Dragging to windward - a sailing confession by Keith Greenfield


On a recent charter cruise to the Hebrides we had taken shelter in Canna harbour in near gale conditions. We had dropped anchor as all visitor moorings were taken, but our 25kg Rocna was holding nicely.

Three of us then left the boat in the dinghy to stretch our legs ashore, leaving the others on board keeping anchor watch. On reaching shore we looked back and observed in horror our yacht apparently ‘drifting’ forwards, into the wind and towards her anchor, threatening to pick up her hook!

For a moment we just couldn’t compute what was happening and began yelling back at the remaining crew members still on board, hunkered down below.

Fortunately one of the crew just happened to be looking in our direction and saw us waving our arms and they all came on deck and then realised the yacht was on the move under engine.

The engine had been switched on to heat water with a few revs forward and someone forgot to press the button on the throttle to keep her in neutral! How would we have explained dragging our anchor onto the windward shore in the insurance claim?


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