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Old 29-08-2012, 17:37   #1
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Mooring in a Storm/Hurricane

Hello all,
I keep my boat on a mooring at a sailing club where we have to evacuate if there is a hurricane watch. I just bought the boat in June, so this is my first hurricane season as a larger boat owner (Pearson 323). Sure enough, we had to evacuate during Isaac last weekend. The mooring field just outside the Club Mooring field has rating to cat 1, so several of us relocated there. However, I was unable to use my custom- made mooring penants and relied on dock lines. Many of us did the same thing.

We ran two large diameter dock lines through the plastic, tear-drop shaped ring attached to the mooring ball lines. Ours held, but barely due to chafing. At least 4 other boats wound up on the rocks as a result of chafing.

When I paid at the mooring office, I was informed that the best connection is two lines (one on each side of the bow) connected to the mooring ring with a bowline knot. I'm wondering how secure one feels with his boat moored using 2 bowlines and if anyone has any other suggestions?

Another owner used a metal cable to secure his boat and it nearly cut through the plastic ring.

It was a sad sight to see those beautiful boats sitting up on the rocks after the storm. One even appears to be resting upright on its keel, but the boat is really lodged in trees and rocks. Sad. . .

Any mooring suggestions would be appreciated. I have perused the books and don't see any solutions. Fire hose has been suggested, but I'm told it will chafe as well.

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Old 29-08-2012, 17:57   #2
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Re: Mooring in a storm/hurricane

Not ever had to worry about the chafing, so can't comment on that, but when I was on the fire dept years ago at home, I trusted my bowlines to hold me 30 feet off the ground in turn out gear, so if you're worried about the knot I would (and have) trusted my life to it.
Mooring in a hurricane? I would be far more distrustfull of that..
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Old 29-08-2012, 17:58   #3
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Re: Mooring in a storm/hurricane


When it comes to protecting the boat in storm conditions the major thing to think about is the chafing. Anything you can do to minimize or eliminate it is a good thing. Hurricane Irene came up the coast last year. For my storm prep I added an additional line to the mooring. I also removed the anchor and connected the anchor chain to the mooring chain below the mooring ball. I also used and anti sail drogue from the bow hoping to minimize any "sailing" of my boat around mooring during the Hurricane. Unfortunately, I was two hundred fifty miles away when the storm hit and did not get back to the until two weeks after that. But, the boat survived fine some of the lines got a little twisted but, there was very little chafe. You can see what I found when I finally got back on board here:
Capt. Mike
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Old 29-08-2012, 18:15   #4
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Re: Mooring in a storm/hurricane

If you are confident your mooring is strong enough it is one of the best places to be. However, as you said just running a line through the eye on the mooring is no good! The best connection for something like that is to take a dock line or other very strong line with an eye splice in one end, run the eye splice through the mooring eye, and then run the line back through the eye splice and back to the boat. In fact, I have seen studies indicating that it is actually stronger that way than a line spliced around a thimble. However, the eye on your mooring might not be big enough to allow that, so I would go with as many passes as you can make through the eye with one line and then a bowline and then tape the loose end of the line to the standing part to eliminate the possibility of the bowline coming undone. Multiple lines are better. Use as much scope as you dare to help compensate for storm surge, but you still need to stay away from your neighbors. I have successfully used large diameter clear PVC water tubing over lines through several hurricanes on moorings with no signs of chafe; however, the current conventional wisdom is that the line can heat up inside the plastic tubing and melt. Having never seen that, I will have to take their word for this. Heavy nylon webbing, found at climbing stores, is actually in tubular form so it can be slipped over the line, and it makes great chafing gear too. There are some commercial boaty versions of this stuff available places like West Marine. I myself almost always drop and dig in an additional anchor or two to back up the mooring. Even though I was on a two-ton block during Bob I had two Fortress anchors out on long scope and with the 100 mph winds it took me the better part of a day to retrieve the anchors they were so deeply buried. We had close to a 10-foot storm surge in that one, so you can see why scope is important. Boat US has some great technical papers on how to set up your mooring gear for a hurricane.
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Old 29-08-2012, 19:52   #5
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Re: Mooring in a storm/hurricane

Marty, it sounds like you're talking about the mooring field outside of Dinner Key.
I've never taken a close look at those moorings but it sounds odd that they would have a plastic ring in the system. That sounds like a weak point to me.

As for chafe protection, I received a sample of tubular webbing such as Kettlewell describes but it is heat shrinkable. I'm due for new docklines so I'm going to try it. I'll actually be able to put two or more layers to increase the thickness.

If you ever get up near Miami International Airport, stop in my store and I'll show you what it looks like.
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Old 30-08-2012, 04:30   #6
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Re: Mooring in a Storm/Hurricane

I'm not sure if this is what happened, but if you run a line through the eye and back, you're setting up something like a wire saw, where the line will saw against the eye. Best to always tie the two together such that neither line can slip against the other. (Sorry if I missed the's early!)
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