Draggin round Beveridge Reef

by Drew on August 4, 2009

This one is for the cruisers out there.

I’m not leaving here till I get at least one calm, hot, sunny day! The wind hasn’t dropped below 20 knots in three days now. Normally that’s not a problem. It’s usually a good thing but with no land and a reef that submerges at high tide in front of us, I have finally found a challenge “old Bruce” (my oversized primary anchor) can’t live up to. The sand must be ultra-fine down there or something. This is the first time I’ve had a problem with my ground tackle dragging on Dosia. Right now, on my third set in three days, I have 150′ of chain out in less than 10′ of water (all sand, no coral). I’ve tried less, I’ve tried more…nothing seems to stick. We don’t suddenly start dragging and fly across the lagoon with the wind and current, anchor trailing out behind us. It’s a gradual thing. After twelve hours or so rocking and howling in the wind, we may move .04 miles backward. Not much I know but I don’t like the idea of moving AT ALL. I get a good set on the anchor every time. I can see it hit the bottom clear as day even at night, which happens to be when we’ve had to reset both times. Speaking of which, Margie and I have evolved in masters of the anchoring process. Marge takes her place at the helm and I’m on the bow. There’s no speaking or yelling back and forth, no radios, and no eye contact. She watches for my hand signals and steers the boat exactly as I need it. At night, I put on a headlamp and light up my hands so she can see my signals. It’s a work of art. Resetting in these conditions with 30 knots of wind in darkness but no other boats or obstacles in the way has been great practice for us. And it’s also reassured me that I did a good job setting up the anchoring system with massive backing plates, offset rollers, an oversized windlass, and substantial cleats for the snubbers. You can see good photos of the process on the “About the Boat” page. Everything is performing exactly as I intended it except, right now, my dependable Bruce anchor is not doing its job. Of course, it’s not the anchor’s fault. It’s mine. I’m asking it to perform in conditions where it does not excel. That’s why today, I’ll be pulling the CQR off my secondary rode and replacing it with my big Fortress anchor. The danforth design should dig in a lot better in this soft sand. It’s something I should have done two days ago. I don’t like the fact I’ll be using it with only 50′ of chain but there isn’t a coral head in sight on this sand bank as big as a football field so no worries about it chafing through. We’ll probably move over closer to Brickhouse, the only other boat out here so we can make new friends and talk to someone other than each other!

The weather has somewhat cleared. At least the rain is no longer constant and I can usually find some area of the sky that is blue. I could probably go for some snorkeling today if I want to battle the wind and waves up to the reef in the dinghy. The forecast shows no break in the wind till Friday when a Low coming from the west sucks up all the breeze. Then, of course, that Low moves over top of us on Saturday, sending the wind counterclockwise meaning we’ll probably have to move to the other side of the lagoon. I’m beginning to wish we took the northern route and stayed away from all these Low pressure systems. No need to rush off to Niue before this Low. If it gains in strength it would make the anchorage there 10x worse than we’d ever get in here. Might as well wait it out and see. We have movies, games, tons of books, wine, and bacon. That’s all I need to survive. Plus, I haven’t touched my wallet in 7 days!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

dc August 5, 2009 at 9:49 am

Great blog, I really enjoy the photos and the commentary. You both ROCK!

On the anchor problem; Thirty knots on the nose and no stretch along the anchor rode, your chain is not giving so the sand does. I love and prefer chain, too. My anchor combo is eighty feet of chain with about twenty of nylon for stretch. In Florida, anchorage depths tend to be shallow. I rarely drag.

So I think if you add thirty feet of nylon to the chain you will get better hold. Of course, you already know about the fortress, I probably would have switched to a danforth by the third set.

Congratulations on a great voyage and blog.

Jena August 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm

i know “this one is for the cruisers out there”, but drew I never understand a word that you are saying in your post. I somehow still find them enjoyable though! Keep ’em coming. Oh, and I will pray to the wind gods for you – hopefully things will let up soon.

kevin Barber August 7, 2009 at 10:20 pm

You guys gotta get the heck out of that place. I bet you can’t wait to get back on real land!! How many days has it been?

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