Running aground in our sail boat

Now that we had sorted out the anchor and the chain, we decided that we would go to a local anchorage called Hilbre Island to test it out. Although we have 50m of chain, for our area we soon realised that we would need to buy rode as there is a 9m tide at Hilbre, so say you anchor at the 3.0m contour line then you need to add the 9m tide to that which makes 12.0m. If you use a ratio of 4 to 1 then we barely have enough chain. Also it is really difficult to be on the 3.0m contour, what if we were on the 5m contour, then we would need 56m which is 6m short. The only problem with adding rode is that in the books, you magically jump from a ration of 4 to 1 to 6 to 1. More research is needed on this before we make a decision.

So what we decided to do was moor on the moorings at tower buoy, then leave in the morning. It is possible to navigate across the local rock channel at high tide, but unfortunately it was too dark at high tide to find all the way points so we decided to take the longer route down to Q1 at the end of the channel then through the wind farm. You see the windmills on the horizon but when you are up close and personal to them then they are pretty impressive. Although we knew that there was plenty of air draft between the bottom of the blades and the top of the mast, we did wonder.

After the wind farm there is some tricky navigation through the channels. This was further complicated by the fact that we were reaching the anchorage later than we had hoped. We reached the spot that we had decided to anchor which is quite close to where the seals hang out.

I went forward to drop the anchor, but while I was dropping the anchor, the chain tangled and I struggled to untangle it. While I was struggling with the chain, we drifted onto the sand bank. It was the gentlest of bumps and there was not even a ripple in Beverley's coffee as we ran aground. All I heard was Beverley shouting not to bother as we were not going anywhere. As I realised the situation my stomach went into knots, it should of been an easy task, but we had muffed it up.

I think Beverley wanted to be distracted from our predicament, as she started cooking breakfast. True we were not going anywhere until the tide changed but how she managed to cook breakfast and how I subsequently managed to eat it I do not know as my stomach was in knots.

As we had tried to anchor very close to low water, we only had an hour before we were at low water. In that time Salty Lass listed to starboard just a few degrees and I watched a little piece of sand initially grow and then disappear. As soon as the little piece of sand that I was monitoring disappeared we put Salty Lass into reverse and we got off the sand bank.

This time when we anchored I got all the chain out first, so that I could do a straight drop. It all went fine so I put a snubber on and went and relaxed while the tide rose. It was a lot better feeling knowing that we were safe as both Beverley and I could relax.

When the tide had risen sufficiently we pulled up the anchor and left. On the way back to the harbour we noticed that the wheel kept pulling to the right. When we got in we were tired so we went home, planning to deal with the issue in the morning.

Just because you decide to leave things until the morning doesn't mean that you do, which is why we were back on the Lass at midnight checking all the keel bolts and the rudder post.

The next day we decided to clean Salty Lass's bottom, which did stop the listing which was a result as far as we were concerned.

Raising money for the RNLI

The RNLI turned 200 years old on 4th March 2024. So as sailors and people who promote the joy of sailing, we thought that we would like to raise just £200. What we hope is that other people take up the shout and raise their own £200. In the last 200 years the RNLI have saved over 144,000 lives and yet they are funded entirely by people like you. They are not government funded.

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