Picking up the mooring single-handed when the wind is strong

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Double Horizon
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Joined: Wed 09 May 07, 0:18
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Picking up the mooring single-handed when the wind is strong

Post by Double Horizon »

What do YOU do? I had a similar situation with the 920 and 1000, but it scales-up as the boats (and forces) get larger.

My 1200 has a 28 foot beam, and when I take the boat out I leave a dinghy attached to the mooring on a 30-foot painter. I approach the mooring from downwind and off to one side, heading between the pickup stick and the dinghy. At the last minute I head directly upwind and quickly go forward to grab the pickup stick, getting a quick loop on the bow cleat. If I miss: 1) There is a good chance the dinghy painter will foul beneath the boat, and in any event the engine MUST be in neutral to prevent wrapping the prop. 2) Even if by some miracle (raising centerboard and rudder?) the painter passes under the boat without a snag, the result of missing the stick is that the dinghy itself would get caught downwind of the boat between the center hull and ama, with only the dinghy painter holding it all, and too much wind force to pull the boat to the mooring by hand.

This system is not a problem when I have crew aboard to pick up the stick and loop the cleat; because I can stay at the helm -- so even if we miss the pick-up I can go hard-astern and back out before the dinghy and painter could snag. (We have another chance.)

I tried an alternative in the past: Tying the dinghy on a very short painter to the mooring, and using a long floating line to attach the pickup stick to the main mooring pennant. That didn't work out for two reasons: 1) if the wind was strong the dinghy was in the way of pulling the Dragonfly close to the main mooring pennant, and there was too much wind force to overcome if pulling by hand. 2) In light wind the pickup stick might drift around and foul on the dinghy, complicating retrieval.

Who has a better system?
Larry - Former Owner DF-1200
Double Horizon
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Post by Double Horizon »

I asked this on another forum, and someone responded:
"Actually having a dinghy on the mooring is a hugely simplifying asset. Just install a fishing pole holder on the bow or other convenient surface inside the dinghy and drop a boat hook or other type pole into it vertically then drape your mooring pendant over the top. You approach the dinghy, reach out and easily grab the mooring pendant and slip it over your cleat."
I will try this, using the very short dinghy attachment to the mooring.
Larry - Former Owner DF-1200
gminkovsky
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Post by gminkovsky »

Larry,

I deal with the same issue regularly. The suggestion of placing pickup stick and/or mooring pendant into the dinghy is really nice for the monos. The problem with us is that the dinghy will get caught between main hull and ama. In stronger wind, especially single-handed, it would be a real pain to maneuver the dinghy out.

What I do now (and this can definitely be improved with the stick in the dinghy) is leave the dinghy on a long painter. Leave the stick between mooring and dinghy. Come up wind along dinghy, pick up the stick and tie one of (my 3) mooring lines to the eye on the end of the aka with the line being outside of the ama. (In fact, I have a large Wichard snap hook at the end of the line and just snap it on the eye). I then untie the dinghy, move it aft of the boat. Then I do "ballet" to walk the other lines to the bow and the other aka. Last, I disconnect the first line which is hooked from the outside of the ama, bring it forward under bowsprit wires, and snap it inside to the same eye on the aka.

My lines are all on a swivel mulithull bridal plate, so I can relatively easily align the lines correctly.

The main advantage of this is that I can be secured to the mooring in one attempt. The main disadvantage is that in stronger wind the boat turns broadside to the wind which makes it more difficult to maneuver the other lines to their correct spot. When that happens I typically bring only the line to the main bow, then disconnect the outside line completely. Then let the boat swing to the correct position, then fish out the ama lines with a boat hook.

All my lines are marked so I know which one goes where. Each line has either its own float or a pick-up stick. All lines are covered in pipe insulation so they float.

Given that coming back to my mooring single-handed in any kind of wind gives me stomach pains, I actually prefer to take an inflatable kayak from the dock to the boat instead of using my regular dinghy. I then pickup the kayak and tie it down on the trampoline. This way, coming back to the mooring is just a regular nerve-wracking affair instead of nerve-wracking and ballet! A side benefit is additional exercise...

BTW, the process that I described is the safest method of coming back to the mooring under sail. If the attempt fails at the the very end, just backwind any sail and bear off for a second attempt. If the attempt fails because you are to far from the stick, just keep on sailing for the next attempt. In light wind, I come to the mooring downwind under jib and just furl it in completely. In strong wind, I approach close-hauled and just stall at the last moment. I try to practice this regularly.

George
tpaliwoda
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Post by tpaliwoda »

Larry,
I used to deal with the same situtation. Now I have launch service. Much easier!

But seriously, it was always an issue, especially alone or with one of my kids picking up the pickup stick.

What worked for me was the dink on a sort painter and the mooring pick up stick on a longer line (about double that of the dink). I used to leave the pick up stick in the dink standing straight up, against the stern and the engine. I would leave all the line for the pick up stick in the dink.

We would come up to the dink from downwind, and grab the pick up stick.
The additional line gave me time if the kids had an issue or if I was by myself.
Worked for me almost every time.

Ted
Ted Paliwoda
D'Fly 1000 ; HN #1
Nice Tri
Raritan YC, Perth Amboy, NJ, USA
Double Horizon
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Post by Double Horizon »

tpaliwoda wrote:Larry,
I used to deal with the same situtation. Now I have launch service. Much easier!

But seriously, it was always an issue, especially alone or with one of my kids picking up the pickup stick.

What worked for me was the dink on a sort painter and the mooring pick up stick on a longer line (about double that of the dink). I used to leave the pick up stick in the dink standing straight up, against the stern and the engine. I would leave all the line for the pick up stick in the dink.

We would come up to the dink from downwind, and grab the pick up stick.
The additional line gave me time if the kids had an issue or if I was by myself.
Worked for me almost every time.

Ted
Interesting. That solves the problem I encountered in the past when I tried a short dinghy tie-up.

I would still have the problem of pulling the 1200 up to the dink (to get aboard and free it), but that might be handled with a couple of snatch blocks and an extra line, using the cockpit winches. Need to think about the details to best accomplish that part. (Anything above 10 knots can be quite a wind load on the 1200, and there is no way I can hold it at 15 knots.)
Larry - Former Owner DF-1200
Oscar
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Post by Oscar »

I've dealt with moorings on a mono, but not with a dink as an in between step. As an initial thought I would look for a way to get the dink off the mooring FIRST and behind the boat and THEN get the boat on the mooring without the clutter of the dink.

So, a longer line on the dink with a snap hook in the painter, right at the pickup stick. Come alongside the stick, well clear of the mooring ball, grab the stick and quick disconnect the dink and hook on an eye or stanchion base on the stern. Go around and do a proper approach to the mooring.

Two simple(r) steps instead of trying to do it all at once.
1990 Dragonfly 25 USA-54
Double Horizon
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Post by Double Horizon »

Oscar wrote:I've dealt with moorings on a mono, but not with a dink as an in between step. As an initial thought I would look for a way to get the dink off the mooring FIRST and behind the boat and THEN get the boat on the mooring without the clutter of the dink.

So, a longer line on the dink with a snap hook in the painter, right at the pickup stick. Come alongside the stick, well clear of the mooring ball, grab the stick and quick disconnect the dink and hook on an eye or stanchion base on the stern. Go around and do a proper approach to the mooring.

Two simple(r) steps instead of trying to do it all at once.
Not practical, in my experience.

First, this is only a problem when single-handed AND in strong winds, if you refer back to my original post. I currently do keep a long dinghy painter and go straight for the mooring pickup stick. My concern is if I miss and snag the dinghy/painter (which is not much of a risk at all if I could stay at the helm and have crew to assist at the bow). The risk scenario is caused by there being enough wind pressure to overcome the skipper's (my) strength, and "hover time" (before mooring line comes under tension) at the mooring is only a few seconds making the single-handed operation more risky/challenging.

If I could manage to do what you suggest it would be even easier to just slip the mooring pennant loop on the bow cleat at that time, and be done with the critical process. It's not easy or quick to walk a dinghy painter from bow around amas to re-attach at the stern on a 40-foot 1200 with 28-ft beam, while it's drifting aft and accelerating quickly from wind pressure in a crowded mooring field. All faster and more risky when the wind is strong. Also, what you suggest doesn't make it any easier because maneuverability is reduced with a dinghy in tow (even if the painter is quickly brought up short and attached to minimize risk of entanglement before drifting into another boat or hazard).
Larry - Former Owner DF-1200
Double Horizon
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Post by Double Horizon »

One other thing I currently do to reduce chances of snagging the dinghy: I approach from downwind at an angle, and bump the dinghy at slow speed with my lee ama bow (near its middle) to push it to the side and out of the way. This does no damage because my dinghy is inflatable. After that I turn the boat and continue to coast upwind and grab the mooring pick-up stick, and attach the loop to the center bow cleat as quickly as possible before it comes under tension. Once on the mooring I sort out the dinghy and bridle attachments.
Larry - Former Owner DF-1200
EYS
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Re: Picking up the mooring single-handed when the wind is strong

Post by EYS »

I have single handed many different boats power and sail up to 52ft. and done a lot of mooring pickups. My preferred method is to rig a line from bow around any shrouds back to stern quarter. This line has a mooring pick up hook that fits on a boat hook pole and will slide off after it is engaged. I BACK up to the mooring and hook it or a line on dinghy if there is one present. Motor now in neutral and helm set to swing bow toward side the line is on ,a short bump from the motor to swing stern away from line to avoid going under the boat may be needed. When the wind does it’s thing and the bow is into the wind I have walked To the bow I pull in the long line and replace it with standard mooring line. When backing into wind you have considerable control and great visibility of your target and the danger of running over mooring and lines is small. It is not hard to get within 2-4 ft of mooring and hook it . If you miss just keep cool and put engine in reverse and go for another grab no need to make a big turn and a long approach as with bow first method. AS WITH MOST THINGS A LITTLE PRACTICE MAKES FOR BETTER. EYS
Ancient marina
MercedesSanchez
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Re: Picking up the mooring single-handed when the wind is strong

Post by MercedesSanchez »

I have not been in this situation, but I think now I will know what to do.
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