The weather was not the usual sunny Meds. Somehow by leaving Malta we left the sun and the clear blue sky behind. The colour of the sea was dirty grey, the waives were short and stroppy and the wind could not decide which direction to hold on to.
The plan was to anchor near Taormina, in a tiny bay, but the weather prevented us from stopping by. The unpredictable wind and high waves would make the crossing into the bay a hazardous one. In a search of something nearby we have decided upon Naxos. We have spotted few boats on anchor over there and decided to have a go as well.
We have found a suitable place on the town bay and decided to stop using our anchor and the metal rings on the bay. This monoeuvre was quite tricky as instead of using moorings, you are using your anchor the similar way. You need to calculate where to drop your anchor so it will hold and you will be left with enough of the anchor chain and move back so you land with your stern to the bay.
Very strong winds pushed us towards another boat parked at the bay. We tried to escape but our rudder caught one of the lines from the other boat and we were stuck! We ran out of the anchor chain at the same time and even though the anchor hold us on so we did not crash into the rocks on the other side, we could not move forward! Wojtek jumped into the water and tried to untangle the line to no anvil.
Luckily for us someone turned up on the other boat and helped us out by loosening the line, so Wojtek could push it and set us free. The whole situation was a very stressful one and it made me realize, that the wind is a strong competitor you must account for! And that if we want to live on a boat in a future one of us must learn how to dive! We knew as well that we did not dropped our anchor in the right place as we run out of the anchor line before we reach the berth.
I remembered the situation from last week, in Mgarr marina, where the couple on the boat parked nearby us had a great difficulty to leave marina, as the wind was pushing them back. We were all parked with our stern to the berth. We tried to help them out by dragging their bow towards our boat, against the wind, to give them a good position to start with, but they did not wait long enough for us to do that and landed in the middle of the bay, facing opposite direction. They had to circulate the boat using a tiny space between the boats parked on both sides. And where there is no speed the boat will not listen to you.
Later on we discussed the situation and each of us came up with a solution and a strategy how to deal with something similar. The most important thing is to make a decision which lines to drop first and when, accounting for the wind pushing you out of your way. The question you must ask yourself is – what will hold me when the wind is pushing? If the wind is on your starboard, you keep the starboard ropes and vice versa. If you have a space, use after bow spring line and attache it to the berth or even attache yourself to another boat to keep your position and drop it at the last minute.
Every situation is different and have its own difficulties, so planning ahead is a must. Even though we talked through how to dock in Naxos, we still managed to get ourselves into a lot of troubles and were stuck with the line under our rudder. It took us two hours to dock! And 2 hours later we were asked to leave, as there was an air show in Naxos and the space we took was needed… With a weather not improving (we were told to leave quickly, as if we waited we could be facing a stronger wind and the undocking would not be easy) we have decided to sail to Riposto and stayed there for the night.