When my Vancouver crew and I returned from Grambier Island, it was not the most wonderful sailing day. The winds were strong and contrary, the weather was crummy, pouring with rain and we had a deadline. In short, not an auspicious day.
However, the crew were fantastic, perhaps not realizing how far from perfect the conditions were. We motored the whole way, but they seemed to enjoy helming, taking wake over the bow and getting up close and personal with the ships in the shipping lanes.
When we got back to False Creek, there were few spots available to anchor, but we found one that looked okay. We set easily, but with only 2:1 rode out, and I was unwilling to stay with that small ratio but if we let any more out we’d be too close to the nearby vessels. So, begrudgingly, we started to bring up the anchor.
We’ve been having intermittent trouble with the hawse pipe at the windlass, and sometimes that meant that the windlass would turn itself off. It seemed to be happening more than was reasonable, but with everyone above decks, I just kept turning it on when the breaker went. When I heard the anchor come up, I came back up to discover the crew excitedly trying to get my attention so I’d come to the bow. When I got there, I discovered that we had hooked a milk crate, with a large rock chained into it.
A neighbour suggested a tactic we eventually employed with great success: we tied a line to the crate, and cleated it to our main bow cleat. The we dropped the anchor until it was free, brought it back up and out of the way, then cut the line, freeing ourselves from one anchor too many. We tried to do this somewhere where we don’t think anyone will be likely to pick this thing up again. While it made for a memorable end to a great trip, I don’t think we need to share it with other boaters.