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Old 31-10-2010, 18:22   #1
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How Do I Stop Mooring Lines Getting Tangled

A few months ago I put in a 8 foot sand screw with a 10" disk on the bottom. Attached a 3/8 chain and A series buoy. This type does not have galvanized rod through the center. I attach two mooring lines to the chain below the surface of the water that I pick up and fasten to cleats on the boat.
What I find is the lines constantly get tangled up and I have to undo constantly after leaving the mooring and returning. I have one line on 20' floating rope with small white buoy to pick up. The other has a small white buoy attached to the end that goes around the boat cleat to keep it also from sinking. The rope from the mooring chain to the boat is about 15' long.
In bad weather, like the Hurricane that just came through, I add a chain from the boat to the mooring chain. It is slack just in case the 2 ropes fail. I also have a rocna to put out if needed.
Any idea on how to keep the ropes from tangling up?
I am considering getting the buoy with the galvanized rod and attaching both the ropes at the top out of the water. One will remain on the floating pickup line, the other leave on the bouy out of the water. I will run my chain from the bottom of the buoy to the top just in case the rod fails. and attach my boat to the chain that is fastened to the loop on top of the buoy.
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:22   #2
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:10   #3
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Sounds like you need a heavy duty swivel to prevent the tangle from the mooring ball twisting separately from the boat.

The Pardeys discuss construction of heavy duty swivels in their heavy weather sailing book.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:19   #4
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If I understand correctly you have two independent lines with floats coming off the mooring tackle. One lines goes to your port cleat and the other to your starboard cleat. When not in use the two independent lines dance and weave themselves together with tide and wave action.
- - One way to stop this is to attach a carabiner to one of the two lines and use it to attach the two independent lines together at the float. You haul up the float and then detach the line with the carabiner to use it on the opposite deck cleat.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:25   #5
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The type of float with galvanized rod through the center is the worst type, IMHO. The rod rusts inside and can't be inspected -- the part that shows looks good but the inside eventually becomes the failure point. I have seen two of these fail with the result being total loss of the boat. The type that's best is the type that contains a pipe through the center, so you can run the chain through to the top connection.

You do need a heavy-duty swivel, but even a swivel will not keep your lines from wrapping on the chain beneath the ball. You need two more elements to accomplish that:
1) The ball must float at or below the widest part, so pennants can drift over it in a shift of wind/current

2) You need flotation at least every foot along the pennants (I use inexpensive closed-cell split foam pipe insulation from the home center store, on the entire length that's on the water). This prevents the pennants from sinking beneath the mooring ball when they go slack.

There's lots of other literature on the proper construction of a mooring, but you generally won't find the above information.

Also, take a look at this excellent photo essay done by Maine Sail
http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/mooring_prep
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:48   #6
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Mooring ball lines tangle

Thank you, I never thought of the insulation tubes. I agree that the buoy with the rod is NOT GOOD. Trying to find a remedy to a problem probably would end up with a worse problem.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:05   #7
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I'd like to read of a solution to this problem with is manifest especially in mooring area where there is a significant tide which changes directions twice a day and complicated by the absence of a prevailing wind from one direction.

In light winds the boat may align with the current and it can end up circling the mooring twisting the lines with or without a swivel. Swivels are all they claimed to be as far as avoiding twist.

I set up a mooring system with a bow eye to avoid all problems associated with chafes in chocks etc. In my case this includes chafe from the wood rub rail with a half round stainless trim, and a stainless stem assembly.

But I added a pair of "security" lines with loops attached to the bow cleats. YIKES 3 lines to pick up. And I haven't figured a way to keep those fellas untwisted when they lay waiting to be picked up either. The security lines are longer and slack unless the bow eye line parts.

I feel the boat is quite secure but getting on and off this tangle of lines is certainly nothing like dropping or retrieving an anchor. And I suffer from mooring line twist which makes it even more time consuming.

You'd think after 25 years with this boat I would have this nailed... but the sea is still winning on this one.

I have floats on the end of each line so the working end doesn't sink.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:06   #8
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Originally Posted by defjef View Post
I'd like to read of a solution to this problem with is manifest especially in mooring area where there is a significant tide which changes directions twice a day and complicated by the absence of a prevailing wind from one direction.

In light winds the boat may align with the current and it can end up circling the mooring twisting the lines with or without a swivel. Swivels are all they claimed to be as far as avoiding twist.

I set up a mooring system with a bow eye to avoid all problems associated with chafes in chocks etc. In my case this includes chafe from the wood rub rail with a half round stainless trim, and a stainless stem assembly.

But I added a pair of "security" lines with loops attached to the bow cleats. YIKES 3 lines to pick up. And I haven't figured a way to keep those fellas untwisted when they lay waiting to be picked up either. The security lines are longer and slack unless the bow eye line parts.

I feel the boat is quite secure but getting on and off this tangle of lines is certainly nothing like dropping or retrieving an anchor. And I suffer from mooring line twist which makes it even more time consuming.

You'd think after 25 years with this boat I would have this nailed... but the sea is still winning on this one.

I have floats on the end of each line so the working end doesn't sink.
Take a look at the Colligo Marine multihull bridle plate. Also having multiple slack lines is not helping -- you might want to try either reducing your backup lines to one up-sized line, or adjusting your lines so the backup lines are the ones under primary load with the single bow line being the (slack) backup.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:33   #9
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Old 01-11-2010, 16:06   #10
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Usually the cure to what you are describing is a combination of a swivel and lashing the pendants together in a few places. A swivel in the chain right below where the pendants attach will let them unwind as well as the buoy. By lashing them together, they will unwind the swivel as opposed to simply fouling each other. These lashings should also have flotation so that the pendants do not foul the chain. What I am describing is exactly what is pictured in Maine Sail's stuff.
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Old 03-11-2010, 16:10   #11
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I had a similar problem and the lines were too long. 20' of floating rope + the length of the pennant seems very long. I switched to 10' pennants with 2' line with stick and have not had any issues since. Also add some floats to the pennants.
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Old 07-11-2010, 14:55   #12
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Buy some swimming pool noodles, cut them lengthwise and tape to your mooring lines in the water by pushing the lines inside the noodle. Gorilla tape is the only tape that holds. I used this with success on a mooring were tide was a big issue.
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