Constant Waterman 

From the Journals of Constant Waterman

We rounded ‘22’ at the mouth of the river and headed for the lee of Napatree Beach. I brought her up, shaking, dropped the Danforth and, just to be safe, paid out my whole rode; dropped a second hook astern. I never did like using just one anchor when staying any place where the tide would change. Much too easy to foul your anchor and end up dragging and drifting. This time of year, a hundred small craft share this anchorage and some are more savvy than others.

Just upwind, a larger sloop was joined by two sisters and the three of them rafted together for the night. The sunset proved magnificent, the water placid. We lounged in the cockpit and savored our supper. I lit the anchor light and we both turned in. At five A.M., I slid open the hatch and watched the sun climbing Watch Hill. When I looked about, it seemed to me the three boats were closer.

“I need some coffee,” I thought to myself.

I went below and did the needful, started the coffee and put on my shoes. When I came on deck, the three sailboats were just off my quarter and closing quickly, their one anchor dragging. I uncleated one anchor but didn’t cast it off. I hadn’t any time to fetch a buoy for it, let alone bend it on, but I hated to lose it. Straddling the taffrail, the rode in one fist, I seized a stanchion of the nearest boat and braced myself to keep us apart. Not a big deal - just twenty tons of boats and my anchor trying to pull me overboard.

“Hello!” I hollered. “Is anyone below?” After a moment, a hatch was raised and a tousled countenance squinted out.

“Is anything the matter?” he asked.