Aannsha’s Blog #56 – Popping fenders

Big winds predicted

You never know what you’re going to get with a yacht when you’re tied up in harbour. One day it’s sunny, the sea is flat calm and night time brings uninterrupted sleep. The next day, and sometimes with or without wind prediction apps confirmation, you can be caught in the path of a big wind front that howls through at 25-30 knots with gusts up to 50 knots in strength. When that happens, you’d be hoping that you’ve already battened down those hatches, tied everything down and secured the boat as best as you can with various lines and strategically deployed all fenders.

The other day we had a heads up that it was going to get windy around Kaş and even in the town harbour, we knew we had to take all necessary precautions and get A B Sea as wind-ready as we could. We were tied side to at the time, with our starboard side against the dock and that evening the big winds came.

We’d been advised by some local sailors that we ought to move from our position but when we’d enquired there hadn’t been anywhere else in the harbour we could move to. So after we got as ready as we could, we went down below and sat tight, hoping to weather the wind storm.

Things started to get rough once the sea swell began slamming us against the dock. It went in waves – literally – and we’d rise on the swell, move towards the dock despite being tied by two lines on our port side that were positioned to keep us away from the concrete. Then as the swell receded, the boat surged away, but the lines tying her to the starboard side would prevent her from going too far and we’d snap back, catch the next swell and flow back to the dock.

Now, A B Sea is a 9.3 tonne vessel and that, coupled with the force that the waves were surging her towards the wharf meant that a large pressure was pressed up against the fenders. Of course, one burst!

Some local sailors came along and asked if they could help and we asked them for tyres. With the fenders popping, at least tyres would help keep A B Sea’s hull away from the solid battering ram of a concrete dock that threatened to scrape her sides at the very least.

We checked our lines, and then another 3 fenders popped! While Baz busied himself with adjusting the lines that held us both to the dock and away from it, I watched the boat getting ever closer in its surging, ever harder in its slamming and ever more likely to get damaged as its fibreglass hull was swept on waves towards the concrete dock. The tyres were almost more of a hindrance than a help as the remaining fenders rode up on them, so there was even less cushioning between A B Sea’s hull from the wharf.

I noticed that there were a couple of scratches on the thin piece of rubber that lines the top of the hull sides. Those scratches were new. I looked at how the boat was now getting closer with every swell, riding higher with every wave, threatening to slam against the wharf with the next surge …

It was only a matter of time before one more swell would have our boat – our home – cracking its side against hard concrete!

I desperately searched around the harbour for more tyres, because although they were causing the fenders to rise up, they were our last point of cushioning. The only tyres left were secured to the quay walls with steel loops.

Baz was doing his best with the lines. I just knew that nothing was going to help.