Mooring – The Pitfalls

mooring buoy

Mooring: This  boaty operation has inspired page after page of so called expert tips in some of the country’s finest boating magazines.
The manoeuvring of a boat at slow speed in the close proximity of other mega expensive craft requires a skill not far short of an Eddie Stobart HGV driver backing a 70 ft wagon into a  Tesco’s loading bay in the fog.
Most of us prefer comfortable marinas with an abundance of restaurants and other amenities such as power and water to refill the tanks. Some marinas, such as Brighton, have large supermarkets within walking distance.  This is useful in allowing the crew to restock the boats gin supply after a hard day’s sailing.
Marinas are however can be expensive and boaty people therefore often seek a cheaper form of overnight parking, of which there are a number of options ranging from the downright dangerous, primitively painful to the brutally barbaric.

Mooring Buoys.

Lets start with the downright dangerous, the mooring buoy.
The manuals list a number of methods with which to attach the boat to the buoy. The most common is the old cowboy art of lassoing. You choose a member of the crew to humiliate and ask them to lasso the approaching mooring buoy. This may take anything between one and 20 attempts. All the while  you are screaming “haven’t you got it yet?”
If you need to know the dire consequences of missing a buoy, my disastrous attempt is described here.   A Bridge Over Troubled Water.
It is important to remain aware that attempting the lasso procedure will be to provide endless hours of amusement to the already attached boats surrounding you.

Mooring Buoy
Mooring Buoy

Once the buoy has been lassoed and tied to the boat, go to the bow and look sagely at the knots used.  It’s a pointless exercise because it will have been many years since you tied a knot. However it gives the impression that high standards are expected of the crew and their  knot-tying.
Mooring buoys vary in size shape and colour.  It is therefore important to ensure that as you motor away from your boat in the tender that you have not moored onto a Lobster Pot. Large yellow buoys near the starting point of Cowes Week racing, are definitely not be be moored on. You will suffer the abuse of racing ‘yotties’ passing within inches of your pride and joy because you have inadvertently moored on the start line.


So onto primitively painful, Piles! No, not the medical condition but mooring piles.
Moorning Piles are a unique form of torture. Totally designed to provide amusement to passers-by and other boaties. They like nothing more than watching a crew make a total cock up in a confined area.
Piles are large wooden poles that stick out of  the water in pairs, armed with huge metal rings attached to them . The idea is to “wedge” the boat between the two piles with ropes attaching the bow to the forward pile and a rope at the stern attached to the rear pile.
The game  is simple, it’s the boating version of the Krypton Factor. You approach the first pile. A member of the  crew will have  a piece of line in hand. The skipper approaches the pile slowly and passes effortlessly close by . The  said  crew member, in matador form sweeps out his arms and attaches the line through a ring on the pile. The boat moves onward to the next pile where another member of the crew passes a rope through the rear hoop. You pull the  front and rear ropes  tight and fasten off.  You have completed the manoeuvre.
Good game, good game. No one mentions that  this often happens  in a cross wind with a 4 knot tide beneath you. Who wanted to spend a night in smelly river estuary anyway.
My next post will be about the bizarre ritual that is rafting.