I love our anchor. We’ve anchored in so many places, so many times, that the two of us have a very good, quick system in place for dropping the hook. We always check how well we are set and log our GPS position and have never really had any major problems. Until now, that is…


We’re in the Bahia de Casilda, just outside beautiful Trinidad having had one of our most tiring ever passages to get here. The bay is shallow, stupidly shallow and, as we chose where to drop the hook, it was a toss up whether we would run aground first or not. We are, however, the only vessel anchored here. There is a tiny marina with an entrance too shallow for us to get through but we found a spot in the bay, dropped the hook, dug it in, stayed a while on board to settle and were happy with that.


The next day, our position was still fine and we left the boat, to go exploring into Trinidad, and returned in the evening rested, happy and ready for an early bed before our passage to Cienfuegos (45 miles along the coast) the next morning.


Back on the boat, the position seems to have changed a bit, the wind has got up to a force 6 and we seem to be dragging – fast. The boat is taking the wind on the beam rather than the bow, which is a dead give away that things aren’t right. Dragging would never be ideal but, in an anchorage with several shoal patches, in the dark with a strong wind it is really not good. Tracking how far we’ve moved – almost 200 metres – we start the engine and pick up to re-drop. It’s pitch black so our deck lights are on to help us see the chain without using torches. We re-drop, putting down twice the amount of chain we first had, bite in and let ourselves settle.


So we go back down below, plot out new position, scoff down our (by now very cold) dinner and sit, watching all our various instruments like hawks. The wind is still blowing hard and the holding we’re in does not seem good. Weed isn’t so much a problem but the mud must be thin mud rather than clay-like, otherwise it would definitely hold us better. We seem to be on the move again, edging closer and closer towards the shallow perimeter. This will not do, we’re not happy, so decided to pick up and re-drop again – third time lucky. We aim for a spot right in the middle of the bay this time and plonk down almost all the chain we have. We’re sitting in 2.6 metres of water with over 20 times that in chain.


It’s now gone 11 at night and we go back in, with every gps we have on board tracking us, checking every inch that we move by. Sipping hot chocolate, we sit, watch and wait. By 1am we’re happy, we’ve barely moved in spite of the strong wind and the 60 metres of chain are looking after us well in the poor holding. This totally blows our planned passage to Cienfuegos as we’re utterly exhausted after a night like that.