On the advice of several people we headed to Block Island, RI (Thanks Jon and Perry!). We anchored in about 25 feet of water and backed down hard on our anchor anticipating the oncoming weather. When we anchored, however, the water was calm and glassy. We dinghied ashore and had a nice time walking some of Block Island’s 25 miles of trails through picturesque surroundings. It was pleasant, but after the long sail/motor from Newport we were tired and headed to bed at around 9 p.m.!
Well, as predicted, the weather picked up during the night. It was predicted to be 20 kts of wind with gusts up to 25 kts. We measured 30-40 kts at the mast head, but after Martha’s Vineyard we knew what to expect, or so we thought! Around 12 am Mitchell got up to check the anchor and noticed a sailboat, Joli Bateaux, approaching from astern (sailing terms). This moron decided it was a good idea to anchor 30 feet off our bow in 30+ kts of wind (this is no lie, he was directly up wind about 30 feet)! As the Murrays can attest, Mitchell does not like to be crowded at anchorage! He radioed the guy and explained that we had 120 feet of rode (sailing terms) out and that he was anchored over top of our anchor which presented us with a dangerous situation in that we could not pull our anchor up if things went south. The man was unwilling to anchor elsewhere even though it was a weekday in the off season and the anchorage was practically empty. If we only had a camera capable of taking night pictures you would see the absurd position we were put in! After contacting Joli Bateaux by VHF, we were contacted by a motor vessel that had this sailboat drag anchor and hit him not once but twice!
So here we were in 30+ kts of wind, unable to weigh anchor, with a sailboat who obviously can’t anchor, 30 feet off our bow, who would not move. What a nightmare!!!!! Well, after passive aggressively shining a 1,000,000 candle power spot light on the guy on and off for about an hour we went below to get out of the cold and wind. You can imagine what happened next. About twenty minutes later, we heard the bang of Joli Bateaux hitting out bow. Mitchell ran up to fend the boat off and through his heroic action saved my life, our ship, and the adventure!
Joli Bateaux, with help from Mitchell, slid past Sea Major and Sea Minor without inflicting any other damage until his anchor met our anchor! You read that right, this guy’s anchor could not hold in the sand and mud at the bottom of the bay, but wound up wrapped up in ours. Mitchell yelled over to the guy that he had fouled our anchor and that his rode was potentially inflicting damage to the underside of our vessel but Joli Bateaux didn’t care. There was nothing we could do. We had to wait until the harbormaster came in at 9 am to request assistance and luckily our anchor held not only us but Joli Bateaux as well through the high winds that continued all night long.
At 9 am we were ready to weigh anchor and radioed the Harbor master to ask that he come out to help fend Joli Bateaux off other boats in the case that we freed her from our ground tackle and hers did not hold. He came out and we began to pull up our anchor snubber. Joli Bateaux’s anchor had worked its way to within 5 feet of the surface along our snubber and primary rode. Joli Bateaux is a Catalina 380, about the same size as Sea Major, and yet she had a tiny 20-30 pound delta anchor!! This guy had no business anchoring anywhere but on a calm day in a shallow bay for a sandwich! He was trying to hold in a blow with a lunch hook! Mitchell managed to untangle Joli Bateaux’s anchor from our snubber and we began bringing in our anchor chain. We got right up on top of our anchor and it would not budge off the bottom! We really had to work to get it to unset from the mud and weeds. Our anchor was able to hold Sea Major AND Joli Bateaux through some pretty nasty weather!
After unsetting the anchor we decided to get a mooring (sailing terms). We were able to pick one up on the first try even with the wind still blowing, but decided to move after we saw how close we were to another mooring ball. We picked up the second mooring on the first try and have been there since! We saw Joli Bateaux in the distance, anchor still out, moving quickly across the anchorage! He pulled up his anchor and spent the next 30-40 minutes trying to pick up a mooring ball. It was very comical only because he was nowhere near us!
In the end, when we were safe on our mooring, we went ashore for a walk around town and some lunch. Mitchell panicked and ordered a hotdog. We were able to laugh at our misadventure and complain only about a minor chip in the bow that we will have repaired and turn into that guy’s insurance (we will not know if any other damage was caused to the bottom until we inspect), but after our sleepless night we were exhausted and soon headed back to the boat for a nap.
Mitchell plotted our course for our cruise down Long Island Sound and I caught some shuteye. When I awoke we dinghied back to shore, cleaned the bottom of the dingy on the beach, and headed to The Oars for some food and drinks. The Oars is the Block Island equivalent of The Jackalope at our old marina on Lake Erie, only Mitchell doesn’t have a nasty reputation for ordering girly drinks at this one yet!