Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How To Pull Up Anchor - Mega Yacht 101

Terrapin is anchored in the Dutch side of the lagoon on St Maarten, not purposefully, but coincidentally, in front of the mega yacht docks at Palapa Marina (there are bigger yachts on Snoopy Island, where Steve Jobs' boat was moored, but these are still mega – as in over 150+ ft.)

When the mega yachts anchor here, it is “med-moor” style, derived from the method of anchoring in the Mediterranean Sea where they tie their stern to the dock and then put out a starboard anchor and a port anchor.  This helps get as many boats as possible in the smallest amount of space. 

This morning, while we enjoyed our breakfast of fresh croissants from the local patisserie, Baxter, Kala and I watched closely as the mega yacht “Seven Sins” pulled up their anchor.  

Step 1 – Hire two divers and a dinghy.  This could be included in the dockage fee at the marina but we can’t be sure.  Maybe this is a negotiation point.

Step 2 – The diver team marks the anchor chain with white buoys.  If a small boat is in the way – tell them they need to move.  Terrapin was close but we lucked out.

Step 3 – Diver team ties an inflatable buoy to the anchor on the bottom to mark the anchor.

Step 4 – They use an air tank and inflate the buoy to mark the anchor location and lift it off the bottom.

Step 5 – The divers signal the crew on the deck of the mega yacht (via loud whistle) to turn on anchor wash pumps (hopefully this is sea water) and start pulling up the chain.  The divers then hold on as the buoy slowly moves towards the yacht.

Step 6 – Important:  Avoid crossing the opposite anchor chain(s) of the mega yachts next to your yacht.

Step 7 – Crew resumes pulling up the anchor until the mega anchor is stored tightly on the bow with now only lines (aka ropes) holding the yacht to the dock and the boats next to them.

Step 8 – Wait for the bridge to open as you are essentially “trapped” in the lagoon except for the 6 times per day the bridge opens.

Step 9 – You are free to enjoy the day until you find another marina in a couple of hours.


This is similar but very different to how we pull up our anchor, though we usually move our boat forward to meet the anchor – they can’t do that or they would take about five other mega yachts with them.  To tell you the truth, I’m not sure it’s worth all the trouble of owning a mega yacht.  We’ll just stick with Terrapin – since we have the same views anyway.

Diver team attaching white buoy to indicate anchor chain line.  This is for the boat fourth from the right.  Kala supervising and noting their proximity to our boat.

Inflatable buoy indicating anchor

The signal to start pulling in anchor.  Again, Kala ready to rally if they get too close.

Straightening out the other chains - don't want a cluster.

All clear - leaving the dock for the 10:30 bridge opening (they started pulling up the anchor at 8:15)

1 comment:

  1. No wonder so many of them just stay put at the dock.

    ReplyDelete