THE SAFE WAY TO TIE UP TO A MOORING BUOY IN THE BVI.
While waiting to board my recent charter, I had a morning coffee with Nick, the Sunsail Base Manager. I was pleased to hear that he enjoyed our newsletter articles. He suggested I address a concern of his about the way charterers are picking up their moorings.
People typically use a docking line to secure to the mooring. They cleat down one end, run it through the eye of the pennant and attach the other end to the opposite cleat. The problem is that the lines are nylon, which chafes easily in the eye as the boat swings. Boats have broken free in the night, causing serious damage. Last year I witnessed this happen, so I do understand his concern. The owners of the moorings are not liable for this type of accident and the responsibility of securing the yacht to the mooring pennant is yours alone. He suggests that when the pennant is picked up, it is taken over the bow roller, so it is actually on deck. The dockline is then run through the eye and tied back to a cleat (or two cleats if it is blowing). This worked well for us and the boat rode well, even in gusty conditions.
We were only the 4th group to charter this new boat and when we took a line out to moor, we noticed that it was already frayed from someone using it improperly on a mooring buoy.
No one likes the thought of their boat going adrift during the night, or when they are ashore. Talking about this with someone at your company's base before you depart will help you decide the best way to safely moor your boat.
Using caution and safety at sea will help ensure a fun and relaxing sailing vacation.
(Editor's note: If their is any danger of the anchor chaffing the line, use two docklines on separate cleats. Each dockline should start and end on the same cleat, so lines cannot slide through the pennant eye. Thank you Dale Clark for pointing this out. Ed)
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