Saturday, February 25, 2012

Strong Trade Winds

Last evening we went to Peter's Bar and Grill in Logon, Dominica for the traditional Friday night barbecue. I had my favorite ribs while Kathy had chicken. Joined by our friend Peter we had a pleasant social evening on land. On the way back to Easy Go Kathy and I stopped at a new beachfront bar called Barbed Wire and owned by "Spesh". He had invited us to visit as it is his new endeavor and he is trying very hard to make a success of it. We left our dinghy at Big Papa's beachfront restaurant and bar where we visited with Big Papa and some other boaters before rowing back out.

The winds have been getting stronger over the week and were freshening up as we got back. During the night they picked up even stronger causing the boat to veer around on its chain and heel over to 10 and sometime 15 degrees in the gusts. We have 150 feet of 3/8 inch chain on a 44 lb Bruce anchor that is holding quite well in 30 feet of water with a mixed sand, rock and weed bottom.

As today progressed the winds picked up higher with a few boats dragging anchor and having to reset. Those boats on moorings have not experienced any failures yet.

One boat came into the anchorage with the mainsail blown out and another with its roller reefing head sail looking somewhat worse for wear. Lots of sails will be resewn over the next few days.

Winds appear to be gusting strongly off the mountains well in excess of forecast wind speeds. To make ourselves more comfortable and minimize the veering in the gusts I put our 22 lb Bruce anchor out over the bow roller on about 50 ft of 5/16 inch chain so that is is hanging straight up and down. When the boat starts to veer this anchor has a braking affect and the boat's motions are subdued. The added benefit is we have another anchor on the bottom in the event that the first one starts to slip. We can rapidly deploy more chain and rode if needed.

We've used this setup numerous times to sit out gales over the years. We'll be sleeping soundly tonight even if the wind is piping up.

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