Rafting on Moorings technique

WestwardBound

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I hope to get to Salcombe and points west this year.

It will be in August when it will be busy. Seems 100% probable that I'll be needing to raft up on moorings.
Being of an extraodinarily misanthropic nature in 6 years of Solent cruising I've only rafted on a mooring once before, in Newtown, in this case a smaller yacht just came along side us for a visit.
So what's the drill? Despite my curmudgeonly demeaner I expect I can just about manage the pleasantries but what is the appropriite technique?

If another boat is on the mooring surely the only practical way is to come alongside and then use the dinghy to set lines on the buoy or buoys ?

I've seen photos in the cruising companion of moorings with four boats moored fore and aft.

I can't seen getting out of the middle positions without much pushing off and snagged fenders. I can see this would not be to hard with less massive boats but around 12m the boats are getting heavier with greater windage etc. I think this would be best done with the crews of the other boats around so leaving times would I guess need to be negotiated?

So what is the best way to get of an inside position of such a raft?

At least I can hope that most other people daft enough to be cruising at that time will be doing it because they have children aboard as well.
 

prv

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One point to note - make sure you're staggered fore and aft so that your masts are not abeam of each other. Otherwise they'll clash and quite possibly be damaged if there's any swell (or more likely wash).

Pete
 

Twister_Ken

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I've only rafted on moorings with one (bow) mooring. In that case it's easy (with a modicum of co-operation) for an inside boat to slip out astern. In a fore and aft situation, it would seem that all the boats to seaward of you would need to let their sterns go, so you could slip out. If the string is long enough they could re-run their stern warps around your forestay so that all they need to do once you've burgered off is pull string to re-secure. Otherwise, it's a tender game. It would help if your boat steers going astern, but it can be managed if it doesn't as any Twister owner will confirm!

Edit - above assumes wind/tide is still on the bow. If vice versa, bows would need to be let go, obviously.
 
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doug748

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Being of an extraodinarily misanthropic nature in 6 years of Solent cruising I've only rafted on a mooring once before, in Newtown,

Crikey, I thought it was crowded up there. In August you will be lucky to find a buoy with four boats on it.

The technique I use is to go alongside your victim with all lines rigged as if it were a pontoon. Secure to the boat and then board him (Nelson fashion) to attach you bow line to the buoy. If someone is aboard they will generally help with the latter. You will need springs unless it is a very calm or very short visit.
Leaving is generally an easy exercise in pushing and shoving. People generally muck in.
You will also find rafts in Fowey (not to be missed), the most spectacular in Fowey Week.
 

john_morris_uk

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General Principles:

Its polite to ask, and much ruder for the boat that's already there to say no. Besides which if the harbour master says 'go there' they haven't got any choice!

Mooring up
Go alongside the other boat. This bit is quite easy as the other boat is already sitting into the tide/wind.

Put fore and aft lines onto the other boat - then springs fore and aft as well. Only for the shortest possible stay can I imagine not putting springs on. Its fraught with danger of things going pear shaped if you don't stop the boats moving fore and aft.

If you can reach from the other boat, ask to go onto them and put a line to the buoy from your bow. The idea is that you hang off your own line - not off theirs. If you can't reach then its out with the dinghy. (You need it to go ashore anyway.)

Make sure the masts aren't in line.

Leaving
To leave from a buoy I generally let go everything except the line to the buoy. Finally I slip that line and drift out backwards.

If you are in between two buoys on a trot type mooring, then you need to look at which way the current/wind is pushing you. Sometimes you can get the outside boat to pass a line round your stern, but it all starts getting a bit complicated and you can get lines in the water etc so occasionally, instead of leaving INTO the strongest element, you leave the raft all attached at that end and let go and drift out backwards. Clearly if there are other boats behind you this is fraught with risks. If you really need to let go and proceed into the strongest element, and even better was is to persuade the outside boats to let go and motor round in a circle while you let go as above - and this leaves you free to leave into the current/wind as appropriate.

Hope all that makes sense!
 
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WestwardBound

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Thanks for advice all.
It does appear that departures do in fact need to be choreographed and best with other crews at hand.
Perhaps when boats aren't leaving in the morning or evenings when crews are likely to be aboard, the thing to do is to get that boat (or one's own boat) on the outside in preparation for later departure.
I can't say that I am without trepidation, I still remember the apocalyptic sight and sounds of a large raft coming undone alongside Weymouth quay many many years ago when I was sailing with my father ...shudder...
 

prv

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The good news is that there is always room to anchor

Thass OK then, cos I'm always happy to anchor in KS.

(Previous owner installed oversized anchor (albeit CQR) and chain to counterbalance a heavy engine upgrade, and because he lived aboard for a time.)

Pete
 

Robin

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It's been a few years since we visited Salcombe but I guess nothing much has changed, including quite probably the rip off prices.

There are two main places for visitors, opposite the town on single buoys but rafted up when needed (and guaranteed in August) or round the corner in 'The Bag' rafted up on pontoons which are not connected to the shore.

In the first instance, be aware that the lower part of the harbour can get quite a swell/chop going with wind against tide, which since the wind tends to blow up or down the river is fairly often. Being rafted up in these conditions to me is a definite no no, let alone at the price they will charge for the privilege!

In 'The Bag', conditions will be much calmer and no problems for rafting up other than untangling yourself when it comes time to depart and taking due care of the very strong tide flow. It is best to discuss planned departures with others inside and around so that you can hopefully agree people will be on board or better still to move to the outside ready to go, perhaps done when someone else leaves. Cooperation is very much the name of the game.

One warning about being in The Bag is that the dinghy ride to town involves firstly getting past the corner where the tide flow can be faster than your little tender can go, forget any idea about rowing! Secondly if as mentioned before there is wind over tide in the lower harbour, the very conditions that make The Bag position A, you will get VERY wet in the dink going to town.

Another caveat unless things have changed drastically, getting a spot to park the dinghy is yet another hurdle, especially in August.

You can anchor in the lower harbour but beware the wind against tide scenario and the midnight tangos with others nearby that can create with boats sailing over their anchors, boats dragging as a result, lots of shouting..

Then finally and again this might have changed, but I doubt it, the prices in the shops ashore are eyewatering! Best advice is to arrive fully stocked with food.

Oh one more thought, be very aware of the Bar, not the one in the pub but the one on the way in or out! This is notorious and the warnings are very genuine, avoid strong wind over tide and avoid near LW in a swell even if there is enough depth, there won't be in the trough of any swell. The seas breaking on the Bar BTW are not visible on the way in, at least when outbound you get to see what to expect.

For all that it is a pretty place!
 

Phoenix of Hamble

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Quite correct Robin..... none of it has changed.... except the prices are even higher!

You will however feel out of place in the town unless you are wearing a Jack Wills rugby top and Dubbary shoes... preferably with a miniature dog to tuck under your arm.

Be warned that last summer they were enforcing the maximum tender size (well signposted on the town pontoon - I think it was 3m max) rigourously.... we watched in excess of 60 tenders get towed away through the course of 1 day, with a release fee of £150 for each!!!!!!... you think they'd be able to lower the scarily expensive mooring fees with that kind of income...

Also, it will be choppy on even the calmest of days, as those same spolit brats wandering around the town will also be buzzing around the harbour in ribs with 20hp outboards..... it was like M25 while we were there in August... and its not me being anti kids... I had a 12 and 15 yr old with me, and even they were amazed at the behaviour.

As you can probably gather, we weren't overly enamoured with Salcombe... its just become a money making pit instead of a lovely tourist destination.... IMHO, head elsewhere
 

WestwardBound

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It's been years since I visited by boat, it was quite lovely then. It wasn't even very busy but this was in the 80s.
In the cruising companion it says that during the regatta; "the numbers have to be seen to be believed".
If it's as bad as all that I might just give it a miss, or just have a stop over, not that it sounds restful.
I would have liked to show the kids Salcombe and my son has a friend there.
Problem with August is that the weather is quite unreliable and you can quite easily get stuck somewhere. Doesn't sound like the place to be stuck anymore.
I'm a bit shocked to hear about the RIB towing scam, if only because it sounds so very unfriendly. Very "rip-off Britain". Fortunately my dinghy isn't big enough to be a problem but thanks for the warning.
 

rickym

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I was in Salcombe last may. The visitors mooring buoys were not all taken but there was no space to get the tender tied to the tender dock! The problem is semi-residents? We complained that the HM needed to sort this. One of my more robust crew volunteered to sort this if he wasn't capable! I am glad to hear the pontoon for 'visiting yacht tenders' is being policed. A few selfish individuals spoiling things for the rest of us.

Last year more moorings had been laid opposite the town where we had previously been able to anchor.

You can still anchor further up neat Salt stone. it is very quiet here but a long ride to town in the dink. As had previously been mentioned the ride can be a wet one especially as you are very sheltered up in the bag or further north (guess how I found out!)

The problem with Salcombe is that it is no longer a working harbour. Compare it to Dartmouth, Fowey or Falmouth. That said it is 'Chelsea by sea' keep your sense of humour, take the P1ss out of the pretentious and have fun. SWIMBO loves it. Not the place to leave the boat as public transport is not good.
 

johnalison

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Were last there in '09 both early season and in August. We had variable experiences on the buoys and were treated with little consideration by a crew racing from Dartmouth. I can't remember if we had to leave from a centre position but my policy would be to move out near slack tide and perhaps lie outside briefly.

There can be a lot of movement on the moorings and I would suggest that care is taken to avoid chafe on the mooring-ring.

Salcombe is one of the more problematic stops but I have a sentimental attachment to it having visited since 1956, and we have friends there.
 

Grumpybear

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haven't been there for some years. last time the harbourmaster types were surly and the leaflet they handed out consisted of paragraphs starting in one of two ways:

You must not.... Or

The penalty for......

Adding that kind of welcome to all the other disadvantages makes it a no brained for me: go somewhere else.
 

snooks

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If you're approaching a boat on a buoy, approach from about 45° off the wind to allow for the yacht swinging. The more boats, the less they will swing, but if it's just one yacht in a bit of a breeze, expect it to sheer from side to side. Aim to stop alongside facing to windward with no forward power. And hopefully the boat you're aiming for will be next to you....unless she's lying to the tide of course!! :)
 

john_morris_uk

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I was in Salcombe last may. The visitors mooring buoys were not all taken but there was no space to get the tender tied to the tender dock! The problem is semi-residents? We complained that the HM needed to sort this. One of my more robust crew volunteered to sort this if he wasn't capable! I am glad to hear the pontoon for 'visiting yacht tenders' is being policed. A few selfish individuals spoiling things for the rest of us..
Salcombe is one of the worst places for people tying their dingies 'up short' on their painters. I was always taught to leave your dinghy tied to the end of a LONG painter so that others can nose it aside and get to the pontoon. The worst I have seen are tenders tied fore and aft against a pontoon. It is a SELFISH and ANTISOCIAL practise that you might have guessed is one of my pet hates.

Sadly I am always thinking this reflects the worst of the hooray henry brigade that invades Salcombe each summer. I would not weep one tear if their over sized ribs were towed away.

On a positive note, the last couple of times I have called in, the harbour master's staff have been polite and helpful. Mind you I did collar the harbour masters assistant a couple of years ago in the Rugby Club after I'd refereed Salcombe in their Devon League match so perhaps the message was passed on?

To the OP don't miss Salcombe out - its still a lovely place. Just be aware of the potential problems and you will have a great stay there.
 

JohnP

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The Harbour Master has tried very hard to change things and continues to do so. Visitors mooring fees have not increased and there is more policing of speed limits, dinghy spaces and so on. There is a consultation at the moment about Whitestrand and how to accommodate dinghies and commercial traffic. The harbour is still a working harbour with one of the biggest crab fishing fleets in the country. I believe the Yacht Club showers may not be available this season but showers, drinks and food are available on the Island Cruising Club boat in The Bag. I will not be on the water until late April this year but will then know the depths over the bar and what is happening generally. If anyone wants information about the harbour or the town, send a ybw message and I will contact you with a telephone number.
 

Cookee

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I will not be on the water until late April this year but will then know the depths over the bar and what is happening generally. If anyone wants information about the harbour or the town, send a ybw message and I will contact you with a telephone number.

I would like to add to John's offer of help - I live in Salcombe and have posted also on the Salcombe thread - please get in touch if I can be of any help - my contact details are on my website below.

By the way the staff on the launches are mostly university students on a summer job - by the end of June they become a little hardened and need a little coaxing to get the best out of them - if asked nicely it's amazing how really helpful they can be!
 
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