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MED MOORING NIGHTMARES

With dock space at a premium in the Mediterranean, clever Europeans have adopted a style of docking that does not exist in the US or most other places for that matter.  Having been accustomed to slipping alongside a dock or picking up a mooring ball, we have had to adjust to the nightmare of gingerly backing our 20 ton boat into narrow spaces without hitting other boats, or worse yet the concrete quay.

Destiny, unfortunately, does not back in a straight line very easily like modern yachts because our rudder is near the stern.  Compounding our problem with this mooring style is the tailed lines that are handed to you by dock personnel, who unfamiliar with our prop configuration often raise the line under our stern catching it in the prop.  Kent has had to jump in the water in more than once to unwrap or cut a tailed line. 

Destiny docked at Aigina

Destiny docked at Aigina

When there are no tailed lines, which is often the case at town quays, the procedure becomes even more problematic because you have to drop your anchor to secure the bow and back into the quay.  As boat after boat, drops anchor inevitably one anchor drops on top of another with sometimes disastrous results.  

While Med moored in Poros recently a 25 kt. wind came up and was pushing us into the quay when our anchor started to drag.  As we attempted to leave to reset the anchor, our anchor got caught and couldn’t be raised no matter what we tried.  After twenty or so very stressful minutes, we had no choice but to jettison the anchor and 250 ft. of chain to get Destiny away from other boats that we were being pushed into by the wind.  The anchor and chain were retrieved, so all ended well—except for the anxiety about Med mooring.  But, after that incident we anchored for a few days in the next harbor not wanting to get near a quay.

It happens that the biggest terror of Med mooring is charter boats run by inexperienced crews that often come into a harbor late in the afternoon trying to drop an anchor and take one of the last spots available.  In Aigina we witnessed a spectacle that almost ended with fists flying when a charter boat with six men on board tried at least six times to get into the last slip on the town quay just before dusk.  Thankfully, the spot they were attempting to enter was one boat away, but we watched helplessly as the couples on the boats on either side tried to protect their boats from damage as these “clowns” (probably a little intoxicated) repeatedly attempted to dock. 

 The pictures speak for themselves.

Watch out here they come

Watch out here they come

Holy S**t!!! That's too close for comfort

Holy S**t!!! That's too close for comfort

They did this SIX times!

They did this SIX times!

They aren't giving up

They aren't giving up

I keep telling you. . .you're over my chain

I keep telling you. . .you're over my chain

In the end, they finally docked and although there was a lot of shouting and cursing the preceded their arrival everyone made up.  Another Med “adventure”.

Jolie takes everything in stride

Jolie takes everything in stride

The thing about Med mooring is that it is unavoidable and you just have to accept that there are inherent risks–if you get your anchor properly set you can’t be assured that the boat next to you will.  There are some harbors, like Hydra that are so small and so notorious for crossed anchors, that we will simply avoid going there–except maybe by hydrofoil.

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