Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New England
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Others have given you some ideas, but...
I am not fond of the pick the mooring buoy/stick/pennants up in the cockpit area for the following reason: You can run over your tackle and snag it on the propeller or keel or crash into a boat. I have seen it done. DeniseO30 also shows you that things can go wrong quickly.
Often the mooring buoy and pick up stick with pennants are 5 to 8 feet apart. The mooring buoy doesn't really move a lot, since the heavy chain anchoring it to the bottom/block doesn't move around unless there its load on it, whereas the buoy/pennants float around with the current/wind. So in some instances the buoy can be "far" way from the pennant ends.
Most people will run only one line from the cockpit to the bow, traditionally on the starboard side. But what happens if, to pick-up the buoy on the starboard side, you need to put the bow of your boat between the mooring buoy and pick-up float/stick so as to have the pick-up stick next to the rigged line. By the time the stick is far enough down your boat length, the pennants are now under the boat maybe caught on the keel. If the disappear under the boat AND your prop is still moving, you could snag them or the top chain with the prop.
Okay, your smart though to rig up two lines so now you can approach from the side that won't cross over the pennants if that is an issue. If your boat is long enough, the wind/current is strong, and you're in a tight mooring field, the boat in front of you my too close to allow this maneuver. Because by the time the pick-up buoy is back near the cockpit, your bow may have crashed into the boat in front of you. Remember once you are on your mooring, the weight of your boat will pull the mooring top and bottom chains taunt and your will settle much farther away from your neighbor.
My approach is very much like BarryL's. I motor into the mooring in the same direction as my neighbors are aligned on their moorings. Sometimes this is into the wind, sometimes its a combo wind/current. I eyeball when I am about a 1 to 1.5 boat lengths away and put the motor in neutral. I point the bow directly at my pick-up buoy, not the mooring buoy. I quickly walk forward and ready with a boat hook and my hand. As soon as I can reach the PU buoy, I drag it on board and throw one or both of the pennants on my cleat. If the boat is still moving forward. I quickly go back the cockpit and put the motor in reverse for a second or two to stop the forward progress. If a leave it short and I can't reach the buoy, I head back to the cockpit and go around again.
If I do it right, I don't need the boat hook, but some times the buoy is just out of my reach, and the boat hook allows me to get it. If the PU buoy is more than a foot or two out of my reach, I go back to the helm and go around again.
After 30 or 40 tries, I have a pretty good idea how the boat slows in various/wind current conditions. If there is absolutely no wind, I may put the boat into neutral at 2.5 boat lengths, very wind, 3/4 of a boat length.
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Last edited by DrB; 05-27-2009 at 06:07 PM.