A grappling hook is not something I have actively used before, but I get the concept.
After dumping my anchor and 150 feet of chain to the bottom of the channel the night before, I woke up to the reality that I was going to have to figure something out to fix my problem. I absolutely had to have a good anchor and chain on the windlass to move forward. As I was falling asleep after watching the tide change, I thought I remembered seeing an anchor/grappling hook in the dinghy or the back lazerette. I went to search and it turned out that I actually had the exact tool I needed to try to recover my anchor. The grappling hook was the perfect size.
I have to note here that I got very lucky. I had reset the plotter on Friday night while I was going through the various settings, I turned on the option for recording tracks. This means that I could see where I had been. In the heat of the situation the night before, I somehow had the presence of mind to set a mark at the location on the plotter as soon as I realized I’d just dumped the whole of my anchor and chain overboard. This was invaluable in giving me a good starting point to figure out where to begin my search and I was able to reposition the boat so I was over where the chain should be.
I have not really used a grappling hook before so this was a learning experience. My second toss, I hooked into something. It was way bigger than my anchor chain and would not budge. I believe it was a cable. I think that the diameter of the cable was just large enough that the hook finally slid off and I luckily retrieved it. It would have been doubly bad to have lost the anchor and the grappling hook as well. A little nervous now, I remembered a technique that I should have used from the start. It is something you can use with a grappling hook or anchor where you tie your primary line to the trip ring at the head of the hook and then lead the line up the shaft and zip tie it to the primary attachment point at the end of the shank. This technique gives you an out in case you get caught up on something like a cable or old car that won’t ever come up. The theory is that zip tie will break if you get enough force on it and your line will now be pulling on the top end to un-snag it. If the holding force of one zip tie is not enough, you can add one or two more until you have enough for the job. I won’t forget that again.
I moved the boat forward a bit more toward my line and after another couple tosses, I caught something that was coming up with what felt like the right amount of weight. About halfway up, I feel the zip tie break but I still have weight on the hook so I keep gently pulling. Success! It is my anchor chain and how the hook got twisted into just the right configuration to keep a hold of it after the zip tie broke, I have no idea. I struggled for the next 30 minutes with various lines and knots and a whole lot of determination and finally, I had the whole thing back on board. I was exhausted but totally ecstatic! I really did not think I was going to get it back and felt great that I was able to find it in just a few tosses.
After a little break and many sighs of relief, I pulled up the backup anchor, reset the bruce anchor and went down for a well deserved nap.