Friday, July 8, 2011

Rafting Up

We had our first raft-up a couple weeks ago. That's Brigadoon (all 11 tons of her) nestled between my friends Catalina 36 and another Islander 36.  We are nestled in Cozy Cove, just off Hunts Point, on Lake Washington.  The plan was to use Brigadoon's excellent ground tackle (45lb CQR anchor and all chain rode) as the main anchor boat, and raft the others to her.  We calculated the total displacement of all three boats at 29 tons.

We arrived in a slightly gusty 10 knots of northerly breeze and dropped anchor dead center in Cozy Cove.  We soon as S/V Clarion and the Islander tied up to Brigadoon's graceful hips.  Aside form a slight roller coaster bobbing on the waves, things looked solid.

Once all was settled, it was time for the roving deck party.  The kids played off the back of S/V Clarion while we cooked dinner. The winds were a little problematic but, we kept an eye on the anchor and the position of the boats and, calling it good, settled in for a fun evening of boaty type friendly stuff.

Kerry and Carrie spend some evening time in Brigadoon's cockpit while...

Thor and Julian take it easy on S/V Clarion.

Justin, owner of the Islander 36 (also a Perry design I'm told), hung out with me on the foredeck of Brigadoon while the girls swam and played off the stern of S/V Clarion.

It was amazing to be settled down in Cozy Cove, surrounded by some of the most prized and expensive real estate in the metro area.  Some of the houses were amazing.

Come dark, and after a great shared dinner, we all turned in for the night, to still consistent winds and waves.  The three captains shared a briefing on what we would do should the anchor drag, and how we would handle it if we had to separate. If need be, we would each break off and anchor on our own in the cove, and reassemble in the morning. I went to sleep to 10kt winds and two foot waves.  I woke at 1:00 AM to dead calm and absolute quiet for the boats.

The morning came early, with a fluffy visitor or two. Some swallows, little bug eating fighter planes of the lake surface, came to rest on our boats in the morning, singing us awake with their sharp chirps.

Soon we were all sharing breakfast, cooked on each boat, in side the cockpit of S/V Clarion.  The kids spent some time rowing their dingy over to the woods while Kerry and I toured the cove in Wee Brigadoon, our little dingy.

Breaking off was easy.  S/V Clarion and the Islander 36 cast off and headed north and home.  Kerry and I  idled Brigadoon and hoisted the anchor.

Then it got hard to lift. I thought I had really dug in, so I switched to the lowest speed on the manual windlass and hauled away to find...

A big dark shape in the water with my anchor chain wrapped around it.

It was a stump. It was about seven feet tall. The trunk was two feet in diameter. The root ball was about eight feet in diameter. It sat there, on the end of the chain, just under the water.

It took some work to get it to rotate off the chain and finally fall below, but eventually we were free.

Thanks to the rich bloke in his little sportboat who stopped by to help me free the chain from the first part of the snag, to my trusty first mate Kerry for waving them down while I figured out what I needed to do, and to my trusty manual windlass and chain, which took an incredible load.

I just wish I had a pic of that huge stump, partially out of the water, with another old anchor rode wrapped around it. 

We learned a lot on this trip, Kerry and I.  We dealt had our first raft-up.  But mostly, we learned how to deal with a problem (it wasn't a crisis as the boat was not sinking, wasn't on fire, no one was hurt, we weren't drifting ashore) as a team.  That's the best lesson of the trip.

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