Direction faced is mostly a function of wind and/or tide direction. Boats in most rafts I have been in tended to face the same direction. You do need to ensure that masts do not clash in the event of rolling when all are facing the same direction and are of similar size.
Etiquette so far as I am concerned includes asking permission to go alongside and not walking through their cockpit, but little else. I take great exception to the "no mooring alongside" notices that are seen on boats from time to time and I usually make a point of going there, if possible.
Shore lines can be problematical in multi-lane rafts. There seems little point in taking lines ashore if you are the fourth, fifth, or more, boat out and all you can do is run them along the narrow gap between your lane and the next. However, my experience has been that in big blows, when shore lines really are necessary, everybody is only too keen to accept lines led across their decks at sensible angles, as all benefit.
Finally, it is nice to receive some warning when the inside boat is leaving. I was once in a very large raft in Dunmore East, from which the inside (French) boat departed at 0600 by simply taking off all warps and motoring away. It took best part of an hour to restore the status quo.
Specially the point about keeping masts apart. One moored outside us last December rolled over until masts caught, and we were divebombed as his radar-reflector ripped off. Luckily no-one was in the cockpit.
I would just add, people crossing should make an effort to tiptoe after 11pm, and not peer (too obviously) down the forehatch at what is going on below.
Incidentally, it would be nice if the first boat in, in a race of 20 hearties all planning to raft together and party, would let potential inside boats know and give them the option of moving.
I agree with you about the shorelines. At too steep an angle they are all but useless, but some people insist you put them on. Oddly, there is often stiff resistance to tying to boats in the rafts ahead and behind, which would be much more practical use.
NO NO NO to a bowline as a mooring warp!! You can't undo it under tension!! A round turn and two half hitches are more useful, and nearly everyone can tie them in a hurry!! Look at a lifeboat given a chance!
No bowlines when mooring in a raft? What never next! The RYA teaching staff will pulling their hair out if they read this. I was told that you used a bowline so that you could pass it under other bowlines which used the same bollard/cleat and that a bowline was used because could be untied under tension.
Rafting remines me of my first rafting up experience at Poole Town Quay. My first season 'in command' I came along side a larger RAF yacht (as instructed) the crew took my lines. When the older RAF Skipper/Instructor appeared from below, ranting and raving, that they need to be clear for a 0300 departure for France. I explained that a call would all we need. But I could see he was not happy with me. Well at 0700 they left.
That winter I arrived at my first evenings instruction for my Yachtmaster shore based course. Has we introduce ourself. the instructor looked at me hard and said "Dont I know you from somewhere?" as the course was held on a RAF base - Yes you've guess it! But I never told him from where.
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by frankcromer on Fri Jul 27 08:29:20 2001 (server time).</FONT></P>