Anchors Away! – or not as the case may be

After rising early we set off on our sea trials. Trials being the operative word. Well, the trip didn’t work, which meant the log didn’t work and then the anchor, after performing well by holding us very securely in the mud of the lagoon, clamped itself onto the bow. This in spite of John having poked at it with the boat hook to make sure it came in the right way up. We returned to the marina to sort it out. My initial swan dive to the pontoon and tying up went well, but subsequent maneuvering of Lyra forward was fraught with misunderstandings. These were as nothing compared to sorting out the wedged anchor.

First John whacked it with the hammer to no avail. I suggested we unscrew the pin around which the bow roller turns to loosen things up at the pivot. John was reluctant, but we tied the anchor to the railing as a precaution, (to stop us holing the pontoon by mistake) and gave it a go. Out came the spanners and the socket set. John undid the nut, wriggled the pin out and the anchor rolled free. He pushed the anchor forward and replaced the pin. So far so good. John went down onto the pontoon and took hold of the rather muddy anchor. We then lowered the anchor to the pontoon, to investigate the roller mechanism. Or rather we meant to, but I pressed the wrong button, lifting rather than lowering and the anchor wedged again. John whacked it free with the hammer. I think I had upset him. I did not suggest undoing the pin again; I figure the anchor had it coming. We started again. This time we successfully deployed the anchor gently onto the pontoon. Examination of the rolling mechanism confirmed it was designed to operate a different anchor and had been modified. Our chief suspect is Alan. Moreover the core of the modification had cracked and a chunk of it was missing. John then used the hose to wash the mud from the anchor, mud which proved tenacious and had to be sculpted it away with his fingers. The process seemed to restore John’s spirits. He supported the anchor as I pressed the button to haul it up. We stopped short of the full housing. John said something, which I took to be “Go on then”, but, (as became immediately apparent when the anchor once again clamped itself to the deck,) this turned out not to have been the case. There was a bit of “Why on earth did you do that?” and “Because you told me to”, then more whacking with the hammer.

Looseness restored, John decided he could swap the bow roller on the other channel of the anchor housing for the broken one. He was certain this was an appropriate fitting. We needed to lower the anchor again. I don’t know why. Back out came the spanners and socket set, which opened the wrong way up and spilled out onto itself. I put the sockets back into their holes. John climbed down onto the pontoon and took hold of the now clean anchor. I stood with the remote and thought very hard about why I had pressed the wrong button before. The correct button had seemed counter intuitive, so I pushed what I thought was the wrong button. It was the wrong button. This time the anchor was wedged metal to metal against the empty bow roller. John came back up and I held my breath while he whacked it loose again. He glanced at me and sighed, he let out a long stretch of chain, passed me the remote and showed me which button to press if he needed me to. Back he went, down onto the pontoon, down went the anchor, John came back on deck, unscrewed the pin and swapped the roller. Then back down onto the pontoon to raise the anchor. This time the roller stopped the anchor so it was only lightly jammed. John could kick it loose, no need for the hammer. Triumph? Not quite.

In this position the anchor was not housed far enough back to be properly secured by the pin at the front, designed to keep in from falling by accident. Some chance. John now understood the need for the modification. I postulated could we could just tie the anchor to the railing with a bit of string a la Sunsail? For neatness we could insert the holding pin over the anchor and maybe that would even stop it from going too far back. No. John refitted the broken modified roller, he managed to do this without lowering the anchor. He put the holding pin in place, he showed me that this held the anchor in such a position as to keep in from jamming if anyone were to be foolish enough to press the wrong button. I could see the value in this. I could not see that we had solved the problem of raising the anchor without its constantly jamming, given the hair trigger control needed at the last moment. John said we could go out into the lagoon and practice again tomorrow and that he would buy me a cold beer.IMG_2059

I felt morose, though the beer did help.

The evening proved much more jolly as John realised the second leg of the European cup semi final was on normal TV. He put new batteries in the remote, retuned the set and we had an evening in front of the telly. We dined at half time. Beans on toast, upon which slender shavings of Manchego cheese had been lavished, washed down with tumblers of rough red wine. Tomorrow we can do it all again.



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