Archive | June 15, 2008

Boat Projects and Lessons Learned

It’s been on the list of things to do since I got the boat: mark the anchor chain in sensible increments, so that you know how much you have out when anchoring. We anchored out in Kingston the other night on the way down to Seattle again and realized it’s just a useful thing, so it was finally time to get it done.

There was only one mark on the whole thing and I thought it was at about 90′, but that was the only clue you had. So Brock and I pulled all the chain onto the dock today and marked it in 50′ sections. There’s about 270′ of chain and it looks like about another 200′ of cable as well. We didn’t unwrap the cable as it was perfectly neat on the winch drum and there’s NO way to ever get it back that good ~ I doubt it’s ever been used. I was all proud of my little marking system (one link painted white for every 50′, so 2 links at the 100′ mark, 3 links at 150′, etc.) Then I realized that means I have to do math when I’m anchoring…ah well.

We also added a safety mark here because when you’re bringing the anchor up on KJ, if you don’t pay attention to the flukes and the way they lay, you could do some damage. This red mark now gives you the heads up that the anchor is at the water line and you’d better slow it down.

All was going fine up until we were putting the chain in the water so that we would have some tension on the winch as we raised anchor again. Problem was that we were kinda tearing up the wood on the dock as the chain slid over. So we got some plywood to place under the chain and grabbed the 4′ metal bar we normally use to guide the chain back onto the winch to help feed the chain over the plywood. Brock was guiding and I was basically the winch as I pulled the chain to the edge for a controlled lowering. As we got to the last 50′ (so most of it was in the water already), we decided to just let it slide down on it’s own, despite that nagging little “Safety Officer” voice in my head saying “that’s really bone-headed, Lang.” Man, that stuff can FLY when it gets going…and in the interest of protecting toes and fingers ~ BLOOP, there went the bar.

In two years of living aboard, I’ve never lost anything into the water, so it was a little sad to break that streak, even if it was inevitable (especially now that we’re using the boat so much). I think I’m also kicking myself because I KNOW BETTER than to do stupid stuff. Now we’re on to solving the problem of retrieving the bar. Magnet? Dive gear? Underwater camera and clever rope work? Just get a new bar?