Gales at anchor

The forecast was for severe gale force winds overnight and for once the forecasters got it right, including the timing. Most of the big ships anchored in the Solent reported to Southampton VTS that they were heading out to drift beyond the Nab tower for safety reasons. They are safer out there using their engines to hold position than risking dragging anchor in a narrow channel. The Normandy ferry used two tugs to get in and out of her berth and the Coast Guard reported an unmanned boat adrift in the Solent. Amongst all this, one small yacht in Chichester Harbour lost a set of oars when her tender flipped over (me). I think I got off lightly.

Here are some of my Facebook posts documenting it in real time…

30 knot winds and the anchor dragged, only about 10 meters but enough to trigger my anchor alarm and raise my pulse. Second anchor now out.

half hour after high tide, waiting to see which wins, tide or wind to see how she turns. I am hoping wind so I stay nose to the wind, if tide wins, I will have stronger winds later from aft.

Dinghy started to take off, thought I must take the oars out before I lose them, coat on and as soon as I got on deck the dinghy flipped. Apparently my oars float, I watched them float off 🤔

Everything is under control.

Gusts over 44, predicted to go up to 55. I have another 4-5 hours of this 😳

The wind is easing now, back to a more moderate 😳😅 30knots and dropping. It maxed at over 52 knots, over the last few hours it has averaged over 40. It’s been an experience. I learned a lot.. the main plough anchor can hold up to 30 knots in mud, the main anchor plus the secondary danforth anchor together can hold over 50 knots in mud. I learned not to leave the dinghy out in high winds but to tie it to the deck or deflate and stow it. I learned the boat sits well facing the wind even in high tidal flow and I learned I feel safe and comfortable on the boat in a gale.

Learned something else… it ain’t over until mother nature says it is. I was woken by the sound of high winds and boat switched the instruments back on.. over 40 knot winds 😳 dying back again now so hopefully just a squall.

Leave a Reply