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Old 03-05-2010, 05:53   #1
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Propeller - How Close to a Mooring Ball / Line ?

Hi Folks

I don't have much experience with dropping the boat between or next to mooring balls and associated lines then tying ashore, to a dock or marina.

These are very rare in some parts of the world but are everywhere in the Mediterranean or low tidal range areas of the Caribbean etc.

Many marinas that feature these also have boat boys in dinghys to help run the line to the mooring ball, or to help pick up the balls' line.

Then theres the places where you need to put the boat between balls that look very close, either forward or astern.

I have 2 questions, one specific and 1 general.
Specifically how close do you get to a mooring ball and line before you disengage the engine? Whats the 'suck up' factor with lines attached to balls?

General Question: Any tricks of the trade you use for getting close to mooring balls in marinas? Do you let them rub down your side while maneuvering? How do you run your lines?

The photos attached it a pair off the back of the boat now. Yesterday when we came in I couldn’t see below the surface as it was blowing the cream out of a custard. I had to come in bow first between these balls and another ball just to the right of the photo. These were rubbing down the starboard side of the boat while I was trying to maneuver.

Note the further ball looks like its vertical but the closer ball, if my line wasn’t attached, looks like it would float with slack.

Thanks for your thoughts What may seem easy to you is nerve wracking to me!

Mark
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Old 03-05-2010, 14:25   #2
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Mark,
From theory as well as from my own experience, the tendency of a propeller to "suck up" something depends on the relation of RPM to boat speed, also related to propeller loading: if the propeller is revolving but not providing thrust, there is less risk of catching a rope or floating object. For this reason, I try to avoid bursts of power when manoeuvring close to buoys. Then, I manage to rub against them without catching their lines in the propeller.

When singlehanding to catch my mooring buoy, if there is some wind or tidal stream, I often come astern at low speed and disengage the gearbox when the stern is at about one meter from the buoy. I have prepared a line, more than 2 boat lengths, made fast at the bow and led outside of all lifelines. I go down the transom steps, pass the line through the buoy ring and go to the bow with the end of the line. Only there, I begin to take the slack in, to bring the buoy close and catch the permanent mooring hawser.

Since my yacht has a right-handed propeller, she has some port sterwalk when backing. For this reason, I find it easier to catch buoys to port at the stern and to starboard at the bow.

In some harbors, the buoys are so low on the water that the best solution is to have a crewmember in the dinghy to pass the line. Not feasible when singlehanding.

Alain
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Old 03-05-2010, 15:04   #3
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I've moored stern to and bow to more times than I like to remember. Mainly I don't want to remember because it doesn't matter how many times I've done it succesfully, I break out in a cold sweat every time I'm presented with a new mooring, especially stern to. As Alain mentioned a very slowly turning prop seems to be the way to go and picking the bouy up and threading a dock line at the stern and walking it forward is the way I deal with it. I much prefer the places where I can drop a kedge or the bower anchor, but they are getting less and less common.

Best of luck

P.
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Old 03-05-2010, 19:05   #4
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I would absolutely not let the mooring ball rub against my boat. That implies the side of the boat is pushing the ball, which tends to pull the line securing the ball under your boat and into your keel or prop. The only exception to this is when I'm single handing and need a bow tie. I might approach the ball from downwind and a little to the side so I can see it as it gets close to the boat. I'll turn up into the ball as the way comes off my boat, which pushes the slack out of the ball and gives me a chance to run forward and snag it. But the bottom line with mooring balls (pun intended) is to try to approach from downwind. Depending on your sight lines, you may be able to coast straight up to one. You may have to do a little estimating as to how far your boat will coast given the wind and current. You can cut mooring balls very close when passing downwind, but exercise caution from all other points.

Brett
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Old 03-05-2010, 22:25   #5
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Thanks Alian, Paige and Brett,

Thats all a great help

It must be one of these practice makes perfect things, but I don't want to learn by mistake.

It would be hell to get into bad problems so close to many other boats.


Thanks

Mark
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Old 03-05-2010, 22:29   #6
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how close?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Specifically how close do you get to a mooring ball and line before you disengage the engine?
That depends on how long your boat hook is.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:26   #7
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Mark, a lot of the suck-up factor also depends on how easy it is to foul that aft line in your rudder (between the rudder top and hull). Don't ask me how I know that. I don't like lines near any of the "moving parts that are inaccessible under water" and would suggest that a LONG boat hook is your best friend here.

What you can do will depend a lot on wind and tide and how you drift. If you can make fast the bow and then arrange to have the boat all off toward the rear float--making very sure it can't slip under the boat and wrap on your keel or anything else. If you have to make the stern fast first, by all means. You may find that having an extra mooring line, so you can pay out extra line from one or both ends of the boat and "straighten it out" after both ends are made fast in a more cautious manner, works too.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:40   #8
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Well I for one am having a hard time visualizing Marks situation...would some one care to draw a simple diagram...with boat entry angle and the ultimate end goal of whats being discussed here?...I have never seen two mooring buoys tied together like that.
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Old 04-05-2010, 12:02   #9
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Still-
In areas where there's a reversing current (rivers, streams, channels) it is common to set the boats "all in a line" rather than in a checkerboard mooring field. And in order to prevent the boats from swinging around in limited space, you use two moorings, set in a line.

BALL-----BOAT-----BALL.................NEXTBALL---NEXTBOAT---NEXTBALL.........(third)...


I'm not sure if Mark is in that situation, or if someone is parking the boats side-by-side using the same scheme, again to prevent them from swinging on moorings, so they can be packed in like sardines.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:13   #10
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In the UK the 'in line' mooring system is quite popular and there's usually a slack line stretching between the two buoys.. the purpose of this line is for the less skilled to be able to hook it with your boat hook and then hand ball yourself into position... the approach is usually against the dominant effect on your boat, be it wind/current at a slight angle and creeping in to bring your bow to near enough over the buoy.. get the bow line attached then let the current/wind swing your boat in line and pay out at the bow till you can pick up the stern buoy.. then its a simple matter of adjusting bow and stern lines till you are sitting central.
THE VITAL THING IS TO APPROACH DOMINANT FORCES BOW ON

Med style mooring is a different game altogether.. approach is dependant on wind effect as to whether its bow or stern in.. bow in have someone up forward to throw the line to the staff member who's usually there waiting then 'prop walk' across to the stern buoy...
Stern in.. reverse in with the buoy on the 'safe side' get a line ashore then go forward till you can hook onto the buoy...
Its scary as hell the first time but if you know your boats little idiosyncrasies you'll master it in no time at all..
HAVE FUN...lol
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:33   #11
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Mark,
Look around the boats which are med-tied, and count the fenders on each side--the local boats have at least 5. This is because the usual technique is to use the boat on the downwind side of your space as a floating dock--get up a good head of steam, put it in neutral and slide in as far as you can, then a burst to stop the boat and let it drift onto the next boat. THEN, worry about the bow and stern lines.

I bought 5 more fenders in Cyprus--2 more for each side, and one of the special ones for the stern....
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Old 06-05-2010, 17:26   #12
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Med-mooring in the Med is always a pucker-factor operation - or maybe a form of boat "chicken" contest. Typically you go stern to the quay with a bow line to the floating buoy. I have been to some quays in harbors that look totally crammed with boats only to see another Euro boat comes in, turn and stop, he puts a man on the foredeck with the boat hook and line then puts the boat into maximum reverse power and rockets back toward the solid line of boats. Just like the "Parting of the Red Seaa" - the roaring motor alerts the other boats that there is "in-coming." Hurriedly the boats part to make room for the rocketing new boat. The bow man catches the buoy and snaps a line on as the helmsman throws the boat in to max forward to stop the stern from impacting the quay wall.
- - I just sneak in and bow first and tie a long line to the bouy then spin the boat and gingerly work my way back while crew is pushing the other boats apart.
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Old 06-05-2010, 19:51   #13
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When Med mooring I've found one advantage of having a 60 ton boat. The crews on boats already moored are REALLY keen to help you avoid bumping into their boats

P.
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Old 06-05-2010, 22:44   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Still-
In areas where there's a reversing current (rivers, streams, channels) it is common to set the boats "all in a line" rather than in a checkerboard mooring field. And in order to prevent the boats from swinging around in limited space, you use two moorings, set in a line.

BALL-----BOAT-----BALL.................NEXTBALL---NEXTBOAT---NEXTBALL.........(third)...


I'm not sure if Mark is in that situation, or if someone is parking the boats side-by-side using the same scheme, again to prevent them from swinging on moorings, so they can be packed in like sardines.
Thanks!
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Old 06-05-2010, 23:05   #15
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Thanks everyone for their thoughts and ideas.

I love the ramming in astern! I gotta try that

My original problem is perhaps better explained with a drawing.
Its how close can I get to the ball before the propeller will suck up the line?

I think Alain's go slow and then you can rub is what I was after.

Does the propeller suck much water around the side of the propeller or just in front and behind the prop?

Maybe I should jump in and test?
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