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Old 06-01-2013, 00:40   #1
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Sierahotel's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2012
Boat: Hunter 31
Posts: 23
Making a Mooring

This summer I bought my first boat, an 85 Hunter 31. Think it was a good choice as it's too big for me in about as many regards as it's too small. The main issue being that most of the time, I have to single hand her. I bought her in Maryland and brought her to Toronto myself. I had fuel issues and breakdowns along the way, but that's another story.

When I finally got her home I realized that I had no money left to pay for docking and nowhere to keep her. I decided to anchor her in an out of the way cul de sac of the Outer harbour. Next to the multihull mooring field. I called the club and asked if they had any problem with me anchoring there and they gave me the go ahead.

Anchoring was fine, but for my piece of mind I wanted to make a really strong mooring that would never drag. A friend suggested that I use concrete cinder blocks, but concrete is actually not that heavy under water so you need literally tons of it. I instead decided on using helical moorings. But they are pricey to buy and hard to find. Best I could find was $400 each. "Screw that, I'll just make some."

So I went to Home Depot and got some 3' rebar and sheet metal. I cut the sheet metal into 6 inch discs with a hole in the middle and a radius slice across one half. You make the hole a little bigger than the rebar diameter so that when you curl the disc into a single screw turn, it shrinks the hole a little and adds some strength with a conical shape. I cut 6 discs and welded them onto 3 pieces of rebar, 2 for each mooring just to be safe. I made square eye holes out of 2 inch scrap pieces. Big enough to run some chain through. So I hade knocked up my own moorings, now time to install them.

Luckily I had just done an underwater pool photography session and had some air left in a tank. I chained all my moorings and tools together and dropped them down 15 feet to the sandy bottom. I dove down and quickly started screwing the moorings in using another pice of rebar to make the turns. It took me a few minutes each to get them screws in at least 2 feet deep into the sand. I did the 3 at angles in a slightly tripod configuration. Then I ran the chain through all the eye holes and fastened together and attached a mooring line to the surface. Just tugging against this mooring with it all tied together, I could immediately tell that this was really strong and that I'd made the right choice avoiding concrete blocks on this sandy bottom.

The mooring worked great and held all summer through serious chop and 100km wind gusts from hurricane Sandy. I left my mooring a few weeks ago to put the boat on the hard in Breezy, Point NY.

Now, I know what you're thinking. These things will rust away, and I'm lucky to have diving gear and welding gear, and you're right. I will have to inspect the screws and chain to see if it's holding up, and I have to use some more shock absorbing parts to keep the chain from yanking. One time I was inside the boat while she was moored during really good chop and I could hear the chain yanking and straining with loud klanging sounds. I think next year I will add a heavy weight on the line about 6 feet from the screws, to help ease the shock when a wave really yanks the boat back. I use a rubber shock absorber now, but I am looking into how else I can improve on that.

This simple plan worked great and allowed me to stop the money bleeding for a while as I was too maxed out to pay months of marina bills. I'll probably be making and installing some moorings for friends this summer too.
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