Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Don’t Do What We Did!

August 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

 Don't Do What I Did

It is never a dull moment when the McMahon family goes to Port Jefferson. As much as we love boating there, something always occurs. Something that ends up on these pages!

Pirates Cove in Port Jefferson had taken one of my family’s anchors in the past. I recounted on this page how changing tides and winds caused a mishap between the lines and anchors from a few boats. But that was then, and we were much savvier boaters now as we set out for Port Jefferson on our first outing of 2015.

Jim McMahon with cut anchor line in Port JeffersonWe knew the winds were going to pick up later, but after being in hibernation all winter, we were too excited to stay on the shore any longer. We decided to head out to Port Jefferson, as it is just the next harbor over from ours. We craved seeing life out on the water — bring on the jet skiers, kayakers, cruisers, and sailors! We had to see the yachts passing through the channel and all the people aboard the ferry going to Connecticut or coming to Long Island.

Our day started out great. The weather was perfect and everything was operational. Our anchor was working great when we lowered it outside the cove in the vicinity of the Setauket Yacht Club. Keeping in mind that we’d had a poor past experience in Pirates Cove, we wanted to stay clear of it for the first day out.

Hours passed as we enjoyed ourselves. Once the clock hit 3:00 pm we knew the predicted windy conditions were coming as little waves formed in the harbor. We knew it was time to pack up and head back to our marina.

My dad climbed up front to retrieve the anchor and started to pull up the line as the winds began gusting to about 15 miles per hour out of the northeast. Oblivious to the change in conditions, there were boaters driving around with kids on tubes, creating waves that were definitely not welcome.

The anchor seemed firmly embedded into the bottom, and dad was having trouble bringing up the rest of the line. My brother climbed up to help, thinking that with both of them, they could bring up the anchor. But the anchor thought otherwise — it was not letting loose at all despite both of their efforts. After 30 minutes of trying, nothing was working — we knew we had to cut it off and let the anchor go.

I looked all around the boat for a decent knife to cut the line. However, as this was our first day out for the season (and admittedly, we were quite anxious to get going), we hadn’t quite finished loading the boat with all the necessary equipment. We hadn’t even brought along the silverware we use to enjoy our delicious summer cookouts, but there was a small razor in the toolbox. Would it work? It had to, because we had nothing else.

The razor worked! Dad cut the line, though as you can imagine it took lots of time and effort. The seabed of Port Jefferson now owns another McMahon anchor. But, remember what I said about us being smarter boaters? We had an extra anchor aboard just for situations like this.

We learned our lessons that day. We’ll never set out without a fully-stocked boat again, even to cure a bad case of cabin fever. And we’ll get a mooring whenever possible, rather than dropping anchor. It’s less stressful and it’s certainly cheaper than leaving anchors behind.

By Melissa McMahon

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