years for 2014 voyages
06 Nov 2013  Use This Simple 'Speed and Power' Sail Trim Secret!
29 Oct 2013  How to anchor and 'never utter a word'
22 Oct 2013  Ocean cruising classes from Maryland - a great way to start
21 Oct 2013  How to stay put in a blow - the good oil.
15 Oct 2013  Cruising seminars from Fremantle around the coast to Cairns
MORE STORIES ...

Cruising USA

Predictwind helps you pick the best time to depart by Richard Gladwell Sail-World.com/nz,
















4.8 million Legos all at sea by Adam Clark Estes,




Dredging activity near corals can increase frequency of diseases by ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies,




Understanding the Ocean's role in Greenland Glacier melt by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI),




Three Defensive Docking Strategies for Sailors by Captain John Jamieson, Florida


Revealing report on Search for American yacht Nina released *Feature by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,














Baby Nemos finding their way home by ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies,










The real ‘Supermoon’ story by Sail-world.com,




Sailor rescued after Facebook call for rescue by RNLI/Sail-World Cruising,








Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles, photos
The Galley Guys' favourite shrimp recipe
Vestas Sailrocket 3 - Over the Horizon
BoatUS speaks out about 'Ethanol-at-all-cost Agenda'
Tidal current installations will increase boating hazards
Eco-Sailboat of the future - Catherine Chabaud at work
Calling yachts in the South Pacific - rally to New Zealand
The final touch - which wax should I use on my boat?
ARC Baltic sets sail to discover Europe's 'east sea'
Another boom death. Australian sailor dies, hit by swinging boom
Galley Guru vital to the life of the cruising sailor
'Boat Handling in Marinas' by Rob Gibson - and how to get it reliably
Heart-stopping moment as whale capsizes Zodiac
If we stop killing parrotfish we can bring back Caribbean coral reefs
Climate change could stop fish finding their friends
Vanuatu ups their welcome to cruising sailors with new approach
Criminal charges mooted for owners of sunk HMS Bounty
Red faces after authorities inadvertently aid boat thief to get away
Mobiles drive traffic - 72% increase in Sail-World.com page view *Feature
Sail Estonia: a VERY new idea
Tie This 'Lifesaving' Bowline in Seconds - the easy way!   
A Beer Bummel on the Thames River   
Online weather routing - possible? Predict Wind says yes   
Why Boats Sink: Ten best tips on prevention   
The North West Passage calls: Who will answer this year?   
Polish adventure sailor in second try at North West Passage   
Whale research - new techniques expand for non-lethal methods   
Jessica Watson, solo sailing star, four years on...   
Americas solo non-stop circumnavigator crosses Pacific for research   
What is an El Niño and how will it affect my sailing? (Part 1)   
The Dinghy Nav Light Solution- a brilliantly dumb idea   
Spike in water temperatures evidence of ‘irreversible’ El Nino *Feature   
Sailing crew's battle to save yacht lost in the Indian Ocean   
Five Top Tips for selecting the best boatyard   
Tips for selecting the best boatyard   
Predictwind unlocks more features on free accounts   
Composite Rigging launches new campaign for ECsix   
When is a Captain not a Captain?   
Free app for managing your yacht   
Amazing MOB survival - 13 hours floating, rescued by fishermen   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS Cru USA
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT