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Old 18-09-2010, 17:39   #1
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Entering a New Anchorage / Mooring Field / Dock

Hi,
What do you do when entering a new anchorage? One with other boats about and perhaps in front of or near a nice town. How do you pick a spot? How do you know if it is OK to pickup an empty mooring buoy? Etc.
Thanks.
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Old 18-09-2010, 17:44   #2
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Moorage in a Strange Port

Hi,
When entering a port for the first time, how do you go about mooring? (Mooring to a dock, rather than to a buoy.) Do you anchor out and dinghy in to explore the moorage situation? Do most ports have a public dock you can tie up to while inquiring about moorage? And how do you recognize them?

What about when entering a country for the first time? Are there usually special docks you are required to use? Does a customs official usually greet you or do you have to seek them out?
Thanks,
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Old 18-09-2010, 17:53   #3
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Many follow Mob Mentality: Find the two closest boats in the anchorage. Anchor between them.

But you won't do this, will you? You'll read a cruising guide, examine the charts, watch the depth and give your new neighbors whatever room is reasonably available.

It really helps to slowly cruise the anchorage. Inspect the whole place. You may make some new friends, find old ones, or at least locate Mr. & Mrs. Grumpy.

Unless the owner or cruising guide says otherwise, it is probably not friendly to use a mooring uninvited.

Generally the best spots will have boats in them already...thus the Mob Mentality. Sometimes close to town is not so good: wakes, noise, bugs...
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Old 18-09-2010, 17:57   #4
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Look at the chart , you will see not only depths but also a description of the bottom. Based on this information you pick the area you feel will keep you secure. Would not just pick-up an empty mooring ball as the owner may return , call on the VHF for local info concerning rentals. Some good soul will answer your questions.
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Old 18-09-2010, 18:04   #5
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It helps to read up on the mooring in advance. The particulars of foreign clearance are a different topic all together (noonsite.com has a lot of info), but I've encountered your basic ball+chain+big weight on bottom, and there are also ones that have two weights, and you put one end of the bight on your bow, and the other on your stern.

Never let pride get in the way of asking (ten times over again if you need to), or even hovering while you watch someone else figure it out.

Some moorings are privately held as well, others are public, even if they have a vessel's name on them. All over the place.
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Old 18-09-2010, 18:06   #6
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Maybe I should have said "docking" in this post rather than mooring. Sorry. I'm wondering about finding a place to tie to a dock or seawall.

Thanks.
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Old 18-09-2010, 18:09   #7
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G'Day FB,

Daddle's advice covers it well, so pay attention!

I'd add an additional bit: NEVER pick up a strange mooring. Why? You simply have no idea of what connects the mooring bouy to the bottom. In our years of cruising, we've known personally far more boats that came to grief from failed moorings than from their own ground tackle... and in several cases they had been assured that the mooring was quite ok by it's owner. And of course, some folks get quite testy when they return to their private mooring only to find you hanging on it.

So, get used to the idea that when cruising you depend on your own stuff and your own senses.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Cairns, Qld, Oz
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Old 18-09-2010, 18:11   #8
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Never let pride get in the way of asking (ten times over again if you need to), or even hovering while you watch someone else figure it out.
No problem there! Asking, watching, figuring out, and just trying are how I lead my life. I am in the asking stage right now. Just don't suggest that I go to class and read about it.
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Old 18-09-2010, 18:14   #9
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Thanks for all the advice so far. I am probably the least likely person to go sandwich myself between two other boats. That would have to be the last spot available.

Around here the only permanent moorings that I know of are for rent by transient boats in order to keep the public docks clear for day visitors. Is that not normal then?
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Old 18-09-2010, 18:20   #10
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Maybe I should have said "docking" in this post rather than mooring. Sorry. I'm wondering about finding a place to tie to a dock or seawall.

Thanks.
The terms can be used interchangeably; moored simply means your boat is tied to a fixed object which can be a dock, post in the mud, or slab of concrete with a ball floating above it. But typically if someone is "at a mooring", they're on a ball, although you can just as easily say that your "mooring" is at such and such marina, which is probably a dock.

Docks are prime real estate and usually every inch is designated for a vessel paying rent. It could also be a temporary or public. Generally speaking the more prime location (San Diego, Bahamas, Med, BVI, etc) the less possible you're going to find a dock that no one minds if you tie up to for a few days (or even a few minutes).

But if you go to some places out in tim-buck-two, you might just find a dock you can park at. My friend went to Japan and found a place where the docking fee is per foot, but it's designed for container vessels. He found some little nook he could park in and it cost him something like $20 a month.
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Old 18-09-2010, 18:26   #11
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Aw come on now, someone combined my two separate postings. One was supposed to be about tying to a dock, the other about anchoring. Now that they are combined, I guess I'll just see where it goes. I am learning, so keep it coming as long as you all are willing. :-)
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Old 18-09-2010, 19:48   #12
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FatBear -

You have hit on the adventure part of cruising. Generally you cannot know these things. You just have to give it a go and be comfortable knowing nothing but the wrong way.

Here in Malaysia the marinas will never answer the radio. We just pull in. Either the local cruisers help find a slip or a worker comes down. Like a hotel, when you walk in they pretty much can guess what you are going to want.

As for the formalities, you cannot know this in advance either. You can be told where Customs is, but they'll move it that morning. Or you know you must visit the Port Captain first only to find he says go to Customs first. It's big fun. I like it.

Patience is the most important thing. And other cruisers will help with everything. Once you leave on the cruise you'll be in the system and will start getting the info. So just go. And smile.
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Old 19-09-2010, 18:52   #13
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Join the Seven Seas Cruising Association, ssca.org. There are several thousand of us so anywhere you want to go an SSCA member is likely already there, and certainly someone has written about it - SSCA is about sharing our cruising experiences. SSCA also has cruising stations all over the world - let them know you are coming and they will tell you where to go, how to check in, where to get food and water... Very cool.
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Old 19-09-2010, 21:25   #14
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I'm perfectly happy with not knowing everything (or anything?) and figuring out along the way, but my wife would feel better about it if I at least knew more next spring, when we hope to take off, than I do now. No harm in asking, and if I come up with a more articulate way of saying "Uh, I don't know" - like
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You have hit on the adventure part of cruising. Generally you cannot know these things. You just have to give it a go and be comfortable knowing nothing but the wrong way.
- then I guess it was worth asking. (Personally, I do really like that answer.)
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Old 20-09-2010, 06:28   #15
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I'm perfectly happy with not knowing everything ... but my wife would feel better about it if I at least knew more ...
Like I said, you can't really know much in advance. But you can have confidence and the knowledge that the journey is going to turn out just fine.

And to get the confidence make sure everything on your boat works and you know how to work it. Your questions are about arrival at a new place. You'll want to be an expert at maneuvering in tight quarters at very slow speed. I'd suggest hour and hours of practice - both under sail and with engines - maneuvering around some buoys or vacant docks until you have complete confidence you are the master of the boat. Forwards, backing, windward, leeward.

The issues about private docks and such will sort themselves out. Maybe the dock is absolutely private...but hey...what do you know?..when the owner walks up and he's your old high school pal...bingo...free dockage. If not, complement him on his nice dock, smile, and go elsewhere. Works out just fine. Boating people are pretty nice folks pretty much everywhere.
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