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Old 01-27-2013, 06:13 AM   #1
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Mooring Balls

I'm always looking for cool gadgets. I cam across this:

Sail-World.com : Product of the Week: Hook and Moor

So I'm wondering those who do a lot of mooring out, what do you use to catch and how are you tying to to the mooring ball or buoy to reduce chafe?

Cheers
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:47 AM   #2
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That looks like a beefier version of "The Happy Hooker". Would likely work well on the s park buoys up there in the PNW or at Angel Island in SF Bay. Not at Catalina though. We use to use a boat hook to get the ring to the boat but these are a little cleaner if you have good aim. We had somebody give us a "Happy Hooker" but the style of mooring varies so much on the East Coast I've never got around to using it in real life.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:16 PM   #3
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I came up with a different method of tying up to a mooring buoy and it works well for us.

I run a line from a bow cleat back to the cockpit and at the cockpit end I have a carabiner clip that's about 12" long and made of 1/2" material. It's similar to this...

To tie up to a buoy, we pull alongside the buoy with it at the cockpit. My Admiral stands in the cockpit and simply reaches out and clips the carabiner to the ring on the buoy. Then I back away from the buoy and she goes to the bow. She undoes the line from the bow cleat and reattaches it to the cleat at a shorter length so we're not so far from the buoy.

When it's time to leave, she'll redo the bow line at the cleat so it's back to its original length. I think pull the boat so the buoy is again at the cockpit and she undoes the carabiner clip from the buoy ring.

Doing it this way keeps her from having to try to pull the ring up to her level on the bow and she's safer because she's standing in the cockpit rather than leaning over a bow rail.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:55 PM   #4
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We use the same karabiner method. We were taught this by the checkout skipper back when we first chartered a GB and have done it this way ever since. Beats trying to snag a buoy ring from the bow with a boathook as most people seem to do up here. Our boat has fairly low freeboard aft so we clip onto the buoy from the side boarding gate rather than the aft deck. This keeps the buoy's mooring chain/line that much farther away from the props and rudders.

We always run a second line through the ring as a backup, so before we leave I stop at the buoy on the way back from shore with the dog and unclip the karabiner line. Leaving the buoy is just a matter of releasing and pulling in the backup line.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:44 PM   #5
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Thanks GFC and Marin, that makes a lot of sense.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:41 PM   #6
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I'm always looking for new tricks, but I am missing something here. How is the carabiner any easier than just running a line through the ring? Also, the method described sounds like a formula for fouling a prop with a line hanging down bow to stern. So if either of you carabiner guys can expand a bit on your technique, I'd be grateful.

When we cruised the San Juans and Gulf Islands, we'd get the cockpit near the buoy, grab the ring with a boat hook, pull the chain close enough to a "bridle" of two lines, walk the bridle to the bow, attach. When departing, just un-cleat one side of the bridle lines and pull in with no maneuvering required.

By the way, I take all anchoring and mooring duty on deck, Ann handles the helm. Some of these chores take as much size and strength as is available.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:54 PM   #7
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I've got a spring loaded carabiner-like hook that is held open by another part attached to a boat hook. Using the boat hook extended as far as it goes, you can catch the hook and line to a mooring and the action of hooking it releases it from the boat hook.

I'm sure that made perfect sense.

Even so it's not the kind of connection I would trust overnight. Once we are all settled down I dump the dingy in and bring a line over with a real shackle on it.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:15 PM   #8
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George--- With the currents and winds the person snagging the buoy sometimes only has a second or two to do it before the boat moves out of reach. Rather than have to lean down even farther to thread a line through the ring, which on the buoys we use is almost always lying flat on top of the buoy or even hanging down in the case of the park buoys, it's super east to just reach out and slam the gate of the karabiner---and we use a really big one, perhaps a foot long--- against any part of the buoy ring and it snaps on. In the 16 years counting charters we've been doing this I can probably count the number of times we've missed a buoy on the first try on one hand. No need to pull any chain through the buoy arriving or leaving.

Sometimes it takes a hell of a pull to get any extra chain up through the buoy depending on the current and the state of the tide and the amount of growth on the chain. We've watched people struggle mightily on the bows of their boats to haul the ring up to where they can get a line through it, a struggle that more often than one might think ends with the boathook going into the water. We have a friend that when he lived on one of the state marine park islands and was in charge of maintenance for all the marine parks in his area would dive periodically on the park buoys on "his" island to inspect them. It seemed every time he did this he would retrieve a very nice sampling of boathooks.

The karbiner is a dirt-simple method and requires no accuracy whatsoever other than whacking the long gate against the ring. Regardless if the ring is standing up, lying down, or hanging over, it works the first time 99.9999999 percent of the time.

We lay the mooring line out down the side deck prior to picking up the buoy. It's not in the water. So the person picking up the buoy clips on back by the boarding gate and the person at the helm steps out and picks up the bitter end of the mooring line on the foredeck, takes it over the rail up forward and through the bow hawse and then pulls in the slack as the current or wind starts moving the boat backwards. Cleat off the line when the buoy is where we want it in relation to the bow and that's that.

When I take the dog ashore we add the backup line which IS simply threaded through the ring and back to the boat.

As mentioned in long-ago posts, we've seen a few people try things like the Happy Hooker with not much success, and after watching a video FlyWright posted awhile back I think I understand why this is. From the video, the Happy Hooker seems to work best when you're pushing its "gate" against something that's fairly solid. Like a stanchion or a ring mounted to stay vertical on a buoy and so on.

But as I said earlier the rings on the buoys we use a lot are for the most part very loose and flopped over on their side or even draped down off the top of the buoy. So it doesn't take much push on the ring to simply shove it sideways or out of the way. That's one reason the karabiner things works so well. You can whack it into the ring in such a way that it actually "pulls" the ring toward you rather than pushes it away.

Easier to see it done or do it than explain it. But it works fantastic if you have a good-size karabiner.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:40 PM   #9
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MOORING SoCal Style
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:59 PM   #10
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George, you're not missing anything. I missed mentioning that we use a floating line for that mooring line. I feel much safer having my Galley Wench (her idea of a title, not mine) lean out from the relative safety of the cockpit rather than leaning over the bow rail or lying on the bow trying to reach the ring with a boat hook.

I've told her, she respects my advice, not to lean over the side to grab the ring, but rather to let me maneuver the boat so the buoy and ring are right next to the boat. That way all she has to do is stand in the cockpit and snap the carabiner hook on the ring.

Like Marin said, it's so easy it's almost a joke, and we've yet to miss hooking up on the first try.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:31 AM   #11
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In the sketch the boat is moored by the chain , not thru the mooring ball.

That is far safer than hoping a iron ring is still strongly attached to the chain.

We pick up the mooring line with a boat hook or with the pick up stick.

Then we run a line thru the eye of the mooring line , so OUR line is running out thru any chocks or the hawse hole.

That way any wear/chafe is to our line , not the mooring equipment.
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