What is the issue?Picking up moorings with the support of a crew requires a lot of communication and can be highly challenging for boats that are high above the water line. It is a prime time to lose objects overboard such as the boat hook, sunglasses, deck shoes up to and including a crew member. It is also a prime time to receive an injury by trapping a finger in a line.
Performing this singled handed presents a real problem. At the best of times, it will require significant skill and dashing back and forth from the cockpit to the bow. In tricky crowded waters with strong winds or currents, it may not even be possible.
Why address this?Picking up moorings can present a challenge, never more so than for the single-hander and anything that makes it safer and easier has to be welcomed.
How to address this?Picking up moorings can be vastly simplified by the use of a lasso.
This may be easily created by running a long, deep bight of a nylon weave mooring line out of the bow of the boat. Set the line up to run out through the fairlead on one side, around and outside of the pulpit and then back through the fairlead on the opposite side. Then belay each side leaving a good sized deep loop in between. It is essential that it is rigged outside of the pulpit or the load will come onto this structure and could cause damage.
When all is set up correctly find the mooring to be lassoed and slowly power the bow of the boat up and over it, then halt and simply drop the lasso down around it. As the vessel sits momentarily stalled the non-buoyant and floppy mooring line will sink around the buoy.
When the boat falls back the sunken line will pull itself straight around the mooring line underneath the buoy. This effectively turns the mooring buoy into a large toggle that is trapped by the bight in the line. The weight of the boat is then pushing upon this, which allows you to temporarily tether it to the mooring buoy.
With the boat under control, you may then more easily go about picking-up the mooring's pull-buoy and properly belay everything. Then release one end of the lasso and physically pull it around the mooring line to retrieve it. It is best not to leave it in place as it may get tangled up.
If conditions are light and it is a brief stopover where the vessel will not be left unattended, and there is a breeze or current to keep the bight tight, just sitting on the lasso is perfectly fine until you are ready to cast off. This can be achieved by simply releasing one side of the lasso, falling back, and taking in the line.
With thanks to:Michael Harpur, with thanks to Derek Joyce
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