I don't know if I am more amazed at the original post "Does anyone actually do this", or the strident, subjective criticisms from those who don't. The most dangerous thing any of us do is to drive a hunk of iron at 80 MPH, five feet from someone else we do not know, who is doing the same thing! We blithely accept that - exceeding the legal
speed limit, I am sure, while getting our knickers in a twist because someone is sailing through a mooring field at the speed of a slow jog. Evans has already stated that Boat US hasn't had a claim in five years, and the hair-splitters are wondering if there was a specific class? Simple. You look up the claims - probably weren't too many, even under power. But, Evans, some folks don't read these posts to learn anything, only to tell others what to do and not to do, largely based on their own comfort zones. And people are very skeptical of those who can do something they can't.
For background, I run a 45 foot charter
cat in the BVI. And, yes, I do know the earlier poster, also from the BVI, who decried sailing onto moorings, and he knows me, although he may not realize it's me who is writing this. i am also an instructor, but not the one that hit someone, because I haven't ever come remotely close to doing that. I have been hit, while on a mooring, however, but only by boats under power.
In my catamaran
courses I almost invariably show my students how to pick up and drop moorings under sail, and how to anchor
, under sail, too. Why? To be a show off or "A-hole"? Not at all. I am teaching them what a sailboat is capable of and I am expanding their comfort envelopes, something that a number of people in this discussion might consider doing, as well. But they may also be the ones who say, "don't bother with lessons". Those of you who know the BVI will know the pass between Saba
Rock and Bitter End Yacht Club, in North Sound, Vigin Gorda. Well, I routinely sail that pass, upwind, with very short tacks. I don't know anyone else who routinely does that on a 45 foot cat, but I hope boats that see Jet Stream do it are tempted to learn how and practice to do it, too. This is one maneuver I don't do singlehanded, and I always make sure my guests are well up to speed on handling sheets
and winches. Remember, there is no one more committed to keeping my boat safe (as well as those of others) than myself, even though I am very well insured.
When they get comfortable doing things that they might have been reluctant to do, my students, and other charter
guests ,become more more comfortable and confident in their own skills, and much better sailors, too. And, it makes the more common maneuvers a piece of cake. If other boaters observe us - and they do - they usually compliment us, and one of the reasons that I do these things on regular charters is not to show off, but to get other boaters thinking about and wanting to learn to do the same thing they have just seen. And that makes them safer for all of us. Let's see....on this past week's charter, we picked up six moorings. Four were under sail, and two weren't, because I thought my guests' skills weren't up to it, in one case, and because we were motoring, anyway, in the other. Of the four moorings we picked up, three were spot on the first time, and in one case, we were going a bit faster than I wanted, so I did a go round and picked up the mooring on the second try. But my escape route
was well planned in my mind, in advance, so there was no fuss of any kind.
Admittedly, some of the mooring fields in the BVI are less cramped than in some other places, but our boats are much larger on average, and our winds much stronger, too. I have moored in Avalon
, many times in the past, and agree that is pretty tight. Would I sail onto a mooring there? Maybe...depends upon the conditions and the boat. But, if I had an open spot or two on either side, I MIGHT consider it. It all becomes a matter of experienced judgement.
In this hyper cautious and blame-everyone-else world we now seem to live in, I have met a couple with ten years of sailboat ownership
, who had yet to gybe. I have met people who have yet to heave to, yet to drop an anchor, yet to sail out of sight of land, and yet to sail in the dark. All of these things are legitimate challenges until they are mastered. It just takes some learning
, some practice, some good judgement, and a good bit of planning ahead. And folks should do this.
I don't know how to fly, so I wouldn't try it. But, if I did want to do it, I would learn, and then I could do it and I would do it. There are many on either side of this discussion whose minds will never change, but I hope at least some of those who have never considered mooring under sail, will have become interested in learning
and practicing this skill. They will be better off for it, and so will the rest of the boating
For those who have written extensively on this thread to decry the practice of mooring under sail, please save your breath. I have already read all of your comments, and not one arbitrary thing that has been said, has convinced me that it's better not to develop, and use, one's skills, with good judgement that takes into account the boat, the sailor, and the conditions. And, yes, it IS fun to use those skills, and fun to see them demonstrated. Kind of like riding a horse, well, instead of depending upon a car.