Making the Mooring... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-25-2015 Thread Starter
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Making the Mooring...

Dear Sailnet community.

I'm a bit of green sailor who naively intends to do some solo sailing. To that end, wondering if any of you have innovated around the mooring process, i.e. NOT making a mad dash from cockpit to bow.

All guidance appreciated.

Tom O'Day 28

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post #2 of 14 Old 09-25-2015
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Re: Making the Mooring...

Tom,

What is the current like where you moor the boat? How about the wind? What is your mooring setup? Do you have a pickup stick? Or co you have a setup like the one in Cuttyhunk
photo credit Boston Sailing Center Cruising Guide

Any and all of these will have dramatic impacts on how much of a mad dash that you have to make to the bow.


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Last edited by eherlihy; 09-25-2015 at 03:30 PM.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-25-2015
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Hi Tom,

It's not a science, its an art and similar to fingerpainting, you have to learn like a kindergartener - by making a huge mess the first 1000 times.

Just get out there and practise. Try touching to bow to the mooring ball (don't try pick up lines), then fall off and go do it again. When you can do that try touching the stern to the mooring ball - watch the lines!

I do this practise a lot. This year I had to operate a 40ft cat for a week long series of races as the starter boat. So I spent a few hours touching mooring balls, doing Figure of 8s, even in a stern, until I could really make that damn boat go where I want it.

So just go do some fingerpainting
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-25-2015
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Re: Making the Mooring...

One tip I got was to make a loop out of a docking line and use that to lasso the mooring ball and then pull tight. You can then attach properly at your leasure.

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post #5 of 14 Old 09-25-2015
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Re: Making the Mooring...

You could run a line from your bow cleat, outside the shrouds, to the cockpit. Grab the mooring lines from the comfort of your cockpit, and tie to the end of the bow line. When you are good and ready, and if you have room to the rear, just let the line go from the cockpit, and the boat will eventually spin around. Haul in at the bow and tie the mooring lines to the cleat.

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post #6 of 14 Old 09-25-2015
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Re: Making the Mooring...

A pick up stick/bouy can be key . . . So much faster easier than the boat hook bobbing for apples game . . . Grab it cleet it back to the helm . . Done . . .
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post #7 of 14 Old 09-25-2015
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Re: Making the Mooring...

You are correct: the mad dash to the bow is amateur. Never do it. Plan your approach from downwind, under main only of course, tacking slowly up to the mooring. Plan things, this is the trick, so the boat ends up moving very slowly as the mooring ball is about midship at the rail with the boom on the opposite tack. You have already rigged a long painter from the bow, outside everything, and ready to grab somewhere aft of the shrouds. Pick up the mooring ball, or whatever, with the boat hook and tie on your painter. You have plenty of time as the ball and you are moving slowly to windward. The ball should have some distance of scope to be slack. Easy peasy, piece of cake. If the boat doesn't end up at the right speed at the right place casually sail around like you meant to miss it and try again.

If somehow you end up on the wrong tack the painter may go under the boat. But you are tied on so this can be somehow worked out later....after a congratulatory beer.

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post #8 of 14 Old 09-26-2015
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Re: Making the Mooring...

Always assume the wind will shift just as you have yourself lined up perfectly. Always assume the motor will quit and you'll have to sail back to the mooring and pick it up under sail the first time you ever use your mooring (ask me how I know). Approach slowly, learn how far your boat continues to glide once you shut off drive in different wind conditions. If you miss, not the end of the world. Don't panic. Use a pick-up buoy. Put floats on the lines. I've been single handing on and off my mooring since April, haven't screwed it up too badly yet.

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post #9 of 14 Old 09-26-2015
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Re: Making the Mooring...

Quote:
Originally Posted by aloof View Post
... Plan things, this is the trick, so the boat ends up moving very slowly as the mooring ball is about midship at the rail with the boom on the opposite tack. You have already rigged a long painter from the bow, outside everything, and ready to grab somewhere aft of the shrouds. Pick up the mooring ball, or whatever, with the boat hook and tie on your painter. You have plenty of time as the ball and you are moving slowly to windward. The ball should have some distance of scope to be slack. Easy peasy, piece of cake. If the boat doesn't end up at the right speed at the right place casually sail around like you meant to miss it and try again......
This sounds like a formula for real trouble. Even when picking up a mooring with the bow into the wind, the first imperative is to get the main down before the bow falls off to leeward and the boat starts sailing away. Picking up a mooring amidships on some form of a reach, the bow will fall off even more quickly to leeward, and there's less time to drop the main - don't get it all the way down, the raised main will lay against the shrouds, and you will sail off downwind. If you can get the sail down before it is locked against the rig, you may escape. Otherwise you are sailing downwind with little control, not a good circumstance in a mooring field.

If you slow your boat properly so it stops at the pickup, the mad dash to the bow can be more a casual amble, that's the challenge and where you develop and display some seamanship...but having the bow into the wind is the best alternative you have, hang the length of the walk.
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Last edited by sailingfool; 09-26-2015 at 09:46 AM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-26-2015
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Re: Making the Mooring...

And then there's the Key West mooring field with no pick up lines from the buoys at all. With 20 knots blowing, a good sized chop, and solo sailing --- the best solution is to find some good crew lol.
Or hope there's a nearby cruiser who will come over in his dinghy and help out.

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