As we were getting ready to leave Georgetown a line of showers blew across the harbor. Heavy rain, and a clocking wind blowing up to 25 or 28 knots. A good breeze, but nothing we would consider violent. From our perspective in this crowded anchorage we had eyes on about 50 boats. As the wind picked up, at least five boats started to drag their anchors. Two ended up aground on the beach! Fortunately, the winds died down pretty quickly, and everybody was refloated without serious incident.
But it was a lesson. In this relatively minor blow, about 10% of the boats around us broke their anchors from the bottom. In a crowded anchorage the biggest danger is not from the weather, but from the other boats who have bad equipment, bad technique, or both.
In a sailing forum the other day someone was posting in the highly superior tone that the internet seems to encourage people to adapt that he couldn’t understand why anyone would ever pay to pick up a mooring instead of anchoring. It’s really simple. In a very crowded harbor I’ll go to the mooring field and pick up a mooring not because I have any doubts about MY anchoring equipment or technique, but because I doubt YOURS. A mooring might have issues, and might not be as good as my own anchor, but it’s reliability is WAY better than 90%.
When I must anchor in a crowd, I look at where the wind will come from in a sudden blow. That is usually 90 or 180 degrees clockwise from the prevailing wind direction. I pick a spot so I will be upwind of as many boats as possible during a storm, not during the prevailing conditions.
We are off grid for at least a few days while we explore Conception Island. If you sent us an email or have any other expectation of communication, sorry! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.