11 October 2021: Mooring Practice
11 October 2021
Ram Island Yacht Club, CT, USA
Noank, CT, USA
Cumulative Mileage (NM)
Crew on Board
Skipper, first mate, chef, entertainment and more; I guess that is solo sailing for you!
GENERAL WEATHER OBSERVATIONS
13 knots, breezy but light!
Nothing to write home about…
Balmy for this time of year.
Dry, thank goodness!
A little test run for me. Today I was moving off the dock and catching a mooring for the first time alone. I am all about the mental preparation and visualization techniques (I am sure this will not be the first time you hear me say this) so even the night before I am picturing the many variations of what could happen and how I would react.
Let the record show, I am not into visualization as some sort of trendy, millennial technique that “I cannot believe you are not practicing”. It is just the way my brain works. Something that I have always done by default.
Firstly, I was trying to picture whether I would walk up to the bow from the cockpit and catch it on the bow or just catch it right next to the cockpit and then walk it up to the bow and tie it off. In my imagination, this depended on the wind strength since I would not be walking up a mooring tied to a 15,000 pound boat in any sort of wind. Given that situation could easily arrive where I needed to catch it at the bow when blowing, I decided to practice catching it that way even though the wind forecast was pretty light.
Then I was trying to recall the tricks to approaching that I had learned from the few times John and I were on a mooring: pulling up on the leeward side so I am driving into it and I do not accidentally run over or drift over the mooring, the wind is always blowing you away should the engine stall. With a wild imagination like mine, I envisioned my first attempt at grabbing a mooring being one where I drift back over top of it and it gets entangled with the propeller, bending the shaft and all of a sudden a simple mooring catch costs a haul out and major repair (the decision to catch from the bow also had the added bonus of lowering the likelihood that the mooring is anywhere near the propeller).
Lastly was actually leaving the dock to go to the mooring. With the pilings on the Ram Island Yacht Club, I was very nervous. My experience so far with pilings versus my dinghy on the davits was not good. Unless you have been able to move away from the dock first then you cannot turn away from the dock or your dinghy and davits gets into a bit of tussle with the pilings. While I am sure the situation will arise where I might need to do this, I decided to just leave at high tide when the dinghy would be above the pilings and save myself the trouble.
Overall, it went darn smooth. Better than visualized. This skippering solo thing was not so hard after all! The wind was perfect to push me off the dock (I had friends from Ram Island Yacht club offer to untie my lines, I think they could tell I was nervous, but with such perfect wind and the davits clear of pilings they did not have to do anything other than untie and throw). I caught the mooring first catch and tied it off with the first line to the bow and then took my time getting the second line to the bow calmly, since I was secured already with the first line.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
– Vincent Van Gogh