Saturday, January 3, 2015

Dawn Inspection

Bob and I spent the night sharing watch, with my staying up until five and his taking the morning watch. It's 7am and we are not quite so amazed to have sustained no damage. We did, in fact, get hit more seriously. It must have taken place during the day, while we we touring Virgin Gorda.
There is a crack along the wood where the toe rail meets in the back, which was an unlikely place of impact, since it is protected by all the stainless stanchions around the wind vane--they were not touched. It must have been from a protruding part of the car ramp which hit us after all.
I heard Bob swearing after a further inspection, which revealed more issues. 
On the Port side, the metal car rail for the port side swim ladder was scuffed up for a length a foot and the metal lifeline stanchion there was bent a little, enough to require fixing to avoid a leak.
We are no longer cherry. We are however, sadder but wiser. It could have been so much worse, it's hard to conceive.  We had spotted one mooring ball but had chosen not to pick it up in favor of an anchorage that left us with boat damage and loss of sleep.  
We will always, henceforth, use moorings when available. It was expensive here: The first hour was free and then $5. per hour afterwards. It is getting tougher out here for cruisers, with fewer moorings and shallower, too, as the marinas cater more and more to catamarans.
Also we will never come within a mile of any large vessel and as far as possible from other boats. This is also easier said than done...last night, for instance, we were between a rock and a hard place, because we had the ferry eating up all the available space in the mooring field to our port, and the channel entrance to starboard, which we had to keep clear of. Letting out more chain in an anchoring, than in a mooring, you have a much larger turning radius. 
So far, we have been able to keep our distance boat wise, in tricky anchorages. But accounting for anchor dragging, which amounted to 200 feet in all, we should be counting our blessings instead of our cost in boat repairs.
Strangely, we just now spotted another sailboat adrift in the harbor, passing perilously close to a newer car ferry. The ferrymen put out a dinghy while we watched with our binoculars, and someone finally came out on deck.
They appear to have gotten by without collision, and are out on deck now pulling up their anchor, which they also dragged last night. Winds were up to 29 knots at times, gusting.
It shouldn't make us feel better, seeing someone else's dragging at anchor, but while Bob is make sounds of dismay up top, I am still glad that Neptune's trident didn't stab us more severely. We are alive another day, and the sun just broke out!

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