Heading north up the East Coast in late October, we weren’t unaware that cold weather would eventually find us. Even so, the first icy winds and driving rain of the season felt like a swift kick to the nether regions.Our shorts and T-shirts of just a few days before gave way to sweatshirts and long pants. We even fired up our propane heater for the first time just to take the edge off.After one particularly long, strenuous day of sailing up the Chesapeake, we settled into a picturesque anchorage in Maryland for the night, happily climbing into our cozy bed feeling utterly spent. Suddenly we were ripped out of a deep sleep by the air-raid-like wail of my anchor alarm…our anchor was dragging!
Half naked, half awake, and more than half terrified I flew up through the companionway to assess the situation. The situation sucked. Howling wind, stinging rain, and bitter cold greeted me in the cockpit. It was just past 1 AM, and our boat was being blown slowly across the bay while the anchor struggled valiantly, and unsuccessfully, to hang on.
Mary Jane and I started the engine to keep us in place, threw on some warm clothes, then hauled up the anchor (by hand, since our windlass is less than functional). After about a half hour we were able to reset the anchor and we wearily crawled into bed for some much needed sleep.
“BOO-WEE! BOO-WEE! BOO-WEE!!!”
“Again?!? Are you kidding me?!?” I muttered, as the anchor alarm destroyed another REM cycle. Clothes on. Engine on. Anchor up. Rain pelting. Muscles burning. Teeth chattering.
It became clear that we needed a new anchorage. The problem was that the nearest one was two hours away through rough weather. Time to Viking-up.
After two miserable hours of pounding through waves and rain, we tucked ourselves into a protected anchorage up the Sassafras River. As the first light of the new day played upon the blissfully calm waters, I slid into bed for the best sleep I’ve had in ages.