We have been traveling and anchoring out the past week. We finally have gotten comfortable using our ground tackle. Ground tackle is the anchor and chain or rode (rope) you use to secure the boat to the bottom of the river or body of water you are cruising through. We carry a 65 pound Delta anchor and 250 feet of 3/8 inch chain. Before we left we marked every 30 ft. Before that, we had a very shaky idea of how much chain we put out. The 'books' say you should have a 7 to 1 scope. That means, for every foot of water under your keel, you put out 10 feet of chain. So seven feet of water means 70 feet of chain. We also carry a 55 pound Bruce (claw) anchor. Attached to the Bruce is 30 ft of chain and 200 ft of rode (rope). We have a small stern anchor. It is a 25 pound danforth with 10 feet of chain and 100 ft of rode. The stern anchor is used to keep the boat from swinging into a channel.
We are traveling to Charleston to pick up our boys Chris and Philbert. The guys arrive on the 25th of April so we are donking around. We anchored in the MacKay Creek, across from Hilton Head Island. Hilton Head is jumping this weekend. The RBC golf tournament is going on. The blimp is circling. Boats are zooming everywhere. Staying tucked in a creek seemed like a good way to avoid the activity. The first place we anchored, at high tide, seemed great. The tide went out and we were VERY close to the shore. We raised the anchor and were making for deeper water. Of course I did not see the small sand bar and we ran aground. Waited about 15 minutes for the tide to come up and went searching for a good place to move. Got the anchor down in 12 feet of water and put out 120 feet of chain. We checked the weather report and saw that some wind was supposed to come up about 2 pm the next afternoon. We had dinner and got tucked in our beds.
Both of us bolted from our berths at 2:15 am. Seems mother nature decided to trick us and sent the wind in about 12 hours early. The wind went from 5knts to 20 knts in a minute, and it was still building. We checked the GPS and we were in the same position, but with the wind howling, we could drag on the anchor and end up on the shore. Matt got dressed and headed for the bow. He got the Bruce ready and deployed. The Bruce was at a 45 degree angle from the Delta, so if the Delta came loose the Bruce would catch and we wouldn't drag into the shore. We got the little stern anchor ready just in case. We checked the GPS every 10 minutes and we were still in the right place. I checked the wind and the velocity was up to 47 knots. Ok, so of course, I went to get some sleep, while Matt stayed up and kept anchor watch. The wind died down about sun up. We took around the boat to see if there was any damage. We looked over the grasses, behind the red mark and saw a mast at a 30 degree angle. The folks that had anchored there must have drug into the shore and were now on their side. It was low tide. We saw some fisherman come by us. The asked if we were ok and we told them we were fine, but could they please go check on the boat behind the red mark. The fisherman said they couldn't see any one aboard. We got on the radio and heard them, and many others, calling for TOWBOAT US (like AAA for cars). TOWBOAT showed up. They asked 'how did you stay anchored last night?' the boat captain said the was towing boats that had drug all morning. We told him what we were using for ground tackle. He laughed, and shook his head. 'You must be one of those crusiers....they know how to anchor'. He asked about the wind last night and we told him. The other sailboat finally got off the ground during high tide. They said they were local sailors and had never had any problem before. We told them home was Annapolis and they said....'WOW, you are one of those cruiser folks! We saw them passing through, but never met any. '
I guess that makes us part of the cruiser's group. The amount we have learned in the past months is amazing. It sure is nice to tackle new challenges and actually learn something.