Grabbing the Mooring Bouy Ring

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Chris Foster

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
280
Location
USA
Vessel Name
Thea
Vessel Make
46 Grand Banks Classic
Discovered an interesting bit of math this weekend:

Until I get almost back to the stern, my freeboard is greater than the sum of my arm length and the height of a Washington State Parks mooring bouy ring.* Where I really wanted to be when grabbing it - just outside the stb'd side cabin door - I could just touch the top of the ring for about a quarter second as it went by.

I see that Worst Marine has a couple of products - a "Happy Hooker" that's supposed to feed a line through the ring and pull it back with one well placed thrust, and a latching hook with a bracket that attaches to a pole that will hold the hook on until it latches to the ring.* The hook has a loop on the back side that you're supposed to be able to grab with a boat hook to release it.

Anyone use any of these things, or is there a better solution?* Should I see about having one arm stretched by 12 inches or so??
 
Great question Chris. I am trying to learn the best technique myself.
With crew on board, best success so far has been to "thread" the line through the bout loop while near the stern. Then slowly reverse while the Admiral walks the line forward and ties it off. I also saw some pole, snap ring super duper stuff being offered but suspect it's not as easy as they would like you to believe.

I'm quite new to mooring balls, so any old hands want to set us straight?

DonW
 
The Happy Hooker works great.
 
I agree with Keith...the Happy Hooker works great. I've used it in the San Juans with great success.

You're biggest problem will probably be teaching the helms(wo)man how to properly approach and hold position on*the buoy so that you can snag it.

-- Edited by gns at 11:38, 2008-05-19
 
Hooker works fine, or grabbing with a pike pole works too. The WA State bouy mooring rings are attached to a chain which can be pulled up thru the floating bouy. The other half may not be able to do this when the current is running, but it can be done with a little muscle.

I generally use the pole method out the starboard door as that works best for me. If the tide and wind and luck are against me, I'll send the other half out with the happy hooker and once she has the line thru the ring I'll come out and pull my mooring line thru.

Ken Buck
A Couple of Bucks
 
Sounds like the hooker may be a good way to go.

I'm typically operating the boat singlehanded - even if the FM is aboard, she's pretty tentative and it's just better if I handle stuff. With the lower steering station adjacent to the starboard cabin door, I just need to come up alongside the bouy.

Somehow I had it in my mind that I'd be able to just reach down with a mooring line and thread it right through the ring - but that's when the short arm / high freeboard discovery was made...
smile.gif
 
trying to delete a repeat of my earlier post.

I refreshed my browser and my post went up a second time.


-- Edited by DonW at 02:38, 2008-05-20
 
We use a buoy mooring line with a big karabiner on a stainless eye in one end. To snag a mooring buoy I simply coast up next to it, take the buoy down the starboard side and my wife, who is kneeling at the boarding gate about 3/4 of the way back to the stern, simply reaches out and slams the gate of the karabiner against the ring in the top of the buoy and there we are. We were shown this technique by the checkout skipper when we first chartered a GB36 some 12 or 13 years ago and we've been doing it on our own boat for the last ten. The only times my wife has ever failed to get the buoy on the first pass is when I've screwed up and didn't get the boat close enough. We always take the buoy with the boat headed into the wind or current, whichever is stronger. And while the buoy is back near the stern I never, EVER, engage the starboard transmission.
 
Just a boat hook here. Admiral up front with with the boat hook on a pole that's plenty long enough to reach the buoy. Bow thruster if my driving is a little off.
 
Our setup is an instantally launched dink.

WE get a line on the mooring (some have no rode or pickup stick) and tie a fender to the end.

A caution , it is best to use your line in the rode or ball eye as then there can be no comments

( Your use chafed my line , you owe me!) as the mooring stuff is left overboard and the only line subject to chafe from coming aboard is yours.

FF.
 
What, nobody here swims any more? Jump off the boat, swim over and tie it up! Do it quickly if it's windy.
wink.gif
 
Uhm, well, I think the water temp was in the mid 40s when I*moored last Thursday.

But it does give a pretty heroic image, swimming through the waves with the line firmly clenched between*my teeth...
biggrin.gif


Once everything was hooked up, it did end up being a heck of a nice couple of days...

*
 

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You know your islands, my friend!!
 
Thanks for sharing the pic and feel free to do so any time. I feel we sometimes get bogged down in all the technical crap and it is nice to see someone out enjoying their boat!!!!!
 
Chris,

Great shots of your cruising, and really a beautiful boat!* Really gets the juices flowing to get out there again this year (okay, when the rain stops!).

We, who are stuck at the dock varnishing, salute you.

Thanks for sharing.

Mike Wiley
34'CHB
ChristyLee
Brookings, OR
 
I've used both the Happy Hooker and the one that utilizes a large caribiner which fits temporarily on the end of your boat hook in a special holder until you hook the bouy eye. It then slips right off. I prefer the latter. I recommend against getting your stern anywhere near the bouy, because the rode on the bouy is only chain at the top, then nylon line swirling around in the current below. That nylon has lots of slack at low tide, which may not be much of an issue in the Gulf, but with Washington's eight to ten foot tides, there is enough line to grab your prop and rudder. Been there, done that. Twice. I never said I was a quick study. One time it required a diver.
 
Made an adapter for use with the Happy Hooker so that it will screw into the top of a standard West Marine boat hook. I took a paint roller handle, cut off the metal part that goes to the roller and mounted the Hooker to the handle with a hose clamp. Now when needed, I screw the hooker onto the boat hook and away we go.

Proof read: I just noticed that I wrote screw the hooker.....I crack myself up.
 
Proof read: I just noticed that I wrote screw the hooker.....I crack myself up.

It is nice to entertain one's self.

When Lou had shoulder surgery I would just pull along side the mooring until it was beside the cockpit. I would go back, reach down and hook it, and walk it to the bow. It was so easy that we just started doing it as a matter of practice.
 
It is nice to entertain one's self.

When Lou had shoulder surgery I would just pull along side the mooring until it was beside the cockpit. I would go back, reach down and hook it, and walk it to the bow. It was so easy that we just started doing it as a matter of practice.


When solo, I do the same with a slight addition I attach the snubber at the bow and run it aft. So I don’t have to walk forward with the ball hooked.
 
When solo, I do the same with a slight addition I attach the snubber at the bow and run it aft. So I don’t have to walk forward with the ball hooked.

GREAT IDEA!:thumb:

However, any places we have moored the snubber would be too long. It would secure the boat until getting up front to shorten the snubber. I will steal your suggestion.:Thanx:
 
I would just pull along side the mooring until it was beside the cockpit. I would go back, reach down and hook it, and walk it to the bow. It was so easy that we just started doing it as a matter of practice.

There is a harder way? I would have thought that was the prefered method of hooking to a mooring.
 
There is a harder way? I would have thought that was the prefered method of hooking to a mooring.

Watching people trying to grab a mooring ball can be almost comical. It is surprising that more people do not fall overboard. Mooring fields are few in the South, but increasing in number. Most cruisers are not out enough to be practiced at it. There can be a lot of shouting back and forth, and many lost boat hooks. Sitting in Hope Town Harbor watching the charter boats come in for the night is great entertainment. Many will have to pay for a boat hook when they turn the boat in.
 
Apparently a lot of the more urban areas of Florida are mandating mooring fields (guess who gets those fees?) to "save" the spotted wiggly thingy from boat anchors. Sorry. I know that over usage, bad boating habits, etc has caused a significant amount of damage to the bays and harbors. That and people deciding that "this" is a good place to drop anchor, despite the fact that it's a well traveled waterway, or whatever. As boating, at all sizes, continues to grow, and I think it will, there has to be more of that type of thing. I just hope it's only in those urban areas, where it's probably more important than in some backwaters along the entire eastern coast.
 
There is a harder way? I would have thought that was the prefered method of hooking to a mooring.

There are very few "prefered" methods in boating....captain, crew, boat, mooring ball and environment all may dictate a "paticular but not prefered" method.


Some have lines, some don't, some have hooks for bow eyes...but most don't.....etc...etc...

Only "urban" areas will profit and therefore put up the cost of a mooring field...unless it is a park/sanctuary, etc....
 
There is a harder way? I would have thought that was the preferred method of hooking to a mooring.

A lot of boats have too much freeboard to get a line on a mooring buoy from the side or aft. This is particularly true of the motoryacht configuration aka sundeck. Also, it depends on the configuration of the buoy. Out here the common setup is to have the chain running down through the buoy center with the ring on top keeping the chain from dropping down through the buoy. So picking up the ring means you can pull the chain up through the buoy to deck level so the mooring line can be secured to the ring. So most boaters here tend to use a boathook from the bow to grab the ring.

This does not always work as advertised and depending on the tide and the buoy rigging the ring can often be very difficult to pull up, something not discovered until you try. With the chain tight and the boat drifting away from the buoy something has to give and it's usually the person's hands on the boathook. Plus it requires putting the bow next to or over the buoy which is not always as easy it would seem depending on the wind and/or current. So multiple tries and lost boathooks are common.

We secure to a buoy by taking it down the starboard side to the boarding gate where the freeboard is low and it's a simple matter to snap the large karabiner on our mooring buoy line onto the ring. The line is laid out prior to this up the side deck so once the line is clipped to the ring whoever is at the helm simply steps out on deck, picks up the line, and takes it forward to run through the starboard bow hawse, The buoy is pulled up to the bow and the line secured to the starboard deck cleat.

It takes less time to do it than describe it. We were taught this method by the checkout skipper for the GB we chartered before buying our own boat and we've been using it ever since. So far as I can recall we've never missed picking up buoy on the first try in 14 years, and we use buoys a fair amount. But it would not work on a boat with higher freeboard than ours.

There are boat-show devices that purport to make it easy to pick up a mooring buoy, hook a bull rail, etc. Some people have success with them but from our observation over the years most don't. So the boathook-from-the-bow continues to be the most widely used method up here.
 
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"We secure to a buoy by taking it down the starboard side to the boarding gate where the freeboard is low and it's a simple matter to snap the large karabiner on our mooring buoy line onto the ring. The line is laid out prior to this up the side deck so once the line is clipped to the ring whoever is at the helm simply steps out on deck, picks up the line, and takes it forward to run through the starboard bow hawse, The buoy is pulled up to the bow and the line secured to the starboard deck cleat. "


Marin are you able to reach the bouy with the carabiner in your hand or is it affixed to some sort of pole?
Steve W
 
We just reach out and clip it to the ring on the buoy.

We went with the karabiner on the mooring line when we spent a night on a mooring buoy in windy, rough water. After watching the mooring line sawing back and forth through the ring as the boat pitched and yawed we decided that it was not an ideal setup. So we had a line made with a heavy stainless thimble spliced into one end and put the karabiner on that.

Of course this prompts the question, "How do you get the karabiner off when you leave."

After having been on a buoy in some very rough conditions we decided that it would be prudent to have a backup line just in case. Since we have a dog and take him to shore at some point after our arrival we use that opportunity to put a second line through the ring and back to the boat in the "normal" manner. This serves as a backup line should the wind and waves kick up at some point. When I take the dog ashore for his last run prior to our departure I unclip the karabiner on the way back. The boat is then connected to the buoy with the backup line which we simply pull back through the ring when we depart.

This is all very easy for us since we're taking the dinghy out anyway. Might not be so convenient for people who don't have a reason to launch a dinghy when they're on a mooring buoy. But after watching that line saw back and forth through the galvanized (aka rough) ring that night we decided it was risk we were unwilling to take anymore so we came up with the plan we've been using ever since.
 
I like your plan Marin. Necessity (and a healthy dose of fear) is the mother of all invention.

I think I'll start up a boak hook salvage operation and sell the hooks back to their owners for a fee. That, or invent a floating boat hook. Maybe that's been thought of.
 
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