Anchor Bender

Written by Pieter Jan on Oct 26, 2019 — 3 min read

At: San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily, Italy

When Barbara hauled in the anchor, she noticed something was very wrong. It got stuck beneath a rock and getting it from under it took a few tries and pulls in different directions. When we finally got it in, it was bent out of shape. It had been stuck during the thunderstorm of the night before and the 45 knots of wind pulling the boat had been too much. Imagine the forces needed to bend 2cm thick steel like a paperclip.

It's not supposed to bend like that
It's not supposed to bend like that

We moored in a nearby marina.

I disassembled the anchor and took the bent part with me in search for help. The harbormaster’s office was closed. I walked on along the beach until I found a diver’s shack. Some people were hanging around, smoking and talking. Their eyes went to my bent piece. “Hmm”, “Tsk tsk”, “Uh oh”, they commiserated. I didn’t need to explain much. One of the women spoke English. She called a shipyard and gave me a number to call back. The shipyard guy said he would be there at 14:00.

A bit less worried, I went back to the boat.

Then I thought: “Maybe I can bend it back myself. How difficult can it be? People have been smithing since the bronze age. My very last name means ‘the smith’. Let’s give it a try.”

I went in search for a rock and a hard place, and soon found a piece of concrete surrounded by marble boulders. Perfect! I put the bent piece down and went full medieval on its ass. It didn’t budge a millimeter. The marble block crumbled in my hands. I went back to the boat with a newfound respect for the noble art of smithing.

The shipyard guy, Salvatore, arrived around 15:00. I explained him that we were leaving for Sardinia tomorrow. He said: “We’ll see what we can do. I can’t promise anything. I’ll be back tomorrow morning.” At least, that’s what I think he said. He didn’t speak a word of English and my Italian is about the same level.

After that, a thunderstorm arrived. When it was over, we went in search of provisioning. We found a supermarket about 20 minutes away. Barbara got crossing fever and provisioned enough food to last us 3 weeks. Packed like mules — about 50 kilos of food — we trudged back to the boat, just before another thunderstorm broke loose.

We waited out that thunderstorm, then went back to the town to find a restaurant. A third thunderstorm passed over us while we were eating. We ate and drank as slowly as possible to let it pass before heading back to the boat. Helder and Mira fell asleep before the rain stopped. We trudged back to the boat, packed with about 50 kilos of kids.