2014-05-13 Our Un-Welcome–Welcome Home

Let me begin with no person nor boat was significantly damaged during this storm though it did scare the be-jesus out of us and reminded us again who is boss…least of all the crews of these vessels.

Magnolia has been taking a leisurely trip north through the Carolinas and spent a couple of days in Portsmouth VA as well. Out buddy boat Eleanor Q was a couple of days back and after all the miles traveled together we simply could not return to our home port of Galesville, MD without sharing a “sundowner” to celebrate our accomplishment. A site for our rendezvous agreed on and with Eleanor Q a couple days back the Admiral and I took on a few chores and did some sightseeing ashore in Deltaville VA. Deltaville Jackson Creek is a very protected anchorage as you can see from the track of our entrance.

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Last Friday we receive an unexpected email from “EQ” that Mandala, “our third musketeer” was actually off Cape Hatteras!! Holy you know what! On Saturday as Mandala & Eleanor Q made their way north with the ever present threat of thunderstorms. When the thunderstorm warning was announced it was not unexpected and not unusual for the Chesapeake Bay. The warning is common in the summer months and always worthy of monitoring. About an hour before arrival the thunderstorms struck with extra ferocity, much more so than the typical summer storm. EQ & Mandala were in open water and with sails down lightening strike was probably the highest concern. (Note: we were not out there so only speculation on my part). Mean while back at the anchorage Magnolia was anchored in 7-9 feet of water (tides) with a 55lb Rocna and 75 feet of chain out, 9 or 10 to 1 scope. Should be more than sufficient though it would have been nice to have more out but we limited by the size of the anchorage. As the wind swept through the distant trees I could hear a very loud roar and immediately knew this was not the typical thunderstorm. To her credit, the Admiral was already on heightened alert than I. We immediately started the engine and put on PFDs and out communication headsets to be ready for anything. When the anemometer spiked to 52 knts (60 mph) Magnolia started a slow anchor drag which we were able to minimize with the engine as Magnolia danced around at the end of her chain. In 15 min it was over and the sun came out just as we were able to welcome our friends into the anchorage. (More on that next time)

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Some lessons learned….the diagram below blue circle shows where we were anchored. The blue arrow shows wind direction and yellow direction of anchor drag.

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1) It goes without saying but reminding is not a bad thing either…Mother Nature rules the roost!

2) The soft mud of the Chesapeake Bay does not hold our Rocna nearly as well as other places. We SHOULD have used our Danforth Anchor and that SHOULD have better holding properties in the very soft mud of the Chesapeake Bay.

3) After sitting and swinging at anchor for a couple of days we should have made a higher priority of “re-setting” the anchor before the storm arrived.

These are just some things we will be thinking about next time. So that was the unwelcome back we received! I will write more about our real welcome back we shared with Eleanor Q and Mandala a little later. First we have to get Magnolia into her homeport later this afternoon!

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