I finally got to sleep last night and when I woke up we were still safely hooked. I made coffee and tucked myself in a corner of the cockpit to shake out the cobwebs and read the news. Suddenly I saw that we were much closer to the boat behind us than we’d been just a few minutes ago and I stood up to assess the positions of all the boats around us. Yep, we dragged. It just happened. I didn’t feel anything. I called down to Jack and we turned on the chartplotter to see our position on GPS. Ah, we could see instantly what happened. When the wind is steady from one direction, even a strong wind, our anchor holds tight. But this morning the wind shifted back and forth, swinging us in a wide arc which must have loosened the anchor and pulled it sideways. Each swing plowed us back again so that our track was a tight curving zigzag backwards. Luckily we weren’t in danger of hitting anyone and we watched for about 45 minutes until it was clear that we were getting too close for comfort to the boat behind and to the right of us. Reluctantly we started the engines and lifted the chain. I say reluctantly because the wind was still in the high 20s and gusting which makes it hard to hold a boat with this much windage steady while we lay down the chain. The bottom here is mostly grassy with small patches of sand and we want to drop the anchor in sand for good holding.
We got the hook up and drove around the anchorage looking for a good spot.
Three times we got into position and started to drop the anchor but the windlass jammed before we had the hook in and we had to quickly pull it up again and circle back to our spot. I could see the other skippers looking nervously at us. I waved and smiled from the helm to reassure them that we were under control and eventually we got ourselves stuck to the bottom again in almost the exact place we were before. We put a little more than the normal amount of chain out which is always a gamble because you want to swing the same amount as the boats around you so you don’t interrupt the geometry and end up too close to someone if the wind shifts. But we did it anyway just to get more weight down and to keep from plowing the anchor out again if we start swinging like we did this morning.
We watched for a while; Jack took his usual bearings and drew them on a pad of paper. When we were sure we were safe again we exhaled and made breakfast. Just another relaxing Sunday in paradise.