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Old 08-08-2015, 12:35   #1
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Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

Has anyone done this? Seems a little like being a trick shot artist - possible but would require hours and hours of practice.

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Old 08-08-2015, 12:40   #2
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

People do it often here in Monterey, California. Some skill in boathandling is required.
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:45   #3
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

I've done it for training in various boats throughout my sailing career. You learn boat handling. You must be very careful not to come too close to moorings, boats and rodes. Getting hung up on someone's mooring lines is very embarrassing and damaging.

If you are going to try it make certain you have experienced crew who can follow orders and carry out a tack or jib quickly. You need to maintain speed and power enough to carry you through a tack so it's not good to pinch into the wind. You have to consider your boats turning characteristics as well. I didn't do very much of it when I had a full long keel and ketch rig because she just wouldn't tack quickly.

Good luck.

No, it's not like trick shot because you are trying to avoid banking.
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Old 08-08-2015, 13:18   #4
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

I did it for years but in smaller boats 19 and 24 footers. Could do it now in 42 ft if I had to but wouldn't choose to do so unless wind and wave conditions were just right. My bow blows of to leeward to quickly to make this a fun or favored option. Glad I have a reliable diesel.


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Old 08-08-2015, 13:29   #5
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

If you never try, you'll never learn to do it. Best time to learn is when you've got an idling engine to get you out of trouble not when you are forced to sail out because your engine is dead.
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Old 08-08-2015, 13:39   #6
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

The conditions make the difference for me. I wouldn't want to beat through a mooring field, but with something steady and moderate on the beam you can scoot through always choosing to fall off the wind or head up to pass each boat close to the stern.
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Old 08-08-2015, 13:52   #7
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

Racing catamarans helps also.

You get used to being on a crowded starting line with maybe 30-40 other boats without touching and holding position for sometimes 2 minutes.

There is a brief shot of the boats holding position in the video below but it doesn't show how long they maintained it.

In racing, the clock counts down and you cannot cross the start/finish line until it hits zero. (but) You need to get a good position on the correct side of the line to have any chance at winning otherwise the race for you is over before it starts.

Point is like has been mentioned you have to practice it ............

Scroll down to see video: (btw, the boats are 18' long and weigh around 165lbs. Your sail selection is based on your weight)

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Old 08-08-2015, 14:05   #8
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

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Originally Posted by Steve Bean View Post
People do it often here in Monterey, California. Some skill in boathandling is required.
Don't know what it's like in Monterey but it looks pretty dicey at Avalon Harbor:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Aval...P7OPKpFIQ4M%3A
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Old 08-08-2015, 14:07   #9
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

That is something I'll be practicing when the time comes.....far away from crunchy/expensive things.

Little buoys scattered here and there as a simulated flock of targets to miss, and as many repeats as it takes to get it right. An emergency anchor already scoped and cleated ready to dump instantly; fenders, boathook and yuloh out. Also, fake name plates, dummy deckhouse, and a ski-mask in case it's really hairy. Wait, I didn't mean to type that, how do I sto.....
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Old 08-08-2015, 14:34   #10
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

Nothing to it;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?index=...ion_3450640731

Oldie but a goodie,

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Old 08-08-2015, 15:08   #11
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

The first year we had our boat it had no engine. We sailed off and on the mooring all year with no problems.

It makes you a better sailor IMHO. You calculate many moves ahead to arrive at your destination.
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Old 08-08-2015, 15:26   #12
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
I've done it for training in various boats throughout my sailing career. You learn boat handling. You must be very careful not to come too close to moorings, boats and rodes. Getting hung up on someone's mooring lines is very embarrassing and damaging.

If you are going to try it make certain you have experienced crew who can follow orders and carry out a tack or jib quickly. You need to maintain speed and power enough to carry you through a tack so it's not good to pinch into the wind. You have to consider your boats turning characteristics as well. I didn't do very much of it when I had a full long keel and ketch rig because she just wouldn't tack quickly.

Good luck.

No, it's not like trick shot because you are trying to avoid banking.
+1, & also, as mentioned, racing in a fleet where boats are in close proximity to one another helps a lot too. Watch & or participate in a mark rounding where a pack of boats all reach the leeward mark at once, & simultaneously have to drop their spinnakers & transition into upwind mode.
(It's fun :-)

Plus, & this is a biggie: You have to think ahead several steps, including giving yourself several "outs" if something goes awry with your Plan A & B for your next necessary course alteration.
As well as asking, okay, what could go wrong on/with this next tack/manuver, & what are my options to fix it so that I don't T-bone another boat.

Whether, for instance, that means you have to IMMEDIATELY cut a sheet which has jammed on a winch (preventing you from tacking) & then select "escape plan B".
Or quickly & precisely spin gybe around a different "obstacle" in another direction; & keep reformulating your options. All the while, still asking yourself, "what can go wrong, & what are my fix-it/escape options"?

In the circles I "grew up" in, it's called "War Gaming", but there are other terms for such thinking. But at the moment they escape me.
I imagine that if you've driven in heavy traffic at speeds significantly higher than the traffic flow, then you get the idea. It's the same thing with boats, in the inquired scenario.
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Old 09-08-2015, 00:37   #13
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

The mooring fields in San Diego I've done, with a Ranger 33. There's room to maneuver, room to miss and recover. But in Avalon or Two Harbors on Catalina, you'd be foolish to attempt it in anything larger than 22', and it's unlikely the harbor patrol would even allow the attempt. The moorings are too close together, too tidally affected, and too close to shoals for mistakes. Plus you're dodging dinghies, paddle boards, and 40' stinkpots coming at you from all directions like a game of Frogger.

(Moored our 38' sloop in Avalon Thursday, and in Two Harbors yesterday and again today. I assure you, it cannot be done under sail on a weekend in the summertime)




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Old 09-08-2015, 01:18   #14
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

Frequently did it single handed on Washington State Mooring Balls - but they are almost all in a single line and separated by 30-yards minimum. I learned a lot about boat handling and current reading.

Easy to practise when there are no adverse consequences to missing when a single line of balls and plenty of room to maneuver.

And, I always test started my engine before I started the sailing attempt. If it was more difficult conditions I left the engine in neutral. Of course, that was just to heat the water so I could take a hot shower to clean off the cold sweat from the sailin attempt.
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:23   #15
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Re: Sailing in and out of a crowded mooring field

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Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
Don't know what it's like in Monterey but it looks pretty dicey at Avalon Harbor:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Aval...P7OPKpFIQ4M%3A
I certainly wouldn't try it there in Avalon unless 3/4 of the boats were gone somewhere.

An empty mooring field is a lot safer to try if you can find one that's empty or at least cleared out a bit.
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