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Old 06-08-2012
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Move from slip to mooring ball

Hi all,

I'm considering moving my CAL29 from a slip to a mooring ball. I have to move out of my current marina and all the other available marinas are significantly more expensive. I only get to sail once per month or so and maybe visit the boat one other time in the month. I work too much.

Wanted to benefit from any experiences or advice folks here might have. Here's my thinking so far:

--No shore power. Need to rig some kind of solar panel or wind thing to maintain my batteries.
--Bilge pump power worries. Because of no shore power, the possibility exists that the bilge pump, if needed, would run down the battery and down to the bottom she'd go. She doesn't leak, but for several weeks after I bought her, prior to unsticking and tightening of the stuffing box, the bilge pump was definitely required. So I worry about the day the bilge pump might be required again.
--Fewer boat neighbors who might help with security or calling me if something's amiss with the boat.
--Need to row out to the boat, rather than step off the dock. It's not that far, but I'm sure this'll add 15-30 minutes to each boat visit and will be a pain if I want to load/offload a bunch of stuff.
--Are public dinghy docks safe to store your dinghy for long periods? Doesn't seem so. I'd have to lock it with a chain or something. Any hints?

Advantages of the ball:

--Still close to where I like to sail and easy to get to from my house. Some marinas I could afford are much further away.
--No banging against the dock in storms/wakes. My current marina is subject to wakes from the harbor.
--Far less expensive than my current slip (I'd probably save $1,000+/year)

It's the savings that makes this seem attractive. With the extra 1,000 a year I could spend some money on things like solar power and maybe a bilge monitoring service that would call my cell phone if water rose, and stuff like that.

If I kept it on the ball for a few years, the savings would allow me to make even more improvements to the vessel.

Thoughts? What am I not thinking of?

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Old 06-08-2012
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Re: Move from slip to mooring ball


My boat has been on moorings since 2004 (but hauled in the fall and re-launched in the spring).

Unless there is something seriously wrong with your boat, your batteries should be fine if you are on the boat and using it once a month. The bilge pump usage should be very minor, if not, fix the leak instead of adding more power for the bilge pump. Of course you can't run the fridge or have air conditioning, but leaving the boat with all electrical loads off should be fine. Make sure you use the engine enough to charge batteries before you leave and you should be fine.

Another advantage of moorings:
It's much easier to get on and off a mooring then into and out of dock. You are always approaching upwind, so no side winds to worry about. Getting off is also easy. I usually raise my mainsail on the mooring, then drop the pendant and go.

Disadvantage of mooring:
If you are going on a trip you need to row out to the boat, move the boat to a dock, and then load all the gear. And at the end, you need to do the reverse. Same thing if you need to load water and other supplies.

All in all, I'm happy with being on a mooring.

Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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Old 06-08-2012
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Re: Move from slip to mooring ball

I think you have nailed most of the pros and cons
.... but not only will you need to row yourself to the mooring but also guests and crew. Maybe multiple trips involved.
..... also bird guano. That is a problem where I sail and it's the isolated boats on moorings that are badly affected. Look at the other boats on moorings. Do they appear to have a guano problem. Are they covered with nets or have various bird scaring devices?
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Old 06-08-2012
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Marina = Social, Mooring = Peaceful

My take is this, folks that often do marinas are 1) because they can't get a mooring (none allowed in area or none available) 2) they are want he social aspects of the marina.

I own a mooring and love it. Some of the thing you list are accurate and some, maybe not so.
  • I don't really see the need for added solar stuff. If your batteries fail from being used due to the bilge pump being on, a solar panel isn't going to keep up unless you get a pretty big array. Solar panels just keep the batteries charged, not a s source as primary power.
  • Rowing out to your mooring will be a pain. Suggest a small motor (2-4 hp) to aid here.
  • If it gets nasty out, a row to/from with be wet and lousy. See motor idea.
  • Do you need to row to your boat or is their a launch service that you can hire.
  • Moorings will be less stressful on your boat in a blow.
  • Moorings are easier to "park" at than a slip.
  • Mooring will be a lot quieter

I have never had vandalism to my boat. First, single it out form the other 2000 boats in the mooring filed,then get to it, then break the lock. I would think a dock would be more easily accessed.

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Old 06-08-2012
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Re: Move from slip to mooring ball

I have lived on my boat fpor over 12 years now, and have never tied to a dock or used a marina, to me the exspense is just not worth the problems. If you go to a mooring just be careful that the mooring is a good one or set the mooring yourself to be sure that it is. I have seen a lot of them come loose in mild storms.
I use 2 anchors and am in a river and have never had a problem with dragging. As to getting the supplies to the boat you come in or dingy them out, that is just part of boating.
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Old 06-08-2012
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Re: Move from slip to mooring ball

I was at a dock for a few years living on the boat. The major drawback is being "on display" all the time with gawkers and drunks making noise and walking back and forth at all hours. It's nice to be at a dock when you have a lot of friends to b.s. and have a beer with but it gets to be too much. That was fun when I was 20. Most of the time since I have been on moorings or at anchor. The rowing back and forth is surely a PITA sometimes. You can't just drive down to the boat. You have to drive down and either row out or catch the launch. If friends are coming, you can pick them up at the dock easily enough and continue right out sailing. It's really a toss up depending on your priorities. Moorings are also better to be on in a storm as mentioned above. You have a lot more choices in a blow.
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Old 06-08-2012
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Re: Move from slip to mooring ball

I have been on a mooring for over 30 years. Never needed solar panels or other source to keep the batteries charged. Running the engine for a bit each time the boat is used has been enough to keep them charged.

I don't like the idea of leaving a dinghy at a public dock. Too easy a target for vandalism and theft.
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Old 06-08-2012
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Re: Move from slip to mooring ball

I prefer my mooring. For the dingy dock I usually pull the motor off. Nice thing with that is I can run fresh water through the intake after use. One thing to think about is if you get a lot of rain, then check the dingy or it may stay full of water etc.. go with the mooring since it usually costs less and you can work less and sail more,
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Old 06-08-2012
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Move from slip to mooring ball

I always looking forward to paddling my kayak to my boat on a mooring. My body is out of shape. Actually paddling 3-5 times a week the only workout I get. I enjoy it.
My solar panels are the only source of electricity. I have relatively small ones, 60 watts al together. It is enough to power shower sump, lights and a computer. I have no problem bringing water with me, I exchange big 5 gallons bottles in nearest pharmacy. There is public rump with a dock nearby. I use it when I I have guests.
I prefer mooring. I can keep my coal stove going in winter. No neighbors to complain.
s/v NEMO - Freedom 28 Cat Ketch, centerboard
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