|One boat to fifty moorings.|
Tonight we carefully threaded our way through Potter Cove, which was littered with unoccupied white balls. After snooping around a while we found a mysterious gap in the random pattern and dropped the Bruce, our own portable mooring. I say mysterious because sometimes those empty spaces hide sunken boats, uncharted shoals, or other hazards. Here my mind goes blank as I try to think of what else might be a problem other than too little water or too much junk. Maybe methane seeps or giant whirlpools or reversing tidal falls. Well, whatever. And, sometimes those holes just indicate that they ran out of moorings before they managed to fill in every last gap.
At high tide this spot carries probably 17 feet and the height of Sweet Pea's bow makes that 20 feet above the mud. I'm on mostly chain with a bit of nylon and like 5:1 ratio, so there's a 200-foot circle that we'll sweep when the wind changes. Around three AM a mooring ball will probably come calling, knocking like a thief who wants to know if anyone is at home. Depending on the tide I might bring in enough rode to escape this sleep thievery or just pull out my shotgun and dispatch the ornery varmint, putting the rest of the gang on notice that I don't respond well to stealing my anchoring space. A strong reaction perhaps, but perfectly justified.
The alternative, which is to pick up an unoccupied mooring, isn't at all appealing. Then the sleep thief who comes knocking in the middle of the night is probably the owner, back from the cruise and somewhat surprised at having to raft up with so little notice. Even worse, the implied security of being on a stranger's mooring is only implied. Even a pristine pennant is no guarantee of sound tackle. I know how much, actually how little, my CQR and Bruce weigh. In contrast, for all I know, the mooring ball's pennant may be its heaviest part and the chain a rusty ghost of its former self.
|A free town mooring with a sturdy chain|
but the do-it-yourself pennant is problematic.
We had rowed some distance into the town dock to meet friends and provision. I've noticed that town moorings are almost always at the edge of the harbor where no one else wants to be and make for a lot of strokes. A notable exception to this pessimistic rule of thumb is Port Washington where they are front and center in desirable real estate. Now that's a free town mooring to like.
|Setting a leisurely pace in a more carefree moment.|
|A bit overweight at 18,000 lbs.|
After the 50 knot winds had come and gone, staggering us like a prize fighter who takes a knockout punch but doesn't go down, the harbor master came by to check on the damage. We told him that one of the cruisers in a 42-foot cat had dragged their mooring until it was next to the sea wall. At that point they high tailed it out of there, zooming by us as if we were standing still. Fortunately we were.
I learned that the "850 lbs" on the ball refers to the concrete block that terminates the chain. The harbor master mentioned, as a casual aside, that in the water the block was about half that weight. Ah, a practical application of Archimedes Principle. How interesting. Well even so, that 450 pound heavyweight should be able to beat my 35 pound Bruce bantamweight with one hand tied behind its back.
Tonight it's the Bruce's turn to prove its worth. I hope I didn't hurt its feelings. I think I'll let out a little more scope.
Next morning update. The mooring that swam to our stern when the wind clocked was labelled USCG in bold letters and sported a red, white and blue motif. Perhaps this is an acronym for Use with Super Caution in Gusts, though it looked sturdy enough.