The Disease Called Cruising
14. Anchor in Haste, Repent at Leisure, Part (a)
ANCHORING is a frequent cause of disappointment and vexation among cruisers everywhere. The root cause is always the same: Lack of education.
If cruisers were to study the rules of anchoring with the same enthusiasm they devote to stocking the liquor cabinet they would seen learn that any faith placed in an anchor is misplaced; and thereby they would be spared the disappointment and vexation generated by falsely high expectations.
As a service to those as yet untainted by misplaced faith, I append the following rules, helpful weather hints, and ancient proverbs.
The basic rules of anchoring:
(I) All anchors shall demonstrate a natural tendency to drag until it is time to set sail, whereupon they shall set solidly and remain set despite all efforts to raise them.
(II) No matter how well designed, no anchor shall hold unless it is heavy enough for the boat.
(III) Any anchor heavy enough for the boat shall be too heavy for the crew.
EXCEPT: In order that the experts shall be confounded and dismayed, a lightweight anchor casually tossed overboard by an idiot sailboat charter party shall always hold in any wind at any time on any bottom.
FURTHERMORE: If a proper watch be set against the possibility that the anchor shall drag, the anchor shall not drag.
(IV) If the wind shall change its directions, or the tide its flow, the yacht shall drag her anchor line over the anchor stock and foul it.
(V) If the anchor cable be rope, it shall chafe through and part.
(VI) If the anchor cable be chain, it shall capsize the anchor stock and the anchor shall drag forthwith.
(VII) The speed of dragging (E) in knots shall be determined by the formula MC2, where M is the distance in meters to the nearest rock, reef or perilous shoreline, and C is the skipper’s coefficient of panic as evidenced by yelps, bellows, or screams per minute (YBS/min).
Where C reaches relatively high values, say 10 YBS/min or more, E shall become infinite.
[Next column: Anchor in Haste, Repent at Leisure, (Part b)]
Drop anchor anywhere and the anchor will drag—that is, if your soul is a limitless, fathomless sea, and not a dogpound.
— Elbert Hubbard, Epigrams
A good-looking sailor with laryngitis knocked on the clinic door. A pretty nurse answered.
“Is the doctor here?” he whispered hoarsely.
“No,” she whispered back, “come on in.”
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