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  • Capt. Eric

Leaving Anacortes

Coming back from Stuart Island we took delivery of our new to us anchor, a Delta 40Kg sold to us by friends on a Nordhavn 43. While it is lighter than our current Bruce anchor, the more modern design should make it more than sufficient for our boat, and hopefully just better overall in various anchoring conditions. Time will tell.

Schooner Red Jacket got damaged in the bad weather

Fronts kept coming over us, bringing lots of wind with strong gusts, rain and just miserable cold weather.

During the worse of it we heard the loud maneuvering of a large yacht, about 65 feet, trying to dock at the tie-end of our dock, just behind a large and beautiful old sailing schooner.

The skipper of the yacht didn't appear to be in full control of his maneuver, and at some point started backing towards Enfin. After our allision in Brown Bay Resort during the fall, we're extra weary of any approaching boat now: We rushed on deck, grabbing our large round fenders in case the yacht came any closer.

To our relief, the skipper regained control, but as he decided to leave we noticed he had hit the schooner, breaking its stern sprit. Since the sprit was holding the main mast's back-stay, the mast had now very little to keep it upright. Luckily the wind was pushing it in the right direction, but I decided we couldn't chance it so I jumped on board, grabbed the main sail halyard and took it back to secure the mast.

I also secured and tightened the 2 running stays, that way the mast would have the best possible support in the circumstances.

Di contacted the marina while I called the owners. Later the police called us to check what had happened while they were checking the port's cameras.

50Kg Bruce anchor is off the boat

With this excitement over, I started working on swapping the anchors. Considering the weights involved it's a job that needs to be done slowly and carefully.

I tried a number of possible solutions: Enfin has 2 anchor rollers and I was hoping to keep both anchors on but this proved impossible since the Bruce is very large and cannot be folded. It gets in the way of the Delta, however much I tried.

So down it went on a marina cart, and up on the roller went the Delta.

Princess keeping an eye on my work

The Delta anchor has a different shank than the Bruce, so I needed to find a way to secure it. The last thing we want in head seas is the anchor becoming a 40Kg missile. It needs to be safely secured, so I started working on various options.

Eventually after a good amount of research I decided I'd use an anchor chock made by anchor maker Mantus for exactly this purpose. Clearly Mantus has realized that to sell their anchors they must provide a retrofit solution. Another search confirmed a Bellingham ship chandler had one in stock, so I ordered it and it got here overnight.

This is all the neoprene I can wear!

Nothing is ever truly simple on a boat, and I tried a number of options on how to best adjust the anchor and chock. After a day of work and trying various solutions I had an acceptable one, but after giving it some more thoughts, I decided to switch the chock back to its intended spot: A 20 minute job now that I had experience swapping the anchor and chock's place.

Except of course, things rarely work out as expected. I had made sure to tighten the roller pin well to avoid any bad surprises at sea and simply couldn't undo the bolt anymore. I had to apply a lot of force and ended up breaking the pin, which meant the chock dropped in the water! Stainless steel isn't strong on torsion, so it's not an indication of the overall strength of the pin when used as intended.

My brand new shiny stainless steel chock was now at the bottom of the marina. I had 2 main options: Order another one or dive to retrieve it. Luckily the sun had come out, and the tide was low so I decided diving was probably my best option. Not the most comfortable one, but the cheapest for sure.

New anchor and shiny stainless steel chock in place

Wearing as much neoprene as I could, a 6mm complete wet-suit, a 2mm under jumper, booties, hood and gloves I went in. The water was in the mid 40s, so felt cold and took my breath away for the first few breaths. Eventually I got my breathing under control, and using the anchor chain I pulled myself down to the bottom of the marina. The chock appeared in my view almost immediately. It hadn't yet silted in, so diving proved to be the right solution.

A couple minutes later the chock was safely back on the dock, and I was taking a hot shower.

The next day I reassembled everything like I had intended. So far it seems to work very well. Time and real life testing will tell, so we'll have to go out at anchor and see how everything performs. For the time being we're keeping the old Bruce, but if the Delta performs well, we may eventually sell it.

With the last of the jobs done, the last packages received -another huge thanks to Nordhavn North West Office for their help- and the last of the provisions safely tucked on board, we waited for a weather window before leaving. After letting a 35 knots gale blow over us, we left in slightly calmer conditions, about 20 knots, heading towards Deception Pass State Park as a first stop on our Puget Sound exploration.

Stormy weather at Deception Pass State Park

The forecast is for more bad weather to come through, with a few days of gale force winds. We're safely docked at the park, to Princess' great pleasure: She loves our walks here, and we get to see deer, otters, squirrels and rabbits regularly.

Once the weather calms down we'll head down Puget Sound.

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