Excitements with the anchors

May 21, 2010

The wander bug has struck the good ship ‘Rampage’ of late and we’ve moved on from Pollenca in a fit of adventure and a desire to see round the corner. Our anchorage is now just off the port of Alcudia (link to Google earth?) which is not actually very far from where we were in Pollenca. In fact, it’s the next bay to the south from there, just round the headland. It was a total of about 12 nautical miles and took us a lazy afternoon’s sailing to get here.

Pollenca Bay where we have anchored twice - very weedy bottom!

Before more talk of our move to Alcudia, a quick update on goings on since the last storm is required. The last entry on 14 May told of dark and stormy nights at anchor in Pollenca, where we rode out our second storm since arriving in Mallorca. To ride out the storm safely, we set out two anchors, the main one and a second known as the kedge anchor. The kedge is normally stowed on the railings at the back of the boat; it’s there to provide a spare (should we be so careless as to lose the main anchor) and to enable us to put a second anchor down should circumstances require it. Circumstances required a second anchor for the storm, so we had both laid out to the front of the boat. Remember this digression, as its importance will become clear later in the blog……

Duncan enjoying a beer with our friends, Karyn & Steve

After the storm, we started to look beyond the confines of the boat again. Karyn & Steve aboard ‘Threshold’ had come round to Pollenca, as had Jack and Tanya on ‘Blank Canvas’ and also our Danish friends in ‘Æfnityr’, (I hadn’t told you their boat’s name before, as the spelling escaped me.) ‘Æfnityr’ means adventure in old Norse and I think that’s a good description of what Lasse and Malene have undertaken as their boat is smaller than ours yet they have 2 sub school age children along for the trip as well! We had been chatting to one another on the radio during the storm, making sure everyone was OK and generally having a bit of a gossip about things.

The Sunday market in Polleca

Saturday saw the return of reasonable weather and we went ashore to replenish stocks, especially fresh food as we were beginning to run short of things. Karyn and Steve contacted us on the radio and invited us to drinks that evening; as an illustration of the changeable weather, I arrived wearing sea boots because there was so much water in the bottom of the dinghy and bare feet were too cold! The following day was bright and sunny and, following a call from ‘Threshold’, we all caught the bus into Pollenca town to catch the Sunday market; the market was a cross between a farmers market in UK, with small holders selling local produce and a bit of a craft fair, with lots of small stalls selling jewellery and the like. Great fun but Steve and I took it steadily, taking a coffee in a small café whilst Karyn and J bought bits and bobs from some of the food stalls. After lunch, we walked to the top of a set of 365 steps to a small chapel on a hill top which gave excellent of views of the surrounding countryside. The bus back to the port was exciting, as there were about 115 people wanting to get on 2 buses taking a total of 112…… The whole process was not helped by a pushy German woman who managed to get to near the front of our bus queue and buy 18 tickets for her collection of friends and relatives. I mean, I’ve heard of towels on sun beds but that’s really kicking the backside out of it.

The view looking down the 365 steps towards the centre of Pollenca town

Inside the very plain little chapel which stands at the top of the steps


On arriving back on the boat, Jack from ‘Blank Canvas’ called and asked if I’d be prepared to dive on his boat and clean the propeller and check things underneath generally. I was only too happy to agree to do this for them the following morning. On the way back to the boat, we’d also bumped into ‘Æfnityr’ (not literally you understand!) and invited them over to visit on Monday afternoon.

Duncan prepares for a happy morning cleaning propellers

Monday was a busy day for me, as I dived on ‘Blank Canvas’, spending the better part of an hour cleaning a considerable growth of worms off her propeller and replacing the anode (a zinc casting which stops the bronze of the propeller being eaten away by the sea water). I then returned to ‘Rampage’ where I repeated the performance with our own underside. Not only did I clean up the propeller, I also removed worms from round the speed sensor and the bottom of the keel. ‘Rampage’ now moves much better through the water, especially under power.

That afternoon, Malene, Lasse, Marie and Sebastian from ‘Æfnityr’ came to visit; we were invaded by pirates, as the kids love to dress up! They’d brought a DVD with them, so the kids were happy in the saloon watching Shrek and eating crisps and Oreos whilst the grownups sat in the sun in the cockpit, drinking beer and wine and eating crisps……

The following morning, it was agreed that the time had come to move on to a new anchorage. Jack and Tanya had suggested a little place called Cala Aucanada but we looked carefully at the pilot book and decided we couldn’t get in there as it’s too shallow for us; ‘Rampage’ draws 1.85 metres under the water, whereas ‘Blank Canvas’ is only 1.5metres. That difference makes some places a bit too shallow to risk, so we opted to go a couple of miles further on to Alcudia itself – not as pretty but safer for us!

Remember the bit above about anchors? You’ll now see why I bothered to put it in! The main anchor is on a chain, whilst the kedge is on a rope. When they are properly set out, there’s an angle of about 45o between the 2 anchors; we didn’t quite get this right and in addition hadn’t put enough tension on the kedge anchor rope. The result was a spectacular tangle of chain and rope and WEED, which had to be cleared by hand as the anchor was winched in. We started to do this from the pulpit, leaning over to pull wodges of weed off the chain and ease the rope down but I ended up using the dinghy to stand in whilst J operated the winch. We recovered the main anchor and a cats cradle of rope and, with ‘Rampage’ held on the kedge anchor, I undid the anchor from the chain, extricated the rope from the chain, put the anchor back on the end of the chain and felt well pleased with myself. J then used the winch to recover the rest of the chain and anchor onto ‘Rampage’ and as I eased the anchor out of the dinghy, I managed to overbalance and fell into the water!

Trying to untangle the main anchor chain, the line from the kedge anchor and all that weed!

Ah well, it wasn’t all that cold and I managed to hand J my hearing aids before recapturing the dinghy and moving to the stern of the boat to get out of the water. J then took the picture below for posterity and you lot to giggle at before I went to the bow and pulled up the kedge anchor and we could set off for Alcudia! After changing into dry clothes, I helped J to get the dinghy on board before we made sail and had a lazy afternoon sailing round to here. There you go, the first ducking from ‘Rampage’ after living aboard her for nearly a year – not bad going.

Soggy Skipper!


One comment

  1. Well! I wonder who winched the wet ‘wanchor’ in the weedy water in such windy weather?

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