View Full Version : Swing Mooring

21-11-05, 08:00
I am giving up on overpriced, overcrowded, cramped marinas and moving to a swing mooring next spring.
Whats the most seamanlike way of securing to the swing mooring.
I only have the one bow roller where currently my anchor lives. Will I have to stow the anchor and use the bow roller?
There is room alongside the roller through the stem head but there is no pin to stop the line jumping out of the stem head.
Alternatively can I make up a bridle over the two forward cleats and out through the fairleads with a line to the bouy from the bridle, or will the bridle rub my gelcoat away as I sheer around?
Advice please. Thanks

21-11-05, 08:08
i have one bow roller too, so use 2 nylon loops out thro the fairleads. it doesnt appear to rub on the gelcoat

21-11-05, 08:27
In our neck of the woods we are required to use a rope strop with a chain backup, having "rescued" a yacht that decided to take itself for a sail earlier this year I wouldn't go any less than 2 connections to the buoy. The drifter yacht was attached by one strop that was badly frayed around the hardeye on top of the mooring. You should never need the chain strop, but you have the security of being able to leave the boat for longer periods without having to worry too much about the strop.

Some of the larger boats use 2 rope strops and a 3rd chain backup.

21-11-05, 09:37
Use chain but put it inside some plastic tubing. If it's easy to put the anchor on deck then do that and use the bow roller. With chain you will be able to sleep at night both on and off the boat. Re sleeping.... if you're not used to moorings then you may have to get used to the occasional noise from the mooring gear as the boat moves.

21-11-05, 09:58
It is far better to use the bow roller. When the load comes on when the boat rushes to either port or starboard in a gust, damage can result when the boat comes into contact with metal either on the buoy or the chain itself. Using the bow roller is no guarantee but the risk is considerably less than the bridle method. A safety line should only come under load on failure of the main strop.

It is also important to use the correct size riser chain, do not laugh, string and garden fence chain will not be satisfactory, as seen not far from my mooring.


21-11-05, 10:19
Lots of good advice here but here is my two penn'orth.

Using high stretch nylon mooring warp will absorb shock loads on the boat- use a cow hitch to the buoy so the line doesn't chafe on the shackle- if you use two lines(one to each fairlead) you then have backup in event of failure. Sleeving the lines with heavy duty poly. tube will reduce chafe at the fairleads.

If you deem it necessary then you can use the chain from the buoy to pass over your bowroller (lash it to prevent it jumping out)and secure to boat leaving a loop in the chain so that it only comes into play if mooring lines part.

One BIG word of warning here, some boats at my club sheer around on swingers and have had some awful chunks taken out of their bow by repeatedly banging against the buoy. One very effective way I have seen of dealing with this is to replace the mooring buoy with a large plastic one attached with a length of smaller gauge anchor chain to the ground tackle, the plastic buoy is then hauled aboard and the small chain pulled tight to bring the boat slightly bows down, this stops the damage and the catenary action of the ground tackle, I guess, takes the shock load

21-11-05, 10:53
My little boat 21fter is now in it's 22nd year on the same swing mooring. The water varies from 2.5 to 3.5 metres deep so maintenance etc is not a problem warm water too. Anyway attachment is primarily by a short rope strop from the top of a large bouy (absurdly provided by the river authority.) on the other end of the rope strop is a large snap shackle on to the U bolt half way up the bow which is intended for winching the boat onto a trailer. Another strop goes over a fairlead to the mooring cleat but normally has no load on it.
The attachment down low is disconnected before a sail from the dinghy or more awkwardly from the deck. and is reattached on leaving the boat.
The top strop is used to attach the dinghy and caste off, and is the pickup and attachment after returning to the mooring.

The low attachment point means a reduced swing circle but it also means that a run away drifting boat cannot chafe the mooring rope because it is shielded by the bow.
If this is not practical I suggest two strops through each fairlead. I think the chain is overboard.
It is far better to have a bouy which is lifted on to the deck rather than the giant thing I am obliged to use which is too heavy and rubs on the gell coat near the bow in calm conditions. A bouy however has to be big enough to support the chain at highest tide with no boat attached. (and some more) with the warm water the chain accumulates mussles quite quickly which can drag the bouy down. (Yes we do eat them). My own opinion is that chain should be attached to a swivel shackle then to 2 or more rope pendants for attachment to the boat and bouy.
Of far more concern is chain wear than rope chafe given reasonable care and protection. In fact I really think all rope is far better for a mooring but many would disagree and I havn't had the courage myself to try it. But do inspect the chain at least every season for a big chain and more often for a lighter chain.
A wet suit and scuba tank will be well worth the investment. I certainly wouldn't trust this job to a contractor when you can't see what he has done. regards olewill.
Sorry I realise conditions are different to UK I have just had a pleasant little swim around the boat and mooring (as I do most days now summer is near) nice weather today at about 32c.But don't let me rub it in. olewill

21-11-05, 10:59
Drill the stem head fitting and use a drop nose pin to stop the chain or rope jumping out. Something like that is a must if your mooring is at all bouncy. If you moor to rope you must have a chain back up. Sound advice from dylan and fireball.

21-11-05, 11:15
Well done.

I don't know if I have it right, but here is what I do...

Large buoy with no loop on the top. Mooring strop is shackled under to the riser chain under the buoy. There are two strops - each made of nylon three strand rope.

The main strop goes through the bow roller (which has a keep pin) and has a soft eye which drops over the bitts. There is a pick up buoy on the strop, but if, as we usually do we leave the launch on the mooring (it has its own strop) we drop the main strop into the launch, where it is dead easy to pick up.

The launch's strop goes through a fairlead as a safety line.

I suppose I should use chain but the nylon strop has done five years quite happily. The protecting heavy duty hose is now starting to crack due to UV degradation so I will probably splice a few links of chain (just to go over the roller) into its replacement.

I'm not keen on all chain strops.

21-11-05, 13:12
Another ... Not sure it's right but "here's what I do"

PRIMARY: Mooring buoy top loop > shackle > 60cms chain > shackle > hard eye onto 18mm 3 strand nylon rope > over bow roller with pin > make off on cleat 1 > drop soft eye over cleat 2.
SECONDARY: Bowline round mooring buoy loop > 12mm nylon left long > bow roller > make off on cleat 2 (over primary soft eye)
This approach avoids chaffing at the mooring bouy by using chain, allows for some strench in the nylon and avoids chain on the deck of my AWB. My boat has a fabricated S/S bow roller so pipe over the 18mm nylon is an important part of preventing chaffing. To be sure I usually wack a tie wrap round cleat 1

21-11-05, 14:46
Im on a swinging mooring in Chichester harbour an dafter the firstn season found the chain had caused damage to the bow. Harbour patrol told me ton use a rope strop as short aw possible throught op ob bouy and since have had no damage at all, it also limits snatch because there is less movement around the bouy. Make sure your drop nose pin isd not ocer long. My bow roller was split in two down the middle in very strong wind against tide, (aluminium bow roller) shorter pin may have helped .

21-11-05, 16:02
For what its worth, my boat was on a swinging mooring (professionally laid) and the rising chain parted, leaving my boat to drift, complete with bouy and chain which cost my insurers a lot of money.

Chain was 18 months into a two year replacement cycle.

The boat now resides in an overpriced overcrowded marina.......

21-11-05, 18:05
Plenty of good advice given, only one thing to add; As the vessel swings on the mooring you will find the two strops will twist around each other and if not checked regulaly, under this strain will unwind the natural twist in the rope. A regular visit to unwind the two strops will be a must, unless you attach the strops to a heavy duty swivel, but this is just another piece of metal to rub against the gelcoat as it nudges up against the buoy at slack water.

Colvic Watson
21-11-05, 20:29
Any advice for a new convert to multihulls? We are putting our HT27 on a swinging mooring in the spring, but again - central bow roller or a bridle from both bows?

21-11-05, 21:00
Any advice for a new convert to multihulls? We are putting our HT27 on a swinging mooring in the spring, but again - central bow roller or a bridle from both bows?

[/ QUOTE ]If the local Catalacs are anything to go by, definitely use a bridle for a cat.

BTW, FWIW, I have a main buoy (big) with a pick-up buoy attached to a heavy chain with a loop in it. The chain comes up over over my bow roller and loop drops over my samson post. The anchor lives on deck until I'm ready to use it. In an ideal world, I'd have two rollers, one for the mooring chain, the other for the anchor.

22-11-05, 08:34
I have the same problem. I solved it by making a short strop with a plastic thimble in each end. This is shackled to the link between the pick up buoy and the riser.
I then made a strop of sufficient length with two large soft eye splices at each end and served a short length of this strop at the mid point.
When I come up to my mooring I pick up the pick up buoy and temporarily make the boat fast using the anchor samson post. I then hook one end of the longer strop onto a bow cleat lead it through the fairlead through the free eye on the short stop back through the other bow fairlead and back onto the other bow cleat.
I then ease back the pick up buoy so the weight comes onto the bridle and loosely secure the pick up buoy as a back up.
I have parceled the rope where it passes through the fairleads.
I have used this system for two years in Fareham Lake Portsmouth which is quite exposed to Westerlies and have found it satisfactory with no fraying of the strop.The benefit of the system is that the weight is evenly spread on the legs of the bridle as it renders easily through the plastic eye on the short strop.
I have used 20mm nylon rope for both strops.

22-11-05, 09:52
I use a line from each cleat via the stemhead to the mooring. I think that if they went through the fairleads they might rub. I think that two lines is better than a bridle.

23-11-05, 05:16
Just a couple of comments from someone who looks after 7000 odd morings.

Don't use a nylon rope. Use a polyester and nothing smaller than 20mm. 95% of boats come ashore due to chafe. Polyester will stand up a lot longer than Nylon. Obviously 20mm will out last anything smaller, if it 'looks' to big so what, all the more to chafe through. Shock absorbsion should not be an issue when picking a headrope choice. A well built mooring will have more than enough big chain on it to take any shocks out.

FYI - if you use a polyprop due to the nicer price you need your head read. Also if you think dropping some sizes and using a Spectra or similar is cunning, again you need your head read.

Diving on a mooring is not quite but close to useless. When we lift a mooring we smack it with a bloody big hammer and you would be surprised what falls off. Growth is very very strong and very easily hides defects. This lesson was reinforced with my own mooring. Shame to say I thought I, knowing moorings very very well, could do a quick dive to check mine. I did and all looked OK. We pulled it 2 months later and it was 99% bad.

You have a slightly differant stlye of mooring way up north but the principals are the same.

Things to really remember:
Chafe is the killer. Whatever you can do to stop it is all good.

A lot of people only regard professional mooring guys as 'worth it' when they are picking up their boat parts from a beach. Just think about the gear they have to have, the downtime due to weather when the costs still keep rolling on, the maintenance on all their steel gear in saltwater, the regulations they have to work under and costs involved. I'm willing to bet 90% of the boat owners they do work for drive flasher cars and so on than we do. I can assure you we don't do this job for the jetsetting Ferarri lifestyle :-). Did I mention we all smell like rotting shellfish all the time, such a turn on for the ladies :-)

CHECK what the small print in your insurance policy says. Most down here have tight rules on what is used and who can check moorings. These are the same companies you have and I can't see why they would have differant 'outs'.

Keep safe all

23-11-05, 08:47
Chain is required for Dart Harbour moorings and it seems very good sense. There have been two cases of boats breaking loose overnight in Braye harbour with loss of life; in one case an anchor watch was set. A loop of warp can chafe through easily in one night!
My preferred solution was to secure a chain to the buoy with a moused shackle. On the other end was a loop of chain made with another moused shackle. The length of chain was adjusted to suit the boat. An equal length of warp was attached to the chain loop with a pick up buoy on it's end. To moor approach the buoy, with a boat hook pick up the pick up buoy, slip the chain over the samson post or cleat and tidy up.
Major problem is that the warp grows weed and makes a mess of the deck.
A refinement is to replace the pick up buoy with something like a dan buoy with a strong loop a metre above water level so you don't have to bend down.
A back up line with a hook with a safety catch is also worth fitting.

23-11-05, 09:20
Even mousing shackles can fail. I have taken to also lightly peening over the threads on the end of the shackle pin. Just enough to stop it winding out of the shackle if the wire or cable ties fail.