Well, we are back in the water after 6 weeks on the hard stand. Hauling in was made challenging due to an overheat alarm on the STBD engine and 25 knot gust pushing us onshore. The engines were fixed by adding over a litre of coolant (thank Mr mechanic!) and we travelled 200 metres to anchor on the other side of the river. It was a busy anchorage with 2 other boats queuing to be hauled out, as well as a number of other anchored boats. As we had a mechanic onboard confirming engine checks, we temporarily dropped anchor fairly close to other boats. Once some space cleared (and we had dropped the mechanic back at the jetty) we upped anchor to give ourselves a bit more space.
We had noticed a mono about 150 metres from us had anchored a couple of times while we had been anchored.
We decided to anchor between him and another boat – so we had about 75 metres separation. As we started to anchor we saw the mono had upped anchor and was moving off. We carried on with our anchoring process and just connected our snubber when we heard a yell from the skipper on the mono. He then indicated he had signalled to us that he was coming back round and we had taken his ‘spot’. He then proceeded to drive in front of us and dropped his anchor 20 metres in from of us with his boat underneath our chain. This is with 20 knots of wind gusting and he is upwind of us, drifting down. He then said ‘I told you I was going to anchor here – you should not have anchored. ‘ DH asked him to immediately lift his anchor and move off as we could not move and would collide. His response was -I quote ‘I am 22 tons and steel’. At this point we are less than 10 metres apart and closing. We had no room to move forward to release our snubber and lift our anchor.
We again said we had no room to move and were hard back on our anchor and our snubber was going under his rudder and keel. We again asked him to move off forward to avoid a collision – he told us to reverse. We ended up going full reverse to intentionally drag our anchor. The other skipper then realised he might have to take avoiding action, so sauntered up to place his boat in forward gear then walked slowly to his bow and started lifting his anchor slowly. We retrieved our anchor, waited for Mr Angry to anchor, then anchored in pretty much the same spot. 60 metres between the original boat and ‘mr 22 Tons and steel’.
I must say as a crew I thought we dealt with this as well as we could. No collision occurred and we managed to get out of one of the scariest close-quarter situation we have been placed in.
We are still amazed that this other boat behaved as he did. It goes to show that you can’t predict when events will escalate. We can plan as best as possible for weather and natural events, but having rogue boats and sailors taking matters into their own hands is not a situation you can train for!