Good post. I tend to agree with you about the through-the-mooring-ball attachment system. Ours is set up that way, and this year I added a series of floats to the pennant for exactly the reasons you described.
By the way, I considered purchasing bonafide pennant floats from Hamilton, but I was feeling thrifty that day and took another approach. We have about half a dozen "swim noodles" that we use for floating on when we swim off the boat. They are long (about 4-5 feet) foam tubes, with a hollow core. We buy them for about 99 cents on sale. I took one of those, cut off six-inch lengths with a serrated bread knife, then sliced each length longitudinally on one side, down to the hollow core. I slid about half a dozen of these on to the mooring pennant, spaced about every foot or so. I put two wraps of duct tape onto each float and voila.
Not the most ship-shape or fancy approach, but each float costs about 15 cents. So far they have held up well and served their purpose.
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Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62
NEVER CALLS CRUISINGDAD BACK....CAN"T TAKE THE ACCENT