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dancing boats & clean decks

Posted by on July 11, 2012

Our decks have finally been rinsed with a good dousing of fresh water! Although, not without a little boat dancing to go with it.

First, here is a little background about the anchorage here in Taylor’s Creek at the Beaufort waterfront. The channel runs along the town’s waterfront, and there is a very narrow strip of area for anchoring just outside the channel. However, much of that narrow strip is taken by moorings, and the water can be shallow in places. Due to the lack of room for the many boats that come here, a lot of the bigger boats are anchored well into the channel, including ourselves. It seems that as long as enough room is left for passing boats, no one says anything about anchoring in the channel (as of yet).

anchorage in Taylor's Creek ~ red triangle is our position

When the SW prevailing wind is blowing, the boats face into the wind. When the wind dies, the tidal current causes the boats to face up or down Taylor’s Creek. The only time boats are bow to the town is when a weather front or thunderstorm rolls through bringing a N or NE wind. The dancing begins when the wind dies on a slack tide, and all boats go all directions.

We knew when we dropped the hook that we were putting ourselves in a position that counted on that prevailing SW wind. It was the week of Fourth of July, space was limited, and our options were slim. At the time, our stay was going to be short, and there was no bad weather in the forecast. We had pulled close to some moorings, one empty and one with a boat. Our hook was placed just at the channel’s edge, and then we sat back with our stern to the town, occasionally swinging up or down the creek.

Life got a bit exciting when a line of thunderstorms arrived in Beaufort yesterday evening. First, the wind died on the slack tide, and the boats began to dance with each other. One boat nearby wasn’t aware that they were swinging towards other boats and the channel marker, so we blasted our air horn and yelled at them to get their attention. Then, the wind and rain picked up, and all boats swung around facing the N wind.

We knew the wind switch was coming, and if we let ourselves swing, we’d be sitting on top of a couple of moorings, including one with a boat. We had our good engine ready, so when the wind switched, we kept the engine throttled to keep us at a safe distance. Occasionally, when the wind really howled, we’d start the overheating port engine to give us the extra boost and control.

It was a natural instinct to want to re-anchor. Then, we wouldn’t have to worry about staying at the helm during the storm. However, being in a poor anchor holding area, we didn’t want to give up our good anchor set. Also, when the wind would return to the SW, we’d have re-anchor yet again. So, we sat the storm out in the cockpit and at the helm. Adrenaline flowing every time the wind kicked up or a lightening bolt hit nearby. We’re not the tallest mast, but we all stick up there! Even with everything that was going on, we had the broom out, scrubbing the deck within the cockpit area. We were desperate for clean decks!

Finally, the storms passed, the wind died, and our boat settled back into a normal swing pattern with the tide. By 9:30 p.m. when the storms had finally departed, we were mentally drained and exhausted. We had no problem falling asleep last night!

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