My wife and I have been sailing the Eastern US in our 30' C&C for 3 years now.
We decided to charter a 36' mono-hull this past April. We ended up here on Friday the 18th "Good Friday" The mooring field was, as some have mentioned almost full.
There was other charter boats racing each other to the few available balls left.
Letting circumstances like this lead you into doing any things before the ship is ready is asking for trouble
The other couple with us had the job of shorting the dinghy line at all stops.
You can write as many standing orders you like in the captains order book (or give them verbally).
But at the end it is the captains duty to confirm the the ship is ready for the planned operation
“Well” We missed the ball twice and were blown off by the wind. 25kts and had to circle around.
On my 3rd attempt he still missed the ball with the hook. I had a lot of on lookers by this point and became one of the people you guys are talking about.
It's not easy to catch and hold on to a mooring ball with a boat hook and secure a rope when it's blowing 25 knots (I'm assuming that there was no rope attached to the ball)
I know that the text book says approach the ball directly up-wind but here is another idea:
Approach the ball at a small angle to the wind and aim at the windward side of the ball and let the boat drift towards the ball.
It might be better to catch the ball mid ship (more room on the deck to work on & closer to the water make it easier to thread a line through)
The Noobie! Sorry. It gets worse. I backed up on the last miss in hopes of giving my first mate a second chance.
Well the long dinghy line was sucked into the prop and cut the line.
Backing up can work and can be useful if the boat has a sugar scoop / swim platform.
But again the skipper and the crew missed the danger of the dingy
On a sailboat there are always ropes that can get into the water, if the whole crew is aware of this and take action immediately you reduce the risks.
I shut the engine down and we began the emergency procedure to stop us from colliding into other yachts.
We got the finders out and deployed. I jumped into the dinghy and wedged it between the two boats.
The yacht we eased up against were home and deployed there finders as well.
After we were tied securely to their yacht, I jumped into dive mode to free the furled line from the prop and shaft.
I had done this over and over at home to make sure I had the skills I needed on the charter.
I learned a great deal and came back home alive. I did not mean any harm and thought I had the skill set needed to moor the yacht.
It’s different in heavy wind and sea. Your crew has to know what to do in a crisis. Try to remember when you were learning the ropes.
You made mistakes too I’m sure. All ended we’ll no damage to either yacht or people. My Pride will be forever damaged.
You did the right things here