Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April 4, 2016 Lee shore dinghy anchoring system

Today we took a couple trips to shore to try out Dave’s new anchoring system for the dinghy.  After having our dinghy filled with water yesterday at the shore, we knew we needed something different for landing our dinghy on the beach on a lee shore without getting soaked or swamped.  He took a couple different ideas that he found online and came up with his own plan. 

He made this with parts we had on board: carabiners, swivel to reduce friction , crab pot float and a piece of utility rope, old rock climbing rope 120 ft long, rings (or shackles would work).  We already had two dinghy anchors with rode (lines).
This system had 3 parts: 1) a mooring ball system which includes a dinghy anchor with rode and a float assembly,  2) a pulley assembly with a rope to move the boat off shore out to the float, then back to shore again, 3) a shore anchor with rode. 

He attached the float to an anchor and it’s rode to make the mooring ball.  Then he ran the pulley rope from the bow of the dinghy through the eye at the top of the float and back to the stern.  You can add guides to align the dinghy.  We’re still trying it different ways.  As we approached the shore, we dropped the anchor with the float and drifted to the shore stern first.  At the shore, we both got out of the boat.  Then Dave used the pulley rope to pull the dinghy off shore and towards the float.  Then he tied a figure 8 in the pulley line to keep the dinghy in that position and hitched it to the shore anchor rode.  Then the shore anchor was set above the high tide line. 
my crude drawing of the system
float system that will be attached to and anchor rode
line for the pulley system
all fits in the mesh bag.  the 2 anchors and rode are separate because we use them in other situations

We did a couple tests and made some modifications.  We, and anyone watching, were pretty impressed.  It sat offshore, bow to the waves, so no water in the dinghy.  To get back in the dinghy, we used the pulley rope to bring the boat back to shore.  We climbed aboard with the shore anchor.  Then we used the pulley rope and the mooring line to pull us off shore, through the waves, and into deep enough water to drop the motor and head back to our boat.  If the waves are strong, they can push you back to shore before you can get the motor down and running.  We only got wet from handling the lines (and our feet).  Now we have a nice bag to put it into when it comes into the boat. 
Dave will pull on the rope the dinghy will float out to the orange float that is anchored off shore
Dave is proud of his new anchoring system

Where you actually drop the first anchor will depend on how long your anchor rode and the pulley rope are.  And we found the direction of the waves made a difference.  On one attempt we dropped the anchor when we were about 40 feet offshore, but the waves were approaching the shore at an angle.  We didn’t have enough length to get to shore and had to reset the anchor.   

Once we were satisfied, we ended up on shore visiting with the chef from Hidden Treasures, Trevor.  He showed us that there was a free bathroom/shower house on shore for cruisers to use.  They are trying to attract more cruisers to the island. 

We also ran into some other cruisers who had hiked to the Hermitage today.  We all decided to have lunch at Hidden Treasures and visit with each other.  The other four boats in the bay were catamarans.  We joked that we didn’t know that only catamarans were allowed at Cat Island.  Dave had their jerk pork today and I had the grilled grouper.  Both were excellent.
our boat with 4 catamarans
Hidden Treasure restaurant's beach seating

It looked a little stormy, so we all headed back to our boats.  We ended up with a heavy rain that night.  Haven’t seen that in awhile.

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