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Chris King 01-10-2012 11:31 PM

Gadgets to help catching a mooring
My current technique for picking up a mooring take two people. One grabs to mooring with a boat hook while the other lays face down on the fore deck and reaches down to the mooring to thread a line though the ring.

There are some products on the market that promise mooring nirvana. Do they work? Do you have a favorite one? Is there a better way to pick up a mooring without buying one of these things?

Happy Hooker Mooring Hook Tip (Marinetech Products) - Boat Hook Accessories


EasyMoor Mooring Hook

There are other things out there that snap a hook to the buoy. It would seem preferable to look a line through for easy retrieval though.


jackdale 01-10-2012 11:40 PM

I like a full round turn on the mooring ring - less chafe. These do not accomplish that. In BC the rings are on a chain that you can lift through the mooring buoy. Yes, sometimes they get fouled and you end up picking up the whole thing.

MikeOReilly 01-11-2012 12:18 AM

We've had one season now using this "Grab n Go" hook. I don't go to a mooring very often (very few in our cruising area), but the two or three times I used it last season, it worked quite well.


My method is to snag the mooring ring with this tool, then once the boat is stabilized, we attach a proper mooring line (with full turn if we're planning to be there for a while).

MedSailor 01-11-2012 01:06 AM

My parents use the happy hooker and love it. It does work very well. I agree though that a full turn around the mooring is preferable, but you could do that manually after using the happy hooker to get the initial setup.

Of course I've now found SEVERAL Washington state park buoys washed ashore, or have been dragged way out of position. I also have one friend that did 20K worth of damage, last summer, when he drug a Washingotn state park buoy aground, so I pretty much never use them anymore. I just carry my own mooring in the form of a 66# Bruce and 300' of 3/8 chain. :D


tommays 01-11-2012 08:47 AM

We use those crazy floating pickup sticks around here you just walk to the bow and pick up the pole and haul in the light line and drop the heavy one on the cleat ?

TQA 01-11-2012 09:05 AM

I have single handed much of my sailing days. When I need to pick up a buoy I arrange a mooring line from the bow outside everything back to the cockpit with a big carabiner on the end. I then pick up the buoy from the cockpit, attach the line and sort things out at my l own time.

If it is windy run the line round the rope drum on the windlass before taking it out the bow roller.

I have used a device like the happy hooker in my early days and it worked well if the buoy had a nice ring on it, much less well on a loop in a line.

Also I had a device that held a giant carabiner but nowadays just use a regular boathook and manually attach the carabiner as I find this to deal better with the wide variety of mooring buoys and their attachments out here in the Caribbean.

WanderingStar 01-11-2012 09:12 AM

Tom, I had the same thought. But I think he must be talking about visitors moorings in other places. Which makes me think I might need a solution this summer too. WS has a fairly high bow and my wife doesn't steer or take directions well (do they come like that?). So I picture myself trying to come up to a visitor's mooring, which I can't see, and running forward to pick up the slimy line with a hook. Hmmmm.

WanderingStar 01-11-2012 09:16 AM

TQA's reply reminds me that in the CG we used a carabiner with a short rod welded to the side. That fit into the end of a wooden boathook. So you could reach down and snap a towline onto the bow eye of trailer boats.

Chris King 01-11-2012 11:05 AM

The moorings I deal with mostly these days are in Ayala Cove at Angel Island. You have to pick up two moorings here, fore and aft, because of the swirling currents. The floats are big heavy things with a horizontal ring rigidly attached to the top.

I had a particularly grim experience last summer. There was some event going on the island and there were a couple of ferry boats zooming back and forth bringing people over from Tiburon. One ferry came in particularly fast just as my crew was trying to slip a rope through the buoy with is finger tips. His wake lifted the bow way up and slammed us down right on the buoy putting a nice ding in my bow. Grrrrr.

AdamLein 01-11-2012 12:02 PM


Originally Posted by jackdale (Post 815405)
I like a full round turn on the mooring ring - less chafe. These do not accomplish that. In BC the rings are on a chain that you can lift through the mooring buoy. Yes, sometimes they get fouled and you end up picking up the whole thing.

I also do the full round turn, but I would guess from the "how it works" images for the Easy Moor that you could just perform the same process twice and it would give you a full round turn.

On the other hand, the loops on our mooring buoys around here (only used them in WA, not BC) don't stand up on their own, and are pretty small. So I'd bet it would be a struggle to use either of these things.

My system is to make a big bowline and drop it over the mooring buoy from the cockpit, and adjust everything later.

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