Sometimes you need a helping hand….

The Admiral (Colleen) is back on-board, which means (among a host of things) that Moseyin’ can confidently resume. While she was on shore-leave for almost two weeks to welcome our new baby granddaughter, I made two short hops from Belfast to Castine and back. I waited for benign winds and seas, sunny skies, and favorable tidal currents. Wind and current are the main concerns when maneuvering Mosey On in close quarters. Normally, we have ample power and directional control to keep her in hand at all times. We can also use our dock lines to counteract an adverse current as we may need to move the bow or stern away from the dock without threatening boats tied-up in front or behind us. You can read all about it, understand the techniques, but experience and coordination between captain and crew keep the blood pressure within limits! Getting away from the dock in Belfast was really just a problem of preparing Mosey On to be able to go clear ahead as the last line was let go.  It was ultimately the stern line holding Mosey in her spot alongside the dock against the current which prevented her from being pushed into the yacht tied-up ahead. Mosey On has an auxiliary throttle and rudder control in the starboard stern.  This is also where the stern dock line was tied. So the plan was: 1) Check that there was no traffic approaching from ahead or astern 2) from the pilothouse, swing the bow to port (away from the dock) about 45 degrees using the side thruster 3) step quickly aft to untie the stern and using the auxiliary throttle, power forward on the main engine 4) return as quickly to the pilothouse and helm Mosey On out of the harbor. The plan went smoothly enough, but if it sounds a bit like a fire-drill….

When I got to Castine, a friend had graciously offered me the use of his mooring (a buoy about 3′ in diameter, supporting a length of chain secured to a large granite block on the harbor bottom. A heavy mooring rope is usually attached to a ring on the ball.) This mooring was most welcome, as it put off the issue of docking single-handed. All I had to do was approach the mooring ball from down-wind or down-current (whichever was stronger), bring her to a dead stop, then leave the helm and run forward to the bow. There, reach down with the boat hook to grab the attached line to bring it aboard and cleat it down.  After a brief tussle securing the heavy line (as Mosey On was ever-ready to drift away) I declared victory and resolved to stay put until I had a good reason to move Mosey again!

That good reason came when I heard from Colleen that she’d be returning to Belfast on Friday. I started thinking again about how I might bring Mosey On back to the dock… I’ve seen many skippers of small powerboats pull up to a dock, step off the boat with a line in hand, and make fast. If the boat is still moving (slowly) they are strong enough to hold her by hand or with a line on a cleat. To leave, that same skipper can usually just untie, push off the dock as he steps aboard and be on his way. You can’t step off Mosey On (jump… and hope to land on the dock uninjured perhaps…)! And I’m too old to even think of trying to stop a moving Mosey On by myself with one dock line! (That’s where that big John Deere diesel is applied in reverse.)  So if I’m to control her with power and thrust as we approach a dock, who’s got the dock lines to tie her up? We aspire to the cruisers creed of self-reliance. But single-handed on Mosey On…I discovered that sometimes you must depend on the aid of others. Boaters know this, and will almost always lend that hand.

Grizzled Single-Hander

Grizzled Single-Hander

I also learned that while single-handing Mosey On is doable, I’d really rather not…

Moseyin’ On…..together again.

4 thoughts on “Sometimes you need a helping hand….

  1. All of which says you missed the admiral a great deal.

  2. Knowing the currents up there, I’m super impressed you picked up a mooring single handed.

  3. Thanks for a wonderful weekend. Hope you are not stuck in the waters of Rhode island too long.

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