Where's My Mooring?
Bizzare thing happened today.
My boat is moored in Salem Harbor, MA on the Marblehead side. I, and 2 of my friends wanted to go sailing, but the forecast was iffy. We get to our launch and realize it was blowing like snot from the southwest (harbor direction) at a steady 20 mph. 40 mph was predicted for the peak gusts as the front moved through early eve.
We debate whether to go, but think it will be less of an issue out of the harbor as the harbor is acting like a funnel. Worse case is that if it is really bad, we turn around and head back.
I go up to prep the mooring lines for elease and notice that the nearest boat's stern is no more than 6 feet from my bow. Damn that is too close. I have never seen him that close. Last weekend he was at least 30 ft away or was he? Damn this boat is close. I look down the mooring line of the other boats and we are all lined up, except this guy who looks like he was either placed wrong or dragged. But, these are mooring blocks at least 1500 lbs, surely this guy hasn't dragged his mooring? Maybe this is the closest approach, and with the severe conditions and low tide, this is why he is here and not where I normally see him.
So we cast off and motor out of the harbor and basically run/very broad reach for 13 miles, then tic-tack back. Great sail. At the mouth of the harbor, the winds have really picked up now and are approaching 25 to 30 mph funneling down the harbor.
We locate the my mooring spot and head toward it. Once I get there, I see my pick-up stick and my buoy cone bobbing just next to the stern of the boat that was 6 feet from me this morning, then disappear under it. What the hell? The guy behind on his boat and yells over, "Is that your mooring that he is on top of?, I reply "Yes", "Oh, what are you going to do?, he replies. I ask myself the same question.
Occasionally the buoy pops out and floats 6 to 8 feet to the starboard side the guy's boat. We decide to try and nudge in, keeping some distance between us and the neighboring boat and grab the pick up stick with the boat hook. Just as we get close the current/wind shifts just enough to drive the buoy against the other guy's boat.
After three unsuccessful attempts, I give up and head over to an empty mooring with no nearest boat neighbors. Not knowing the block size of the mooring, I don't want to hang on it too long in the fear of dragging it.
I call the launch service and have them swing by to see if they can offer advice or at least give me a temp. mooring until we sort this out. They swing by and say that they will go in and drag the mooring back for me and I'll be fine. Am I hearing this right, the launch, which may weigh 2000 lb and have 50 Hp diesel, is going to drag my 3000 lb mooring block? They motor off and make the attempt. They pick up the stick, put the pennant on the rear cleat of the launch boat and motor away. The line goes taught and the Lauch lerches about of foot into the air, nearly throwing the launch operator helper out of the boat.
The launch comes back and has the harbormaster on the line for what to do next. The have me put my onto industrial sized mooring and said they will deal with my mooring issue tomorrow.
I truly think this other guy's mooring has dragged. His slot is not in line with any of the other boats around him. Either that, or some idiot totally miscalculated the swing lengths and with respect to boat size for this area when the placed the mooring for him. I also think that there is at least 1 too many moorings per area. I was a little further in last year and never felt uncomfortable about my mooring in relation to others.
It is worth asking them to check the other guy's mooring as well. It could be that they placed it wrong, or that both moorings dragged. What do you use for a mooring anchor up there? A 3000 lb. concrete block isn't much of a mooring anchor IMHO, since concrete loses a significant amount of its weight in water. Concrete is about 145 lbs/cubic foot, but loses about 45% of its weight in salt water, since seawater is 64 lbs./cubic foot.
It would be worth mentioning how the other boat's mooring slot doesn't seem to line up.
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