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Old 16-05-2013, 20:12   #1
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New sailor seeks mooring advice in Florida

Hello friends,

Please NO Flames.

I am a new poster who was gifted six months ago with a 35' fiberglass sailboat by my "Sh_ _ House Rat crazy uncle" Boris. Since this is my first boat since owning a Hobie cat when I was a kid, the learning curve is steep, but I am keen to evolve. My mooring needs to evolve too.

In a nutshell, I am looking for advice on mooring my sailboat in the ICW in south Florida. Specifically, what ground tackle to use, and best practices. I have read pages and pages on swivels, shackles, and differences between and betwixt anchors. So now I am opening up to y'all to solicit your opinions...

I want people to sail by and go "wow, that mooring system is overkill for a 35' sailboat, but at least she will be okay for a hurricane..."

The mooring field where she will reside is about 15fsw, the tidal current is "medium," and this is hurricane country. I would really appreciate any and all constructive opinions about how to keep her tight and swinging happily. The bottom is SANDY with a little muck in spots. Right now I just have a 35# plow anchor shackled to 15ft of g30 3/8" galvanized chain, and 45' of scope in a 5/8" 3 stranded line going into my anchor locker.

I have an idea that is best described thusly:

3-4 "screw anchors/augers" galvanized, approaching 8ft in length screwed into the sand. Connected to a bridle of 3/8" g30 chain (or bigger ___?" chain) up to a ____inch swivel, then connected to the bottom of a 2ft mooring ball, then 3/8" g30 CHAIN from the top of the mooring ball ALL THE WAY TO THE BOAT. Additionally, to take shock loads, a "snubber" from the mooring ball TIGHT to the boat, consisting of 5/8" (or less?) 3 stranded poly anchor LINE.

My considerations are that the boat is 35 feet long, and weighs in at ~12000lbs. Daily 180degree swings with the tide, AND HURRICANES.

The reason I have come to want ALL CHAIN, for my mooring system is the proliferation of drunk power boaters making their way to and fro. Also, I want to REMOVE the possibility that some SOB will come by and cut my anchor line. I will NOT be living aboard, and only visiting the boat once a week, but hopefully more often.

My goal is to sleep well, and take her out into the ocean a few times a month, learning to sail. Once I gain some experience, and sailing wisdom, take her on extended trips.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS FORUM, and the wide and varied opinions herein. So here are my questions:

0) Are galvanized screw anchors "cool?" for this task, others nearby swear by them... very few actual anchors are employed for moorings here. Certainly considered temporary arrangements.

1) How much and what sized chain from the (screw) anchors up to the 2ft mooring ball in 15fsw (allowing for storm surge, and tides)? Length of scope needed? 3/8" 1/2" or what sized chain?

2) I know opinions about swivels vary, but to avoid twisting or kinking the chain in 180 degree twice daily swings of tide and wind... a 5/8" galvanized swivel on my mooring anchor chain up to the ball? ---NO SS Kong swivels, just a galvanized "eye and eye" swivel---

3) The best way to keep a "catenary" slack chain all the way from the top of the mooring ball over and into my chain locker. Thoughts and scope?

4) The proper way and what size of a "snubber" line to act as a shock absorber from the mooring ball to my boat. Mandatory.


I am not sure if the practice of twisting in augers/screw anchors in Florida is okay, I personally would not consider them "permanent" wink, wink. Please no suggestions about 2 ton granite boulders, buckets of cement, or old engine blocks, please. I want to do this within the bounds of sanity.

Lastly, I want people to sail by and go "wow, that is overkill for a 35' sailboat, but at least she will be okay for a hurricane..."

Sincerely,
A green, but enthusiastic sailor
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Old 16-05-2013, 22:32   #2
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Re: New sailor seeks mooring advice in Florida

I would not trust my boat to a mooring in a hurricane in most instances. It is rare that the mooring is located in a hurricane hole.

When it comes to hurricanes, it is location, location, location. If you are in a bad location where there is a long fetch and large storm surge, you would be lucky to have a mooring hold unless it is absolutely humongous and you have exceptional chafing gear, and the cleats on your yacht don't rip out, and nobody else drags down on you in the storm.

If you are worried about hurricanes, need to moor the yacht in a location where you can reach a hurricane hole. If you can't do that, then you can make arrangements ahead of time to have the yacht hauled out for hurricanes. Failing that, you can get a great big insurance policy to cover loss of your yacht.

On Exit Only, we had lifting chain plates factory installed so that a crane anywhere in the world could lift us out of the water in the event of a hurricane. We never needed to haul out in a storm, but we did lift the boat with the chainplates at least four times proving that they would work anytime we wanted to crane the boat out of the water before a storm.

Most of the yachts that I have seen destroyed in a storm we smashed by other yachts that dragged down on them or destroyed when they washed ashore. That is why I set my catamaran up so it would be able to make the transit to dry land without getting destroyed in the process.
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Old 16-05-2013, 22:35   #3
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Re: New sailor seeks mooring advice in Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by underseahunter View Post
3) The best way to keep a "catenary" slack chain all the way from the top of the mooring ball over and into my chain locker. Thoughts and scope?

4) The proper way and what size of a "snubber" line to act as a shock absorber from the mooring ball to my boat. Mandatory.
Welcome to the forum.

You may be confusing anchoring technique with mooring technique. An a general rule, the chain only goes up to the mooring ball, and then a mooring pennant connects with the boat. The chain locker is not at all involved. "Scope" is more or less something we worry about when anchoring.

You mention hurricanes at least four times. You may want to check what the folk in your mooring field do prior to a hurricane. Do they haul their boats? Take them up into hurricane holes? There are usually better alternatives than leaving a boat on a mooring. This is probably an area where local knowledge is superior.
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Old 16-05-2013, 22:45   #4
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Re: New sailor seeks mooring advice in Florida

Dave put it pretty succinctly. The best mooring on the planet isn't much good if the boat in front of you doesn't have the same and drags down into your boat.

Also if your mooring is in a location where you have a long fetch (long stretch of open water where the wind can blow and cause large waves to build up) in any direction, the waves coming in could rip the cleats and bow out of your boat and leave the mooring behind. And chaffing the lines from the mooring to your boat is a very common failure point.

If your spot is completely surrounded by land and you are 100% certain of the boats and moorings around you then you can be a little less concerned but still you will be at risk in a hurricane. Run away, have a small, secure hole to anchor with no other boats around or get hauled are usually the best options.

By the way, from your questions I assume you have this covered, but in FL I think you will have to deal with some kind of authority and permits to put in a permanent mooring.

I have heard that the screw type moorings have performed well in storm conditions but the large, heavy duty versions probably require a professional installation to get them properly bedded into the bottom.
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Old 16-05-2013, 22:53   #5
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Re: New sailor seeks mooring advice in Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Welcome to the forum.

You may be confusing anchoring technique with mooring technique. An a general rule, the chain only goes up to the mooring ball, and then a mooring pennant connects with the boat. The chain locker is not at all involved. "Scope" is more or less something we worry about when anchoring.

You mention hurricanes at least four times. You may want to check what the folk in your mooring field do prior to a hurricane. Do they haul their boats? Take them up into hurricane holes? There are usually better alternatives than leaving a boat on a mooring. This is probably an area where local knowledge is superior.
Yes, I should have said "mooring." I mention the "chain locker" because I want the chain to go all the way into the chain locker, and be secured from paying all the way out with a "stopper knot" on the chain, so that it will not accidentally pay out to the bitter end. Pausing at a cleat along the way, btw.

I do understand that extreme measures must be taken with regards to chaffing. I envision some dissected tires, or something more attractive. Also that the chain can "break the boat." Thieves are not the main concern. Drunk power boaters, and "anti-anchorage" people are. Since I will NOT be living aboard, and can only glimpse her from afar, if I am lucky, having a "tamper proof" mooring is my goal. I should have mentioned in my original post that from time to time, I have have to travel for work. Gasp. Keeping me away for a week or two. Being a newbie, I have only met a few of my neighbors at the anchorage. So for the foreseeable future, I need to be self sufficient.

Other boats coming loose is certainly a concern, as pictured in my attachment. A "hidey hole" in a county with tens of thousands of boats will be beyond crowded. Mooring her for 99.9% of conditions are my goal.

I would like to keep her on mooring up to maybe a Cat2. My neighbor has had her mooring pennant cut twice... so she has since switched to ALL CHAIN. Her boat is much larger than mine, so sizing the chain for me is the main question of my post. I want to do the same. I assume that keeping a LINE taught to the mooring ball will absorb the shock. The chain "pennant" is just for a good night's rest.

Size of chain, shackles, and whether or not auger/screw anchor moorings are frowned on/forbidden.

Thanks to everyone so far, I want to learn customs, and practices from y'all given your considered experience.
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Old 17-05-2013, 02:28   #6
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Re: New sailor seeks mooring advice in Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
I would not trust my boat to a mooring in a hurricane in most instances. It is rare that the mooring is located in a hurricane hole.

When it comes to hurricanes, it is location, location, location. If you are in a bad location where there is a long fetch and large storm surge, you would be lucky to have a mooring hold unless it is absolutely humongous and you have exceptional chafing gear, and the cleats on your yacht don't rip out, and nobody else drags down on you in the storm.

If you are worried about hurricanes, need to moor the yacht in a location where you can reach a hurricane hole. If you can't do that, then you can make arrangements ahead of time to have the yacht hauled out for hurricanes. Failing that, you can get a great big insurance policy to cover loss of your yacht.

On Exit Only, we had lifting chain plates factory installed so that a crane anywhere in the world could lift us out of the water in the event of a hurricane. We never needed to haul out in a storm, but we did lift the boat with the chainplates at least four times proving that they would work anytime we wanted to crane the boat out of the water before a storm.

Most of the yachts that I have seen destroyed in a storm we smashed by other yachts that dragged down on them or destroyed when they washed ashore. That is why I set my catamaran up so it would be able to make the transit to dry land without getting destroyed in the process.

Just remember that hauling out is no guarantee of safety. imo a dry slip would be best, with solid anchors into the ground or asphalt and multiple straps, but your boat can still be hit by flying debris -- or other boats not well secured.

Any number of multi-level dry storage facilities have failed in hurricanes.

BOAT US did extensive research after Katrina and determined some surprising things about securing a boat for a hurricane. Many failed because the lines failed. The lines failed because they were nylon and had *waterproof* chafing, often old fire hose. The nylon stretched so much that it got so hot that it melted from the inside out. Non-waterproof chafing gear allowed rain and sea water to cool the lines, and those lines didn't melt.

There's a lot more to it than that, but all sorts of solutions possible. But you really have to hunt ahead of time. Most people won't even tell you where the hurricane hide-holes are. There's a marina on the Indian River that actually advertises itself as a hurricane hold, but only for boats pulled out on the hard.
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Old 17-05-2013, 05:20   #7
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Re: New sailor seeks mooring advice in Florida

A 3/8" PC Chain is rated 2650#, about equal to the requirement for a permanent mooring for a typical 35' sailboat.

See

WLL for Anchor Rodes
WLL for Anchor Rodes - ABYC Section H-40, Table 2 Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery

Design Loads for Deck Hardware
Design Loads for Deck Hardware - ABYC Section H-40, table 1 Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery
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Old 17-05-2013, 05:38   #8
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Re: New sailor seeks mooring advice in Florida

A Helix Mooring is probably the best bet. They have been used in Stuart, FL, and other areas that are prone to hurricane hits.
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Old 17-05-2013, 05:54   #9
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Re: New sailor seeks mooring advice in Florida

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A Helix Mooring is probably the best bet. They have been used in Stuart, FL, and other areas that are prone to hurricane hits.

just check your local regulations. A friend and I wanted to put one down in a anchorage in Biscayne Bay but found out that it was illegal there.

We moved the boat to the Dinner key marina mooring before TS Debby, and my friend's boat and the great majority of other boats held through both Debby and isaac. You might call them and find out how their moorings were built. The mooring held through multiple fierce squalls spawned by those TS's.
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Old 17-05-2013, 07:44   #10
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There was a mooring system that was used Durning the great storm in the NE. 3 anchors 75' out from each other with 3/8 chain leading to a shackle and anchor pin or heavy anchor centered with chain to a float and shackle bridal with 3 lines to your boat. I used this set up for my 29' at Marina Jacks before they put in moorings. As others have said, I was never worried about my boat it was the other boats that were left vacant and never inspected.
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