ANCHORS AWEIGH – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Anchor

“It’s not anchors away,” she said, more than a small hint of snark in her voice. It’s ‘aweigh’ and it’s about getting the anchor up from the bottom and the sand into which it usually sinks. So when they sing “Anchors Aweigh” they mean they are supposed to haul the anchor off the bottom before setting sail.”

“But doesn’t that mean the same thing?” he argued.

“No, it doesn’t. One means ‘lift up the anchor’ and the other means ‘go.'”

“But in the end,” he persisted, “It means ‘move on out,’ or whatever they used to yell in Wagon Train.”

“Those were cows. Beef. Move’em on out refers to animals. With legs. Anchors are not alive unless you count the barnacles — which I don’t. Honestly, you landlubbers never learn anything.”



Above and below are two little videos of a racing Solings. That was the sailboat I had way back when. There have been a few changes made, but not many. The soling is a racing sailboat, but if you aren’t using her to race, you can open her deck and install benches. They are more comfortable for sitting or napping if you are out on the water for a long afternoon.

She was a dandy vessel for an afternoon in shallow water, such as we had along the south shore of Long Island (New York). Sailing by wind only, the birds seemed to think we were one of them. We didn’t have much power anyway, just a 5 hp outboard for when tide and wind were against us, or we had to drop the mainsail to go under a bridge. 

Ours was, just like this one including that lovely Omega which all Solings show on their sails. Our too was entirely white with just a hint of teak as decoration.

We were careful to never drop anchor where we were told not to. Jeff was a great swimmer, but no one wanted to dive into channel waters. They were filthy — and you had to keep your eyes open while you untangled the anchor. Even so, sometimes, you couldn’t finish the job before you ran out of air. Without an air tank, holding your breath is difficult while you are working underwater. 


And with that, she dropped the sailboat’s little anchor, completely ignoring the huge signs all along the shoreline with big painted letters saying “DO NOT ANCHOR HERE! CABLE BELOW!” The problem wasn’t what the anchor could do to the cable. Those were pretty big cables and this was a rather small sailboat. The problem was that the anchor would likely hook onto a cable and be impossible to release.

After that, the only way to get it loose would be to jump into the water and swim down deep enough to unhook the anchor from the cable. Some people did that, especially when it was an expensive anchor and the water wasn’t too deep, but most people, having ignored the warnings to not anchor wound up leaving their anchor behind, thus sailing away rather than aweigh.

She was no great swimmer. He could just about tread water with a short doggy paddle in between. So, as their anchor cleverly hooked the heavy telephone cable, was when she decided it was time to weigh the anchor, they would try winding it up, but it would stop and refuse to budge.

That was when she would finally notice all the signs along the inlet about not anchoring here. Unable to release the anchor from the cable, she would end up releasing the anchor.

One new anchor, one replaced anchor chain. And probably a new crank and case and a serious dive into some credit card. Oops.

It would be just one more anchor sunk to the sandy bottom of the inlet. The bottom of the inlet must be full of them by now.

He was lying on his back on one of the benches when she came back holding two gin and tonics. He smiled when he realized she had taken off the top of her bikini.

He’d mention the anchor later. This was the fun part of the sail. Why ruin it?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

14 thoughts on “ANCHORS AWEIGH – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. I loved handling the jib, but I hated the tiller and the main, so I always volunteered for jibbing. I also had a lot of trouble figuring out where the wind was coming from. Some people have a natural ability to know wind direction. I wasn’t one. But I loved being ON the boat. Racing was a bit scary for my taste. I have great respect for the ocean and love being ON it, but not IN it.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Sailing is easier on a somewhat larger boat. The soling is just 16 feet long and has a very shallow draft. We used to say she could sail on a wet hankie. These days, I have a lot of trouble getting on and off boats — even big ones like Tom and Ellin have. I was pretty nimble in my younger days, though.

      Nimble. Hah. That’s a pretty funny concept these days!

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Oops! We learned to sail in the Santa Barbara harbor in Seashells — 8-foot dinghies. That was a lot of fun, though not really good outside the harbor! I love being on sailboats — maybe that’s why I enjoy watching them so much.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The seashell was wonderful fun to sail — and a great educational tool, buth in the building and in the sailing. I know what a jib and a tiller and a main and even a centerboard are, and even how to tell where the wind is coming from and how to manipulate the boat to take advantage of that wind direction. Funny, though, that I didn’t learn until years later that you don’t need trees to make wind, maybe because there were trees around the harbor!

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  2. I can’t comment on this really, the only times I was on a sailing boat, it was on Lake Zurich and even then I got nearly sick…. 😉
    but what a GREAT story to read !

    Liked by 1 person

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