Letting Go a Mooring
or Anchor from the Cockpit.
Here is a simple device for
letting go a bow mooring or even an anchor from the cockpit.
It will allow a single hander to drop the
without having to leave the cockpit.
This is particularly useful when letting go of a mooring in a
restricted space particularly if there are cross winds or currents.
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There will be times when your boat needs to be in gear and making way
the moment the mooring is let go.
boat needs to be traveling at a couple of knots through the water
before the rudder has sufficient bite to control the vessel.
For the helmsman who has a competent crew on the bow and with clear
communications this should be a simple maneuver.
However, for the single hander it is impossible to be in two places at
the same time.
he needs some way to release the bow mooring while at the helm and in
control of the engine or sheets, if he is sailing off the mooring.
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This is a simple variation on the method used by sailing ships to
release the anchor from the cathead.
All it requires is to ‘cat’ the mooring then run a release
line back to the cockpit.
The release mechanism is a simple hardwood wedge, a tapered
piece of wood, with an attached line that will reach back to the
This wedge is used to ‘stop’ a loop of rope which is holding
the boat to the mooring.
Now there are many variations on this theme but this is how
mine is arranged.
I have a strop of rope attached to the mooring line which I
lay through a large, well secured fairlead then use the wedge to hold
it in place.
The strop is long enough to allow me to secure it with the
wedge before taking the weight off the mooring cleats.
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to let go
Preparation is the key to successful boat
This is particularly true for the single hander.
So before leaving a mooring check the wind direction and tide
flow and consider how this will affect your boat when you let go.
Start the engine, allow it to warm up, check the cooling water
etc and check that the gears engage.
Clear away any unwanted lines check that there are none
trailing in the water that could foul the prop.
Now, assuming that you have decided that the best direction to
leave the mooring is into the wind, release and clear any stern
‘Cat’ the mooring strop then un-cleat the mooring lines.
As you let them go make ease them so that the strop takes the
strain and check that it is secure.
Make sure all the mooring lines and pickup buoys are overboard
You can now return to the cockpit grab the helm, engine in
gear pull the release and off you go.
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Letting go the Anchor
The same sort of arrangement could be used to ‘cat’ the
prior to deploying.
However, if you just cat the anchor by the crown the flukes
will be left swinging and could damage the hull.
Unless the ‘cathead’ is well clear of the hull there are
better methods for letting go of the anchor.
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