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Bruce Pratt
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Discussion Starter #1
I understand that all the boats line up pretty in a mooring field when there is a current or wind, but what about still water with no wind:

1) If boats end up stern to stern will there be contact?

2)Is the distance between two moorings a full radius of each boats length? Or is there an expectation that the boats will be pointing in the same direction.

From the limited pictures I can find on the internet of areal view mooring fields it appears they could touch. This is of concern to me because while there may be no wind and current, and the contact should be minimal, we are waked often which will lead to more than minor scrapes.

I attached a random picture to show what I believe would be a mooring
field where boats would touch.
 

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Barquito
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In the two mooring fields I use, the boat don't touch. If the wind was light enough to have boat going in different directions, it would at least be a light touch.
 

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Freedom isn't free
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I suppose it depends on how long a bridle you use :)
 

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bell ringer
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I've never had my boat bump another in the mooring field even when they start all pointing in different directions. But I've bumped off the mooring balls around lots of times, mainly when there wasn't a boat on that mooring.
 

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Master Mariner
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We've had contact at the change of current (usually with cats) at several places where taking a mooring is mandatory (or necessary), such as the Deux Pitons.
The majority of West Indian moorings are not to be trusted, period. In many places the moorings have no official standing so someone can anchor right on top of a mooring.
 
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Only happened once with me in Cuttyhunk inner harbor which is a tight mooring field. Went dead calm in middle of night and strange sounds got people up to witness boats in every different direction gently bumping each other. It was interesting to see. With just a breath more wind, I often see the different effects on sailboats vs power boats in the same mooring field. They do get cockeyed. Same with full vs fin keel on sailboats when wind is just barely there. So my theory in a tight field is to moor next to boats like mine, so you all shift roughly the same.
 

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I've been at some transient/town moorings in Maine, well actually all over where someone puts a boat to long on a short mooring and they end up tapping another. Tight anchorages I see it all the time.

Something I've seen a lot of is someone will come from somewhere north where they have a 10+ tide and put out like 150 rode in 10' of water with a 2'tide, that gets real interesting around midnight. I've untangled rode's off of keels rudders other rode's it's always good to have some fins and a mask with you, a fresh tank if it's an anchorage just below the Cape Cod Canal!
 

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Oh Cuttyhunk! I use to share that big metal ball there with a friend years ago, just the tide change gets the boats a clanging. The boats in the anchorage in the inner harbor would drag every night. It was so common we had lines on the ready just raft them up to us and go back to bed. Never had to buy a bottle of wine for years...
 

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Bruce Pratt
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Discussion Starter #9
Wow, thanks guys. Those were some fast responses. Except perhaps SHNOOL........................... Please leave my wife out of this.

I stumbled upon this site looking for answers. Seems like a wealth of potential knowledge and fun. We are on Winni this year. The Merrimack next year. A bigger boat on the Chesapeake the following year and then south, south, south for the winters.

My 10 year old sons Tasar gave me the sailing bug a few years back so we bought a 22 oday for our family of four (or five). A few years on this and we will move up. I look forward to spending more time meeting people on this site. Thanks so far CAPTA, BARQUITO, RCKFD, GMC, DON0190

That was a joke SHNOOL :) your answer made sense of course.
 

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My neighbor and I occasionally tap.

I'm on a small city lake that's geared towards small boats, so the balls are pretty close together. On calm-ish days near sunset the breeze can get really squirrelly and the boats will start pointing in all directions. Every once in a while we'll end up touching butt to butt, but moving so slowly it doesn't really matter.
 

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Dirt Free
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Saw a lot of cosmetic damage done to a 42 Lagoon banging against a 41' Formosa in the old Charleston mooring field. Formosa swung with the current, Lagoon swung with the wind. it depends on the mooring field.
 

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The particular picture is of Avalon harbor on Catalina Island, near Los Angeles California. All of the moorings at Catalina are bow-and-stern moorings. There's usually a little bit of tension, and I've never heard of boats touching if they moored correctly.
 

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al brazzi
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Been there beautiful place, probably the best lunch I have had in my life. Anyway I've never bumped another Boat but I have woke up to my anchor line between the keel and rudder things get weird when tide and wind change.
 

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I've certainly had to fend off in a becalmed mooring field. Last I recall was Pirates Bight on Norman Island. Very unusual to be totally calm there. While I would say they probably didn't plan for a calm, they probably didn't plan for anything. :)

The first issue is that the mooring is not connected to its anchor by a post, but rather a line/chain that will have some slack. In areas of large tidal range, that slack can be significant. Hundreds of times, I've taken a mooring and had the empty mooring behind me tapping my transom. I've pulled the slack out in mine, while its chain has it wherever it was dropped. If a boat were on it, they would pull the slack out and be dozens of feet behind.

The second issue is wind vs current. Sailboats and powerboats generally react differently. A long keel is more likely to be influenced by current. This was an issue in Edgartown harbor a few years back, when a hurricane broke Katama Baynooen to the ocean.

All part of the biz.
 

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It can be particularly troublesome in an area with both current and wind. We kept a boat in Newburyport many years ago, and actually had it get tangled up with another boat during a tide shift with wind against tide. Pretty messy. Not just a tap, had to be actively separated. Some people actually fastened buckets to their sterns so the tide would win, and even that was not always effective

Some transient mooring fields are well organized (example: Northeast Harbor Mt Desert) so that larger boats and smaller boats are relegated to moorings with the correct gear and spacing. Most are not IMHO.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Provincetown Harbor mooring field, Bristol Harbor, Cuttyhunk Inner Harbor (although I usually anchor here), Newport Harbor, Great Salt Pond on Block Island, Edgartown Harbor, ... I could go on... all of these mooring fields allow boats to bump if wind and tide are slack. Probably easier to list places where this is not the case; Third Beach, and Fogland are the only places where I have not seen this as a potential issue.
 

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Some transient mooring fields are well organized (example: Northeast Harbor Mt Desert) so that larger boats and smaller boats are relegated to moorings with the correct gear and spacing. Most are not IMHO.
I guess it's all in just which mooring you pick! Codda, I got a chuckle because I thought the exact same thing you did about North East Harbor, except for the one mooring they put me on.
They moved us to another mooring but it was funny for a while fending off that Ketch in a field that all the other boats had all this space.
 

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The largest mooring field I've encountered was Boot Key Harbor in Marathon Key, Florida. There were 226 mooring balls in the field, for boats up to 60 feet, and I never, in the four months I was there, saw, or head of, boats touching. Pretty incredible operation.



Gary :cool:
 

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As mentioned, the pic from the first post was Avalon harbor on Catalina island. I was there over this last weekend.

They're fore-aft moorings, and insanely close together. Yes, boats do touch. I did with my neighbor, and it's happened to me before. What happens is that a large powerboat moors to windward of a much lower profile boat - like a sailboat or a smaller powerboat. Then the wind blows the powerboat into the sailboat which is in it's lee. There were plenty of open moorings so I moved.

It's worse at low tide of course, but I often retention the mooring lines for tide anyway. Just behind me there were two boats moored next to each other, they were able to raft to each other easily (they did it intentionally)

I've been there when it's full and the harbor patrol will tell you to put fenders out.
 
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