Switching from marina to mooring

ylop

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You might want to add more as there is no shore power…

Interested to know people’s thoughts on this. We have a traditional Lead Acid (AGM) set up.

We do have a fridge, diesel heater, usual nav stuff, led lights. Underway water has usually been our limiting factor before power - we “only” have 120L (easy enough to carry Jerry cans but we tend to hop from place to place so no need). Typically the engine gets run when anchoring or mooring each day, maybe when leaving as well. Scotland so weather not ideal for solar but also only likely to be on mooring Apr-Oct each year.
 

Sandy

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Interested to know people’s thoughts on this. We have a traditional Lead Acid (AGM) set up.

We do have a fridge, diesel heater, usual nav stuff, led lights. Underway water has usually been our limiting factor before power - we “only” have 120L (easy enough to carry Jerry cans but we tend to hop from place to place so no need). Typically the engine gets run when anchoring or mooring each day, maybe when leaving as well. Scotland so weather not ideal for solar but also only likely to be on mooring Apr-Oct each year.
Really depends on the amount of motor sailing you do.

I have 200 watts of solar in grey, soggy Cornwall and am more than happy with the way it has kept up with my winter needs.

Perhaps the key is good battery management. I use Victron MTTP/Shunt/Battery Monitor and Shore power as they all chatter to each other via Bluetooth to get max amps into the batteries.
 

ashtead

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When I first started sailing as a lad we had a non walk ashore pontoon on medina near folly . The hard dingy was fine if you had a small trailer 2 wheels to take down slip. Could be a chore getting ashore on low tide . My main issue though when later at Wicormarine was all the faff of river mooring wheeling dinghy down,kit down with outboard etc and also on return not being able to get ashore although boat afloat due to mud flats all around. While the drive to Haslar is longer the convenience means you go to boat more and just spend time there as a coastal retreat really even if not going sailing -once this mindset takes root though the lurk of a Broom type life might be on the horizon in a few years -many seem to retire to a mobo . I think the real question is how often will you be on a mooring and where do you go in winter?
 

iamtjc

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Adding to the list of pros and cons for marina vs mooring....

I found that on my mooring I was only able to do engine maintenance on good days (when I would rather be sailing).
If it was too rough and nasty to be out I was unable to work inside on the engine due to the sickness inducing motion of the boat on the mooring.
It is so much simpler now I am in the marina. Good day > sail, Nasty day > do jobs
 

Minerva

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We've got a swinging mooring and I cannot see us getting a pontoon anytime soon. Main reasons for me are;

1) Cost - we bought our mooring for the equivalent of a years marina berth. Therefore our summer costs are on average £300 servicing and £100 or so between the king & mooring association. Means I can afford to run a much bigger boat & keep her in better condition than I could if I were spending >£5k a year in marina fees.

2) As we can afford a larger boat than we otherwise could, we can keep her fully stocked throughout the season with bedding / towels / non perishables / condiments / spices etc. As such we need to take far fewer items to & fro each time we go out sailing.

3) I and my wife have pretty stressful jobs and our rule is on a Friday evening on the drive to the boat, we will discuss work / problems etc. However once the car is parked, work chat stays in the car. The act of rowing out to the boat works very effectively at leaving the work stress behind.

4) Views. I personally see marina's as akin to spending £50k on a motorhome then parking in a Tesco carpark. On our swinging mooring we have peace and a wonderful view.

5) Lack of damage. Especially during summer storms. No Pontoons to bash against. No fender rub, no straining warps. The boat just weather cocks into the weather and rides it out. The pick up line is heavy chain so no concern at chafe / it breaking free.

6) The mooring is mine in perpetuity - Previous owner held it for 18years. This is in a very in-demand spot with a waiting list.
 

ylop

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When I first started sailing as a lad we had a non walk ashore pontoon on medina near folly . The hard dingy was fine if you had a small trailer 2 wheels to take down slip. Could be a chore getting ashore on low tide . My main issue though when later at Wicormarine was all the faff of river mooring wheeling dinghy down,kit down with outboard etc and also on return not being able to get ashore although boat afloat due to mud flats all around.
I think the pontoon for shore access and not being up some muddy creek make for a different proposition.
...a coastal retreat really even if not going sailing -once this mindset takes root though the lurk of a Broom type life might be on the horizon in a few years -many seem to retire to a mobo . I think the real question is how often will you be on a mooring and where do you go in winter?
When we bought the boat we were always going to keep in on a mooring. it came with 6 months marina fees paid and lured us into its luxury and complacency! We kept her in Greenock last summer... the marina is well serviced, but you need quite an imagination to use the words "coastal retreat" in the same sentence! The good thing was I could park the car and be on the boat 1 minute later. But then there was at least 10 minutes sorting lines etc so ready to slip, and another 5 minutes to get out the actual marina, and then probably 10 minutes down the channel before you would consider putting the sails up. Similar in reverse - probably with more time setting springs and fenders all "just so". We didn't leave our dock lines permanently on the pontoon or add fenders to the pontoon so perhaps we could have made those things slicker if we had felt we were permanent.

Winter isn't a problem - there's plenty of yards around who will happily take money for lifting and storing her! There's also cheap "winter afloat" options in marinas if we don't want to bring her out - but it makes those 2 amazing days of winter sailing really expensive if you do the maths!
I found that on my mooring I was only able to do engine maintenance on good days (when I would rather be sailing).
There are marina's nearby if I wanted to have the benefit of protection/walk ashore for a particular job (there's always something you forget / need to pop to a shop for). At visitor rates I could used them every weekend and still pay less than a 6 month contract!
 

ylop

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Really depends on the amount of motor sailing you do.
Difficult to say - but in Scotland it would be exceptional to get a weekend where the wind was just perfect all weekend and we never resorted to the engine. We aren't as impatient as some but probably use it more than purists.
I have 200 watts of solar in grey, soggy Cornwall and am more than happy with the way it has kept up with my winter needs.
Cornwall is always sunny in the tourist pictures so you must be lying! 100W would be easy to fit... 200W might be possible but shaded a lot without building arches etc!
Perhaps the key is good battery management. I use Victron MTTP/Shunt/Battery Monitor and Shore power as they all chatter to each other via Bluetooth to get max amps into the batteries.
mmm... that feels expensive! I feel some bedtime reading coming on...
 

Sandy

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Cornwall is always sunny in the tourist pictures so you must be lying! 100W would be easy to fit... 200W might be possible but shaded a lot without building arches etc!
I was brought up in Orkney, Wester Ross and Lochaber, winter 2023/24 in Cornwall has been just as wet and cold as any I've had in Scotland.
 

oilybilge

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i'm thinking we probably need to upgrade the dinghy, is there a sensible self draining option?

Yes, just put a bung in the bottom. Leave it open when the dinghy's ashore, remember to close it before launching. It's so much more civilised than bailing out rainwater every time.
 

Tranona

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Interested to know people’s thoughts on this. We have a traditional Lead Acid (AGM) set up.

We do have a fridge, diesel heater, usual nav stuff, led lights. Underway water has usually been our limiting factor before power - we “only” have 120L (easy enough to carry Jerry cans but we tend to hop from place to place so no need). Typically the engine gets run when anchoring or mooring each day, maybe when leaving as well. Scotland so weather not ideal for solar but also only likely to be on mooring Apr-Oct each year.
Plenty of lively debates on the subject - one on this page. The key with LA is to try and start with a fully charged domestic bank. Easy with shorepower and possible with solar on a swinging mooring. You don't say what size of bank, but on my Bav 33 I had 3*95ah AGMs (plus a start and bow battery) and this was more than adequate for weekends and coast hopping . Marina so shorepower and no solar. Solar only needs to go to the house bank, particularly if you add a parallel switch so that you can start the engine from the house bank. for monitoring I had a simple NASA BM1 which gave me enough data on usage and state of charge. You tend to get a feel for usage and when you need to economise, typically the fridge will be your biggest consumer followed by night sailing. Obviously reducing consumption by fitting LED lights helps as does packing the fridge with chilled Sauvignon Blanc or beer to taste before you start!

As you will see from the discussions, lithium is getting closer to being practical when it comes to replace your AGMs but doubt you will have problems living with what you have.
 

dunedin

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Interested to know people’s thoughts on this. We have a traditional Lead Acid (AGM) set up.

We do have a fridge, diesel heater, usual nav stuff, led lights. Underway water has usually been our limiting factor before power - we “only” have 120L (easy enough to carry Jerry cans but we tend to hop from place to place so no need). Typically the engine gets run when anchoring or mooring each day, maybe when leaving as well. Scotland so weather not ideal for solar but also only likely to be on mooring Apr-Oct each year.
Personally I wouldn't- and haven't- start worrying about changing battery types. But I would - and have - fit some solar. Even 100W or so can make a big difference (we have 150W).
The long days means plenty of sunshine hours in Scotland, and apparently cool temperatures is good for solar panels.
 

ylop

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You don't say what size of bank, but on my Bav 33 I had 3*95ah AGMs (plus a start and bow battery) and this was more than adequate for weekends and coast hopping .
That was intentional as I can't actually remember! She has engine start battery + 2 house batteries. I think there's 200Ah at least there. When I bought the inveter I planned to add another 100Ah battery (on port side). I bought that battery, didn't get round to fitting the inverter and then had a battery die late last season so swapped it in.
Marina so shorepower and no solar. Solar only needs to go to the house bank, particularly if you add a parallel switch so that you can start the engine from the house bank.
There's some sort of automatic switchover between house and engine start. I assume it is the original, and read somewhere that Bav didn't use a very sophisticated approach. Its not wired to a 1/2/both/off switch - but I have some short "jump" leads which would let me link the batteries or take the engine start out the circuit.
Anchor windlass is wired to the house.

I had considered putting a VSR in between the new invertor battery and the main house bank as, if I have understood this correctly, it would stop any "mains" load we use from flattening the main house batteries. If that battery was charged by solar would it then start to charge the house battery once full? I bought the invertor thinking I'd have lots of jobs for it - but it will likely only be used for things like recharging a laptop or powerdrill that don't have 12V options.
 

Tranona

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The standard Bavaria setup on earlier boats was just an isolator in the common negative located under the chart table and a split charge diode from the alternator. That is what I had on my 2001 37, but I changed it to a BEP Marine switch cluster which has isolators for each bank, a parallel switch and a VSR. The later boats had the now common individual isolators and a Cristec charge splitter. On smaller J&J boats the standard batteries were a 75Ah start and 115Ah house with the option of a second wired in parallel.

If you want to keep the inverter separate with its own battery then charging from the start battery with a B2B would be a way to do it.
 

Rhylsailer99

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Ok it looks like we might be about to switch from marina storage to mooring. What are we likely to have not thought about?
  • there's a pontoon with sufficient depth for loading crew or suppplies, it has water and waste collection.
  • the pontoon has space for dinghies - i'm thinking we probably need to upgrade the dinghy, is there a sensible self draining option? (it could be 2-3 weeks between use)
  • would we be better getting a bigger (hard?) dinghy that can squeeze 4 people and leave that on the mooring and retain small "2.5 person" inflatabe for anchorages etc
  • would you add two pennants so they work like a bridle, and redundancy?
  • will probably add "small" solar panel as no shore power
  • the bilge pump is not automatic (the boat doesn't leak); will that leave me paranoid and wishing I had an auto one?
  • will likely add some sort of monitoring - but we will be >2hr drive away so not going to be that helpful!
  • do the downsides of using a mooring offset against the faff of fenders and setting up springs etc - feels like the ready to sail and ready to go home time will be similar in each case?
Amazon.co.uk
I have one of these above so I know my boat is where is should be. If it moves out of its area I get a text message and I can also monitor the battery voltage.
 

Stemar

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My experience of 20 years on a mooring in Portsmouth Harbour is very positive. We wouldn't be able to afford a marina, at least, not one we'd want to be in. A few random thoughts:

Power - fit as much solar as you have space for. We have 200w and that keeps up with our needs, including a fridge. When it's sunny, there's a bit to spare, when it's cloudy, it doesn't quite do it. Our previous boat didn't have a fridge, and the 40w we had on her was enough at anchor in the summer, and would comfortably replace a weekend's use by the next weekend during the winter. It's great to be able to relax at anchor with no battery anxiety.

Security - A mooring is more vulnerable than a marina. Don't leave stuff on board that you don't have to. We've never had a problem, but there have been thefts from other boats. If we had a boat that look as if she were worth breaking into, I'd consider one of those shed alarms that make a painfully loud noise when they go off.

Peace and Quiet - It's for from unheard of for us to go to the boat on the mooring and just stay there. Boat as weekend cottage. If there's a bit of wind, the boat sits to it, so the cockpit is sheltered.

Mooring Maintenance - A pickup chain, and even the riser, can wear surprisingly quickly. I'd suggest a good look in autumn, before the autumn gales, and again in the spring. Do this even if you aren't responsible for the maintenance; it may not be your fault is it breaks, but it's still your boat on the rocks. Look where the links touch; I've seen a 20mm chain that looks fine at a glance, but where the links touch, some were down to 5mm. A bridle will provide a bit of insurance, as well as reducing the tendency to sail around the mooring when the wind gets up.

Picking up - most of the time it's no problem, but our old boat's bow blew off the wind pretty quickly, so I didn't have time to get to the bow above 15-20 knots. I had a line from the bow back to the cockpit that meant I could pick up from the cockpit and clip this line on. I'm then attached and safe, sitting a boat length downwind. All I have to do is pull the line in and hook up properly. You may need a winch for this.
 

NormanS

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We've got a swinging mooring and I cannot see us getting a pontoon anytime soon. Main reasons for me are;

1) Cost - we bought our mooring for the equivalent of a years marina berth. Therefore our summer costs are on average £300 servicing and £100 or so between the king & mooring association. Means I can afford to run a much bigger boat & keep her in better condition than I could if I were spending >£5k a year in marina fees.

2) As we can afford a larger boat than we otherwise could, we can keep her fully stocked throughout the season with bedding / towels / non perishables / condiments / spices etc. As such we need to take far fewer items to & fro each time we go out sailing.

3) I and my wife have pretty stressful jobs and our rule is on a Friday evening on the drive to the boat, we will discuss work / problems etc. However once the car is parked, work chat stays in the car. The act of rowing out to the boat works very effectively at leaving the work stress behind.

4) Views. I personally see marina's as akin to spending £50k on a motorhome then parking in a Tesco carpark. On our swinging mooring we have peace and a wonderful view.

5) Lack of damage. Especially during summer storms. No Pontoons to bash against. No fender rub, no straining warps. The boat just weather cocks into the weather and rides it out. The pick up line is heavy chain so no concern at chafe / it breaking free.

6) The mooring is mine in perpetuity - Previous owner held it for 18years. This is in a very in-demand spot with a waiting list.
Particularly like item 4.
 

Dutch01527

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I have a swing mooring on the dart. Couple of observations:

- Dart Harbour mandate a two strop set up, one of which must be chain. Works well with no tangling. There must be an experience based reason they want a chain safety strop.
- I have an electric, float bilge pump, wind and solar power but am not convinced that would deal with anything but a very small leak of water. Anything significant would either burn out the pump or overwhelm the batteries eventually. However, the same could be said for a marina and I am not convinced that a boat in a marina is any more likely to get noticed as sinking than my swing mooring that is passed by water taxis, ferry and harbour staff several times an hour.
- Good parking and tender / outboard storage is essential. Without it the mooring would be untenable.
- it normally takes me about 1 hour to get on or off the boat and moving. Tender ride is 10 minutes of that. Longer than I anticipated.

The swing mooring saves me about £5,000 per year vs a marina so the cost vs convenience equasion works for me but if money was no object marina wins every time.
 

Stemar

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The swing mooring saves me about £5,000 per year vs a marina so the cost vs convenience equasion works for me but if money was no object marina wins every time.
I totally agree about the convenience, but I just spent most of this afternoon just lazing aboard on the mooring. It just isn't the same in a marina.
 

twilliams_34

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We went from a marina to a swing mooring, the main thing I miss is the conversations with other boat owners as you walk up and down the pontoon.
Surprising how many tips and tricks you can pick up in a small conversation.

What I do not miss is the big marina bill through the post each year😁
 

Graham376

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We went from a marina to a swing mooring, the main thing I miss is the conversations with other boat owners as you walk up and down the pontoon.
Surprising how many tips and tricks you can pick up in a small conversation.

What I do not miss is the big marina bill through the post each year😁
+1
That's why we have a mooring, which cost us €1500 17 years ago and roughly €500 in maintenance since. No harbour dues to pay. The downside is the difficulty in finding insurance for 12 months in commission on EU based mooring.
 
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