Virgins attempted to steal our anchor

The semi-trustworthy windlass and chain

It was time for us to raise anchor to leave the Bay of Virgins and it’s 100 foot depths. This we have done before, and I intended to use the same plan as those other times; run the line through a block attached at the mast, and back up to the other side of the windlass that can haul in rope (and not chain). This, in the past, has allowed us to bring in the 100 feet of rope that gets progressively heavier as more and more if the chain is pulled towards the surface. 100 feet of 3/8 inch chain weighs in at just under 200 pounds, so it is not something that can be done by hand. All this went enough until the chain was just about to come over the bow roller, at which time the snatch-block I was using broke causing the 200 pounds of chain to pull the rope back into the ocean until it tangled with the samson-post where it tied itself into a knot.

We had to tie a knot to it with another rope, haul it up by hand using a winch, until we could free the knot. Then take the anchor rope again back to the other winch on the mast and start hauling in the anchor rope again. This went fine until the chain was just about to come over the bow roller again – read maximum chain weight – at which time the winch itself broke. Another round of safety ropes an hauling it in on another winch until the chain was just about to come over the bow roller again which is where we stopped.

Our winch shaft now has a crack in it

With legs spread wide over the whole tangle of ropes and chain – this so if it went tumbling into the water again it didn’t take one of my legs with it – I use good old fashion muscle to finesse (read; muscle) the chain over the bow roller. Now we could finish winching in enough to get the chain onto the windlass itself, finally.

Only now could we get assistance from the electric windlass again, but the chain was so twisted that Kerri had to bring it in one foot at a time, re-establish the links in the windlass again (via a swift kick from my boot), only to bring in another single foot before having to repeat.

Eventually, after a near eternity, we reeled in 120 feet of chain. This is where we add another 45 pounds of anchor into the mix as it is being lifted off the sea floor. Now we have just under 250 pounds of weight all riding on this old windlass, with the chain ready to fall off at any time. An to top it off, once we lifted the anchor out of the mud down below, Meriwether was drifting freely. We rolled in another 100 feet of chain one foot (and a kick) at a time.

What normally takes us just a few minutes to do took about 90 minutes in all. We were grumpy, stressed, tired, and very sweaty by this point, and we still had 140 miles to sail in the next two days. But, at least we kept the Virgins from stealing our anchor.

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1 Response

  1. Rob says:

    Wow… safe travels..

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