The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Monday, September 1, 2014

Treasure Hunt for a Rocna Anchor

My last 3 posts described:
1) how I fouled the propeller on my way to Sines;
2) how I dove under the boat, cut the boat free but failed to cut all the lines;
3) how I lost my Rocna 25 anchor and chain in the bay of Sesimbra;
4) and, how I finally managed to anchor with an heavy - but nearly useless - spare anchor and fouled the prop once more big time.

The next morning, as the sun  broke over the hills, I dove under the boat again and found a huge mess of old nets and lines wrapped around the prop and shaft. A bit scary when you think that I could easily get entangled and, like, die for real. But I didn't want to die just yet so I went at it very gingerly trimming away the nets making sure my legs were always out of reach.

Port of Sines
A quiet corner in the Port of Sesimbra. I actually took this shot during a boat delivery from the Algarve shortly after my worst trip ever.
Anyway, I got the propeller cleared, re-anchored closer to the port, went ashore and contracted a professional diver. The diver had a great technique: he dropped a weight on the bottom attached to a thin line on a reel and swam in circles increasing the radius by 5 meters at every full turn. After one hour sitting in the dinghy watching his bubbles getting farther from the center, I saw him pop up and shake his head..and it's my fault because I got confused as to where I lost the anchor. One hundred euros for the diver's exercise session. He tried hard, but no cigar. 

The next morning I moaned and groaned hauling in the 3/4 nylon rode only to find that the stupid anchor was caught on a rock. I let out some line, cleated it, turned the boat around and gunned it in reverse. What a spectacle, when the line went taught the bow dipped low and, when the anchor broke free, the bow shot up like a trapeze artist. 

I was free and proceeded to motor against the wind for 22 miles to Cascais, eyes bulging wide on the lookout for buoys. 
Cascais Marina
Spent two days at the Cascais Marina. At least no anchor was needed
In Cascais I booked into the marina for 2 nights, drank the bottle of wine the marina receptionist gave me and slept feeling like I had watched a B-rated adventure movie.

The next day, I took the train to Lisbon bought 10 m of chain for the Fortress and lugged it back in a rucksack all the way from the train station to the marina. That called for another bottle of wine. When the chips are down, the bottles are up.

I limped back to Peniche where I got a call to deliver a boat from Lagos to Peniche. I immediately said yes. I'd be damned if a summer of my life was going to melt away without me sailing to or from the Algarve.

Sailing is not a sport, it's a masochistic ritual and an addiction; you don't need balls to sail, the thrill of escaping every-day nonsense and immunity to boredom are enough.


  1. Your last paragraph says it all (and I just may steel it!). Plus the bottle reference!
    I was reading and got excited for the Rocna retrieval.... what a disappointment, I'm so sorry for the results. But happy you got a gig. Waiting to hear about it!

    1. You can steal anything I write, which probably means about one interesting sentence every six months, if that.
      Anyway, the Rocna retrieval mission ain't over yet.
      My delivery gig will be the next post.