On our way to Lady Musgrave Island

Sitting still in one place finally lost its appeal, after 3 weeks of almost non-stop northerlies trapping us in the marina at Urangan Boat Harbour. We set off for Lady Musgrave Island at 3:30pm today, aiming to get there by mid morning tomorrow. The forecast is for light (8-12 knots) south easterlies tonight, but so far we’ve been treated to 15-20 knots of of the North East. A boisterous ride, what with a choppy beam sea and all, but making excellent miles. Not sure why we should want to arrive at 3am, as we can’t go into the lagoon until it’s well and truly light (it helps to be able to see the coral ‘bommies’). Hey ho, it’s bound to slow down through the night!

1770 to Bundaberg

1770 to Bundaberg
1770 to Bundaberg

What a day of contrasts and surprises! Getting two anchors out turned out to be quite a mission.  I had the chain between the two anchors stretched tight, so getting the two unshackled at high tide proved difficult.  I lost the shackle, but no fingers – always a good move!

Once we were outside, it looked like we were going to have to motor straight into a south-easterly all day, then it went east, and then east-north-east.  A day of close-hauled sailing in 10 to 15 knots awaited, making sixes and sevens on a flat sea…  The gods were smiling on us.

We sneaked into Bundaberg Port Marina just after 6PM and tied up on the end of one of the arms. Bliss!

Bahamian Moor

After such a restless night I was desperate to get our anchoring arrangement a little more secure and reduce the swinging radius.  Somewhere in the distant past when I was dreaming about sailing and reading everything I could lay my hands on on the topic, I had come across the concept of a “Bahamian Moor“: two anchors with the boat moored in between. I suspect it would have been in one of Hal Roth’s books.

Anyway… As I was still carrying the 36lb Lewmar Delta anchor that came with the boat and 20 metres of 10 mm chain,  I decided to have a go.  First I had to re-position the primary bower (a 60lb Manson Supreme).  I could not do this without Gilli’s help as it was still gusting 25 knots.  It was hairy as it was nearly low tide, but (me driving and Gilli working the windlass) we managed to get the anchor secured without ending up on the sand bank or colliding with another boat.  I shackled the secondary chain to the primary, veered an extra 20 metres of chain  and took the anchor out with the dinghy.

Once the second anchor was in, I winched us the 20 metres back towards the primary anchor, tightening the chain between the two anchors. The result: a swinging radius equal to a mooring! The screenshot shows the new swinging track (yellow) over the previous 36 hours (grey).

As an added bonus the boat is now unable to sail around the anchor as it did last night.

On a dark and stormy night…

Daylight again, thank God.  The southerly really kicked in overnight and I’ve been up since around 2AM, watching us stagger around our anchor like a pissed cockroach.  A 20 to 25 knot breeze would not normally worry me, but we’re anchored in a hole the size of a tea cup, with a sandbank down wind and moored vessels, including the 100ft+ Lady Musgrave cruise boat, everywhere.  To make matters worse, it was low tide just after midnight.  On the flood, the current and wind pushed us in opposite directions, with the strength of the wind dictating which way we would swing.  Of course, all the neighbouring vessels are affected differently, so there is no way to predict which direction any of them will swing.

The tide turned again at 6AM, so now everything’s fairly steady.  Everything looks better in bright sunlight anyway!

1770 Anchorage Screen Shot
1770 Anchorage Screen Shot