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Friday, June 06, 2008

Is That Boat Dragging?

As I wrote previously we are experiencing the extreme tides of the new moon when the river current really rips. Our friends on Blew Moon arrived Tuesday and had a difficult time complying with PA's new request to anchor bow and stern. This is supposed to create more space in the mooring/anchorage area, but it's a bad idea given the currents we face here. It's far better to let the boat swing to the current on one anchor because, if the anchor should happen to drag, there's a better chance of it re-setting itself again. Having a stern anchor out creates tremendous sideways pressure since the boat is never lined up perfectly straight to the current, and further complicates things if the boat drags. It took Blew Moon two or three tries to get their stern anchor set that first day, and they were up early the next morning repositioning once again. Since they gave it their best shot, PA management can't really complain that they finally re-anchored using just the bow anchor.

That same night the big Denmark ketch, Stormdis (unoccupied), broke loose from the stern anchor that PA had set in their absence, and Bruce on 5th Element re-anchored the next morning to make more room between the two boats. Yesterday afternoon we watched Yorikke drag both anchors up river in the flood while its owner was in town. John went out in the dinghy with several other people (including TM from PA) to get it stopped and re-anchored. I think I already wrote about Batwing dragging back in May. When they returned from their inland trip they re-anchored using only a bow anchor. Then when Cynosure tried pulling up their stern anchor to move to a mooring yesterday, John went over to see if he could help. He couldn't figure out why the crew was heaving and straining to pull it up until he saw that they had hooked Batwing's bow chain and were pulling it up along with their stern anchor. What a mess.

With over 35 boats at PA and more still to come it's getting a little congested. I understand this number of boats hasn't been a problem in the past but things have changed dramatically with the construction of the new bridge. The corps of engineers doesn't want us anchoring where the bridge will be, even though they haven't begun doing anything more than taking core samples from the river bed, and the Port Captain has issued a letter saying that we can't anchor south of bridge construction beginning in August. For some mysterious reason that rule is being "enforced" (no one has tested it) effective immediately and PA is in the process of moving unoccupied boats north of the line.

Since the anchorage is also restricted to the south and to the east by a huge sand spit which the locals actively fish at low tide; to the east and north by the ferry routes; and to the west (directly in front of PA) by another ferry path, there's not much room left for boats to anchor safely. PA has lost a couple of mooring spots to bridge construction, and the 20 remaining moorings are all occupied. In fact TM moved his own boat off its mooring so that Cynosure could have a mooring. Those of us still hoping to get our reserved moorings at Saiananda are hoping the Port Captain will amend his previous restriction and allow us to move there. That would surely help take some of the pressure off of the crowded conditions at PA. Even the dinghy dock is a zoo. When you have 15 dinghies tied up on a busy day it's tough to find a parking spot, especially if the current is running hard.

But the $1 rum drinks during happy hour help make all our troubles go away for a few hours!