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Old 07-21-2002
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Dan Dickison is on a distinguished road
Temporary Moorings

Do you have a recommendation for the following situation: want to base ourselves in a favorite anchorage and want to daysail from there. Would like to avoid hauling in our main ground tackle every day (45-pound. CQR). We have a 45-pound Danforth we thought we could leave at the anchorage but are unsure of the tackle arrangement this would entail. Please advise if you think this is feasable and if so how to rig the temporary "mooring." We sail a 32-foot custom Gilmer ketch with a five-foot draft and nine-ton displacement. Thanks very much.

Dan Dickison responds:
Thanks for your question. Rigging a temporary mooring isn't really all that involved, and it can be an excellent, time-saving device if you're laying over in a harbor somewhere, but still want to get out daysailing during your stay. If you only have two anchors on board, then you're stuck arranging the temporary mooring with only one (which actually makes it more of an anchor than a mooring due to the length of the scope you'll need), because you definitely don't want to get caught out sailing without a serviceable anchor on board.

Here's what you need to do: First, couple the anchor you'd like to use on a temporary basis with the section of chain that you normally have on your main anchor rode. To the bitter end of the chain, secure a length of nylon line that's at least three-quarters of an inch in diameter and roughly 10 feet longer than the maximum depth where you'll be setting your anchor. Now here's the key part. You'll want to attach your normal achor rode to that line, and then set the anchor. But you'll want to be able to disconnect this juncture without much ado, so you might consider using two large galvanized shackles, one attached to the end of each line.

Now, you're going to need a float of some sort and a small length of line as a tether, preferably polypropylene line because it floats. Attach one end of the polypro line to the float and the other to the lower line in your two-part anchoring system.

Now, when you're ready to daysail, just pull in the anchor line until you get to the shackle connection, disconnect the closest shackle and cast away the line and float that are attached to the lower shackle, and you're off. When you return after your outing, retrieve the line by way of the float and reconnect the shackle and it's line that you retained on board, and you can then pay out the necessary scope. A word of caution here, you'll probably want to sieze the lower shackle's pin with wire to ensure that it doesn't back out, and you may want to tie a small line through the pin on the upper shackle, and use that to restrain the pin from turning on it's own while it's in use. If the idea of two shackles robs you of sleep at night, you might want to consider using a knot instead, given that the line is supple enough for you to tie one.

This is by no means a perfect system. You may find that during your sail other boats have arrived and anchored too nearby for you to pay out the necessary scope. That's when you'll have to polish up your diplomacy skills. You could engineer another system with two anchors, but with only one anchor, this is probably the best way to go. Good luck to you and enjoy your summer sailing.

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