Basic Mooring Question - SailNet Community

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Old 03-26-2011
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Basic Mooring Question

I have an 18 foot sailboat with a single bow cleat. When I moor the boat, I simply drop/slip the pendant loop over the cleat and then tie an "O-8-1/2-hith" over the pendant with the painter, itself spliced through the eye of the bow cleat. Is there a more secure way to "tie up" to the mooring (not interested in a second line/attachment or anything)? Or is this the standard way of doing it?

Relatedly, if my bow cleat was a so-called "herreshoff" cleat, would that enable me to slip the pendant loop through the eye of the cleat, and then carry the loop over the two arms of the cleat? Would that result in a more secure attachment to the mooring? In this case, I wouldn't have a painter spliced onto the bow cleat and so i wouldn't be able to cleat the pendant down. So perhaps this would be a less secure approach?

thanks much for any guidance.
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Old 03-27-2011
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There are tons of way to attach a mooring pennant to a cleat but it sounds like you are using a reasonable one. Many boats that I have seen simply place a spliced eye in the pennant over their bow cleat and leave it at that. Some people will cleat another line on top of the pennant to help keep it on. It is sometimes possible to pass the line through the center of a cleat and then loop it over the top but large mooring pennants don't tend to take the tight bends well.

Another way to approach it is to play around with the hardware. If the spliced loop in the end of your pennant is as small as possible, it will be less likely to come off but it will also be harder to get on. Similarly, a larger cleat will be less likely to have the line come off. If your cleat is not on the rail and the pennant passes through a chalk, making this captive will help. While more extreme, it is possible to actually make a solid connection with hardware to the bow but this tends to be time consuming to connect and is only really appropriate for storms.

Try playing around with your current arrangement and see how hard it is to undo and decide whether it is good enough for you. Keep in mind that if there is any fetch where you moor your boat, in a blow you can expect the bow to dip so low that the line will actually be pulling up on the cleat at some angle.
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Old 03-29-2011
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I would suggest having two mooring lines. Have the shorter one go to the towing eye on the bow with a clip (I assume an 18' boat has a towing eye). Have the longer one (just a little longer) go to the bow cleat. If the shorter one chafes through, then you will still have the longer one to hold the boat. Some attach the primary line to the base of the mooring ball, and the secondary to the top. If the primary becomes dettached, the secondary will pull the mooring over. This can be seen from land.
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