Q&A: What Do You Think Of Mooring Stern-to?

Question: The Jordan Series Drogue website is fascinating and leads to an interesting question. Faced with anchoring/mooring Morgan’s Cloud for a hurricane, would you be inclined to go stern-to? Jordan makes a fairly compelling argument…although I imagine Morgan’s Cloud is relatively stable as compared to the latest cruiser/racer hull forms.

Answer: I think Jordan makes sense with his mooring stern-to theory. However, for many boats there will be practicality issues like strong enough cleats and chafe when mooring from the stern. Would I try it when expecting a hurricane? Not sure, but I would give it serious consideration.

By the way, I’m not sure hull form has that much to do with stability at anchor; I think it may be more a function of how the windage of the rig and other deck stuff is distributed along the hull. For example, the addition of a hard bimini top over the cockpit has made Morgan’s Cloud much more stable at anchor despite the fact that its actual windage, since it is a horizontal surface, is quite small.

Some friends of ours wintered their boat in a man-made harbour in Arctic Norway, protected from the waves by a breakwater, but subject to the full wind of winter storms blasting in from the Barents Sea. At first they thought they were going to lose their boat due to the dramatic shearing she was doing, to the point that she was putting first one toerail and then the other underwater. (I know how scary this shearing is having had the same experience on my old boat on a mooring during Hurricane Emily when it hit Bermuda some years ago.) Our friends then hoisted a small riding sail on the backstay and found the change miraculous with no shearing and much less load on the mooring despite the increased drag of the sail.

It’s all worth thinking about and just goes to show that very often accepted wisdom, like mooring your boat from the bow, might not be the best solution.

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Meet the Author

John

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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