Thursday, May 26, 2011

Anchors "Away"

You've read quite a bit about our new boat. We did an extensive boat survey before purchase, but you never know what you'll find until the boat is yours.

We went out into the Fraser River to try our remotely controlled windlass anchoring system. We started lowering the anchor slowly with a few stops. On the third start, the anchor started in free fall and the chain was ripping out of the locker at a fantastic speed. Then I saw something fly into the river. Finally, it stopped when the chain turned to rope and jammed. That was anchors "away" in a literal sense.

The shaft sheered and the clutch (brake) was gone. We also learned we had over 100 feet of chain, most of which was lying at the bottom of the river. Fortunately, the windlass had an independent drum operated by a foot switch. Wayne wrapped the chain around the drum and began the difficult task of retrieving our anchor.

I had to keep repositioning the boat because at the time, the Fraser was running at about 4 knots on an ebb tide. The good news was we got both our anchor and chain back. We carefully piled it on the deck and started looking for a repair shop. Having to everything by phone and Internet was a little daunting, but we found Saxon Parker of Explorer Yachting.

Not only could he fix our windlass, but also replace our ailing fridge. He did it professionally, and most importantly, within our extremely short time frame. Sax sent his installer technician back to show us how the windlass operated. That was extremely helpful since the manual that came with our Lewmar left a lot to be desired.

Thanks to Sax and Chris we were back in business. But we saved our first test run for Secret Cove on our homeward cruise. We'd had enough of anchoring in the fickle Fraser River. -- Margy


  1. Thank goodness the windlass had an independent foot-operated drum, Margy. Whew. You're right, the fickle Fraser (much as I love "my" river) is not the place to be when things break. I'm so glad you got your chain and anchor back, and were able to get repairs on short notice. Whew again!
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Hi Kay - It was a quite unnerving experience. I'm sure glad neither of us was alone. It never would have worked with the current running. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy