Friday, October 24, 2014

Rocking and Rolling

Kintala has always been a skittish boat at anchor. A tall mast and soft turn at the bilge makes for a top heavy, funny shaped bowl sloshing around in the water. With our staysail now set on a furler there is even more stuff up high for the wind to get hold of. We have been rocking and rolling since yesterday afternoon.

Since this is the only place our Mantus anchor has ever failed to hold, last night was a kind of unofficial anchor watch. We have been set for more than 3 weeks and haven't moved, but with the wind gauge occasionally registering gusts near 30 knots, neither one of us slept much. Add the unaccustomed motion to the lack of sleep, and by this morning I was feeling decidedly sketchy.

One of the great things about this life is, when one is feeling decidedly sketchy in the morning, one need not get up and go to work. There is no need to stuff one's self full of medications and shuffle off to the office. There is no need to sit miserable through a day hacking away at some task barely in focus, willing the clock numbers toward quitting time. I took my bare-footed and sketchy self out to the cockpit, settled in with a warm mug, and watched thick clouds hurry across the sky. I was a happy man, not having to report to an office on this particular morning.

All of the boats in Middle River were scalloping around, dancing in the wind and the current. More than one crew could be seen going forward to check that they were still firmly holding onto the river bottom. But outside, with a cool breeze blowing and a solid horizon just a couple of hundred feet away, all that motion wasn't bothering me much. I was pretty content though feeling a bit detached and not completely "with it".

A loud "clank" reverberated from the bow. The boat lurched backwards, banged against the anchor chain, and lurched again. Surely we were loose once again on Middle River. Brain still not fully engaged I jumped up and headed forward, slamming a naked toe into the starboard side winch. Pain jolted up my leg and into my brain, but we were loose and the shore was close by. After a moments hesitation to limp and curse, I headed forward once again.

We have this giant "C shaped thing Mantus sold us to hook the anchor snubber onto the chain. It is a solid chunk of kit that, once engaged, there appears no way for it to get forced off the chain. I'm still not sure how that could possibly happen given the load it was under, but it did. And it came free with a bang. Kintala had fallen back against the extra chain played out to keep the snubber taut, fetched up against the anchor windlass, rebounded, and fallen back again. She had moved as far as she was going to.  (I always keep the anchor chain on the windless with the locking paw engaged and the clutch set tight.  It is a suspenders and belt kind of thing that worked in our favor this morning.)

The snubber went back on just like it should and I laid out a few more feet of chain for good measure. Then I limped back down the deck careful to not put any pressure on, or touch in any way, a badly bruised and stoved in toe. A toe that was promising to make for a pretty miserable day. I went below, stuffed myself with medications, and shuffled out to the cockpit.


Anonymous said...

Another day in paradise. Nothing like a good toe stubbing to let you know you're still alive.

Robert Sapp said...

We have the Mantus chain hook on Eagle Too, and like you I consider it an excellent piece of gear. I'll probably do our own blog post about it someday. But I'm curious whether yours has the plastic piece that snaps into the gate to keep the chain from disengaging? I believe they sold the hooks for some time before they added the plastic gate lock, which tells me they were obviously getting some reports of unintentional disengagement. If you don't have the gate lock, it's only a few dollars to order it from Mantus.


Robert & Rhonda

Ryukyu said...

I have been living aboard for a year. I have been on the dock (about 5 docks). I have been sailing in bays and just outside the inlet. I have been thinking about more and further and longer ever since I got in the waters that make it possible. Have you had those thoughts? Have you thought about going to South America? Do you see yourself in FL again next year? Go to the southern hemisphere. You are ready. No. Listen. You are ready, dammit! Go. Do it.

Deb said...

@ryukyu - There are thoughts of Mexico or South America, but not this year. This year we have two grandbabies arriving to add to our tally - it will be nine total in a few months, and we don't really have any desire to get too far away to visit. The Abacos and Eleuthra and the Chesapeake have enough cruising grounds to keep us interested for a very, very long time. I know you understand this since I don't see you getting very far away from your kids either.