Mooring Pennant Hook-Up
I just purchased a boat and will be keeping it on a mooring. The previous owner has allowed me to "park" on his mooring for a few weeks until mine is put in.
I am a always concerned that I "botched" the mooirng tie up and the boat will float away and create a hell of a lot of damage to the other folks.
In the harbor were I am we use two pennants; one on each side of the bow. Each penneant is braided line and 3/4" in diameter. My boat has some heavy duty chocks on the front where the mooring line goes through to the mooring ball. The surveyor really liked these.
The looped sliced end of the pennant goes around a single, large cleat on the bow and then the two mooring pennant loops are tied together with a string to snug them up to the front of the cleat. I hope a that I explained that well enough for everyone to picture.
I want to ensure that the boat never breaks free. Is there a better way to do this? Should I also tie a secondary "safety" line around the mast just in case?
This sounds like a fairly typical setup. One thing you didn't mention is chafing gear on the pennants. This is important to prevent them from failing due to rubbing and friction. A number of types available from the marine suppliers. I like the ones that are slipped over the line before the loop is spliced versus the ones that are split lengthwise and installed and tied on afterwards. Check that the chocks the lines are in don't have any sharp edges.
The pennants do
have heavy duty plastic sleeving around each line. I can't remember if they are split or single, but I'll check tonight. They are pretty thick and long, so that is good.
Thanks for the reply.
"then the two mooring pennant loops are tied together with a string to snug them up to the front of the cleat."
Could be local tradition, or the best way to use what hardware you have. I'm more familiar with two separate mooring lines, each with a loop spliced in the end of it. Each line comes up one side of the bow (over a roller or chafe strip) and then is made fast to a mooring cleat, a conventional horn cleat.
Personally I line to see a cleat that is sized to match the line, so that the loop can be passed under the center of the cleat and then dropped over the horns, spreading the load and the chafe areas, quick and simple to hook up or drop.
If your boat "sails" at the mooring, the two lines can twist up around each other where they come off the mooring ball...but this way you've got two fully separate and redundant ties to separate cleats.
On the mooring ball itself, the lines should go to a strong ring at the top of an iron bar which extends through the mooring ball, with another ring at the bottom where the ground tackle is attached. Inspecting those fittings is critical, once a year may not be enough.
But there are many ways to skin a cat. Mainly, whatever the local tradition is, or harbormaster reqs are, make sure that whatever the mooring is attached to really is adequate for YOUR boat, and in good condition all the way down. Most folks would have a diver (or the mooring company) inspect that once or twice a year to confirm it. And get the results in writing. A worn $10 fitting can cost you a boat.
If this is a small boat and there's just that one bow cleat? Taking a line back to the mast and using it as a second sampson post (strong point) is more than I'd do every day, but a good long-term or storm tactic. The mast also makes a good towing point for small craft that have nothing better available.
My boat displaces 75,000 lbs and stays on a mooring for most of the year. The pennants that I use have been configured in the exact same way as yours. The important things to consider are:
- Make sure you inspect the pennant carefully every year.
- Remove the pennant for the winter.
- Make sure you have good chafing gear on the spots where the line rubs, especially against your chocks. That is the place it will most likely break in a bad storm.
- Get good advice about chafing gear. After using old fire hose, I replaced it with stitched leather this year. I believe that leather is the best material to use. Fire hose isn't a good idea because it can build up heat that doesn't get released quickly.
- Replace the pennant if you see any signs of wear.
My boat has been on my mooring for 4 years now. I replaced the chain this year and the line attaching it to the buoy. The pennant is still good and will last at least another year.
The new Dyneema/Spectra chafe sleeves are even better than leather, since they allow more water through to cool and lubricate the line in heavy weather. A serious source of mooring/dock/anchor line failures is due to internal friction causing enough heat and damaging the rope because the chafe gear didn't let water through. Water acts to both cool and lubricate nylon lines.
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