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In the virtually tideless Mediterranean, it's common to moor bows-to or stern-to, using fenders to keep boats apart, while your anchor or a mooring line holds you off a quay or pontoon. Your anchor will be also be used far more often than (for instance) in southern England, often in quite demanding circumstances. Read on for hints:
Prepare. It's S A F E R to brief the crew first . . .
Mooring lines are common in marinas and town quays, linked to the quay by a messenger line.
Own Anchor. Using your own anchor to hold off from the quay is common in the East Mediterranean. Find a slot. Approach between neighbour's anchor lines. Drop the anchor 3 to 5 boat lengths from the quay. Let the rode run out steadily until you're a length from the quay, then slow the rode to dig the anchor in and slow the boat. Throw windward line ashore - or go closer to step ashore if there's no-one to help.
Bows- or stern-to? Some sort of passarelle may be needed once you're moored up; anything from a 2cm x 20cm x 200cm wooden plank to a neat hydraulically driven gangway will do.
Crossed anchors. Using your own anchor has shortcomings. Crossed anchor lines are common, especially among inexperienced crews, or where the quay is concave. It’s then best to be on board when neighbours depart — to sort out the mess after they've moved your hook.
Fouled Anchor. One day, you'll lift someone else's anchor or chain. Pull it right up (ask for slack if necessary), thread a rope loop under the item, lower your own anchor and pull it free to one side, then drop the over-lying chain by releasing one end of your rope loop. Alternatively, buy a releasing hook, and fish for the offending chain with this.
Heavy Wash. Some harbours suffer periods of heavy wash - as ferries arrive, or fishermen swarm out. This sets up heavy rolling among yachts abreast of each other. To preserve your masthead gear, make sure your masts aren't aligned with your neighbour's. Additionally, rig your boat to allow a lot of fore and aft surging, probably using crossed stern lines as springs.
At anchor, a 25kt plus wind may cause your vessel to sheer from side to side. This is less common with long keel vessels. Options for safer anchoring in strong winds are:
When anchorages are crowded or narrow, or the coast dips steeply into the water, a long line ashore may be needed to reduce swinging room. With any off- or cross-shore wind, you'll need a crew member who is competent in the tender, or a strong swimmer taking a light messenger line, or a lot of ingenuity. Swimming shoes are strongly advised to avoid sea urchin damage. Tying the line around trees may damage them - and is illegal in some countries. So use alternatives to anchor your line.
Reviewed June 2016