SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Boats, Tea and Dragging Anchors

February 14, 2011


Pat and Peta aboard Eurisko

Sometimes it is not about what you eat, but what you call it. Our foreign cruising friends' terminology often provides us with giggles. Pat is almost 70 years old; Peta is in her 40's. She is from South Africa and has the accent to prove it; Pat lived in Normandy during the D Day Invasion. He has such charming European mannerisms that I can't help but speak French with him on occasion, and when I am on their boat I almost forget that we are still State-side.

We met Pat in Spa Creek in Annapolis in the Summer of 2002, just weeks and fewer that a hundred miles into our new lifestyle. We sought him out after watching him row to shore one day; finally, one of our own kind. We have since decided that couples on small boats and rowers make the best friends. After sharing a dozen anchorages with Pat in his Golden Hind 31, it was a few years before we saw him again. By then he had run into Peta, or rather she into him.

In 2003 Pat was again anchored in Spa Creek. As anyone who used to anchor there before it became a mooring field will remember, 3 to 1 scope is about all you could hope for, so when a summer storm moved through, someone always dragged. This is Pat's story:

I was sitting in Irena, minding my own business, hiding from the rain when BAM, something hit the boat. I thought, "Oh jeez, some stupid guy dragged down on me." I stomped on deck, ready to shout advice on proper anchoring techniques when I discovered not a stupid guy, but a charming girl, smiling apologetically at me from her very close twenty-foot O'Day.
"So sorry! I seem to have dragged my anchor.
Having lost all desire to shout, I instead offered to help her reset her anchor. She assured me that she was quite capable, thank you, apologized again, and was off to re-anchor&emdash;upwind of me again. After watching to see that she was indeed "quite capable" and was safely anchored, I settled back down on the settee and had just found my place in my book when BAM. Taking a deep breath and gathering my patience, I again went on deck to find my newest acquaintance and her O'Day, banging into Irena.
"So sorry! I--"
"Yes, you seem to have dragged your anchor...again."
"Oh, but it's OK. I can--"
"Since you are here anyway, why not come aboard for some coffee."
By that time the wind had died, and the boats were fine rafted together as I made coffee and offered her cookies that she insisted on calling "biscuits." After the rain quit and the coffee and cookies were gone, she apologized again and set off to re-anchor her boat. As she was leaving she smiled and said, "You must come over for tea so I can return your hospitality."
"I'd like that. When would be good for you?"
"Let's say, tomorrow at 4:00."
"That would be nice. Can I bring anything?"
"Well, now that you mention it, I don't have any tea. So if you could--"
"I will gladly bring the tea."
"That would be lovely. Tomorrow at 4:00 then."
She started to turn away, then said, "Oh, by the way, I don't have a tea pot, so if you wouldn't mind--"
"I'd be happy to bring a tea pot."
"Jolly good! But, you see, I ran out of water recently, so if you could bring water in
the tea pot--"
I laughed and teased her, "You DO have a stove, right?"
"Well, actually--"
"You know what, why don't you come over here for tea tomorrow, let's say 4:00."
"What a lovely idea! I'll bring the biscuits."
"I prefer cookies."

As Pat and Peta like to end the story, "She came for tea and never left." When Pat sailed out of Spa Creek a few weeks later, Peta was with him aboard Irena, having sold her own boat. Within a year they were married and now live aboard a Freedom 33 in a small marina in Annapolis. If you meet them, invite them over for tea; they'll bring the biscuits.

MONDAY we'll share pictures and hints on how to build your own cradle for your boat. Sometimes that's your best hurricane plan.

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