Let the Wind Do the Work - Sail Magazine

Let the Wind Do the Work

The first time I tried to pick up a mooring singlehanded in a stiff breeze, I approached from dead downwind in the usual manner and stopped the boat with the pickup buoy right where I wanted it.
Author:
Publish date:

The first time I tried to pick up a mooring singlehanded in a stiff breeze, I approached from dead downwind in the usual manner and stopped the boat with the pickup buoy right where I wanted it. But before I could get forward, a gust blew the bow off and I had to get back to the helm quickly to avoid major embarrassment.

Wind-do-the-work

On the next attempt, I remembered how I’d been taught to pick up a mooring under sail and decided to modify that technique. I approached on a close reach and stopped the boat about 10 feet upwind of the mooring, with the bow pointed about 30 degrees off the wind. As I walked forward the bow paid off slowly, and as the mooring ball disappeared under the stem I reached out, pulled up the pickup buoy as it tapped against the bow pulpit and dropped the mooring pennants over their cleats. It was as easy as it sounds, and now it’s standard practice when I’m sailing solo. Usually, I’ll secure one pennant and then wait for the boat to swing head to wind before leading the other around the anchor and onto its cleat. When it’s blowing hard I’ve had to move pretty smartly, as the bow tends to accelerate as it blows downwind. Much will depend on how much windage your boat has—with our low topsides and long bow overhang, we don’t have as much as a typical modern cruiser. In light airs, you can place the bow closer to the mooring; the trick is to make it pay off in the desired direction. Caveat: each time I’ve done this, wind and current have either been together, or the current has been negligible. The decision to place your bow upwind or uptide of your mooring will be dictated by the way other boats are lying.

Related

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more

albinheaters

Albin Pump Marine: Marine Water Heaters

IN HOT WATERSweden’s Albin Pump Marine has introduced its line of marine water heaters to the United States. Complete with 130V or 230V AC electric elements, the heaters can be plumbed into the engine cooling system. They feature ceramic-lined cylindrical tanks in 5, 8, 12 and ...read more

03-squalls4

Squall Strategies

Our first encounter with a big squall was sailing from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico. We left at 0200 to ensure we’d get into Ensenada before our 1300 haulout time. The National Weather Service had forecast consistent 15-20 knot winds from the northwest, which was perfect for the ...read more