Mooring ball heads up!! - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-12-2008
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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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Last edited by Maine Sail; 06-12-2008 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 06-12-2008
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Great Post! Across the Hudson river from here I have a slip, is a 300 boat mooring field. I was not that many years ago, Tappan Zee bridge 4, Nyack Boat Club 0. That was score after boats broke lose in storms. All the mooring lines showed sings of chafe.
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Old 06-13-2008
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Another great post, Halekai. Thanks.

The only beni I see to the "on top" mooring balls is keeping one's pendant(s) high and dry and thus free of a slime beard.

Hardly seems worth it.
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Old 06-13-2008
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Originally Posted by lbdavis View Post
Another great post, Halekai. Thanks.

The only beni I see to the "on top" mooring balls is keeping one's pendant(s) high and dry and thus free of a slime beard.

Hardly seems worth it.

Yes but only when you're actually ON the mooring. When you go off sailing for two weeks the pendant gets just as dirty as mine...

I think the premise is that you can see the shackle and pendant thimble. I can see mine fine when I pull it up above water and do my spot checks....

Again this was just a heads up for those with through the ball mooring set ups..
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Old 06-13-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halekai36 View Post
Yes but only when you're actually ON the mooring. When you go off sailing for two weeks the pendant gets just as dirty as mine...
It doesn't take 2 weeks in Casco Bay, does it?!?

Halekai, Were you up the Royal River at Yankee this week? I thought I saw that beautiful blue on a drive by the other day...
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Old 06-13-2008
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Very interesting. Great info! I guess this is one of the few cases where bigger is not necessarily better with regard to mooring/anchoring hardware. I have always used inflatable mooring balls with the attachment at the bottom. Never gave much thought to it, but you just convinced me to continue using them.
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Old 06-13-2008
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It doesn't take 2 weeks in Casco Bay, does it?!?

Halekai, Were you up the Royal River at Yankee this week? I thought I saw that beautiful blue on a drive by the other day...
No my boat has been on her mooring in either Broad Cove in Cumberland or on her mooring in Falmouth since early May.. Where is your boat? Did you check out Kaza Auto Electric for your alternator? Where do you keep your boat are you in SoPo..
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Old 06-13-2008
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Helekai,

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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Old 06-13-2008
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John,

I've seen that done. I happen to have Hamilton five minutes away though.

I use one "Seine Net Buoy" for bellow the water to hold the shackles in place then about six of the "White Oval Floats" ($1.41 each) for above water to float the pendants....
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Old 06-13-2008
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We had on a mooring with the pennants on the bottom last year. On two different occasions one of the pennants chafed through under the mooring ball. I figured that barnacles & abrasive chain/shackle on the bottom of the ball were the cause and if they attached on the top, we would have better chances.
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