Mediterranean mooring technique

This is simple, pick your berth, shout as much as you can at everyone, reverse your yacht as fast as you can, when you hear a loud crunch and the yacht stops, swear a lot, shout some more, throw some lines ashore, you have moored mediterranean style!!   …….Now to be serious.

Med Mooring (as it is known ), involves dropping your anchor, or picking up a mooring warp (usually a thin line on a pick up float, attached to a thick mooring line, which in turn is tied to a chain that runs parallel to the quay) to the bow.  The yacht is then put astern and mooring warps are sent ashore from the stern cleats to secure it.   The bow mooring line, or anchor, is then tightened to stop the bow swinging and to set the distance of the yacht from the dock, allowing people to get off and on, whilst keeping the yacht a safe distance, so it does not hit the dock and cause damage. 

This style of mooring works because there is so little tide in the Med, and it is an efficient use of dock space, as well as being cheap to maintain for the marina. The key to this manoeuvre is preparation and communication.  Call the marina before any manoeuvres are attempted, as they will tell you where the berth is, and the nature of the berth.  This is the opportunity to find out as much information as you may need.  Bear in mind that no marina staff want to watch a yacht hit another yacht, so they will give you all the help they can. A staff member will usually be at the designated berth to help tie up. However, depending on where you are in the Med, this does depend on staffing levels and language barriers.

This manoeuvre can seem very daunting, as the space allotted is usually a yacht’s width and other yachts will be on either side.  It is therefore important to make sure the yacht’s sides are well fendered aft to mid ships on both sides.  It is also extremely important that the vessel’s astern manoeuvrability is well understood.  I.e. if the vessel has a pronounced kick to port or starboard, account for it.  The other major factor to consider is the strength and direction of the wind. 

Whilst the manoeuvre is being undertaken it is important for the person on the bow to feed enough slack via the anchor or mooring warp, so that the vessel is not stopped.  This can allow the yacht to swing, thus not ruining an approach. Remember, as with any type of mooring, exit the manoeuvre if it feels wrong, rather than trying to force the issue. It is sometimes beneficial to aim to go alongside another yacht moored and sort out the lines after, if the conditions are challenging. 

Line up the yacht with your designated berth, pick up the mooring float, if available, and keep the yacht stopped, whilst the bow person pulls the line in until the thick warp is on the yacht. Gloves are a good idea at this point, as sharp shells or even fish hooks can be on the line. If there is no pick up line, deploy the anchor and hopefully it will not cross any other anchors of yachts near by.  Make sure the anchor is dropped so there is plenty of scope to hold the bow.  It is frustrating to drop the anchor short, for it to come home when trying to settle the yacht in place, meaning the whole manoeuvre has to be started again.  

Put the yacht astern and aim for your gap.  Bear in mind you need to have an understanding of how your yacht manoeuvres going astern.  Whilst the vessel is going astern, the bow person should be feeding the mooring line or anchor chain out.

When the vessel is two or three meters from the dock, cast the stern lines ashore and make fast, giving the command to stop paying out at the bow. The yacht can then be fine tuned into place by taking up the bow and releasing the stern or vice versa to set the vessel in the correct position.  

It is normal to have port and starboard stern lines set up as well as lines going to the dock in diagonals to stop any swing, so that the stern is set with four lines. 

When it is time to depart, drop three stern lines, leaving the windward line in place. This windward line should be rigged to slip.  Either drop the bow mooring line in the water and wait for it to sink before dropping the last stern line and manoeuvre out. If the anchor is deployed, start bringing it in. It sounds tricky but once you have done it once , you get the hang of it.

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