Last night I lay in bed wondering, how am going to move the boat by myself if the anchor drags? The winds were starting to pick up to around 20 knots with gusts of what felt like 60 but really was probably only 25 or 30 knots.
It was my first night alone on anchor without Carl or any other adult to confer with.
The kids and I dropped Carl off that morning to catch a flight out to St. Thomas, a couple of islands to the north of us. We were excited when a month long job was offered, starting with the delivery of a sailboat to St. Maarten and then approximately a month long gig as acting engineer all within a dingy ride of us.
I had put my brave girl face on and waved good bye to him at the dock near the airport but inside I was totally freaking out! I had been alone with all 3 kids before, heck I did 6 months in Maine and was fine but this was a different ball game all together. Alone with 3 kids on a boat swinging from a chain, anchor hopefully buried in the sand.
What does one do to fend off a freak out? Invite everyone over of course and remind myself that I’m not truly alone. But all our new found Caribbean friends weren’t staying for a sleep over and inevitably left me on a boat that I had no idea about the systems.
Whenever the kids get sick, it’s at night. Whenever the boogie man comes, it’s at night. Whenever a halyard violently bashes the mast…..it’s at night.
As soon as the sun went down and the kids were all in bed the wind started to pick up. We would swing one side to the next. The anchor angrily jumping over our snubber rope and our dinghy bashing into the stern of the boat every time we swung. I was getting out of bed every 20 minutes to take reference points on the neighboring boats. The VHF was on in case I needed to use it in a hurry.
I was building myself into worry ball when deep down I knew it was just a typical squally Caribbean night.
I lay in bed running through the drag anchor scenario.
- Jump out of bed like a ninja (don’t forget to put on my glasses – shit where are my glasses?).
- Find the remote for the windlass – device to pull up the anchor. (shit where is that?!).
- Next start the motor, oh yeah that same motor that wouldn’t start earlier in the day because the starter is going bad on it.
- If I can get the beast purring, run outside with my ninja skills and raise the anchor
- All appropriate breakers will need to be on. Hmmm, which ones are those again?
- Raise the anchor, pop her in gear and get the hell out of dodge.
- Oh wait, I forgot to put the steering wheel back on. Important step there.
Thats as far as that plan went, didn’t really know how I would get her anchored again by myself.
I think I pretty much had my game plan in place by about 1am. By about 2am I was so tired that I devised a new plan:
- Get up when the boat either hit another boat or ran aground
- Load the kids in the dinghy, go to my friends boating drink wine
- next day set fire to the boat
- move back to land
It is now almost 24 hours later. We didn’t drag anchor, and I didn’t end up burning the boat down.
That said, Carl is still away and I’m now on night two of being on anchor with the troops.
Will I or the boat make it till dawn? Only time will tell.