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Old 07-10-2016, 00:07   #1
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Picking up a mooring in bad weather

The other day I was single handed and tried to pick up my mooring in upto 40Knt gusts in my 37' yacht. The problem was that the wind was swirling a lot and by the time I ran to the front the wind had come more to the side and swept me away from the buoy. Being a tight mooring field made this a bit sketchy. Finished up finding shelter elsewhere and coming back the next morning which did not please the significant other.

Looking for ideas.

A friend suggested a line from the forward cleat to the aft and then somehow loop the buoy onto this which would allow me to pick it up near the stern. I would be concerned in fouling the prop or rudder.

Appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 07-10-2016, 02:04   #2
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

It's hard to pick up moorings when you're getting 40 plus gusts from varying directions.

Your good lady is going to have to learn to helm the boat for picking up moorings. Once she has figured out how to keep the bows into the wind, you pick up the mooring on your preferred side, from the bow, and she hits reverse to stop the forward momentum. She only has to be making about 1.5 over the ground, to keep the boat head to wind, but, you have to give the signal to stop the boat.

Works for us. Sometimes we wear walkie-talkies to communicate sotto voce, during the pickup. We also discuss it beforehand. Once I've stopped the boat, I go forward quickly, to either help, or get the boat hook out of JIm's way.

I hope she's interested to help.

By the way, there's no reason not to take repeated tries. We all have to learn this stuff, we're not born knowing, and it's all trial and error. Perhaps some practice in lesser winds would help.

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Old 07-10-2016, 02:50   #3
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pirate Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

I fully agree with Ann.. time to stop carrying a passenger.. get the Missus involved and confident in boat handling under power.. its not physically challenging and lets face.. one day (if your unlucky) it may be needed to get you to a place of safety should you become incapacitated for some reason or other.. unless a May Day and abandoning the boat is your preferred option
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Old 07-10-2016, 04:49   #4
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

The suggestion for a line (with a carabiner on it) led from the bow to the stern is one common solution. And you can make one using line which floats, & has high visibility. Like Samson's Ultra Lite, it's Spectra cored Polypro'

There are also boathooks/poles which are configured to hold a carabiner at their outer ends, releasing the carabiner from the pole when you get it connected to the mooring.


Other times, you may wind up being in a situation where your only choice is to slightly overshoot the buoy, & be blown down onto is such that it travels up your hull's leeward side, from a position several meters aft of your bow up to the bow as the boat drifts downwind. That way your boat will stay within reach of it for a longer period of time, once you've put her in neutral & left the helm to go forward. Though you may get a scratch or two on your topsides this way.


Also, you can also pick up the mooring at your stern via backing up to it, if your boat handles well in reverse. And this method has the perk of it being far easier to control the position of the stern than it is the bow, since you have both controls there. Propeller & rudder. Thus it's also easier to hit the forward throttle & scoot away, if you blow your approach. Or things turn bad in terms of your position relative to other boats.

Then once you're stern's connected to the mooring, you can attach a line from the bow to it, & spin the boat around with the line, while being connected throughout the process. Or use a line from each of the boat's ends for even greater control of things while moving the connection point. As when using 2 lines you can keep the mooring 2-3' from the hull the whole time. So that you avoid getting close to your neighbors.


Another option is to temporarily set an anchor upwind of the mooring, & use the anchor to assist in controlling your position of downwind drift down to it. Retrieving your anchor with the dinghy when secured to the mooring.
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Old 07-10-2016, 05:48   #5
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

I've seen single handers reverse up to moorings when it's windy. Keeps them near the controls while they pick the line up.
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Old 07-10-2016, 06:39   #6
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

Thanks, all. I'm not the one who asked the question, but I'm certainly learning from the replies.
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Old 07-10-2016, 06:47   #7
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
I've seen single handers reverse up to moorings when it's windy. Keeps them near the controls while they pick the line up.

Yep, we just pick up at the stern, and then walk it forward. Without regard to weather. Our bow is too high off the water to make a bow pick-up work easily.

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Old 07-10-2016, 06:58   #8
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

Keep in mind that the OP was single handing. The unhappy SO was apparently not on board to help.
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:14   #9
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pirate Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

All that was stated was she was not happy.. which could be taken either way.. I often single hand when day sail others are aboard.. usually because involving them makes life tougher..
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:18   #10
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

Another option if the conditions allow is to heave to and use the engine forward / reverse to position the boat so the drift gets the buoy to near the stern, with a line though a block at the bow led back to the cockpit as talked about above.
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Old 07-10-2016, 09:51   #11
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

I keep my Beneteau First 285 on a deep water mooring and often single hand I have picked up my mooring in up to Force 6. My boat is lighter than a Beneteau 373, but the thing I really want to avoid is hanging onto the mooring line at the bow trying to pull the boat forward so I can hook on - especially in a Force 6! I therefore always aim to pick up the mooring just forward of the cockpit and then walk it forward as fast as possible and hook on. If conditions mean that I have to hook on without getting it through the fairleads, then so be it, at least I am secure and can then take my time to tidy everything up and secure properly. Having picked up the mooring bridle, my main concern is usually not to lose the boathook over the side!
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:06   #12
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

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Originally Posted by Paul Kelly View Post

1. but the thing I really want to avoid is hanging onto the mooring line at the bow trying to pull the boat forward so I can hook on - especially in a Force 6!

2. I therefore always aim to pick up the mooring just forward of the cockpit and then walk it forward as fast as possible and hook on. If conditions mean that I have to hook on without getting it through the fairleads, then so be it, at least I am secure and can then take my time to tidy everything up and secure properly. Having picked up the mooring bridle, my main concern is usually not to lose the boathook over the side!
1. Good thinking, wise.

2. But why not simply arrange a line at the bow at the beginning, thus avoiding all the "running" forward and possible "oops" moments?

Sometimes it's like docking: I see so many people trying to haul huge boats in with the line, instead of snubbing the line around a cleat or bull rail first.

It's like investing: use leverage instead of bull strength.
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:10   #13
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

I do this exercise in the least elegant manner - drive till the mooring is nearly midships. Sometimes I end up with my stern to the mooring ... but I hardly ever miss the mooring!

Cheers,
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:14   #14
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

Running about on deck in a tight mooring field and in difficult weather is a recipe for disaster or personal injury.

There is no sin in staying at or close to the helm as many stated above. With your bridle in place on deck forward it's easier to use a temporary line walked forward to make your connection of the bridle to the mooring pennant.

Use the wind and current to advantage while staying within reach of your rudder and throttle. Practice picking up this way in calm conditions to get a feel for it before you do it in rougher weather.

I have pretty high freeboard so for me singlehanding a midship pickup is SOP.
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:45   #15
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Re: Picking up a mooring in bad weather

I single hand and have picked up moorings in pretty lousy conditions- wind and current. Here is my technique----- I run a long dock line from a bow cleat all the way back towards the cockpit. I then approach the mooring upwind/up-current- whatever is strongest and bring the mooring right alongside the boat fairly aft. I then put the boat in neutral. I have the time it takes for the wind or current to push my boat a full boat length away from the mooring to put the line on the mooring ball and cleat that end to something- anything. I can then take my time to adjust it or connect another line once I am connected to that ball.
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