As you typically do around 6 pm , you’re sitting in the cockpit looking around at other yachts coming in and looking for an anchoring spot . You notice 1 particular charter yacht that drops his anchor next to ours (well marked with an anchor bouy) on our port side , so no worries right ?) .. well.. not quite
Once the yacht dropped his anchor he proceeded backward , passes in front of us and wants to park his yacht on our starboard side, quite oblivious to the fact that his anchor is midships on our port side and his yacht is midships on our starboard side.
Here I sat wondering if these guys had any idea what they did , where his anchor was and what was going to happen to both our boats when left alone
Anyway I proceeded to walk up to our bow , asked one of the guys on the other yacht if he spoke english (luckily he did) and pointed out our anchor , his anchor and asked him if he knew what would happen . It slowly dawned on him and they went to pick up their anchor and I pointed out a place where they could drop their anchor which they did as well and as they were paying out chain they kept looking at me with huge question marks in their eyes ‘Is this good ? is this enough chain ? are we in the right place ?’ so once I estimated they let out enough chain to be kinda safe and still be far enough away to not be a danger to ourselves I gave them the thumbs up . Their body language changed from quite tense to quite relieved and gave me a thumbs up so I figured they’d be ok
After sitting down Joline pointed out another yacht (by the looks of it another charter) that got awfully close to someone else and while we were looking we actually noticed that the yachts touched .. and the charter yacht was quite empty with no one on board . The crew of the other yacht scrambled to get fenders (bumpers for the non-boaters reading this) between the 2 yachts and after about 30 minutes we noticed that now both yachts now had crew on them and the charter was picking up chain to move elsewhere . All well no one got hurt and dinner was almost ready .. right ?
As you have guessed not quite , the yacht that moved , moved to the middle of the bay , and stayed there motionless and stationary for at least 30 minutes while it was slowly getting dark and they were wasting precious daylight in which they could properly anchor. After about 40 minutes they moved out of the bay , quite far out to where the depth is at least 40-50 meters , and I assumed they dropped their anchor there . And as soon as they were stationary again .. they turned off all their lights (!!) Now for the non boaters reading this , it is generally a ‘good idea’ to leave a light on at the top of the mast so other boats entering or leaving can at least see you ! specially in a bay that is known to be very busy with boats and yachts arriving and leaving at all hours .
And I looked at Joline saying ‘this is going to be very interesting , maybe I should take the dinghy , go out there and tell them their lights are out ?’ … but who am I to tell a seasoned crew how to operate their yacht ? We’ve only been sailing for a few months ourselves and I certainly do not consider myself a seasoned sailor , so I figured they were so far out by this time they couldnt do (much) harm
While we were still in the cockpit we saw a small rowing dinghy pass us , and I assumed it was from the ‘far away’ yacht , so I stood up and asked them if they were OK and needed assistance ?
.. dead silence ..
not a peep while they rowed passed us in complete silence and they even turned off their flash light as they went by . Oh Well.. they’re off to the beach an I hope they have a great time !
Back to serious stuff so I opened another cold beer , looked at the clock and noticed it was now 11pm , and still keeping an eye on the dark yacht a few 100 meters out.
The yacht seemed to be quite steady until the wind and waves picked up a bit and yacht started to move .. and lights went on . There were people still on the yacht ! thats a relief And the yacht started moving 100 meters to one side , 100 meters to the other side .. 100 meters forward and 100 meters backward . Looks like they are trying to reset their anchor ?
And all of a sudden the yacht re-enters the bay ! this time they decide to pass us on our port (left) side right between the anchored boats and the rocks . Now having snorkeled there I know there are some rocks just below the surface of the water and those would seriously open up their yacht like a can opener . So now we are quite concerned as they were getting closer and closer to the rocks of the bay and jokingly Joline says ‘It looks like they are looking for a place to moor on the rocks ?’
Now I am getting quite concerned as they were drifting closer and closer to the rocks obviously oblivious to where they were , in pitch dark , and no clue where they were going , the beach was my own guess but that wasnt going to end well, so I got in our dinghy , grabbed a lamp and went to see them ..
as soon as I approached them they started calling me “Hola !! puedes ayudarnos ? no tenemos idea de lo que estamos haciendo y nuestro ancra esta rota !!”
ermmm what ? as my knowledge of Spanish is seriously limited and I can barely order a beer I ask them if they speak english ?
“Yes !! can you please help us ? , we need help , can you get on the boat and help us ? our anchor is broken !! ”
At this point they were 5-8 meters from the rockside and I thought to myself ‘If they run aground its their own fault , If I get on that yacht and it runs aground , guess who will be held accountable ?’ .. right , so I ask them whats wrong with their anchor , is the anchor winch seized or not putting chain out or back in ? “ no no no ! .. it all works but if we anchor in 10 meters of water and we let 10 meters of chain out if wont hold us !! and if the wind and waves pick up the boat moves !!”
I quickly explain that if its 10 meters deep you need a lot more chain than 10 meters but rocks are now getting seriously close and I tell them to follow me to the middle of the bay and point out a place what to drop their anchor. I ask the skipper how deep it is (18 meters) and I proceed to tell the guy holding the anchor winch button to pay out 60 meters of chain .. ‘Hold on what ?’ I can hear the anxiety in the skippers voice even though I dont understand a word of spanish ’60 meters !?!?’ .. yes.. 60 meters . When this is done I ask the skipper to let the boat turn into the wind .. wait until I see the anchor chain tighten and ask him to slowly put the yacht in reverse
Now all this goes through the one person on board that speaks english and translates what I say to her skipper and vice versa
When I see the chain tighten again now with the boat in reverse , and the boat not moving, I go over and tell the skipper to cut the engine and that they’re ok now .
At that point I am ready to leave and go back to Blue Pearl but the crew didnt want any of that “Please come on board ! we want to thank you ! you are our saviour !” so I get on board and was given wine beer fresh ham and their first born .. ok , not really wine , they didn’t have wine
When urged to sit down after being hugged to death I heard they just left Denia , chartered the boat there and made it to Ibiza in 11 hours , which is quite good , but that after they arrived in Benirras and they tried to anchor their anchor didnt want to hold ! At the same time they proceeded to tell me no one on board had any experience and the skipper went out a few times with an experienced crew to learn how to sail , they obviously skipped the anchoring part 😉
The good samaritan that I am I gave them a quick steam course anchoring , chain vs depth , showed them how to set an anchor alarm etc
When I finally left it was 2:30am and fell into bed around 3pm
what a night !!