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Old 01-05-2010, 15:57   #1
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Single Handed Mooring

Okay, we have had a discussion on helping an inexperienced crew that is having trouble mooring. How about a discussion on single handed mooring when the weather is a bit (or a lot) snotty.

I have (in smaller boats) been able to pull alongside a mooring bouy and clip on while remaining in the cockpit. I had a line running from the cockpit to the bow and then back outside the lifelines. I never tried this when the wind was kicking up and I was always afraid I would drop the line and wrap the prop. What do you do when the weather is less than settled and want to pick up a mooring and you are all by yourself?
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Old 01-05-2010, 16:06   #2
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You anchor.
- - Your technique of running a line from a bow cleat outside everything then back to the cockpit area is about as good as can be done. I have two long lines with really large stainless steel carbiners on the end. All I have to do it put the bouy amidships by the cockpit and then quickly lift with a boat hook and snap the carbiner onto the bouy ring - or - through the pendant eye and snap the carbiner back onto my bow line. Then I can go forward and adjust the line as the boat drifts and falls back.
- - Not having to thread and run the line back to the bow or having to take the time to bend in a bowline to the bouy or painter eye makes the whole operation simple and incredibly fast. The only hard part is getting the boat and bouy together properly.
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Old 01-05-2010, 16:56   #3
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Mooring vary so it's hard to have a once size fits all approach for every situation. It's definitely more of a if you boat's bow has enough windage and the underwater plan is such that it can be pushed off the wind in a gust... which is what likely to happen of you let her lose way just at the pick up buoy.

Perhaps try to use the fact that the wind will blow the bow off and approach at an angle and with the bow to windward a bit so she catches it and is slowed and pushed to lee down onto the pick up buoy.

I often have to make multiple passes in crowded mooring fields to get this right and I wish I could tell you just what to do. I can't. Do some practice "runs" and see how the boat behaves before actually trying to pick it up.
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Old 01-05-2010, 17:11   #4
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My cockpit was in the stern with about four feet distances to the water. I'd prepare all of the lines before approaching the bouy. Rig a line from the bow outside of everything back to the cockpit so that once the bouy was caught you could attach this line to the bouy/pendent and move the bouy to the bow of the boat.
Have a twenty foot length of dockline to loop around the bouy and tie off on the primary winch while you threaded the line from the bow through whatever on the bouy. Unhook the safty lines.
CLIP-ON your safty harness, remember you're leaning outside of the boat and captureing something in the water, and there is nobody to retrieve you if you fall off of the boat.
Approach the bouy on its high side so that the boat can drift down on the bouy after you've put the transmission in neutral once the bouy is beam to your cockpit on the boats leeside.
Loop the dockline around the bouy and tie to the primary winch.
Now it's a simple matter of threading the line from the bow through what ever on the bouy and running it outside of everything to attach the bitter end to the bow.
To avoid chafe in rough conditions I'd use two lines to the bouy, attaching the ends of both lines to the same side of the bow. ie. one line for the port side and the other for the starboard side.
This has worked for me in two plus feet of chop and winds over 10 knots.
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Old 01-05-2010, 18:05   #5
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I usually anchor if things are blowing up,however I have apermanent 20 foot line attached to a bow cleat and use a Grab and Go clip on my boot hook . This device is great for the singlehander and saves my ageing back,it also keeps me in the boat its as sure fire as its gets.I do it all from the bow of my contessa 32.
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Old 01-05-2010, 18:09   #6
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mooring pick up

I single hand my 45,000 pound 50' boat quite often, and she lives on a mooring right at the mouth of the harbor. When it's honking out of the southwest at low tide I have about 2 1/2 boat lengths down wind to the edge of the dredging, so I've got to come quartering down wind to the edge of the mud, turn up and get straightened out, and stopped, in 2 1/2 boat lengths. After some initial excitement, what seems to work well for me in this situation is to come around, head straight for it, lose sight of it, and do kind of a j turn, hook slightly to port, then come back to starboard and a good shot of reverse to stop. I then run forward on the starboard side and, most of the time, the ball is right there to starboard with the bow blowing down on it. It is important to take all way off and let the wind do the work. When done correctly I have time to pick up the whip and get one pennant on the cleat, then just wait for things to settle down and straighten out.

This works better for me alone than going straight for it, since I can't see the ball within a boat length and when you're going really dead upwind in 25 knots the bow could go either way when you stop. In my case I have to be carrying enough way to make the turn and stay off the mud, like 3-4 knots, so the healthy shot of reverse to stop pulls the stern to port, which means the bow starts blowing down to starboard, and if I'm lined up square to the wind I'll lose it when I hit reverse.

Best, Bob S/V Restless
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Old 01-05-2010, 20:16   #7
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So -- if you don't have a launch service, but instead use a dinghy to get to your mooring,the dinghy on the mooring complicates matters when you return. Does anyone have a system to keep from fouling with the dinghy?
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Old 01-05-2010, 22:58   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
So -- if you don't have a launch service, but instead use a dinghy to get to your mooring,the dinghy on the mooring complicates matters when you return. Does anyone have a system to keep from fouling with the dinghy?
If we keep putting conditions on the problem then the answers is -- It Depends.

If you've approched the bouy upwind of the bouy, as I explained then, the dinghy is flloating downwind of the bouy, therefore the bouy is between the boat and the dinghy. The dinghy is out of the way and not a problem.
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Old 02-05-2010, 00:51   #9
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Put fenders on the dinghy. Problem solved.
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Old 02-05-2010, 01:06   #10
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Picking up a mooring ball under sail was always pretty straight foward. Approach under foresail too leeward. Long line cleated at the bow outside the life lines, bitter end in the cockpit. Keep approaching until you've got it pegged where you just barely make contact then fall off (with the jib doused), get the end through the eyelet, walk it up to the bow, cleat off. Get in the dinghy or otherwise secure to the chain.
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Old 02-05-2010, 05:48   #11
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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
So -- if you don't have a launch service, but instead use a dinghy to get to your mooring,the dinghy on the mooring complicates matters when you return. Does anyone have a system to keep from fouling with the dinghy?
Actually having a dinghy on the mooring is a hugely simplifying asset. Just install a fishing pole holder on the bow or other convenient surface inside the dinghy and drop a boat hook or other type pole into it vertically then drape your mooring pendant over the top. You approach the dinghy, reach out and easily grab the mooring pendant and slip it over your cleat.
- - All of these ideas above are based on your having the basic skill to bring the bow or beam of your boat up to and stop with the mooring buoy/ball where you want it. If you cannot do that then you just will have to practice, practice, practice until you have that skill mastered. 90% of the process is having the skill to put the boat where you want it; the other 10% is preparing lines so you can link on to the mooring in the few seconds available before the boat moves from that optimum buoy - boat position.
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:49   #12
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if you don't have a launch service, but instead use a dinghy to get to your mooring,the dinghy on the mooring complicates matters when you return.
Pull your bow right up to the dinghy, then drop anchor into the dingy.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:32   #13
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A trick I have practiced a few times is to approach the mooring in reverse. Everything is in sight, you can see the lines and their relation to the prop, and there is a cleat handy to drop the mooring line on. Then you can rig the line from the bow and transfer the mooring line forward.
It works great (at least on my 30' Sabre), but I was never singlehanding in conditions so bad I felt I had to use it.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:37   #14
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Sorry for the thread drift but I cannot resist - There is a perpetual problem in St Thomas Charlotte Amalie harbor with cruiser/charter boats anchoring in the auxilliary designated anchorage for cruise ships. These areas are well marked on the harbor chart. Once when I was there a 3rd cruise ship came in and so had to anchor. There was an old-time Brit with his yacht right in the middle of the cruise ship anchorage. The cruise ship pilot unsuccessfully tried to get him on the radio and finally sent the pilot boat to tell him to move. He came up on the radio and everybody heard him refuse to move saying "I was here first." The cruise ship put its long overhanging bow right over his midships and let loose a few feet of anchor chain. You never saw a guy raise anchor and scoot out of the way quicker.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:42   #15
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You never saw a guy raise anchor and scoot out of the way quicker.
LOL

Great idea Sluce, thanks, and thanks to everyone for their posts.
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