Saturday, January 18, 2014


I am not even sure where to start with this story. I will not blame you at all if you don't believe a word of it.

We anchored yesterday early afternoon, backing down hard on the hook because it was a tight spot with a little less rode than we like. The wind blew, another cold front went through, tides changed and the current ran. Kintala stayed put. This morning the wind blew some more, the tide changed again, and the current ran. Kintala stayed put. By late morning the winds eased and the sun shone. We jumped in the dink, ran to shore for a couple of hours, headed back.

Kintala was gone.

Where the boat had been there was no boat, no mast, not a ripple, not a hint, nowhere in sight. That will do strange things to your heart.

We aimed for the spot where we last saw the boat, near the head of one of the man made channels that make up Ft. Lauderdale. As we got closer Deb spotted my hammock strung up on a boat tied broadside at the very end of the channel, starboard side to, in front of one of the million dollar houses. It was Kintala.

This channel is just a bit wider than she is long. On the docks along the channel were a BRAND NEW, 50+ foot sport fisher and, just behind her, a 70+ foot sailing boat. Kintala had pulled her anchor, then backed into and down that channel. The sport boat's owner was on board his new pride and joy, looked out the galley window, saw the bow pulpit going by just inches away, ran outside, and managed to fend the wayward Tartan off. Kintala then bumped the other sailboat's massive, steel, bowsprit. Two good Samaritans, (who have yet to make themselves known) who were chasing the runaway boat in a rowing dink but unable to catch up, findally did catch up as our boat fouled the other sailboat. They climbed on board, fended off, let the wind ease them the rest of the way down the channel and against the dock, hung fenders, tied dock lines, and went on their way.


And thus we found Kintala, tied serenely as if she was at her home pier, without so much as a scratch in the paint, having done absolutely no damage to any other boat as she went on her solo sail.

I still can't believe it.

Our friend Stephen, owner of another Tartan 42 we met in Oriental, was waiting around the corner for me to pick him up in the dink. (Something we had arranged while in town.) Back at our boat the three of us just stood around shaking our heads. A few minutes later a couple of Marine Unit Police Officers walked up, called by the sport boat's owner. They were as polite and professional as any two officials I have ever run across, and believe me, I have run across my share. The owner of the sailboat also showed up, inspected his ship and declared her totally unscathed. None of the assembled had ever heard of anything like this happening before, ever.

The space Kintala had landed in was so tight that we had to run a spring line from the bow back across the channel off her stern. It was the only way we could think of to get the bow pointed back at the river against the winds, (which had picked back up a bit). The Police Officers handled the line. We motored out into the clear, picked a spot in the middle of Middle River, dropped the hook, set it hard, reached for some cold ones ... and talked of Karma, Black Boxes, weird happenings, amazing efforts of complete strangers, stand-up Cops, gracious boat owners, and luck ... lots and lots of luck.

It is a few hours later and I am still at a bit of a loss. Kintala rocks gently on her rode as if nothing unusual has happened. The generator is purring along, I sit on port side settee looking for words, Deb is getting dinner. I can tell the story of it happening but I cannot get my head around what happened. For all of our struggles over the last years and months, for everything that broke, went wrong, failed, and didn't come up as planned, Kintala may still be the luckiest boat on the planet. She certainly is today.


S/V Via Bella said...

You guys must be doing something seriously right! May your good luck continue on. After all the trials, you deserve it.

Unknown said...

Great Story! Glad all is well.
What size anchor were you using,amount of chain, and scope at the time? Was the location bottom mud, sand,combination, or something else?

Robert Salnick said...

Good thing you've been making deposits (lots!) in the Black Box... but it's empty now I suspect.


s/v Eolian

TJ said...

Alax, we have a 60 pound Mantis that has never drug before; all chain rode, mud bottom. We had about 35 feet of rode out with 15 foot or so, bottom to bow roller. Too little as it turned out ... we will not be making that mistake again.

Pat and Joan said...

My brother-in-law lives a block south of there and we ere hoping to use that as a stop on our travels. Guess we will either call and register a comment or get a dinghy dolly and roll it up to his house. This is too bad.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the info concerning the anchor gear. Our planned anchor for our 34' Gemini is a 35lb Delta with chain plus rode. Your experience gives me an added dimension to judge "protected currently quiet" conditions.

Other than needing to add scope, what other factor do you feel played against that heavy an anchor and chain comob?

Unknown said...

That's the happiest ending to an anchor dragging story I've heard, well ever! I hope to have that kind of luck.

Don Parsons said...

I can imagine your angst upon looking upon Kintala's former anchor site and not seeing her there...boy...talking about your heart dropping!

As we said many times, "Better to be lucky than good". Amen to that brother.


Mike Boyd said...

Wow. On one hand it sucks that the anchor broke free, but very good luck that it ended as well as it did. Glad you guys and Kintala are safe.

I guess Kintala appreciates all the hard work you guys have put into her and managed to keep herself safe enough until help arrived.

What a story.

Unknown said...

I have had a similar experience the only difference was I was still on the boat sleeping. We woke up banging against an ICW marker. I changed anchors after that experience to a Delta Fast Set. My next anchor will be an Rocha

Unknown said...

I have had a similar experience the only difference was I was still on the boat sleeping. We woke up banging against an ICW marker. I changed anchors after that experience to a Delta Fast Set. My next anchor will be an Rocha

TJ said...

Alex, the only thing I can think is that the anchor was just barely set. It held through the night but a combination of high tide, a bit of current, and a little wind was ecnough to pull it free. After that there just wasn't enough rode out for it to grab again, particularly since the channel is dredged a bit deeper than the river. My best guess anyway.

S/V Veranda said...

lol....alls well that ends well