July 10, 2009

A Tirade Against Mooring Buoys

There are two ways to construct a mooring buoy.

One is to attach a rope to a heavy weight on the bottom. At the free end of the rope, you attach a small plastic floating ball. In order to moor, you pick up the floating ball and bring it aboard, tying it to something. Your boat is then attached to the heavy weight on the bottom of the sea.

The other method is to attach a large floating buoy to the end of the rope, and then to attach a second rope to the top of the buoy. In order to moor, you pick up the end of the top rope and bring it aboard, but the buoy stays in the water.

The first method is simple, effective, has few parts and is trouble-free.
The second method is more complicated to build, and if there is any tidal flow at all, then the big buoy will spend at least a third of any 24 hour period banging against the hull. Naturally, almost every public mooring is of this second type.

I spent a lot of the night at Hamilton Island fending off the buoy and creating ever more ingenious cradles of fenders and ropes as it repeatedly smashed into our soft fibreglass hull with thunderous booms. Every now and then the whole buoy vanished beneath the surface and scraped its way laboriously along the bottom of the hull before popping up on the other side and starting to bang there. Stupid thing. It is quite possible to hate an inanimate object.


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