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Old 23-07-2020, 18:39   #1
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Need mooring buoy tips

Hi all.

We are cruising the PNW this summer and are staying at several Washington State Marine Park buoys. We have no trouble picking them up or tying off to them, but after a day or so and several tide cycles we sometimes get our mooring lines wrapped around the buoy anchor line and under the barnacle infested float.

When noticed, I undo the lines and straighten them out but it occurs again if we stay long enough.

Our set up is double mooring lines through an 8” ring on the float. Lines enter and exit the deck through the fairleads about 2’ back from the bow tip. At full distance of pull, lines are @6’ ahead of bow tip. Boat is 14T, 40’.

Any good tips out there?
Thanks in advance - Ron
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Old 23-07-2020, 19:05   #2
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

Keeping both lines from the deck to the buoy the identical length helps. Otherwise the only solution I've found is to keep those lines short enough that they can't drop under the buoy. This would assume that the mooring anchor is well set and the anchor line is long enough to give a reasonable scope ratio.

I have to say that I'm generally suspicious of moorings unless I know with certainty how well they are maintained. Have been fooled once and don't want to get fooled again. Overall I trust my anchor a lot more that someone else's mooring.
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Old 23-07-2020, 20:14   #3
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Keeping both lines from the deck to the buoy the identical length helps. Otherwise the only solution I've found is to keep those lines short enough that they can't drop under the buoy. This would assume that the mooring anchor is well set and the anchor line is long enough to give a reasonable scope ratio.

I have to say that I'm generally suspicious of moorings unless I know with certainty how well they are maintained. Have been fooled once and don't want to get fooled again. Overall I trust my anchor a lot more that someone else's mooring.
As to trusting mooring - I've been on Blake island in 30kn of wind and have seen boats drag the ball over 10ft
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Old 23-07-2020, 20:47   #4
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Keeping both lines from the deck to the buoy the identical length helps. Otherwise the only solution I've found is to keep those lines short enough that they can't drop under the buoy. This would assume that the mooring anchor is well set and the anchor line is long enough to give a reasonable scope ratio.

I have to say that I'm generally suspicious of moorings unless I know with certainty how well they are maintained. Have been fooled once and don't want to get fooled again. Overall I trust my anchor a lot more that someone else's mooring.
Thanks skipmac

I agree with the ‘anchor is better’ theme for the most part but I believe the Park Dept does a reasonable job of keeping the buoys in good shape. I may try to shorten the lines a bit - but I would like to keep the buoy from being directly under my bobstay

“As to trusting mooring - I've been on Blake island in 30kn of wind and have seen boats drag the ball over 10ft”

I agree chowdan - while most of them are ok, some have obviously been moved quite a ways and a couple even have ‘Out of Order’ tape on them. We have recently found some in Hood Canal that got way too shallow at a minus tide forcing us to leave abruptly. Still in mostly fair weather we find them pretty useful
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Old 24-07-2020, 02:41   #5
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

I use pool noodles on my mooring line .put a slit in it slide on the line and Some plastic pull ties to hold it on
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Old 24-07-2020, 03:58   #6
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

^^This
Floats on mooring bridles are in common use in these parts, as well.
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Old 24-07-2020, 14:48   #7
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

This is an unavoidable problem with moorings. The floats may help, but if the wind dies and you boat circles endlessly around the mooring (happens a lot in the Caribbean), tangled mooring lines are just part of cruising. We always plan when we lift our dinghy before departing, so that we can untangle things as needed.
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Old 24-07-2020, 15:14   #8
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

We were just up at Sucia Island on a state mooring buoy last week. It was our first time doing that (usually we’re at a dock) but it was a very nice time. Honestly I don’t quite see how a mooring line could get wrapped up. Between tide, current and wind, i would expect there is always tension on the line. In any case, I’ve attached a photo of what our tie-up looked like. Good luck Smokey.
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Old 24-07-2020, 15:39   #9
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

Simply add rope floats to your bridle line. Or yes pool noddles but they are not a durable.

Examples:

https://denverrope.com/mooring-penda...hain-snubbers/
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Old 24-07-2020, 16:20   #10
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

I use the anchor winch to lift the buoy up out of the water under the bowsprit. If necessary (the buoy sliding on it's anchor line) I'll loop a line under the buoy to lift it. I also use only one pennant - 1" line which I check for chafe regularly. This setup doesn't tangle and also stops the buoy from banging on the hull.
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Old 24-07-2020, 16:49   #11
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

Just keep the lines tight. I let them loose the first time, it was horrible. Never again, and never a problem.
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Old 24-07-2020, 18:55   #12
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

My pool noodles last me 2 years so it cost me 4 bucks for 2 years. I also have a swivel on top of the ball so the lines don't get twisted.the problem with bouys on the line is they won't untwist
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Old 24-07-2020, 19:30   #13
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

I've had the same hookup as GWilly had In Sucia (airial view) and have had tountangle my line from under & around the bouys. Another boater suggested I tie our boat as close to the bouy as possible. Next time? I thought most of the Washington State bouys were anchored by augering an anchor into the sea bed. I, too have been in strong winds while moored to a bouy and have never had the anchor move.
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Old 24-07-2020, 20:17   #14
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

Be careful on the wa state buoys, they have been skimping on the maintenance for the last two seasons. They were great before ... but budget cuts have hurt. I’m seriously considering not getting an annual pass next year. Lots of damaged and missing buoys ... some quite unsafe
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Old 24-07-2020, 20:30   #15
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Re: Need mooring buoy tips

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Originally Posted by B-Baysailer View Post
My pool noodles last me 2 years so it cost me 4 bucks for 2 years. I also have a swivel on top of the ball so the lines don't get twisted.the problem with buoys on the line is they won't untwist
Agree - I don't use pool noodles, but I use closed cell slit pipe insulation... same results (and maybe even cheaper).

The wrap issue happens when the current and winds oppose, or wind dies completely, and causes the boat to overrun the ball. The floated lines (with noodles or pipe insulation) won't sink beneath the ball, and when a strong pull picks up again the wrapped (floating) pennants will usually pull over the top of the ball and straighten out. (Buoys leave sections of line that can sink under the ball -- so encasing the full length of the lines is more effective.)
Also, if your boat has a sprit, you can attach a length of bungee from the tip of the sprit to the top of the ball. When the wind goes calm that keeps the boat from overrunning the ball and wrapping the lines, but it stretches out when the wind comes up then the bridle/pennants take up the load. Been doing this on my home mooring for years and it works flawlessly.
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