Advice on mooring stern to.
Anyone who has been flotilla sailing in the Mediterranean will be familiar with this scenario: following a morning of drifting and sweltering in light airs, the sea breeze kicks in, and you enjoy a brisk afternoon’s sailing.
By late evening you’re knackered and ready to head into port, by now the wind is howling and the boat is starting to bury the rail, with the crew looking distinctly nervous.
You head into port feeling exhilarated, and then it hits you: MED MOORING!
A cold sweat
This is the art of reversing into a space at high speed, while wrapping your anchor cable around the nearest superyacht.
You scan the harbour frantically for an easy berth; there are none, only some miniscule gap between two very shiny new yachts.
The wind continues to howl, and your crew look at you quizzically with a kind of dogged faith; you break into a cold sweat.
Now at this point the very best place to be is sat at one of the waterside bars, sipping on a cold one. Trust me there will be an appreciative audience already there, gleefully anticipating your failure.
Anyway, you are now about two minutes away from either wiping out half the harbour or slipping insouciantly into the gap, before heading ashore to bask in the adulation of your crew.
- First things first; if you’re Med mooring, there won’t be any tide, so the wind will be the strongest force pushing you about, so this simplifies matters significantly.
- If you can gauge where the wind is trying to push you, then that’s half the battle already won, there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.
- You’re likely to be backing into quite a narrow space, so make sure the boat is well fendered before you start to make your approach. In addition to this, station one crew on the foredeck ready to let go the anchor.
- Set up two stern lines off each cleat with big loops in the end of them.
- Look out for any anchor chains off the bows of boats already moored and check the direction in which they are pointing to ensure you don’t foul them.
- Start your reverse run from a long way off to establish good reverse control, then start to line yourself up with the gap about four boat lengths out.
- At about three boat lengths, have your crew lower the anchor and pay out plenty of slack whilst you reverse in as slowly as you dare without losing steerage. This will all depend on how much wind there is.
- A couple of metres off have your foredeck crew take up the strain on the anchor warp and ease the boat back towards the harbour wall.
- Have your crew step off with the stern lines and drop the loops over the nearest bollard.
- Now it’s just a question of tightening everything up; you want your stern to be about half a metre off the quay.
Some people prefer to carry out the whole manoeuvre with the bows facing towards the quay. This is easier for obvious reasons and many Med based boats will have a designated anchor in the cockpit for this purpose.
The main problem is access to the quay, as clambering over the pulpit can present a challenge to the less mobile crew.
Lazy lines can appear confusing, but actually simplify matters by eliminating the need for dropping an anchor off the bow. If you see ropes rather than anchors running from other boats, then you know what to expect.
Lazy lines normally, but by no means always, come in pairs and when not in use they are attached to the quay at one end and sinkers at the other.The procedure is much the same as for traditional Med mooring except, very importantly, you don’t drop your anchor.
After securing yourself to the quay, find the lazy lines and walk them up to the bow and then tension them up.
Again, this is a manoeuvre which can be done bows to. Another handy tip is to check the lazy lines for any wear and tear once you are moored up.
With this manoeuvre successfully accomplished, all that remains is to head ashore and enjoy that cold beer you were promising yourself, secure in the knowledge that you have proven your boathandling prowess.
Excerpts taken from Rob Gibson’s Boat Handling for Sail and Power, available from the Bol.com webshop and all good marine retailers