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Old 02-10-2014, 14:10   #1
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Broken mooring in Marina Taina, Tahiti - Beware!

Hello forum readers in the Pacific!

I wanted to share this information about the popular marina Taina in Tahiti... Beware of their moorings!

The end of April, my husband was diagnosed with a terrible disease and we had to fly to the USA for this urgent medical situation, leaving our boat Irie on a mooring ball (A19) in Marina Taina. We prepared the boat as well as we could to be left alone, and we attached her securely, skillfully, and safely to the mooring, with a line off each bow, keeping the ball in the middle and forward, so no chafing was possible. We had a back-up line to a middle cleat on deck as well, “just in case”. We had friends checking on our boat frequently.

When we returned to Irie on August 15th, we found her on the same mooring, but on the foredeck was a pile of mooring lines and our boat was only attached to the mooring with one line, running around both bows (rubbing all our newly and expensive antifouling paint off!), through the loop, which means that each time our boat moved in the wind or current, the line was rubbing against the loop line and chafe would occur over time. This could lead to this one mooring line snapping and our boat dragging through the mooring field, crashing into other sailboats, and/or ending on the reef! We had no idea what had happened, none of our friends were responsible for this new set-up and we thought it would be a mystery forever. Shocking that someone hopped on our boat and secured her with only one line… We paid our bill at the marina office to Philippe Olite, the manager, and he did not mention anything happening to our boat.

About a week after leaving Marina Taina, a new boat arrived in the anchorage where we were staying. One of its crew members told us that he had saved our boat two weeks prior – right before we arrived back in Tahiti from the USA - in Taina Marina. Apparently, mooring A19 had broken loose and Irie was dragging through the anchorage around midnight, with our three mooring lines and the mooring ball still attached!!!! Irie was about to crash into another catamaran and the man in the dinghy, who had noticed Irie floating free, woke up the crew of the other catamaran. Together they fended Irie off to avoid any damage to the two boats. Then, they called the marina security. Philippe and a helper reluctantly arrived to put Irie on a different mooring. Then, A 19 was fixed and Irie was put back on that mooring ball, with only one line! If anyone should know how to tie boats to moorings and docks, it should be people who work in marinas, don't you think?

This news, as you can imagine was a serious shock to us. We could have lost our boat (and home – it is all we have), either hitting other boats, hitting shore or running on the reef! But, even worse than that heart breaking thought, was the fact that Philippe – even though he was the one putting our boat back on the mooring – NEVER told us about this event! And, the marina did not take any responsibility of what happened… We don’t think this was the right way to deal with a situation like this and to treat us this way, as if nothing happened, and when confronted (I went back to Marina Taina to talk to Philippe about this event), as if it is the most normal thing in the world that a mooring breaks and that it would be our responsibility if damage was done! We regret Philippe’s attitude. We feel like we did everything to keep our boat safe and we paid a lot of money to the marina for a mooring that was not safe.

I have written a blog about this event, which can be read or referred to on It's Irie: Taina Marina Moorings: Beware! and this information can also be found on Noonsite. I hope to attract some attention to this re-occurring and unattended situation (which has been experienced by many cruising boats before us!) at Taina Marina and maybe, only maybe, they will take this info seriously and they change out their moorings and policies!

Happy cruising!

SV Irie in Moorea, FP

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Old 11-10-2014, 12:14   #2
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Re: Broken mooring in Marina Taina, Tahiti - Beware!

I am not surprised about the inept help at marinas. Several years ago I had a Catalina 22 at Beach Marine in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. The owners of the marina decided they were going to host a boat show in their marina at the docks where my boat was. They moved my boat from its slip to the other side of the marina and in doing that, they tied it in a horrible way!

My docklines were attached to the cleats on the dock, but they were not attached to the cleats on my boat, but rather they tied them to the lifelines using......granny knots! They only used two lines and left the others tossed in the cockpit. My fenders were left lying on the deck.
To make a long diatribe into a short reply, the aluminum rails on the floating dock were rubbing on my gelcoat and leaving marks.
I have more "unfortunate" stories of my experience at that marina, but I am not going into that on this thread.

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Old 12-10-2014, 14:45   #3
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Re: Broken mooring in Marina Taina, Tahiti - Beware!

This sounds like a very unpleasant interlude.

Probably the lesson embedded in the experience is that one can only very rarely trust a mooring one has not dived on and checked. Everyone always assures you they're properly maintained, but most aren't. Beware of moorings. Obviously, there are times like the above, where one might be forced to take an unknown mooring -- and it is always risky unless you check yourself that it is all okay. (You will need dive gear and to know how to use it in deep anchorages/mooring fields.)

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Old 12-10-2014, 16:29   #4
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Re: Broken mooring in Marina Taina, Tahiti - Beware!

When we acquired our boat, the inventory included a large bucket of galvanized shackles of various size. I heard enough similar stories to yours to have figured out the shackles were there to be able to repair moorings. Good that someone kept you from going aground. It could have been much worse.
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Old 12-10-2014, 16:49   #5
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Re: Broken mooring in Marina Taina, Tahiti - Beware!

I've never seen a foreign mooring that I believed was maintained prior to breaking. My guess is most "holders " of moorings assume they are good until they break. At least that's what I choose to presume... until proven otherwise. Sorry for your trouble.
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Old 13-10-2014, 04:52   #6
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Re: Broken mooring in Marina Taina, Tahiti - Beware!

I think the marina manager acted like mooring breaking is a common event because IT WAS.
Season after season moorings break and the boats on them are damaged, its just about as common as folks dragging through an anchorage. There is a false sense of security that the mooring you are renting from a marina or facility is being maintained. Many moorings are maintained by fixing them when the break....not inspecting them before hand. The only way I would ever consider leaving our boat on a rental mooring would be if I dove on it myself to inspect it. Its the only way to be sure and safe.
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Old 26-10-2014, 20:37   #7
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Re: Broken mooring in Marina Taina, Tahiti - Beware!

Most of the moorings in Marina Taina are in crystal clear water where you can see the top and bottom of the mooring from your deck. I don't know what Irie did or didn't do but I'll bet they did give their mooring a visual inspection before leaving their boat.

I've heard several stories of splices giving way from that particular mooring field (having been improperly done) so it may not have been obvious visually that there was a problem. The moorings in that area are fairly regularly changed out (we've watched them inspecting, pulling them and replacing moorings). Some of the reason they have a short shelf life is how some boaters (not Irie) tie to the moorings - many people bring the eye up onto their boat and chafe the actual mooring line on their vessel.
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Old 26-10-2014, 20:46   #8
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Re: Broken mooring in Marina Taina, Tahiti - Beware!

Another lesson here is to pick your "friends" carefully when asking them to watch your boat. They must not have checked very carefully if they weren't even aware of all this.
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Old 29-10-2014, 11:31   #9
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Re: Broken mooring in Marina Taina, Tahiti - Beware!

Ire hit the nail on the head. The marina does not really care. While there we watched a boat sink. It was a Sunday and no one was around at the marina to do anything. Monday I reported it to he office and the response was "We know". Real dead pan. And in the next week we never saw anything happening around it. Once I did see some divers "maybe" on it. I'm guessing it was still tethered to the mooring.

Another boat stored there for a year contracted termites. They swarm and move various months of the year. IMHO I would be very careful leaving my boat there.

But there are not many options. You either leave with your boat; as we are or leave it at one of the 7 storage places in all of French Polynesia. Marina Tiana seems quite popular, then Apataka (small boats and light Cats) in the Tuamotous, Nuka Hiva (only water storage), SW corner of Tahiti only smaller boats with an abundance of rain and thus mold, One in the water storage on Moorea and two yards on Raitia. Raitia is quite popular too but usually full and they have waiting lists.
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Old 29-10-2014, 12:02   #10
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Re: Broken mooring in Marina Taina, Tahiti - Beware!

I do not trust any mooring balls and avoid them like the plague.

I have had only one experience when I had to fly home for a few weeks and the only alternative was to leave my boat on a ball. This was in hole three in Georgetown, a fairly secure spot. The owner of the ball assured me he would check the lines while I was away.

Before I left I dived on the mooring which was a very large engine block. In addition to two lines on the ball I unshackled my anchor, took the chain through a cylinder in the block and shackled the chain to itself. This was my "insurance" line. I left the chain fairly slack so the weight of the boat was on the mooring lines.

When I returned a few weeks later one of the lines was chafed through. Obviously the mooring owner had not inspected anything. I would not leave a boat on a mooring unattended without diving on it and then using my anchor chain as an "insurance" line.

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