I am sure that Darry will have info to add but as an instructor here are a couple things.
1. You should never leave the dock without some type of sail ready to deploy. Most people rely on the engine as #1 form of propulsion, when in fact it should be the sails as #1 propulsion and engine as a backup if the wind dies. We too much rely on the engine, myself included as the primary source of moving. As you experienced things can go wrong with the engine in a hurry and you are then left to fend. I now never leave the docks without at least the headsail rigged and ready to go, I almost always have the main ready to be hoisted with the cover off and only 1 or 2 sail ties on, and the main halyard attached. If we change our thinking from engine #1 to sails #1 and engine #2 we should always be prepared to go should something happen. a furling headsail takes seconds to deploy and you don’t always need all of it to move, especially if you have over 20 kts of breeze. That goes for passages through passes or currents. “If my engine dies, what is plan B? Always have a plan B” There is nothing wrong with taking into consideration what is the worst that can happen with this situation I am about to get into and how can i mitigate those consequences, that way you can be prepared for the worst.
2. Danforths are really not the greatest of anchors. I have one also, but once in motion they tend to have a hard time setting. I think that a Rocna or manta style anchor would have grabbed but that is to be seen (Rick would love to know the results, perhaps that is something we should try VS. other styles.
3. Wind can be deceiving, something to always keep in mind is that gusts can be up to 40% greater than the wind forecasted. So if the forecast is 15kts the gusts can be up to 21kts. And wave height can be up to double. not to mention if you were over by ambleside (Lionsgate, correct me if I am wrong, but something to always keep in mind) there is a large amount of current coming-out of the inlet. and if you have wind over tide the waves can really start to stand up there. I have been out racing and the standing waves were probably 6-8 feet. Again, these aren’t things that should scare us as long as we know and are prepared for it.
4. A Securite would have been the incorrect VHF call, Securite (or Safety Calls) are for providing information regarding a navigational or meteorological warning. Unless you were considering yourself a navigational hazard. The correct call would have been a Pan Pan call. A Pan Pan or Urgency signal has a very urgent message attached regarding the safety of a vessel or person. It lets the Coast guard know that you have a situation that may become trouble. In your case you may have even been able to call a mayday because your situation did have the potential to become grave or imminent but that is the distinction you would have had to made. I do think that at the end of the day the coast guard probably would’t have been upset with a potential grounding of a vessel in adverse conditions. I have heard maydays called for less. Also the coast guard would have asked vessels in the area to assist, which may have got you help sooner. Remember, it is our responsibility to assist other vessels in distress if and when we can do so without endangering ourselves. Something to remember is that Pan Pan and Securite are to be made to ALL STATIONS. eg. Pan Pan, Pan Pan, Pan Pan, – All stations, All stations, All stations, – This is ……..
You may also want to consider switching out your VHS for a VHF!! I once tried to make a Mayday call on a Betamax and it didn’t turn out well 🙂
All in all, it sounds like you made some great decisions and managed to get out unscathed. But as a learning lesson, what would you have done if you didn’t have a friend close by to pull you off? If you did have sails prepared what would your course be, or what would you have needed to do to get out safely? Hindsight is a great thing, especially if you take the time to learn from the situations. As it seems like you are doing here. Take time and replay the whole scenario in your head and change some of the values (sails, anchor, etc) to see what other possible outcomes could have been and how you would have dealt with those.
Just happy you made it out ok and no one was hurt.