SpinSheet Magazine December 2020

Page 40

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Good Anchoring Decisions... and Luck A

winter’s day some years back found me sailing southbound when the Chesapeake Bay got a bit lively under the hull of my 1967 Rawson 30 cutter Ave del Mar. The VHF barked warnings of gale force winds and troublesome waters as the woolen-grey threat of a small craft advisory fell around me. The decision to bail out from my planned route came easily. I motored up the Piankatank River in ever-thickening fog and settled into a well-protected anchorage for the duration. Inexperienced and eager to know I was doing the right thing, I was elated when I received the praise of my ##Ave del Mar at anchor in Hope Town, Bahamas.

40 December 2020 SpinSheet.com

By John Herlig

boat’s former owner and now friend of mine Jamie Bryson. “You’re going to become a good sailor,” he told me on the phone that day, “because you make good decisions.” My brother-in-law is an economist. “What do you get if you put 10 economists in a room?” he used to ask me. “Eleven opinions.” We boaters are no better, and we know it. Pick your medium of choice—Cruisers Forum, Facebook, the Waterway Guide— there are hundreds of them. Find a sincere question asked by an eager beginner and read the replies. Your head will spin.

“You can talk about politics. You can talk about the environment. You can talk about basically anything, but you can’t talk about anchoring while you’re on the porch,” Bill Herrington said to me one day as I sat on his porch on the idyllic island of Manjack Cay in the Bahamas. But we boaters do, don’t we? Anchoring is quite literally how we stay connected to Mother Earth. If it goes badly, it’s hard to not talk about it. And if it goes well, well, it’s hard not to talk about that, too. “You should be dead,” my friend Larry said to me one day as we sat aboard Catriona, his Pacific Seacraft Mariah 31 drinking some particularly terrible wine from the dollar store. “You have a CQR? You should be dead.” Larry knew otherwise, though, as he has sailed with me on Ave. He has slept well at anchor on that old Scottish plow. “Get rid of that plow,” a sailing friend once advised me. “You know what plows do best, don’t you? They plow.” Yeah, I get it. I did eventually decide to upgrade when the opportunity came my way, but that old anchor had served Ave well for decades. In 1998 Ave del Mar was anchored in Chile’s Lennox Island anchorage en route to a singlehanded rounding of