Monday, January 20, 2014

Figured it out ...

... we think.

We finally got the chance to thank Sean, the Captain from Sirenuse who rode Kintala to a soft landing the other day. He is every bit the professional I suspected. He is also an ex-airplane driver. Turns out he flew the jet for the people who own Sirenuse, then transitioned over to managing and driving their mega yacht. (It is a story I have heard from several ex-airplane current Ship Captains. Wish I had thought of it!) The current owner of Sirenuse has become very involved in the environmental movement, particularly the "ocean is being killed by plastic" part. As a result Sirenuse is for sale, to be replaced by a more expedition / work oriented vessel better able to support scientific research into ways we might prevent killing off the sea, and thus ourselves. It was all pretty interesting.

Anyway, of coure we chatted about Kintala dragging her anchor. Sean, (who lives on Sirenuse with his wife and daughter) noted us when we pulled in. Turns out he grew up on a sailboat and thinks our Tartan a pretty boat. He was surprised to see her dragging since he knew we had been sitting there for nearly 24 hours through the winds and tide change. As we talked though, we think we figured out what happened.

We had dropped the hook in about 10 feet worth of water, on a short rode, mud bottom, and just a few boat lengths outside the mouth of the channel Kintala ended up in. That channel, and its entrance, are dredged to 26 feet. It is likely our anchor was setting just a few feet from that drop off, and probably on a slope. The anchor lost its purchase but, instead of grabbing hold again, it just slid down the hill. In a very few feet of lateral movement it would have been barely touching the bottom, if it was touching at all. At that point Kintala was free to go were ever she wanted.

I had read about the danger of anchoring on a slope leading to deeper water, but it never occurred to me that such would be the case in a river by a short, man-made, channel. Yes, the chart was marked with a little "6" near the place we dropped the hook, with a little "26" shown in the channel. And no, I didn't add those up to equal "PAY ATTENTION FOOL"! I will next time. We may also start using a little trick Sean shared with us when he anchors Sirenuse in unknown waters. After the hook is set he sends the tender out to make a loop around the boat with a little hand-held depth sounder, giving him an idea of the topography of the bottom under him.

Another cold front is due in here tomorrow night, blowing hard pretty much through Wednesday. We have some minor boat projects to attend to so we will be on board for the next couple of days. We know the hook is set hard, we have 75 feet of chain rode out, and we are pretty sure we knew what went wrong. Doesn't matter. We left the boat today for several hours to meet our old friends Bill and Ann, once-upon-a-time of Cowboy Up based at our marina in Carlyle. Now they live in Fort Luaderdale and are working on getting a bigger boat ready for full time living aboard. After several hours of serious catching up (they left IL more than 2 years ago) we fired up the dink and headed back down the river. We both gave a sigh of relief when Kintala hove into view exactly were we left her, each secretly convinced she had probably dragged her way past the Las Olas Blvd and 17th Street Bascule bridges, past the turning basin, into the Port Everglades Inlet, and out to sea.

It may take a while to get over thinking the boat is going to just sail away every time we leave her on her own.

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