Autumn cruise, post 4
This morning iv’e had to set up a Bahamian moor in the creek where i’m sheltering from the succession of depressions and strong gales that have been blowing through : last night the gusts got up to around 45mph….according to the forecast and i had to do something which iv’e only ever had to do twice before and that’s to maintain an anchor watch.
WABI’’’ is anchored in a sharp bend in the river Fal with a high wooded bank to my west and north, mud banks just to my east and extending down to the south and the main part of the creek where i normally anchor : i moved here 3 days ago because this corner looked as though it would afford the best shelter from the west. The shelter in this corner is good except for when the wind direction creeps around to the south, or worse, the south-east. My current problem though are the tides which are just one day from springs and not only that but they’re behaving very strangely.
My main problem is the limited swinging room in the position iv’e had to anchor in , at high water and with enough scope out we are swinging close to the inside of the elbow…that’s happening due to a combination of tidal flow and the wind which is whipping over the trees and forming a back eddy in the creek. Early this morning with the tide ebbing fast i was watching the different tidal flow either side of the boat : to my left, the steep side and deep water, seemed to be flowing directly along the line of the creek while to my right, where the mud and sand is, it was flowing off the bank and almost straight at the side of the boat. It was almost as though the boat was on the boundary of 2 completely different lines of flow. On the ebb WABI’’’ lays reasonably well to the downstream flow ….except for the few hours last night when she was all over the place in the back eddy’s from 40 knots of wind !
There isn’t quite enough space for WABI’’’ to swing cleanly to a single anchor now in the channel on both the flood and the ebb so what iv’e done is to set up a Bahamian moor which is what i used to do quite often with my deep keeled Frances 26 in a similar position in the Lynher at an anchorage called ‘Dandy Hole’. There, the situation could often be very similar : a good anchorage but in the inside elbow of a strongly tidal river where the boat wanted to wander about all over the place , pushed this way by tide and often the opposite by a back-eddying wind.
Right now WABI’’’ is aground almost in the fundus of the channel with her main anchor some 60 feet away upstream in about 2 feet of water….it should be less but something odd is happening with the tides today. To complete the Bahamian moor what iv’e done is to set up my second anchor , which is normally set up as a ‘haul-off’ anchor, as the second and downstream anchor. The trick is not to moor the boat bow and stern, for various reasons that just doesn’t work very well but to connect the anchor rodes such that the boat can swing to one during the ebb and the other one during the flood. The actual technique i have used is to walk the second anchor, it’s chain and a length of nylon warp downstream until it’s stretched out about 50 feet down-creek of the boat. The trick is to then tie the warp from the second, downstream, anchor into the point where the main anchor’s chain is connected to it’s warp…in a deep water situation the way i would do that is to first set the primary anchor as normal and then ‘back down’ the flow letting another 20 or 30 metres of warp out, then drop the second anchor at the stern, pull forward again while running the second warp out and then connecting it into the primary chain to warp connection…..sounds a bit complex…..works well. My drawing below isn’t the best but mostly shows how it all works.
This afternoon, when the tide starts to flood in the creek again WABI’’’ will take up the load in the second anchor , will lie in pretty much the place she is right now and then take up a much smaller swinging circle. Practically the way it all works out with my boat is that all of my anchor components are interchangeable and not spliced together….essentially i have 2 anchors, 2 lengths of chain and 4 warps to work with plus multiple spare shackles