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Aannsha’s Blog #180 – Gale Force 9 Gusts and Great Gifts

Updated: May 29, 2021

Ever since I survived three nights on my own on A B Sea, being battered by 34 knot winds on a lee shore with only 2 metres beneath the keel, I don’t get too phased by strong wind predictions when we’re at anchor. I’ve learned to trust our boat and our anchor, plus the chain, anchor swivel and snubber that keep it all together.

So when and both shared the awesome news that we’d be getting up to 39 knot wind gusts for a couple of days while we were at anchor in Akbük, I thought, well at least we won’t be on a lee shore.

That was one of the reasons we’d chosen Akbük. It gave us good shelter from the worst of the weather and had a nice mix of sand and mud on the bottom.

Plus, the wind wasn’t forecast to be that much greater than I’d survived on my own and I had Baz with me, so between the two of us, I knew we’d be able to prep the boat properly and handle any difficulties that might present themselves.

We upped anchor and moved closer to shore, so in shallower water with most of our chain out we were nearly at 10:1 ratio. Baz and I were confident that our Mantus anchor and all that weight of chain on the sea bed would stop us from dragging.

Dinghy down!

No, I wasn’t too worried about the predicted wind.

I had greater concerns about my ability to assist Baz drop the dinghy over the side of the boat and into the water the right way up. We’d had it lashed down on the foredeck over winter and as it is our ‘car’ we needed to put it in the water so we had access to shore and provisions.

Once Baz had hoisted the dinghy up on the spare halyard and I’d guided it over the side, it gracefully slid into the water.

My next moment of anxiety was helping to guide the 38Kg outboard motor off its davit and onto the transom at the back of the dinghy. I had wild imaginary worst case scenarios going through my head from the line holding it up snapping, to me going over the side with it. I asked Baz if it might be an idea to add another line to the outboard in case the fairly thin line broke while it was dangling above the dinghy. He attached a sturdier rope to the handle and that also helped me to guide the motor accurately over the dinghy.

Baz lowered it carefully and I was surprised that within a few short moments, the outboard and dinghy were joined securely together.

After that it was a case of attaching the fuel tank to the motor. Baz pumped the fuel, pulled on the start cord and we heard the happy Brmmm! and purr of the healthy, serviced outboard engine.

We Hi-5’d and then Baz took the dinghy out for a test drive, hooning around the bay at a blokey speed and returned with a grin on his face.

“Summer Sailing Season 2021 is official!” he announced!

We’re heeling! At anchor!!

As predicted, Saturday brought the wind. We’d originally had the dinghy tied behind A B Sea with two painters, but the strength of the wind gusts began to lift it up out of the water, and we were afraid it would flip. So we hoisted it up onto the davits calmly and quickly. It’s a procedure we’ve done many times. Happy the dinghy was now secure and with everything battened down, spray hood and bimini also away (we’d secured them the day before), we just got on with our day. What else are you going to do?

The wind picked up and we both reckoned it was gusting higher than the predicted 39 knots. Yes, after the boat heeled after one gust and spun around to point back into the wind before righting, our buddy boat friend Jim messaged me that he’d clocked 48 knots.

The wind whistled and roared as it gusted, picking up the surface of the sea and spraying it like low lying clouds across the water’s surface. Baz got some really good footage. He also filmed large red gusts of sand blowing through the trees on land. Nature can really shift a lot of stuff around quickly when she wants to.

The wind carried on into the night, but it was relatively calm between gusts.

At one point Baz lashed one of the helm wheels in place to the binnacle with a rope after he noticed the wheels spinning fully port and starboard with each wind gust.

A generator gift

On Sunday it was still windy but also cloudy and we had occasional rain that brought with it fine red Saharan desert sand. So instead of getting a nice clean boat, we got an orange red sandy boat.

We were also using more power than the solar panels were generating, given the grey sky.

Jim, who had recently had a new generator installed into Acheron, very kingly offered us his old portable generator as he didn't have any further need for it. (*Here's a similar generator for 120 volt systems):

Sunday was the day to test it. Jim had shown us how it worked, so all Baz had to do was fill it with petrol, stick it on the back deck with the exhaust pointing away from the wind and pull the starting cord. After two pulls the generator roared into life and started pumping a decent amount of power into our 220 volt system once Baz connected it using our shore electrical cable.

Fantastic, we had between 5 and 9 hours of generated power which allowed me to get on with editing the next video.

Once again, Jim has given us a very generous and helpful gift. And it is one that is helping us to become a little more self-sufficient.

Storm damage

Storm damage on A B Sea was minimal. The chafe protector on the anchor snubber got seriously torn. The chafe protector is a length (about 30cm / 12in) of thick plastic tubing that we fitted over the snubber rope to stop it chafing at the fairlead. So far it had done its job. But on inspection after the gale force 9 gusts of the previous day, Barry showed me that the plastic tube had got two deep tears in it.

Well, at least the snubber rope hadn’t sustained damage, so in one way, the chafe protection had done its job. But we’re looking at other long term replacement solutions.

To watch this YouTube episode, just click here.

Apart from the minor chafe protection issue, A B Sea came out the other side of the big blow in the same position and condition. The anchor hadn’t budged. We began plotting our next anchorage, which on first inspection looked as if it was going to be Gürçumlar which was just around the peninsular from Akbük in the next region of Muğla.

However, watch next week and find out why, when we leave Akbük for Gürçumlar we decide against that bay and instead head onwards. Until next week though, I wish you health, wealth and courage, as you take the actions to bring your dreams to life.

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