April 7 – 9.
Bang!…Bang! It was about 11pm and I had been trying to fall asleep. I was hearing some weird noises. A dry bag had been left clothes pinned to a life line, I was worried about it blowing away and thought the odd sounds might be it clattering in the wind. Then I heard the bangs. I looked over at Greg and he was sound asleep. I didn’t want to wake him for nothing, so I decided that if I heard just one more bang I would get up to investigate. Bang! I went up top. “Everyone wake up!” I yelled, “Everyone wake up!” I looked down into the interior of our boat and yelled, “Greg, put some clothes on!” I looked back across the stern side of the cockpit and craned my neck upwards at the bow and anchor chain of a 3 story, 55 foot motor yacht as it made contact with Blue Wing’s hull. “Everyone wake up!”
I’ve always had a good imagination. And over the years I’ve developed a healthy respect for Murphy, who observes that anything that Can go wrong, Will. In this case, I think my imagination failed me.
On Monday the 7th we sailed from Black Point to our beloved Cambridge Cay to claim a spot before the next cold front came through. We arrived late afternoon.
Usually we plop down just south of the mooring field. There is a lot of current passing by Cambridge, and we have seen that it treats boats differently. At any given time the craft here could all be pointed in different directions. A deep draft keel boat might point into the current, while its shallow draft neighbor is controlled more by the wind. They might even both be facing each other.
Knowing that we could swing in any direction we’ve chosen a favorite parking spot. We drop anchor in the center there. If you draw an imaginary circle around the anchor’s location, the circumference will pass through the last mooring ball, a big gnarly rock to the south, and shallows to the west. We can swing freely without coming too close to any of these.
When we arrived there was a large power yacht anchored west of the mooring field. I looked at it, took a guess at how much anchor line it had out, and drew a similar imaginary circle around its anchor. Their imaginary circle didn’t intersect ours so we parked as usual. I think they must have had about twice as much line out as I guessed.
So our imaginary circles didn’t intersect. Not through the pre-front happy hour on the beach, or supper, or ‘sodes, or bedtime. After that, though, we continued pointing into the current while they swung into the wind, drifting onto us. Oops!
Thankfully, no one got hurt and no damage was done to either boat. We pushed off and the boats were free of each other quickly. But there was a chance they could hit again. Since they had anchored first, we said we would move. So we did.
We motored into the darkness, further away from their boat, and dropped anchor. But now the current was against the wind. In no time the anchor was directly behind our boat. Our position seemed fine, but we couldn’t back up and feel that satisfying ‘bite’ you get when the anchor is set firmly. So Duwan stayed up to monitor our position while I slept.
Greg had marked our location on our tablet’s chart plotter. I sat up doing crossword puzzles and periodically checked our position while Greg slept. Every 10 or 15 minutes the GPS showed us in a new spot.
We were moving around a lot, but not alarmingly so until about 3am. The chart plotter indicated we were hundreds of feet northwest of our location ten minutes before. I went up to do a visual check. It was too dark to see anything, so I used our flashlight. There they were, the 55 foot power yacht, closer than they were originally. It was time to wake Greg up again.
We raise the anchor to try again. I see that a u-shaped rock is wrapped around it. The anchor had never set. But now the current and wind are in agreement. When we drop again we can use reverse until I feel that satisfying bite.
It’s my turn for position patrol and Duwan’s turn to sleep. Of course, every time I check with a flashlight the yacht seems closer, but that’s just my imagination (which seems to be working great now).
After sunrise, when we see their crew stirring around, hunched over cups of morning coffee, we row over and apologize for all the excitement. They are very nice about the whole thing. We have a good, bleary-eyed laugh over it, and Duwan and I go back to Blue Wing. We crank up and anchor one last time, west of the mooring field, well away from any other boats.