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FYI: Mooring White Swan 101

Mooring White Swan 101

White Swan on mooring ball in Little Harbour

White Swan on mooring ball in
Little Harbour

Headsets on, Gary at the bow, Jean at the helm. (Headsets are considered a necessity on White Swan – NO YELLING! We use hand signals occasionally, just to practice them in case we have to use them in an emergency. But, our preference is to use the headsets. Costing only $60, they are a marriage saver…priceless.)

Gary attaches two lines, one on each side of the bow, to cleats. From the cleat he puts each line under the bowsprit at the front of each hull and brings them up onto the deck, laying them within easy reach on which ever side we plan on approaching the mooring ball.

After he has his lines ready, with boat hook extended and in hand, he gives Jean verbal directions to motor White Swan into position for him to pick up the line that is attached to the mooring ball. Sometimes there is a float on the mooring line, which makes the job easier, but sometimes the mooring line is just laying in the water. In the clear waters of the Bahamas, it can easily be seen. In murky water, if the mooring line doesn’t have a float, it is more challenging to find it.

Approaching the mooring ball, going directly into the wind, when White Swan is close enough for Gary to reach the mooring line with the boat hook, he picks up the line with the boat hook, grabs the mooring line with one hand, lays the boat hook down on the deck with the other hand, and proceeds to put the lines he previously readied, one at a time, through the large grommet at the end of the mooring line, cleating each line off on their respective side of the boat, thus making a bridle (the lines make a V) attached to the mooring line.

The construction of a mooring: On the bottom is a huge square of cement. (I’ve no idea how many pounds/tons one might weigh…a lot!) Attached to the cement is a line that is attached to a mooring ball. Attached to the mooring ball is the aforementioned mooring line. Mooring fields are commonly found in harbors. (However, there is no mooring field for cruisers to use in Marsh Harbor, one of the most visited harbors in the Abacos.


Cement block on bottom anchors mooring ball

Cement block on bottom anchors mooring ball

When moorings are properly maintained, they are as safe to use, if not safer, as an anchor. The main advantage of moorings is more boats can safely be moored in a harbor because boaters don’t have to be concerned with the rode/scope rule ( generally 5 – 7 feet of rode, i.e., the line or chain attached to an anchor, times the depth of the water plus height of the boat from where the anchor deploys). Example: White Swan is being anchored in 8 feet of water at low tide. At high tide the water level will rise 3 more feet, for a total of 11 feet. Where the anchor deploys, the height from the water line to the deck is 3 feet, plus 11 feet of water equals 14 feet. 14 X 5 = 70 feet of rode, minimum. When we attach to a mooring ball, we are using approximately 10 feet of rode. One can easily see from this example how more boats can moor in a harbor that has a mooring field versus the amount of boats that could anchor in the same harbor.

There are varied guidelines for anchoring, depending on the circumstances. Mooring White Swan 201 is N/A. Questions? Google it. JG out.

One Comment

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