Thursday, October 8, 2020

It Blew

Well, it blew.

Most of yesterday, we had a strong breeze and some 25 knot + gusts, but nothing to be worried about. Then, just after dinner, thunderstorms rolled through in the distance, the wind picked up to a sustained 30+ knots and we were hit by several 40 knot gusts.

That got my attention.

When we anchored I let out the normal 5:1 scope of anchor rode. Even though strong winds and gusts were forecast, I got lulled by the moderate conditions during the day and didn't let our more chain as I would normally do for storm conditions. A mistake on my part.

With wind blowing in the high 30's, the anchor bridle was bar-tight and the chain was being lifted right out of the water. I could see the angle of pull and I didn't like it. We were anchored in a tight spot with rock-lined shores. A weather buoy near Provincetown reported a 51 knot gust and the weather service was warning up to 65 mph gusts. Dragging anchor would really suck.

I considered letting out more chain, but that would require maneuvering the boat to detach the bridle, something that I didn't really want to do in such high winds. So instead, I prepared a second anchor ready to deploy if we dragged and set an anchor drift alarm to let us know if we did. I also made sure I knew how to steer us out of the anchorage if things really got hairy.

Fortunately, our trusty Rocna anchor and heavy chain proved themselves again. We didn't budge.

When the wind died down a bit, we let out a bunch more chain so that I could sleep with far less to worry about. The winds blew hard through most of the night and early this morning, but we lay to anchor comfortably and confidently.

Lesson learned. If high winds are forecast and I have the room, let out lots of chain before it starts blowing. Also, setting up a second anchor in advance will be my normal practice in such conditions from now on.

We waiting out the rest of the blow here in Hadley Harbor in windy but sunny and pleasant conditions. I got a lot of boat chores done this morning.  We had our lunch on nearby Bull Island and then took a dinghy tour around the harbor. Now more work to do, including putting away the backup anchor rig.

Tomorrow the weather looks good for us to make our way to Newport, although we will be beating into the wind.