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Old 16-11-2015, 06:48   #31
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

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Originally Posted by Dr. Sea View Post
I can't vouch for every mooring ball in BVI/USVI but I've used a lot of them and never had a problem. They are better maintained there than in many places around the world.

My advice is to not sweat the whole issue. A $30 mooring fee is chump change on an expensive charter.
I agree completely. Especially on a bareboat charter, where you are not the one who chose and maintains the ground tackle, a mooring ball is probably a better bet than the anchor in a lot of cases.

And picking up a mooring is not that hard, either. My wife and I managed it just fine, right from our very first attempt. My wife handles the helm while I go up to the bow and wrestle the lines. Pick up the pendant with the boat hook, run a line through it, around the headstay, and cleat to the other side. Easy peasy.

Only two things that can really cause a problem. First is losing the boat hook--you want to be careful about that. Second is not stopping close enough to the mooring ball. If you miss or overshoot you just go around and try again. If you undershoot, just idle on up. Only time my wife and I had a problem was when she backed it down to stop perfectly at the mooring ball, but then forgot to put the engine into neutral. While I was trying to hook up the mooring the boat was backing away from the ball! I eventually just dropped the mooring, pointed out what happened (quietly, no shouting, no drama), and we tried again (successfully this time).

It's really not as big of a deal as some people seem to want to make out. Good luck and enjoy your charter.
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Old 16-11-2015, 07:31   #32
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I agree completely. Especially on a bareboat charter, where you are not the one who chose and maintains the ground tackle, a mooring ball is probably a better bet than the anchor in a lot of cases.

And picking up a mooring is not that hard, either. My wife and I managed it just fine, right from our very first attempt. My wife handles the helm while I go up to the bow and wrestle the lines. Pick up the pendant with the boat hook, run a line through it, around the headstay, and cleat to the other side. Easy peasy.

Only two things that can really cause a problem. First is losing the boat hook--you want to be careful about that. Second is not stopping close enough to the mooring ball. If you miss or overshoot you just go around and try again. If you undershoot, just idle on up. Only time my wife and I had a problem was when she backed it down to stop perfectly at the mooring ball, but then forgot to put the engine into neutral. While I was trying to hook up the mooring the boat was backing away from the ball! I eventually just dropped the mooring, pointed out what happened (quietly, no shouting, no drama), and we tried again (successfully this time).

It's really not as big of a deal as some people seem to want to make out. Good luck and enjoy your charter.

Not all charterers have the same boat handling skills or are used to being on a boats as large as the one they charter. I agree that it should be a drama free event but then again parallel parking a car should be too...

It's great that you and your wife have a good working system. Perhaps I could add a couple of more steps to your procedure for you (and others) to consider:

1) Use two lines instead of one for mooring. Run one line from starboard bow cleat thru mooring painter/eye back to same starboard cleat. Repeat on port side creating a bridle. Advantages? Chafe protection and complete redundancy. Running only one line allows the boat to saw back and forth creating a chafe potential. Having two lines stops that and provides a backup in case of a bad cleat hitch or other problem on either cleat. It only takes a few extra seconds.

2) Back down with engine after you're secured to the mooring. A small auxiliary diesel shouldn't be able to damage a bow cleat or a mooring. If either does fail from backing down or that extra painkiller at the Soggy Dollar made the cleat hitch fail, I sure prefer to find out about in the daytime when everybody is awake and on deck. Once again, this simple step takes less than a minute and allows me to sleep better when that squall blasts thru in the middle of the night.


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Old 16-11-2015, 08:16   #33
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

It's a little bit different for Santa Catalina Island off the southern California coast. Besides a bow cleat, you must also connect a line from the mooring ball to a stern cleat. Check out Cast Off for Catalina, the complete video cruising guide for this magical island just two dozen miles from Los Angeles. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/castoff
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Old 16-11-2015, 08:40   #34
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How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

I'm sure it's different everywhere. I was replying to the OP regarding the BVI.

Do people actually sail where the water is below 82? 😄

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Old 16-11-2015, 11:23   #35
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

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1) Use two lines instead of one for mooring.
2) Back down with engine after you're secured to the mooring.
I've never bothered with two lines, and have never had a problem. Were I mooring for the long term, I would probably consider it. In a typical charter situation you're only on the mooring for one night, maybe two, and I think the line would have to be pretty seriously frayed to begin with for it to chafe through in one night.

As for backing down, good idea. After getting the mooring hooked up we usually put the boat in reverse, run it up to 50% or so, and let the batteries charge for a while, thereby serving two purposes. Most of the charter companies will tell you that you should run the engine for 1.5-2 hours each day to charge the batteries anyway. As people who prefer to sail when we are on a sailboat, we would rarely get more than 20-30 minutes of charging if we didn't do this.
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Old 16-11-2015, 11:33   #36
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

A good tip I got for picking up mooring buoys single-handed is to make a lasso with a heavy rope and 'lasso' the buoy. You can then properly secure it at your leisure.
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Old 16-11-2015, 11:33   #37
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I've never bothered with two lines, and have never had a problem. Were I mooring for the long term, I would probably consider it. In a typical charter situation you're only on the mooring for one night, maybe two, and I think the line would have to be pretty seriously frayed to begin with for it to chafe through in one night.
Absolutely right. I've rarely used a double bridle for an overnight mooring, except when I have chartered catamarans. Catamarans with a single bridle from one hull to the other hull are much more prone to twisting and turning and sliding up and down the bridle than monohulls are. The OP didn't say whether he has chartered a cat or a mono, and I think most of the comments in this thread have been more applicable to a monohull. For a catamaran definitely use a mooring line from each hull, through the mooring ring, and back to the same hull. This isn't so much for safety as for comfort.
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Old 17-11-2015, 20:19   #38
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

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Pick up the pendant with the boat hook, run a line through it, around the headstay, and cleat to the other side.
That is not perhaps the best way to do it. May I kindly suggest you use two lines.

Line 1 goes from port side cleat, through pendant, and back to port side cleat.

Line 2 goes from starboard cleat, through pendant, and back to starboard cleat.

Adjust length of lines to match or to set general pointing of vessel.

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I've never bothered with two lines, and have never had a problem. Were I mooring for the long term, I would probably consider it.
The charter company usually indicates a preferred method of tying up. In Florida the mooring ball owners have always specified at least two lines, and a hurricane tie of three if a major storm is expected.

How to Tie Up to a Mooring Ball
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Old 17-11-2015, 21:54   #39
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

Using a single line absolutely can chafe in two over night. Don't ask me how I know this.


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Old 18-11-2015, 06:06   #40
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

Major storm expected? Once again, we're talking about someone out on a one-week, bareboat charter. They're not going to be on any one mooring for more than a night or two, and they are DEFINITELY not going to be mooring out during a major storm. If a major storm is even remotely threatening, the charter companies will tell you to get back to the marina ASAP!

Is it possible for a good line to chafe through in two quiet nights? Yeah, I suppose it is possible. Just like it's possible that the earth could open up and swallow your boat. I don't consider it a significant risk. I check the lines that I use to make sure they are good, and do one loop through the pendant. I can't even count how many nights I've spent on a mooring like that over the decades since my first overnight on a boat. No problems ever. No plans to change.
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Old 18-11-2015, 08:58   #41
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I've never bothered with two lines, and have never had a problem. Were I mooring for the long term, I would probably consider it. In a typical charter situation you're only on the mooring for one night, maybe two, and I think the line would have to be pretty seriously frayed to begin with for it to chafe through in one night.

As for backing down, good idea. After getting the mooring hooked up we usually put the boat in reverse, run it up to 50% or so, and let the batteries charge for a while, thereby serving two purposes. Most of the charter companies will tell you that you should run the engine for 1.5-2 hours each day to charge the batteries anyway. As people who prefer to sail when we are on a sailboat, we would rarely get more than 20-30 minutes of charging if we didn't do this.
Lots of people have "never bothered" with seatbelts and likewise "never had a problem" … yet. One "problem" will wake you up as the boat first hits the rocks. Bad practise. Your thoughts on chafe are incorrect.
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Old 18-11-2015, 17:02   #42
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

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Major storm expected? Once again, we're talking about someone out on a one-week, bareboat charter. They're not going to be on any one mooring for more than a night or two, and they are DEFINITELY not going to be mooring out during a major storm. If a major storm is even remotely threatening, the charter companies will tell you to get back to the marina ASAP!
I understand your views... however:

1) you are focused on the boat line and not the pendant. You leave after one night but the pendants are there all year. As your line is sawing across the pendant its not only cutting the line but also the pendant. When you leave the next boat comes and repeats. We have had mooring lines saw right through a plastic chafe guard on the pendant.

2) The result is the same - the boat departs the mooring. Once about every 3 years we watch as charter boats run up on the beach and proceed to wreck not only the boat but also a great beach.

As a owner of three moorings that I have to replace sometimes multiple times a year at a cost of about $2000 because of charter boats...
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Old 18-11-2015, 18:57   #43
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

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I understand your views... however:

1) you are focused on the boat line and not the pendant. You leave after one night but the pendants are there all year. As your line is sawing across the pendant its not only cutting the line but also the pendant. When you leave the next boat comes and repeats. We have had mooring lines saw right through a plastic chafe guard on the pendant.

2) The result is the same - the boat departs the mooring. Once about every 3 years we watch as charter boats run up on the beach and proceed to wreck not only the boat but also a great beach.

As a owner of three moorings that I have to replace sometimes multiple times a year at a cost of about $2000 because of charter boats...
Lines should never be used looselooped through other lines or pendant eyes. They do exactly what you say. If a pendant it should be brought on board to a cleat, with a second line loosely looped through the ball ring if such exists. I prefer to use two stainless grab mooring hooks in a bridle configuration. These do not wear and will not chafe the pendant. I also almost never use moorings unless forced to do so by regulations or other circumstance. Circumstance includes a desire not to damage coral or other life, mandated by an insufficent area of adequate anchoring substrate.
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Old 19-11-2015, 06:43   #44
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

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We have had mooring lines saw right through a plastic chafe guard on the pendant.
Yeah. Okay. Not sure what that has to do with the discussion of running double bridle lines. Running double lines through that one pennant isn't going to make any difference at all. In fact, if it DOES make a difference, it would probably make it chafe more quickly!

Note: By the way, the word is "pennant," not "pendant." Got that wrong myself up above. Didn't feel right, so I looked it up and, sure enough, I was wrong.
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Old 19-11-2015, 06:55   #45
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Re: How do you sleep at night on a mooring ball?

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If a pendant it should be brought on board to a cleat...
I have to assume that you haven't taken moorings in the Bahamas or Caribbean very many times (if at all).

I have spent many a night on moorings in the Bahamas and Caribbean. I would guess that in less than 10% of cases is the mooring pennant long enough to bring it all the way up to a cleat. Never mind the fact that the pennant is usually made from rope that is much too large for the cleats on the size of boat that we charter, or that it comes with a thimble spliced into the free end making it virtually impossible to put it over a cleat anyway.

No, sorry, but the OP was asking about taking a mooring in the BVI. I can assure you that all of the moorings there are made to be used with a bridle line from the boat. Attempting to bring the pennant on board and wrap it around a cleat is going to be nothing more than an exercise in frustration and futility.
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