The conditions on the water can change dramatically in only a few hours. Yesterday morning, Elizabeth Harbor had only the tiniest of ripples on it, making the trip from Stocking Island, where we are anchored, to Georgetown a dry one. The weather forecast showed a front moving in by late afternoon and it arrived on schedule. While enjoying post-volleyball sundowners on ZTC with a couple of friends, the winds were already blowing 20 knots or so.
We were all just making plans for dinner when we first heard a horn blow and then someone come on the radio to announce that a boat was dragging. It wasn’t hard for us to spot the bright yellow monohull drifting sideways in the middle of the crowded anchorage so together with our friend Allan, I jumped in the dinghy and we raced over there. We were soon joined by our friend Ebbon and with two other dinghies from nearby vessels, we grabbed on to the boat, trying to formulate a plan. The owners were not on board and we heard from our friends on Polaris, the boat adjacent to it, that they had left to go to town. Ebbon quickly took off in his dinghy to go find them while Allan and I got on board to first see if it was obvious how to start their engine (it was not). Fortunately, the boat’s anchor had temporarily caught again but we decided to let out some more chain anyway in the hopes that the increased weight and scope would help the boat to stay put until the owners arrived back.
It wasn’t too long before Ebbon returned with both some good and bad news.
- Good news: The owners were with him.
- Bad news: The boat we were on had no transmission.
The owner of the dragging boat had apparently already scoped out the one unused mooring ball up ahead of him and we discussed at length how we could tow his boat to the ball. In calmer conditions, it wouldn’t have been so bad. With the wind blowing the way that it was though, it was a recipe for even bigger problems. We ultimately decided to radio Elvis, the harbor master, and ask him to come tow the boat to the mooring. Although it took Elvis 20 minutes to arrive, it was definitely the smarter choice. Even with his much more powerful water-taxi, it was still a bit of a cluster#%$& getting the boat to the ball.
Now wet, cold and hungry, we were happy to cast off and let Elvis and the dragging boat’s owners deal with the issue so that we could all get back to our own boats. The wind continued to blow throughout the night, and in fact is still blowing. Apparently there were a couple of other boats that dragged in the wind but thankfully none others in our general vicinity. As we have come to expect, Rocky, our Rocna anchor, is on the job, keeping ZTC safe and secure. Thanks for allowing me to have a good night’s sleep, Rocky. I needed it!