As a cruiser, there are a variety of anchoring complications you can run into. One of the major issues is when you pull up someone else’s anchor while pulling your own anchor up. So…what do you when this happens?
You drink a beer and tell the story!
Errrr, actually, this beer was consumed the day before the ‘Fiscardo Anchor Incident,’ but looks better than an image of an anchor. Let me back up a bit before I get to the anchor complication story.
In almost every busy bay that we’ve anchored in, someone inevitably drops his or her anchor over someone else’s chain.
There’s always an anchoring complication! This is extremely common in the Mediterranean but it doesn’t happen too often in the Caribbean.
When we were on the island of Hydra, in the Aegean, we actually watched someone drop their anchor on one side of our chain and then reverse back over the other side! We had our anchor out and two warps (ropes) stretching from our stern to land. This is s common way to anchor in a busy bay – the landline prevents the boat from swinging or suffering oncoming swells.
We went to the bow of the boat and yelled over, ‘Hey – you’ve put your anchor over our chain.’
Usually, the boat owner gets embarrassed, turns red, and then proceeds to say that ‘everything is fine,’ and indicates that we should mind our own business.
We have a big boat and a very strong anchor chain. If you’re in a smaller boat and get attached to our anchor chances are that you will not be able to get it up.
We offered to help with the anchoring complication and even release our landlines to pull our anchor up but the captain kept telling us that he’d take care of the situation. In the case of the ‘Hydra Incident,’ after 2 hours of trying to free the chain the captain had to find someone to dive down, with tanks, to remove the anchor.
I wanted to yell over, ‘We told you so,’ but that would have been rude.
In another bay, while waiting to go stern-to a ferry jetty, we watched three Gullets (Turkish sailboats) pull up at least one anchor each time they left. One boat pulled up two.
And we’re not perfect…that’s for sure!
When mooring in Mikonos Marina there are no mooring lines – surprise, surprise (actually, that’s typical for Greek marinas!) For a boat our size, we had to drop our anchor at the front of the boats facing us, go backward and let out the chain until we met the jetty. While laying the chain I noticed that we went over another anchor line. We walked over to the boat we crossed, found out when they wanted to leave, and made sure that we pulled our anchor up first.
The anchoring complication of putting your anchor chain over another chain and/or pulling up someone else’s anchor happens often.
It’s not a big deal…but it’s important to know what to do when it happens.
After 6 months of pulling up our anchor, only one foreign object was found. I’m not sure if you want to call that an anchoring complication, or not?! The above is a Sea Cucumber.
When we learn a lesson, we seriously learn a lesson.
While in Fiscardo, several charter boats came in and one of them put their anchor over our chain. No big deal – it happens. It’s a normal anchoring complication. We didn’t know it happened but soon found out.
When we went to leave, we had to remove the foreign anchor from ours.
(Actually, we pulled up two anchors and a bolder, but I’m going to write this as if we pulled up one).
Not only did we pull up an anchor, but two large ferries were entering the harbor to dock in addition to a 100+ foot yacht that shouldn’t have been there. It was hectic! My husband, Simon, was as calm as could be but I felt a wee bit stressed.
So..Admiral Stefano, our esteemed guest, with is decades of sea knowledge provided me with a way to remove the foreign anchor.
And this is the play by play:
Stefano: Kim, please get me a bottle of water
Kim: Okay – bottled water or tap?
Stefano: Anything…I need it quick
Kim: Here’s some bottled water
Stefano then pours out half of the water and does this insane knot that makes my head spin.
He puts the knot around the bottle top, pulls it tight and ties the other end of the rope to a front cleat on the boat. I later learn that Stefano made a ‘Bottle Knot’.
The bottle gets tossed into the water with this amazing knot holding it.
The knot not only holds the bottle, but there’s a loop near the neck of the bottle. Stefano then uses the hooky stick (the poll you use to grab a mooring line – it’s a long pole with a hook at the end), to feed the rope around the foreign anchor chain. The bottle helps to keep the rope afloat.
Still using the hooky stick, he pulls the rope up and ties it onto the same cleat so that the rope is around the foreign anchor chain.
Stefano then drops our anchor and in doing so, the rope holds up the foreign anchor and releases our anchor.
It was magic – pure magic.
I looked around at all the onlookers, and there were many, puffed out my chest and thought, ‘Yeah, we know what we’re doing!’ I wanted to do one of those American Football touchdown dances but thought I’d hold my enthusiasm in.
I’m sure we won’t come off looking so amazing all the time 🙂
We then motioned to the boat that had the anchor come up to pull up on it again so to secure their boat once more.
We exited Fiscardo with our head held high knowing that our knowledge increased, once again! One more anchoring complication we now know how to sort out!
Click here to watch a video where both Stefano and I demonstrate how to make a bottle knot – the instructions also give a step by step breakdown in pictures. If nothing else, it’s quite an impressive knot to use when you want to show off while sitting in the cockpit!
Check Out Other Sailing, Maneuvering & Mooring Related Articles and Videos
To get an overview of all our sailing, maneuvering, and mooring related articles and videos, start here: Sailing, Maneuvering & Mooring. Otherwise, check out one of these articles or videos:
- Stern To Med Mooring
- High Wind Sailing Techniques
- How To Tie Onto A Mooring Ball
- How To Leave A Dock
- Anchoring In Poor Holding Anchorages
- Anchoring In Storms
- Anchoring Complications – Picking Up Someone Else’s Anchor
- How To Pole Out Your Jib Downwind Sailing
- Sailing With A Gennaker
- Rigging, Sails & Reefing On A Sailboat
- Sailing Pre-Passage Checklist