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Old 15-06-2011, 22:43   #1
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Making a mooring buoy

So ive been wanting to drop a mooring buoy for a while now, trying to figure out the best and not to expensive way to do it. Ill list my idea and if anyones done one or has a good idea or some advice please let me know. 26ft full keel sailboat

1) Plastic 45 Gallon drum, full of cement with chain hole made through the middle of it (maybe do 2 of them and link them)

2) Buy a road barrier as they have a nice metal hook they cement right into the barrier and i can get one put right into the back of the truck (750lbs or 2000lbs) Im worried the metal hook will deteriorate and then its useless.

3) Want to use chain for the rode not a line... comments on that would be nice. Its not very deep only like 10meters max where i wanna put it. Size and kind of chain, no idea.

4) how to secure the chain to itself/the weight, i was thinking of using some D Shackles.

5) How exactly to figure out how much extra chain to have for high tide and the heaving ocean. (depth sounder i guess and then guess how much the ocean heaves.)

Would love to know what other ppl have done.
Sailing sailing sailing....
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Old 15-06-2011, 22:52   #2
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Re: Making a mooring buoy

You really don't want to mess with this.

A local contractor will have all the equipment, know about the bottom condition, the prevailing conditions etc.

He will also be able to advise on the size tackle required for the boat etc.

For the few extra bucks they will charge you it's money well spent IMHO

"I get knocked down but I get up again" eventually.
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Old 15-06-2011, 23:18   #3
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Re: Making a mooring buoy

You should probably start with a survey of the bottom where you intend to set your buoy. If it is sand and mud, a mushroom anchor would be the way to go. Anne's Marine and Boat Anchors have some good information on anchors of this sort and how to set them.

Anne's Marine & Boat Anchors

If your chosen area is rocky, then time to go to plan B, and I would probably want to do as James suggests and get hold of a contractor familiar with the bottom and how to set an anchor buoy accordingly.
'Tis evening on the moorland free,The starlit wave is still: Home is the sailor from the sea, The hunter from the hill.
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Old 15-06-2011, 23:51   #4
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Re: Making a mooring buoy

A chunk of scrap steel will give you far more mooring for the pound. If the bottom or mooring is apt to abrade the rode use a length of chain and a submerged float to keep it out of trouble. Then rope from there on up. It's no big deal. Inspect it often. In some bottoms a metal screw works well.

Yes, galvanized shackles are the way to go.
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Old 16-06-2011, 00:06   #5
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Re: Making a mooring buoy

Unfortunately there are some areas in the world where it's hard to find a qualified person to install a mooring.
The problem with cement is that it is not as heavy in the water as one may guess. You may want to add as much metal junk as possible.
We used a large wheelbarrow to form a concrete mold with the metal hook in the middle so it formed sort of mushroom anchor. Two molds created one mooring buoy.
"The acquisition of the knowledge of navigation has a strange effect on the minds of men." /Jack London/
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Old 16-06-2011, 00:15   #6
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Re: Making a mooring buoy

Originally Posted by daddle View Post
A chunk of scrap steel will give you far more mooring for the pound.
The railway wagon wheel and axle would make a nice mushroom mooring anchor
"The acquisition of the knowledge of navigation has a strange effect on the minds of men." /Jack London/
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Old 16-06-2011, 03:54   #7
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Used to lay moorings on lake Macquarie NSW. Can't go past railway wheels anything up to 30 ft. Especially on sand/ mud the weight settles them under the seabed. Wheels about 3-4 ft dia. Not the small ones.
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Old 16-06-2011, 05:36   #8
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Re: Making a mooring buoy

Sand screw if the bottom is soft.... If its hard... lots of heavy chain helps reduce the shock loading on whatever you put on the bottom... remember you still need scope on the chain, and put a fair amount of rope 3 strand or something that will give. MAny boats have walked their very heavy mooring weights away from where they started.
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Old 16-06-2011, 06:39   #9
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Re: Making a mooring buoy

I suggest a sand/mud screw connected to a short section of heavy chain. To this I would attach a pennant of very large "floating" synthetic line, to and the shackle at the bottom, that connects the chain to the thimbled pennant end, I'd put a small float. This would be so small that it just lifts the junction about 2' off of the bottom. (avoids chafe issues)

On the upper end of the 3/4 or 1" pennant, I'd have chafe gear sewn into the large eye, and 1' or so further down, have a small nylon loop lashed in. This pennant would float on its own at first, but to "mark it", I'd use one of those 1' dia, ROUND orange fenders, "quick clipped" into the nylon loop I'd lashed 1' from the bitter end of the pennant.

Then I would come in and pick up the pennant, float & all, run my nylon "brait" bridle (or your snubber line) through the pennant eye, and cleat both ends of the bridle, (or snubber), on deck.

Before releasing the snubber/pennant junction back into the water, I'd unclip and remove the small orange fender, and store it in an anchor locker. When going out for a sail, just hook it back onto the small nylon loop lashed on the pennant. BTW... IF you keep the orange float free of barnacles, you could leave it on there all the time if you prefer, but 6' down the pennant. (Being small & soft, it will do no damage.)

33 years ago, we all had homemade moorings like this in the "Christmas Tree" anchorage in Key West, and it worked great!

This gets around the serious flaw with HARD mooring balls, of their pecking away at the hull when the wind goes light and current or passing boat wakes push the boat into the "hard" mooring ball. It is especially destructive to plywood multihulls like ours, when the ball gets stuck under the wing.

Best of luck with it,

That is not me in the photo BTW, it's my wife...
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Old 16-06-2011, 15:33   #10
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Re: Making a mooring buoy

The mooring that I bought second-hand for a 3.5t boat was built this way:
- 1.8t concrete block
- 4m of 38mm chain
- 8m of 30mm 3-strand Nylon
- 22mm carbon steel swivel
- 60cm diameter mooring ball

It was located in a sheltered estuary where the bottom is hard sand and the biggest waves are made by ferries and the occasional storm.

Four years ago, I had to replace the swivel because of corrosion. The new one was stainless instead of carbon steel. I changed the setup to take the ball aboard the boat when it was on the mooring, to prevent it from banging on the hull. The added benefit was that the swivel was kept out of the water.

In this area, a big ball is necessary because mussels grow quickly on the chain/cable and cause it to sink after some time (don't ask how I know). It is necessary to raise as much as possible of the rode out of the water at least once a year to clear the mussels. Starfish take care of mussels close to the bottom.

In the area, rope seems to last longer than chain because there is much fine sand in the water and it causes chain links to abrade each other. Of course, some heavy chain is necessary on the bottom for chafe resistance on the concrete block but it would be impractical to have 12m of this, it would be too heavy.

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Old 20-06-2011, 20:11   #11
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Re: Making a mooring buoy

A '57 Chevy is hard to beat.
Just kidding, although I used a V-8 block with 20 feet of 1/2" chain through it, then 1" nylon to a float one summer in a mud bottom. Held a 36' Atkins Tally Ho Major just fine.
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Old 20-06-2011, 20:14   #12
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Re: Making a mooring buoy

Check local regs about it first. Using someone else's name and location. That way the weirdos can't track you down. I looked into well here in teh Puget Sound and found taht teh Helix system not only is best but is teh easiest to get clearance for. On teh other hand, I also found out that if you locate an 'abandonded mooring point' that you can re-connect to it... Need I say more?...
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