Last fall, something new came into our lives. We nicknamed her Roxy. She is tall, a bit beamy about the hips and carries quite a bit of heft. She is well traveled having visited many remote spots in South America, South Georgia Island and many of the Caribbean islands. She was one of the stars in an article on anchors in BoatUS magazine. We welcomed her onto Hurrah and even had a custom bunk built for her. The few times we’ve been at docks, she gets comments and long looks. Sometimes folks stop and ask about her.
Since September, we have traveled together with Roxy never parting ways. Every time we anchor, we pull on her hard. We normally motor at around 1700 RPM, yet we back down after anchoring at 2,000 RPM often for a few minutes. And, she almost always pulls back harder.
She held us tight and snug in Charlotte Amalie harbor when other boats drug right past us. She held us in Montserrat when we had to anchor out from shore over a bar that the cruising guide suggested wasn’t a good spot for anchoring and other boats drug in the gusts of wind that roared over the hills. She held us in Bahia de Almodovar when we sat unprotected from the winds. She held us on the side of Caja de Muertos in strong and veering breezes. But, she really proved herself a few nights ago in the Bight of Acklins.
We knew a front was due during the middle of the week and protection from the west through north would be important. The Bight of Acklins blocks the ocean seas from all those directions, but there is still quite a bit of fetch for the waves and wind to build up. We ultimately decided to stay on the eastern side of the Bight since there aren’t a lot of more protected areas that have enough depth for us. This wasn’t our best decision. We dove to the bottom and realized that there was only about 4″ of sand on a hard rock bottom. Ug. It turns out that other folks have said that anchoring there requires “holding on and praying” and “Don’t be caught there in a Norther.” Ug, again. Before the front, we reset Roxy to better align her with the new wind and pulled on her with our usual RPM. She held.
Well, the front rolled through as I mentioned earlier. The wind blew 20-25 for most of the night. Then, it picked up to 23-28. We stayed up and kept an anchor watch. Sometime around 3 am, we moved further south (with the wind) about 15-20 ft. We could see the change on our gps track that we were monitoring. Ugh, we thought, Roxy moved.
At first light, we checked the bow, which was rising high and then falling to the water level even dipping the bow roller in the water. It turns out our anchor snubber broke. That meant that the chain that had been slack was now taut and would result in us moving about 15 feet south. So, once again, Roxy didn’t drag. Oh, we of too little faith (well, a little doubt always seems like a good idea when anchoring).
Yes, she is two sizes bigger than recommended for our size boat. And yes, she needed a whole new bow roller. And, most importantly, she gives us two times more confidence that even when we don’t anchor perfectly or find ourselves in a place we shouldn’t have been, we will hold firm. Even that won’t keep us from an anchor watch in a similar situation in the future, however. But, hopefully, it will keep us from having to move in the middle of the night in a shallow bay best navigated with good sunlight.
Here is Roxy deep in the sand off Landrail Point, Crooked Island. Later, even the last bit of the shank disappeared. From the trench, we can see that she set in about 1-2′. These are the sights that warm our hearts and give us sweet dreams at night.