Flanagan diverts crisis off Ostrov Peschanyy 22/8/07

While Adrian Flanagan waits for the ice at Proliv Vil’kitskogo (300 miles NW of his position) to thin to navigable density, he is never far from interruption. As well as busying himself with jobs onboard, Adrian is having to moveBarrabasregularly from one anchorage to the next in accordance with the changing winds:

“On Monday, I moved to the east side of the island (Ostrov Peschanyy) in anticipation of westerly winds as forecast. By the time I dropped anchor the wind was in the northeast. Within 15 minutes wind speeds were touching 30 knots. Six-eight foot waves were breaking on the five metre contour line as the seabed shoaled towards the beach a third of a mile behind me.Barrabas’sbow was lifting 10 feet into the air then digging in as she dropped down into the troughs. Of course, I was on a lee shore with little in the way of clear water beneath the keel. I quickly made the decision to re-position, but try as I might it was impossible to raise the anchor. Each timeBarrabasraised her bow more anchor chain would be wrenched out, undoing the lengths I had managed to get inboard. There was no chance of pulling the anchor in by hand and the windlass was sapping the batteries. I could see drift ice on the horizon, blown in from the east and massing like a wretched army. So began a long night vigil.

“My concern was whether the anchor chain would hold. I put the engine on in caseBarrabasbroke free. I even tried driving the boat forward to put slack in the anchor chain then wind in the slack using the windlass remote plugged in at the cockpit. But with the dire pitching, it was impossible to see which direction to steer and at a certain length the anchor chain became permanently taut and the wrenching out began again. I decided my options. Either let go the anchor with a fender tied to the end of the chain so that I could retrieve it later under calmer conditions or wait for the ice to advance. I figured the ice would, when close enough act as a windbreak and clam the water betweenBarrabasand its advancing edge. I rigged the fender and waited through the stormy night. With the ice half a mile off and the wind still gusting 30, the hoped for dampening effect happened and I got the anchor back on board, then scuttled quickly away before the legions of ice sacked my position.”