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Putting Good Holding to Good Use

The hurricane force storms during the winter of 2013/14 caused a lot of damage in the west of Ireland. Beaches were washed away, roads and bridges were destroyed, our local Golf Links was covered in boulders, and many piers, jetties, and floating docks were severely damaged.

The smashed up dock after the storm

So it was with one such floating dock that we needed to repair. One of the hurricanes coincided with an astronomical tide. This lifted the dock in question up and over one of its pilings. This section of the dock then was flipped over twisting and breaking heavy timbers.

In order to salvage this section and reunite it with the rest of the dock, it first had to be removed, flipped over, and then reattached. Countless people stopped by to give advice. Tractors were offered, a digger was sourced, cars were suggested.

As sailors we all know that if you apply a lateral force to the tip of the mast, your boat will heal over and ultimately capsize – simple physics of using a lever to one’s advantage. So we added a mast to one side of the upturned raft and tied several stays from its tip to the other.

The next question was applying enough force to accomplish the task at hand. This dock segment was heavy, really heavy. We started with a ratchet, but that didn’t have enough scope. So, we soon progressed to a pair of double blocks – yes, an old main sheet from our boat.

But what would we use to anchor this. After all we were on the shore. Another item from our boat – an anchor! We just happened to have a Spade Anchor handy. Like all the scoop type anchors, it is known for its high holding power. We set this as best we could, hooked up the components, and pulled.


Adding the blocks and tackle

Pulling using the Spade anchor as an ‘anchor’
It never budged!

The dock segment is tipping up

And over she goes

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