Caught out in Hurricane Force Winds

14/06/2018

A few weeks ago we received a phone call from a sailor who shared with us a harrowing tale of being caught out in hurricane force winds while aboard his Lotus 950. We asked very kindly if he would put his experience into words, this is his story...

 

I am recounting a short story about the performance of the Manson Supreme 15 lb anchor under extreme conditions which were encountered during the storm experienced on the 10th April 2018 in Auckland and elsewhere. This storm was of Hurricane force and caused much shore damage.

My son and I were sailing home from Kawau – North Cove and had come through the Tiri Passage fine but with the breeze freshening behind us from the NW. We were nearly home ( Panmure mooring )

As we approached the Rangitoto Lighthouse and with the mouth of the Tamaki River beckoning us home we suffered a 50 – 60 degree knock down despite two reefs in the main and a tiny headsail. The wind was really piping by then and the wind log was seen stuck at 66 kts. We needed shelter quickly. We took down all sail and found our little Lotus 950 was comfortably sailing before the wind at about 6 kts - under bare poles.

The decision was taken to run for Islington Bay to take shelter as it was too risky to run up the Tamaki River and get tangled up with moored craft.

We motored up adjacent to Yankee wharf and set our 15 lb Manson Supreme anchor and 1.5 boat lengths of 8mm short link  chain with plenty of rope rode. As usual the anchor bit immediately. The wind was howling but we were at least out of the wave action and feeling more comfortable. Only three other larger yachts in the bay. There was no need for the 25 lbr.

I should mention that I had in the locker another Manson Supreme anchor a 25 lb one as a reserve. I have been using the 15 lber as I find it much easier to retrieve through the pulpit and Furler gear. I had tested the 15 lber in this bay before under 50% engine power and found it had dug in so well I needed  3 attempts to raise it.! It  has buried its way down through  the soft mud into hard clay like mud with shell as witnessed on the point when raised.

The wind increased as night fell and by 9.30 pm It was screaming – the whole yacht shook and trembled. I was in Radio contact with National Maritime Radio and gave them reports.We were experiencing fear.  Ashley and I decided if we were going to come to grief we may as well  do something meantime  so at 10.00 pm we crawled up to the bow with new chain and warp and set the 25 lber off the side as a back up in case of dragging or something worse.  The warp was slack but bundled with a bungee  to avoid  prop fouling Ashley went to bed as he was happy with the 15 lber performance commenting it would held a 40 footer. I maintained radio contact and anchor watch till midnight when I packed it in as well saying my prayers .

Next morning we awoke to a gentle breeze of only 41 kts but from the SW and with the two anchors at 60 degrees to each other. There was no pressure on the 25 lber but the rode bundle had been forced open. The little 15 lber had provided a heroic task in holding my 6 ton yacht all night in hurricane conditions in a bay with bad press on its seabed. Needless to say my faith in these anchors is profound and their design and tenacity legendary. I would use no other.........