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Old 06-08-2015, 05:35   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Boat: Catalina
Posts: 57
Mooring bridle ?

Hi Folks,

I have just moved my Catalina 30 onto a new swing mooring.

It is quite a heavy 1 inch 'polyhemp' rope with a loop spliced in the end and some heavy pvc tubing for chafe protection. It also has a float with a stand up pole attached.

Up front of the boat I have two mooring cleats, port and starboard, and a bow roller further forward on a small bowsprit.

I am having a few difficulties with the current setup;
  1. the 1 inch rope with the pvc tubing is a little bit too big to fit comfortably through the bow roller (it just fits when jammed!)
  2. the retainer pin on the bow roller cant be closed/locked
  3. the 1in rope only just fits around the mooring cleats - there is no room to tie a locking hitch or similar
  4. its hard work manhandling the heavy line through the bowroller as its awkward to access fwd on the sprit.
I think the solution may be to fabricate up a bridle with smaller diameter line to run from the 1in line eye splice up to both my mooring cleats. My mooring contractor however insists that current setup is the only safe solution.

Thoughts ?

Thanks.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:24   #2
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Location: Mangareva, French Polynesia
Boat: Heritage West Indies 36
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Re: Mooring bridle ?

Hey TopperHarley. I worked as a marine contractor doing diving and moorings here in Bermuda. All of our bridles were designed to hold boats through hurricanes and we never lost one of our boats that had been seen to within the last year due to a gear failure on our part. The type of bridle that you have should be custom-designed for your boat specifically. Anything else is pure laziness and lack of creativity on the part of the person designing the mooring. The bridle setup will depend on a load of factors, such as bow roller, chocks, cleat position and arrangement, height of the bow etc. etc.

Having said that, the absolute preferred bridle arrangement if the design of the boat allows it (and yours does based on your description of the bow) in my view is as follows:

Single heavy bridle as big as feasible. For your boat that does mean about 1" nylon if the bow roller will accept this with the chafe hose. You say it does, just about. The metal thimble where it attaches to the mooring chain should sit at the water level, and the bridle should then come up over the bow roller, covered in something like exhaust hose for chafe protection. The eye of this bridle should come to aft of the headstay and this eye can be quite small diameter.

Next, you have a strop made from the heaviest line that will fit on the cleats, with an eye in both ends and again hose (probably clear, double reinforced PVC for this one so that it doesn't mark the deck up) as chafe gear. This goes from one cleat, through the eye of the heavy bridle and over to the other cleat. The length of this strop is important as it determines where the heavy bridle sits on the roller. You want it to be such that the pull on the cleats is as close to being in-line with the angle that the cleats have been mounted at as possible. The only time we ever lost a boat that was set up like this was when the cleats had been poorly-installed by a cheap manufacturer. Another boat had broken free, slammed into ours and the combined force ripped the cleats right out of the deck.

Some of the advantages of this system over a double-bridle system are:

- Less chafe (chafe is the primary reason for boat loss during storms)
- No tangling of bridles
- The load is always spread between both cleats.
- Simple to pick up and retreive; the strop stays on the boat when you cast off. The pick-up buoy is attached to the heavy bridle.

Hope you figure it out! To stop it from jumping out of the bow roller, can you just tie a bit of twine a couple of times around the roller? Or a velcro strap or something?
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:43   #3
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Re: Mooring bridle ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TopperHarley View Post
[*]its hard work manhandling the heavy line through the bowroller as its awkward to access fwd on the sprit.
Can't really see a solution for this one other than having two single bridles coming up through chock on either side of the bow, but i wouldn't recommend this for the reasons summarised in my last post.
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Old 06-08-2015, 16:44   #4
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Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
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Re: Mooring bridle ?

Maybe some smaller lines made up of Dyneema which hitch to the main bridle using a prusick hitch and chafe protection over them?
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Old 06-08-2015, 19:46   #5
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Boat: Catalina
Posts: 57
Re: Mooring bridle ?

Thank you so much for the detailed replies !
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:08   #6
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Re: Mooring bridle ?

An excellent solution would be to add a length of 1/2" or 3/4" dyneema/spectra Single braid line, eye spliced (or cow hitched) to your existing mooring line, long enough to go from just beyond/in front of your anchor roller to your mooring cleat, with a spliced loop to go over your mooring cleat. You could add some fire hose over it where it runs over the bow roller.

That dyneema would be stronger and more chafe resistant and more uv resistant than your current mooring line and would better fit your cleat and bow roller.
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