Monday, January 10, 2011

Free Anchors!

Any sailor can tell you that the price of gear goes up exponentially with size.  Anchors are generally no exception, and you can usually expect to pay more for the 45-pound anchor than the 35-pound version of the same type.  Interestingly, this appears to be completely untrue once an anchor gets above a certain weight.  In fact, there are tons of anchors literally just lying around, free for the taking!  Nicole, always on the lookout for a bargain,  has been hard at work trying to get one aboard.

We first noticed this free anchor in Poulsbo.  Amazingly nobody else seemed interested in it, so Nicole gave it a tug trying to get it back to the boat.  I would have been happy just having that shackle for the mainsail halyard but we couldn’t free the pin.


Port Townsend is particularly desperate to get rid of their free anchors and tries to lure in takers of this one with a nice white paint job.


Getting the anchors back to the boat was continually proving to be  a problem.  It was obviously something to do with Nicole’s technique.  When taking a free anchor you have to lift with your legs.


When looking for free anchors, check around marinas.  The area around our marina is especially littered with free anchors.  There’s one at the north end…


There’s one at the south end…


There’s even one by the boatyard that comes with about 80 feet of chain rode attached!  Free!  We could certainly sleep well at anchor knowing our primary rode has a working load several times the entire weight of our boat.


We went to our  meteorology class and found this anchor outside the NOAA building.  We figured the smaller size would make an excellent stern anchor.  Somebody accidentally stuck this one in cement and Nicole couldn’t break it out.  Also NOAA has armed security, and we’d like to verify the freeness of this anchor before making further attempts at night. 


Outside the corporate offices of Holland America they went all out.  A beautiful steel blue paint job.  Tasteful accent lights.  It even had a sign.  (We’re not sure what it said, probably “FREE ANCHOR.”)  All this and a nice patio to set it on.  They’re really making every effort to attract somebody willing to rid their lawn of some ship’s trash.  This anchor even had a swivel, so we thought we’d found the best free anchor of them all.  But upon closer inspection we noticed that one of the flukes was bent!  Fortunately we noticed before taking it to the boat as this would have severely reduced the anchor’s ability to set and its ultimate holding power.  So beware, sometimes with free anchors you get what you pay for.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

When you live in the Pacific Northwest, you’re accustomed to rain, drizzle, sprinkles and showers.   But I read recently that it rained on all major holidays—including Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Halloween—in Seattle in 2010.  So what a treat it was to spend New Year’s Day 2011 under bright blue skies and sunshine!

And I can’t think of a better way to usher in the new year than with Bella Star swinging on a mooring buoy off Blake Island.  The weather was chilly to be sure (lows in the 20s, highs in the 30s), but we bundled up, fired the diesel heater and had a fantastic time.

Here’s wishing you and yours all the best in the new year.

IMG_6887Bella Star on her buoy.  A lovely sight indeed.

IMG_6894Out hiking the trails. The fall rain and wind weren’t kind to Blake Island—trees are down everywhere and the hillside is giving way in many places.

IMG_6884 The mighty dinghy rower!

IMG_6879Mmmmm… the sun felt so good.

IMG_6876 Yep, that’s ice.

Happy New Year to all!