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Old 07-19-2018, 03:56 PM   #1
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How do you tie up to a mooring buoy?

We just returned from several weeks of cruising and spent the time roughly split between mooring buoys and anchoring out. Our first night and our last night were at buoys and were the only nights where the wind and seas really kicked up at night.

It got me thinking...I've got a nice piece of 5/8" braid with spliced eyes that I use...I make a round turn through the metal ring on the buoy to reduce the chafe of the line sawing back and forth, and it's led back through the two bow chocks to the two mooring bitts on the foredeck.

BUT...it's only one line...there's no redundancy if it parts. And what kinds of loads is Kingfisher really putting on that line as we buck and bounce, the line creaking and groaning in the chock as we come to the end of a starboard tack before heading back to port?

Both nights I got up and clipped on a second line as a backup, using the line that we normally use when first picking up a mooring...it has a spring-gate stainless carabiner on a quick-release at the end of a boat hook.

I've noticed that some boats have an entire second bridle rigged to the buoy, slightly slacker than the first. What's your set-up? What type of line do you like? What size? Any special ways you address chafe? Favorite tips?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:01 PM   #2
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I just use 2 dock lines.

One from each hawse hole and double backed to onboard.
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:10 PM   #3
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If a line is passed through an eye on a buoy then led back to 2 different points the line will saw back and forth at the buoy as the boat sails back and forth. The correct way is to lead both ends of the line back to the same point on the boat.

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Old 07-19-2018, 04:25 PM   #4
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My boat lives on a mooring and my home mooring is very secure, but when cruising one has to work with the mooring you're presented with. This is how I would do it away from home if I was at all concerned.
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:31 PM   #5
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My 1" snubber rope is two 50' sections with eyes on the end to be shackled and snubbed to the anchor chain. When using a mooring ball we keep the eye ends on the bow cleats and pass the bitter ends through the ball and bring them back. One side is kept taut as the main line, the other is connected the same way, but left loose as the back up.
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:59 PM   #6
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We use one dock line. If we expect wind or bad weather, we anchor. I trust our ground tackle more than than the buoy. If anchoring is not an option, we just use two dock lines. We put the dock line loop on the forward cleat and run the line back along the side deck. Approach the buoy into the wind or current as much as possible, grab the mooring ball ring with a boat hook at the side gate, run the line through the ring, and let the boat drift back as we walk the line forward and cleat it off.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:02 PM   #7
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Over here, a mooring buoy will have a pennant with a loop spliced at the end to go over a cleat. Sometimes I need to extend the length using a strop I made up,which I attach to the existing spliced loop.
I bring the line over the bow roller and to a centrally located cleat. That gives a direct pull and allows some movement.
Once we came across a mooring no one was picking up because it had no pennant. We ran 2 lines to the buoy and back to the boat. One was our strop with a spliced loop which we attached to the buoy,the other was a mooring line we had handy. Both came over the bow roller.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:26 PM   #8
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Here all moorings have pennants attached with an eye at the end of the pennant. Normally I just put the eye over my port bow cleat and lead the line through a chock. Sometimes the line is too big for my chock so I put a length of 7/8" double braid through the eye on the pennant and lead both ends through my chocks to my bow cleats. Around here is a mooring doesn't have a pennant that most likely means that it has not been serviced /inspected and is not trustworthy.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:42 PM   #9
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Keep in mind there are several types of moorings and mooring field protocols. We tend to call the harbor master ahead of time (if there is one) and ask for best, or required practices. Where a ring as a single point of attachment is the set up, we used kchace's set up shown in the pic in post #4.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:48 PM   #10
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Iíve never seen a pennant on a mooring ball. We have hard to reach metal rings mounted in a dished top mooring ball. I use a device similar to the OP to initially get hooked on the ball, and then will often use the dink to setup two lines or just use the bridle we use for the anchor. I keep the initial line with a hook on the ball as a backup, but primarily use it as the release when we are leaving the buoy.
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:42 PM   #11
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In the San Juans, we would attach the "bridle" by coming abeam of the ball and accessing it from the cock pit. Made it easy using a short boat hook. Then we could walk the assembly forward as by easing the boat back if needed. Much easier than trying to snag it off the bow. In many places on the east coast, the ball is just a float for the rigging that is brought aboard. Here's our mooring we had in Westport (MA) Harbor one summer. We also had them rig a little "pennant buoy" with a long rod sticking up so it was easy to reach from our high freeboard boat. Again, just one of many variations out there.
You can see the little ball hanging off the port bow... you'd never hook yourself to that, one reason to get the configuration lowdown in advance. You can see the tip of the rod sticking out the bow as it laid on its side on deck.

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Old 07-19-2018, 08:08 PM   #12
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I shackle 10 feet of chain to the ball and then run two lines from chain to boat
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Old 07-19-2018, 08:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
In the San Juans, we would attach the "bridle" by coming abeam of the ball and accessing it from the cock pit. Made it easy using a short boat hook. Then we could walk the assembly forward as by easing the boat back if needed. Much easier than trying to snag it off the bow. In many places on the east coast, the ball is just a float for the rigging that is brought aboard. Here's our mooring we had in Westport (MA) Harbor one summer. We also had them rig a little "pennant buoy" with a long rod sticking up so it was easy to reach from our high freeboard boat. Again, just one of many variations out there.
You can see the little ball hanging off the port bow... you'd never hook yourself to that, one reason to get the configuration lowdown in advance. You can see the tip of the rod sticking out the bow as it laid on its side on deck.

We did the same thing in the past from our sailboat. However, there was one evening when we tried to pick up a mooring at the Hope Island State Park. Wind picked up to 20 knots and it was all I could do to keep a hold of the line as I tried to walk the line forward. Never would have been able to do it with the trawler as there would be too much windage.
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Old 07-19-2018, 10:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Iíve never seen a pennant on a mooring ball. We have hard to reach metal rings mounted in a dished top mooring ball. I use a device similar to the OP to initially get hooked on the ball, and then will often use the dink to setup two lines or just use the bridle we use for the anchor. I keep the initial line with a hook on the ball as a backup, but primarily use it as the release when we are leaving the buoy.
We like this:

https://www.jamestowndistributors.co...t.do?pid=63526
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Old 07-19-2018, 10:29 PM   #15
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This is the one we use Hook & Moor
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Old 07-19-2018, 11:09 PM   #16
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We second the Hook & Moor. It has never failed to work in three years.

Since we mostly encounter buoys with metal rings that Dave described, we have typically run a single long line through the ring and back to the opposite hawse/cleat. I may try the two line system and see if that works any better.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:32 AM   #17
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Wow, I really appreciate all your responses! I've decided that redundancy needs to be built in to our method. The picture that Ken posted in #4 looks like a great way to achieve that. Ken, although a single point may well have some advantage, our single anchor roller is occupied by our 65-lb commercial fishing anchor (Forfjord), so we're going to have to stick with the bridle method for the time being. Doing it with two separate lines that way makes perfect sense. I had envisioned two lines run the way we currently run it, but the way pictured eliminates the sawing altogether.

For those interested, this is what we use to initially pick up the mooring:



We don't have pennants around here, just the ring hiding in the dished buoy that Dave described. Using the device above, we've found it really easy to pick up a buoy. Donna clips the 'biner into its little holder on the boat hook; the 'biner is attached to a stout, 8-foot length of line with a spliced loop which is placed over a stern cleat. I approach slowly with the buoy on the starboard side, then move to the after helm position in the cockpit. Donna makes the connection from the cockpit, and then I can at my leisure thread the dedicated mooring line, unclip the 'biner and walk the line forward to secure it at the bow.

I think we'll keep doing it this way, except that we'll add a second line as mentioned above.

By the way, I agree that anchoring gives us more peace of mind than trusting a buoy, but find that in some of these coves we wouldn't be able to let out enough scope to be comfortable. Of course, that reminds me of a hilarious paragraph in the old "Gunkholing in the San Juans" by Al Cummings where he curses Chapman for recommending scopes of from 5:1 to 8:1 for exactly this reason.
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Old 07-20-2018, 05:37 AM   #18
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When done correctly the mooring buoy simply holds up the chain and has a line attached below the buoy and to ease the job a pickup stick.

We pull the pickup stick and when getting the end of the line to the chain , which frequently has a loop at the end , pass our line thru the loop eye.

The loop eye is lifted from the water but not taken aboard to save chafe on the loop line. Our line thru the loop eye does not chafe .

Casting off is a matter of seconds by simply casting off one end of our line.
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:19 AM   #19
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I just use 2 dock lines.

One from each hawse hole and double backed to onboard.
+1
Never stayed on only one line.I kept two 3/4" 35 foot lines for this purpose. Always doubled back so that I could control departure.

In the few occasions where a painter was supplied on the mooring ball, I added my own second line.

I have heard many stories of lines giving way but fortunately it never happened to me.
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:45 AM   #20
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I have heard many stories of lines giving way but fortunately it never happened to me.
I highly recommend having your own lines and tackle involved on unknown transient moorings if at all possible. I have told the story here a few times of the eye of the mooring line separating from that line, right in my hand. Happened in the Vero Beach municipal field. Really, I'm not that strong.. I got a credit on my fee when I turned in the eye and stub at check-in.
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