Monday, January 4, 2016

Moving on and close calls

Location--Grand Case, St. Martin

Just 30 minutes from Marigot Bay, we arrived on the afternoon of Jan 2nd.  Lots of boats were finishing their holidays, so the harbour was fairly full.  It's a great town, full of excellent restaurants, beach bars, rib joints, all the way to gourmet.

When we anchor or pick up a mooring, we (meaning David) puts on his goggles, and snorkels to inspect how we are attached to the bottom.  A critical factor is called "scope", or how much anchor chain or mooring line there is from the the boat to the bottom.  The factor we use is usually 5 x the depth.  Not everyone does, this, and for many the amount of chain or line they let out to anchor is not sufficient, especially if there is a lot of wind or wave action.  Hence, the close call...

We were eating lunch in the cockpit (at the rear or stern end).  The boat points forward into the wind.  I heard someone playing music, and it kept getting louder.  I looked towards the front of the boat and saw a large catamaran not 10 feet away.  Since there was music playing, we assumed there was someone on board and they were manouevering (badly)--NOT!  Within moments, the boat was slipping sideways along our side.  David rushed for our dinghy and I went forward to try and push them away.  The solar panels from their boat started overlapping our side lines.  I quickly changed my position, getting between two several on boats grinding together is not a good idea.  At that moment one of our neighbors arrived on his dinghy, and with a fortunately swing in the wind and a push from his dinghy, we were free.

The catamaran continued to be blown out to sea.  The rescuer attached his dinghy to the catamaran, started the engine and found the controls for the anchor.  One thing the "sailors" had done correctly is leave the keys in the engine, an important safety precaution for just this kind of occasion.

David radioed a "Security" call about the boat adrift and then went ashore from bar to bar asking (unsuccessfully) for anyone on the boat "Blue Cat".   About half an hour later, the crew returned to the boat.  We assume that the charter company heard the radio alert and phoned the charterers.  We expected a visit from them to inquire about our well-being or for them to visit the rescuer on his boat, but no such thing.  Oh well...

A little adrenalin at lunchtime goes a long way.  We ended the day in Il Nettuno, with a nice bottle of Bordeaux and an excellently prepared seafood dinner.

Wednesday we leave for St. Barth's, we may be there for a few days, the wind is going to be very light (either too much or too Little!) and from the southeast, not the best for moving on to St. Kitts-Nevis.   We should be able to be online in St. Barth's, so until then!

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