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Whereas we have our system for setting a single anchor pretty dialed in, we have only ever picked up a mooring once before. That was, once until yesterday. At least this time we didn’t need to search on Google to find a page that describes the process of picking one up.

Here we are on a mooring at the Prince Edward Yacht Club in Picton
with our traveling companion, Pirate Jenny, just astern of us.

One thing this blog has definitely been lacking is any pics of us sailing. Fortunately we now have some material to fill that void.


  1. So how did the mooring go? Do you all have a mooring bridle or…?
    It’s hard to get photos of yourself under sail unless you have a good sailing friend to coordinate with. I don’t think we have any with this boat from the last 6 years and only maybe one from our PDQ.

    • The mooring went fine. I initially tried to use the chain/rope extension shown here in our bridle plate. My first thought was to tie an anchor hitch to the thimble but found that the line on that extension was too short.

      Plan B: I ran a 5/8″ dockline through the mooring ball thimble, bow to bow. After reflecting on that a bit, I wasn’t happy with the good possibility of the line chafing so I added some large stainless shackles in between the mooring ball thimble and the line thinking that at least the shackles were smooth.

      As we were leaving I came upon the realization that had I went ahead and used the large shackle(s), I could have attached the chain portion of my extension to the thimble and led that to my bridle.

      All of that may have been as clear as mud but at least I understand it. 🙂

  2. Mooring with only one bow to deal with sounds easier… But in any case, the hardest part is getting a line thru the ring on the buoy. We are considering one of these:


  3. We use 2 – 30′ – 5/8″ dock lines. From each bow cleat thru the mooring Penang and back to the same cleat. Works fine. Easy to slip off and leave.

  4. I am so jealous! I want to be out there sailing with you two and Pirate Jenny!!!!!! 🙂

  5. Actually, picking up a mooring with a cat is simpler in one way: you can simply run over the ball a few feet and pick it up between the hulls, rather than having to lean off the side of a skinny bow.

    Also, if you use a shorter bridle (legs less than the beam) you can prevent the ball from striking the boat if the wind and tides oppose: the bridle will hold the ball between the hulls. You can use the same bridle – shorten the legs by cleating them instead of using the spliced loops.

    Since the Annapolis balls (the only ones I frequent) have a pendant attached, I simply clip t he pedant to my bridle, and then shorten the legs.


    • Clip it to your bridle plate? And with what, a carabiner?

      • Yes, unless I’m expecting a hurricane. 5,000-pound test, 1500-pound working. I can use a shackle, but that is more work. I can also increase the strength by taking a sling from one eye of the bridle to the other, by-passing the plate. Then, only 1/2 the load is on the carabiner.

        The way I look at it, if the carabiner failed (it won’t) or unclipped (it won’t), the anchor rode is still there as back-up, while I re-group.

        But there are many places not to use a carabiner in place of a shackle:
        * Anywhere in the running rigging. Carabiners are prone to clip on to other things, like a halyard clipped to an upper shroud.
        * Anchors. Too many ways for the anchor to press on the gate when the tide swings, and no need for quick-release.
        * Anywhere where a strong cross-load (like over an edge) is possible.

  6. Mike, a dock line can chafe through,on a mooring ,as I found out a few years ago. I came back to the boat to find a few strands left holding the boat.
    In BVI,they supplied our boat with beefy lines to run through the eye of the mooring. I would probably use a chafing sleeve if I had to use a dock line. Three strand anchor rode would probably be sturdier.

    • That was my concern too, which is why as a temporary fix, I ultimately led the line through some smooth shackles and not the thimble. It wasn’t ideal and I’ll do it differently next time.

  7. I THINK (will have to ask the hubby whose memory is still intact) we just had two lines splices together at one end. So a V shape or a really stubby Y. The two long ends were cleated on to each bow. The point had a swivel and a clip (like a caribeaner but something stronger) and we just caught the morring and clipped on. Does that make any sense?

  8. Have to agree that doing this off a monohull sounds easier. We have used lots of bouys in different countries with few chafe problems – even in 40kt winds in the UK in December! If we are worried, we both use a stronger line, and double up – ie tow line from the buoy, one to each side of our bow – a sort of mini-bridle!

    You obviously found picking it up easy but an extra trick that’s useful and buys time is just to lasoo the buoy and sort yourself out afterwards. Create a weighted line, eg by wrapping a bicycle lock in the rope, leaving a long coil at each end of the rope. As you pass the buoy, throw the weighted section over it. It will sink around the buoy, catching the chain/line underneath. Now you’re on and can spend all the time you like putting lines through the top knot or whatever other piece of fixing there is. This is particularly useful in crap weather or single handed or under sail (rather than motor)

    • Cool tip! Thanks.

      I don’t really think doing it off a monohull would be any easier. Our friends actually had quite a bit more issues than we did. Our problem was merely an experience thing. I just didn’t have the proper lines ready for the task but next time I will.

      My friend actually gave us a cool tip that they use to pick up a mooring, conditions permitting. The actually bring their cat along side the mooring and attach a line to it from the transom steps, and then walk it forward to the bows. I bet that is easy too, being virtually at water level and having the dual engines to control the boat’s position.

  9. Yeah – we’ve seen lots of boats with sugar scoop sterns (mono and cat) doing that here in Italy – effectively catching it off the stern. I suspect it would work better in non-tidal waters, but as it would be a nightmare off RG, we’ve never tried it so I can’t really say.

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