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Old 25-11-2008, 17:19   #1
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How to hook up to a mooring ball

I haven't really used a mooring ball yet and was wondering whats is the best way to hook up to one. And also how much mooring line should be put out between the boat and mooring ball.
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Old 25-11-2008, 17:58   #2
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Stever. Are you deploying your own mooring ball. or hooking up to an existing ball that belongs to a marina or yacht club while cruising ?

If the latter, most balls that I've hooked up to will be assigned by a marina or yacht club according to what your tonnage is and what you draw. Approach the ball from downwind as if you were anchoring under sail . Dead slow speed. Having hand signals or radios helps. The goal being to stop the boat just short of the ball. Most balls maintained by yards or clubs will have two lines attached for your bow person to pick up with a boat pole. Pick up one line and get it on a bow cleat right away and signal to the helmsman that you are attached. Then pick up the second. There should be enough line to allow your boat to swing in the wind without the ball banging against your hull. If you need to additional line you could slip a dock line through the loops and secure each end to a bow cleat ( port and starboard). I always check the integrety of the ball lines.

You'll usually have to get a bucket to rinse your deck as these mooring lines are often pretty slimy.

With a catamaran, I tie a dock line to one of the pontoon bow cleats, slip it through the loops of the mooring ball lines and tie the other end to the opposite cleat, creating a bridle...

When leaving, make sure the lines are well clear of your prop....if motoring.

If sailing, the procedure is just like sailing off an anchor. ( raise the sails..1st )

Hope this is what you were looking for.

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Old 25-11-2008, 18:47   #3
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Hey thanks that perfect, I wasn't really sure if there was a cirtain amount of feet of anchor line that should be put out between the boat and the mooring ball. I sail a 34'er and I have some new 5/8 anchor line I was going to use for the mooring line. I solo sail and was thinking that mybe I could just hook one end on the starboad bow cleat and when I run up to grab the ball I could just feed it thru the pindent fast then hook it to the port cleat, also thinkling that would be easyer to untie fast to take off from. So I guess I was wondering if you would need like 10' or more or less of line from the ball to the boat? It getting harder and harder to fine places around fl that let ya anchor, they getting to were they want you to pick up a mooring, so I figued I better start trying to use them. And thanks for any and all help.
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Old 26-11-2008, 09:02   #4
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There's a decent article on picking up a mooring ball in the November / December issue of Good Old Boat.
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Old 26-11-2008, 10:53   #5
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You may want to use a small length of line to run through the eye of the mooring line so you don't have to bring the slimy thing up on deck. It also makes releasing the line easier since all you have to do is let your clean line on deck slip through the mooring lines eye.
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Old 26-11-2008, 11:39   #6
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Quote:
You'll usually have to get a bucket to rinse your deck as these mooring lines are often pretty slimy.
The first mooring ball lines I ever picked up were full of Barnacles. My right hand looked as if I had picked up a fist full of razor blades and squeezed.

Good advice David.
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Old 26-11-2008, 13:58   #7
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I searched for some old threads that had pictures but bombed out.

To clarify some. The mooring should have a large diameter line with an eye spliced in. About 6 feet back from the eye, the large ball is attached. Right at the eye a penant is attached with a small ball. This is what you pick up.

You can drag the large eye onto your cleat but as others have noted you could rig one of your own clean lines to pass through the eye and back onto your boat. This keeps the crap that has accumulated on the mooring line from fouling your decks or hull.

Some larger moorings are designed that you don't pull the mooring line up on deck and should use a line from your boat. These may not have a penant and sometimes the eye is right on the ball.

{edit} - PS as for how much line you should lay to the mooring I would say it depends on the mooring field but probably not much. The moorings will swing with the tide and whoever laid them should have figured out the spacing and the scope. i.e. you don't want to add 15 feet of swing to the mooring.
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Old 01-12-2008, 06:26   #8
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This is the first time I been able to get back on line, I wanted to thank all of you for your help, thnak you very much.

Stever
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Old 07-12-2008, 12:53   #9
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Mooring balls change all over the map. In some cases, the pennant (loose line coming from the ball) is too nasty for words... in my experience, the ones that weren't could be counted on the thumbs of one hand... Anyway, in some cases there is no pennant (maybe they didn't plan it that way?). And occasionally it's on a whip (think float with a pole sticking up). Whips are often fiberglass poles (think whippy little flags on bikes) and they can be nasty to pick up without gloves (splinters!). In general, plan on running a line through the eye on the pennant and making both ends of the line off to your boat (so sad to forget to make off the other end of the line, doncha think?).

A little paranoia about moorings is a good idea. If the weather's settled and the mooring field is open (see above re: thumbs of one hand), all will probably be well. If the weather's uncertain and the field is fairly tight, at least check the pennant out for fraying or other signs of potential thrills when the wind really cranks up at oh-dark-thirty. It also helps to at least know who set the mooring and ask what's on the bottom of the line holding the mooring ball. If you're picking up a strange mooring in some obscure harbor, you may be riding to a Chlorox bottle tied on with some old clothes line tied to an engine block(*). It helps to be able to ask questions.

Picking up a mooring... the best thing is to give everyone a heads up that you're comin' in! Hit the horn and then steam flat out for the mooring, jam into reverse about half a boat length before the mooring, and scream and yell as the bow bunny tries valiantly to snag anything associated with the mooring. Trust me, the rest of the folks in the area will appreciate the comedy.

If you want to be dull and boring, maneuver around to come up to the mooring while heading dead into the wind, and carry as little way as possible. A touch of reverse to kill the last bit of motion will make the job easier for the bow bunny. That and having that line for the pennant made off on one end, too. Do not try to center-punch the mooring ball but put it slightly on one side or the other (kinda helps to agree on this one before hand, BTW). If the person on the bow points to the mooring as you finish the approach, so much the better.

If the approach fails, grit your teeth and circle around to do the approach again. Trying to rescue things by backing and filling is usually just more fun for everyone else but you.

(*) True story: We borrowed a friend's mooring in Tiverton, RI. As a "thank you", I dove (scuba) on his mooring and ours to be sure all was well. Our friend's mooring chain was wrapped around the humongous cement block acting as a weight - not good for the chain. Fortunately, our chain was fine and all of the shackles, etc. were in good shape. I decided to take a quick look around to see what the bottom looked like (it was my only dive that summer) and found a bunch of old cast iron radiators lying on the bottom. When I surfaced and told our hosts about it, they said, "oh, that explains why the old mooring never held!"
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Old 07-12-2008, 14:16   #10
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If you run your line from, say, the starboard bow cleat, through the mooring pennant's eye, and back to the port bow cleat, your line can slide back and forth in the eye as the boat sails back and forth in the wind. A friend of mine sawed right through his line in the middle of the night. Luckily, he was awakened as his boat bumped the boat moored downwind of him. If not, next stop would have been a coral reef.

I always run my line through the mooring pennant's eye and back to the same cleat so it won't "saw". Do the same on the other side of the bow if you want redundancy.
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Old 07-12-2008, 17:39   #11
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It's one thing to tie onto a properly maintained mooring. Even then, though, some mooring pennant eyes may show more wear and tear than you should be comfortable with and, after tying up temporarily you may want to get the dinghy out and/or your snorkel gear and tie directly to a section of the pennant appearing to be in prime condition. To tie off to the pennant between the eye and the mooring ball a number of good knots are available, including the sheet bend, the rolling hitch or the Prusik (e.g. by using a separate Spectra sling).

If the mooring you are eyeing happens to be in a questionable state of maintenance altogether, as is often in developing countries and other backwaters of the boating world, it sure pays to dive on it first and check out what it's tied to as well as the condition of the riser chain (don't even consider unknown moorings with rope risers). If both are in good condition, your best approach may be to fasten the biggest shackle to the riser chain that will fit through the links and then attach one of your own lines. In case you happen to have a strong snubber line with a properly spliced thimble plus chain hook, the thimble will often accommodate a mooring shackle (without even having to remove the hook).

Have fun

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Old 07-12-2008, 22:23   #12
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Where to bring the other end of the line through the painter depends on a number of factors. I've doubled up the line on a couple of occasions (squally weather with strong thunderstorms in the area). It's also possible to set a hitch around the pennant's eye - pass a bight or loop through the eye of the pennant, pass both running ends of the line through the bight, and make them off to the cleat(s). It'd take some real wind to move the line then. Of course, it's tough to do this when first picking up the mooring, so I'd save this for after getting a temporary line in place.
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Old 19-12-2008, 05:39   #13
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Anyone ever use that "easy" mooring hook thingie with the spring loaded lok? Think is called something like Grab and Go.
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Old 19-12-2008, 05:57   #14
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We use it JC-48750 JOHNSON GRAB IN GO MOORING HOOK. Best thing ever invented for catching the mooring short handed. The moorings in our area are all chain that can be lifted without the mooring ball coming up with it. My wife hooks the mooring and then lifts the chain with the windlass, we then run permanent lines through the mooring and drop the hook. The boat is 65k pounds and the hook has made a tough job very simple.

My wife calls out distance and bearing to the ball. We have picked up the mooring under sail or with power.

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Anyone ever use that "easy" mooring hook thingie with the spring loaded lok? Think is called something like Grab and Go.
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Old 19-12-2008, 06:34   #15
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I always run my line through the mooring pennant's eye and back to the same cleat so it won't "saw". Do the same on the other side of the bow if you want redundancy.
I agree with Hud, doing it this way, it also makes it very easy to leave, just uncleat and pull the line back through the eye and up on deck, and you don't have to pick anything up on deck
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