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Old 06-12-2008
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Maine Sail Maine Sail is offline
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Mooring ball heads up!!

Hi All,

It has come to my attention over the last few years that the new "hard shell" mooring balls where the pendant connects to the top run a significantly higher risk of the pendant wrapping the chain than previously thought.

Today in winds of 18-30 knots I counted no less than 7 "hard shell" balls with the pendants wrapped around the chain.

I watched this happen the other night in calm weather and my observation is as follows.

In calm weather the boat swings around the ball and the pendant goes slack. The pendants then gets caught under the ball and wraps the chain. If the boat continues to move around the ball it can wrap three or four times! I observed two things that could or are causing this:

#1 The mooring ball sits too high in the water due to either a light top chain or too big a ball for the weight of the chain and it makes it easy for the pendant to get "under" the "equator" of the ball and then when the boat yanks the pendant it shoots straight down under the ball instead of up and over it.

Heavier chain and or a smaller ball better matched to the chain weight at low tide would get the ball sitting lower int the water and may minimize this occurrence.

#2 Any pendant coming off the top of the ball should have floats laced about 12" to 16" apart, out to about 4 feet or so ,so the pendant can not sink under the ball in calm conditions. This would only work with a "low floating" ball and even with floats some still wrap high floating balls.

I took this picture of my neighbors boat this a.m.. I tried un-successfully in 18-30 knots to untangle it but it had wrapped twice.. It would not have taken much more wind to chafe and snap these dual pendants..

I think a large swivel about two feet bellow the ball would let the pendant un-twist from the chain if this happened. My pendant connects under the ball to the top of a 1" swivel and in the last 13 years my pendant has never once wrapped the chain.

I'm having a tough time seeing any benefit to a through the ball set up based on what I've witnessed over the last three years. From a severely scratched brand new Awlgrip job from the top shackle rubbing the hull to LOTS of pendant wrapping of the chain I'm perplexed as to the benefit..?.

Just a heads up!!
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-Maine Sail / CS-36T


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Last edited by Maine Sail; 06-12-2008 at 11:38 PM.
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