Anchoring problems off Greek Islands

In early September we arrived off Pedi, on the isle of Symi in Greek waters.
The winds had been strong all day and even stronger winds were forecast, possibly 8’s+
Already we could see other boats were in trouble with anchors dragging and the swirling winds inside this huge cove were occasionally spinning boats through some 180deg.
We took advice from another helpful British skipper as to where best to anchor.
We chose our spot as best we could near Pedi beech where we could get some shelter from the buildings and land. The depth was less than 5metres before it shelved away.
To my relief/surprise, the CQR dug in quite quickly before it was at risk of dragging to greater depths.
We got the Danforth kedge into the inflatable and decided to drop it at some 90deg to the bower in an attempt to help the CQR keep a hold, even though we knew she would still swing.

The water off our stern was far too deep to hope that a kedge off the stern would hold us straight, especially in the gusting strong wind.
Two of us did this by reversing the dinghy and allowing the 40metre line to feed out over the bow, followed by 10 metres of chain and the Danforth.

By now, wind and water was lashing horizontally in the near gale. We motored back to the boat where we made off the CQR’s anchor chain with a generously long snubber line and made off the Danforths line to a cleat.

All around us there were difficult situations arising. Boats dragging on top of others, some swinging from their altered position coming perilously close to others.
The helpful British skipper was soon in trouble himself after dropping off his wife onto the beach jetty in the inflatable earlier. Now alone, he dragged so far that he was forced to raise his anchor and to reset it. Not easy when you’r being blown by 35knots + of wind in the wrong direction and when you are on the foredeck trying to retrieve your anchor. Added to this he hadn’t had time to tie up his inflatable to the stern tight
enough and it was now upsidedown dragging behind him, engine still attached.
He tried many times to reset his anchor and at the last attempt he was seen motoring hard for’ard and dropping his anchor from the foredeck position with chain dragging down beneath his bows, then racing back to the cockpit. His anchor did set, but he must have dragged the chain on the gelcoat of his hull.

He was seen to still be trying to start his outboard the next morning.

Others were even less fortunate. One boat arrived in something of a hurry, dropped its hook and all crew disappeared below. In no time they had dragged down onto a large wooden barge which had its own anchor drag due to the new arrival. They eventually were seen close to a lee shore on the opposite side of the cove with divers trying to untangle the anchor rodes, with much gesticulating.

Our turn nearly came when a delightful looking classic yacht arrived (bearing a blue ensign), and smartly did a twirl directly windward of us, between us and the beach. He began to drop his hook… on top of ours! Winds were now gusting close to 40Knots and we did ‘advise’ the skipper that his positioning did not appear wise. He turned to shout that his engine was overheating and he was in trouble. His crew did however start her up again quickly and did another 360deg’ and came to exactly the same position. This time I was a little more abrupt and he did see the light and went away as requested.
Many others dragged in the next hours. Experienced looking liveaboards were back and forth, round and round. The winds still rotating the boats on the spot, not just following their anchor rode.

Then something really odd happened amongst this maelstrom.  A gleaming new 42’ AWB appeared.
Picture this if you may…. A topless blonde stood tall in the cockpit looking for’ard, standing as proud as a traditional figurehead.
The skipper speedily came within a couple of boat lengths alongside us, dropped his hook remotely from the cockpit, went astern, shut off his engine, gave his girl an embrace and went below ….. all in the space of a few minutes.

Like us he didn’t drag his anchor and wasn’t seen again

until morning???



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