Mooring a sail boat: Is it a relationship builder?

Today, I accidentally bumped into a parked car, and caused a piece of their bumper to shatter. I was distracted and the cold snap we are having here in Ottawa makes some things very brittle. It wasn’t a good feeling.

carprang2The car I bumped

Up until today, the closest experience I had to mooring was watching other people park their RVs in tight camping spots. Some people do this with aplomb. Others, create a circus.

In April, when I go to Antigua for training, I expect to crew and help moor a sail boat for the first time. I’m hoping that the spectacle of mooring a boat will be positive without injury to self or the vessel.

It’s encouraging for newbies, like me, to know that even a sailing expert like Jimmy Cornell had a moment when his family first moored their boat in 1975. This is described on page 14 of the book, Child of the Sea, by Doina’s Cornell as follows:

‘Now stop!’ Dad told her as he went onto the foredeck.
Mum pulled at the gear levers. The boat kept on going forwards without slowing down at all…
‘Stop!’ Dad yelled.
‘She won’t stop!’ Mum shouted back.
The boat crunched into the pontoon at full speed…
After Dad had tied the ropes, Mum said, “Why didn’t the boat stop? I put the gears into neutral.’
‘It’s not a car! You have to put it into reverse. Astern, I mean.’
‘Well, why didn’t you say so!’
[Their relative, Klaus] stood on the pontoon looking shaken.
‘Welcome to France,’ he said.

Someday soon, when my husband and I sail together on our own boat, I am hoping that mooring will be a smooth experience. I have aspirations that mooring will involve me holding the boat gently away from the dock, as my husband guides our boat into position, and then our eyes will meet, and we will laugh together before deciding who should wrap the lines first, round-and-round into tidy circles. That might happen. With some experience, imagination and training.


  1. Many of the couples we know actually wear walkie-talkie headsets while anchoring or mooring. It cuts down on the screaming required to hear each other that then escalates into more screaming when things start to go bad because you couldn’t hear each in the first place.


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