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Boathook loop or boathook use... at a mooring ball? Not aftermarket thing...

Dec 30, 2010
188
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
I saw something awhile back about how a line can be looped around the "typical" boat hook, and that was how they were designed to be used.

Of course now, I cannot find it. And I didn't practice it when I did see it... D'OH!

This wasn't some slick aftermarket device or clip on thing... this was an illustration of how to loop a line around the end of a boathook in such a manner as to be able to slip it onto something else.

I can't find it in the searches I am doing... the searches result in lots of aftermarket devices, but not that particular salty bit of nautical lore on how to do it with just a line and boathook.

At this point, I just hook the buoy and hang on with the boathook until everything stops moving (for the most part). I then lean under the lifeline and work the line into the mooring ball ring and back to the mothership and make both ends fast.

So if any of you trusty old salts know of a page, site or whatever that shows how boathooks are supposed to work, with a line, let me know... no doubt, we may all benefit.
 
Nov 30, 2015
1,173
Hunter 1978 H30 Cherubini Treman Marina, Ithaca, NY
Are you doing this single handed? That's pretty tricky. This video shows how to hook, pass a single docking line through and call it a day. We always double bridle once we have the first line established. The real trick is to grab the pendant or available loop and get it under the safety lines quickly. Not so sure you need any fancy knot like maneuver with the boat hook. If you catch the pendant and your moving forward, either drifting or the wind blows you past, you're gonna have the boat hooked ripped out of your hands and go to the bottom...even on a 27 footer.

 
Last edited:
Nov 30, 2015
1,173
Hunter 1978 H30 Cherubini Treman Marina, Ithaca, NY
I think @genec means a mooring without a pennant, i.e. a simple metal loop on the top of the ball.
Who puts out a mooring like that for sailboats...seriously? Maybe a rowboat or fishing craft where you can reach over the gunwales and thread a line through. If there's a trick for doing with a boat hook, I'd be happy to be tutored.
 
Jun 1, 2015
170
Macgregor 26d rocky fork
Genec,
I remember the post as well. My cheap boat hook wouldn't work. I don't think it would have been good for this application.

Basically what it did was allow you to create a loop hanging from the boathook that you could control from the butt end. It had to do with crossing the line over itself in the v notch between the point and the hook. It needs a tight v with no curves. Mine has rounded edges so the line won't cross and lock.

The best use I saw for it was using the boathook to get a loop around a cleat. My wife can't seem to catch the cleats for anything and refuses to take the tiller. Net I have to basically stop the boat next to the cleat so she can get it connected. Most time easy, but we occassionnally have a wind coming off the finger pier (no posts between us and the next slip). If she misses twice I have to back out and try again to avoid bumping my neighbors boat. To her credit, she keeps going and trying. Sorry to get off topic.
 
Nov 30, 2015
1,173
Hunter 1978 H30 Cherubini Treman Marina, Ithaca, NY
Ok, after some web searches I found this...now I get it!

My bad...but this is a gadget improved boat hook.

 
Feb 20, 2011
7,076
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
Who puts out a mooring like that for sailboats...seriously? Maybe a rowboat or fishing craft where you can reach over the gunwales and thread a line through. If there's a trick for doing with a boat hook, I'd be happy to be tutored.
Me too!
 
Jan 18, 2016
499
Catalina 30 Dana Point
Who puts out a mooring like that for sailboats...seriously? Maybe a rowboat or fishing craft where you can reach over the gunwales and thread a line through. If there's a trick for doing with a boat hook, I'd be happy to be tutored.
Newport Beach, CA - the 5 guest balls by the copdock. No pennants, just a ball with a ring on the top.
My bizzare single handed technique was to get the ball close to the port side of the stern, pop the boat in reverse stopping it and swinging the stern towards the ball. Then lean over and get a line on it. Then I just walked the line to the bow and tied it off. Obviously, it wasn't blowin like stink 'cause my technique wouldn't have worked. These guys picked up the ball next to me - they didn't have a problem but they had plenty of crew....


Other ideas:
* Use 2 boathooks. Push the line thru the ring with one and grab it with another. (or a gaff)
* Rig one of those oversized carabiners to the end of the boathook with a line attached. Like with small stuff or masking tape. Clip the carabiner on the ring and pop the boathook off. Then put a real bridle/line on.
 
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Feb 20, 2011
7,076
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
Rig one of those oversized carabiners to the end of the boathook with a line attached. Like with small stuff or masking tape. Clip the carabiner on the ring and pop the boathook off. Then put a real bridle/line on.
That could work.
 
Jun 18, 2015
20
Mascot 28 Pilothouse Motorsailer Grand Manan
Bring your bow line outside of stanchions,etc &back to the cockpit. Sail up til mooring buoy is alongside cockpit.Pass bow line thru mooring ring or pendant eye.Tie bow line to something convenient at cockpit. Let boat sag back & mooring eye slide up the bow line. Go up on bow & make fast to mooring with whatever line(s) you use. No muss,no fuss,nobody leaning/falling over bow pulpit-simple,especially for singlehanding.

For tying up to a dock where your "wife can't gaff the cleat". Install a midship cleat just ahead of the fwd cockpit bulkhead,so you can reach cleat from cockpit. Install a "permanent" line on this cleat. Approach dock,loop this midship line around a convenient dock cleat,pole,whatever , bring the end back aboard & cleat it. You are now tied to the dock & can calmly step ashore & put out permanent lines.No muss,no fuss.....
Cheers/Len
 
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Oct 26, 2010
832
Hunter 40.5 Beaufort, SC
I hook up to my mooring ball pendant single handed most of the time. I see how the other boats are laying to on their respective mooring balls. I lay out my boat hook on the bow deck. I then motor up in that line slowly. put the tranny in neutral when the bow is at the ball and run up and snag the pendant, put the eye on the bow cleat and then let things settle out. After they do I grab the second pendant and pot a cold adult beverage.

I don't understand the first video that shows them passing a line through the eye on the mooring pendant. Why didn't they just drop the pendant eye directly on the cleat and let things settle out? Why the line - it just seems to complicate things. They had plenty of time to drop the eye on the cleat, it took more time to thread the line and then latch the line to the cleat.
 
Feb 11, 2017
8
We had an article in the September 2016 Good Old Boat describing exactly this technique with a boathook-- with a good illustration. OK for dropping a loop over a cleat or piling but not for threading it thru an eye. But make the loop big enough and you could drop it over the buoy just to get attached, then thread another line thru the eye.
 
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Oct 26, 2010
832
Hunter 40.5 Beaufort, SC
For tying up to a slip we use a "Landing Loop" My wife, who is not a "sailor" herself and does not even like to take the helm (but God Bless Her, doesn't mind heeling over at all- she trusts me) prides herself in getting the line on a cleat on the dock. I normally rig a long line to a midship cleat and she goes forward with the Landing Loop in hand. It is a Y on a long adjustable handle that the line rests on. It forms a large loop that she can control and lay a fairly large loop out around the cleat which she then cinches up on the cleat. (you can use it on a piling too). I have a red mark at the correct length to provide a spring line to stop the boat at the right place and she goes aft to the midship cleat and secures the line at that red mark. The boat then eases forward and I can use the spring line to keep the boat against the pier until we get other lines secured. I don't think she has ever missed a cleat with the Landing Loop. We've even had dock hands comment on how "professional" the landing was (and we aren't lifelong sailors at all.) This is all with a 40 foot boat and no bow thruster. I even tie up single handed using the landing loop. The only difference is that I have to run up and use the landing loop myself. A little tricker but still do able in all but the strongest cross winds blowing me off the dock.

(No I don't have stock in the company, just a satisfied user). You can google "Landing Loop" for a video of how it works.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,050
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
I've seen the Robship device and it's really clever, but I've also heard it can be a bit finicky if it gets salt water corrosion over time.
I own a CS Johnson Grab n Go hook that I've spliced onto a length of 1/2" line, and it attaches to any boat hook. It lets me snag any loop or ring, or large shackle, then once we have a line on it we can take our time to make fast with another more secure arrangement.
I have purchased an extra fitting for my backup boat hook also.

The Grab n Go has also saved my bacon after returning to my home mooring after an extended absence- the pendants had become wrapped and fouled over time, by the current, and it allowed me to hook to the shackles while we sorted out the pendents. It's good for a short term application but I would not leave the boat on it.
 
Dec 30, 2010
188
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
Ok, after some web searches I found this...now I get it!

My bad...but this is a gadget improved boat hook.

Yeah, that is what I am trying to avoid... some add on after market special one use item.

There is a way that supposedly the Coast Guard (and other seasoned mariners) wraps lines around the typical boat hook such that you push a loop through something like a ring or onto a cleat. (it may only work on a cleat... which frankly I have no problems with, due to the height of my boat and sidedecks.
 
Dec 30, 2010
188
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
Who puts out a mooring like that for sailboats...seriously? Maybe a rowboat or fishing craft where you can reach over the gunwales and thread a line through. If there's a trick for doing with a boat hook, I'd be happy to be tutored.
The state parks here all have mooring balls that are a big ball with a recessed top, and in that recessed area is a large ring that has to be picked up to thread the line through. I pick up the mooring ball ring with the hook and then lean over the gunwale to thread the line through the loop...
 
Dec 30, 2010
188
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
We had an article in the September 2016 Good Old Boat describing exactly this technique with a boathook-- with a good illustration. OK for dropping a loop over a cleat or piling but not for threading it thru an eye. But make the loop big enough and you could drop it over the buoy just to get attached, then thread another line thru the eye.
Good call Jeremy.

I went right to the article in GOB. Sure enough that is it, with the CG references. Yeah it looks like a technique worth learning and practicing, but unfortunately I doubt it would work as I had thought, for these type of mooring balls. I was hoping that this might improve on my current technique... which is quite similar to what Len Ingalls describes up above.

The key to what Len is describing is early prep... with the line rigged outside the life lines and ready to attach. (which I do) And bringing the boat up dead slow into the wind at the proper angle (which I try to do).

None the less, I will still practice this boat hook method, as I feel it may be quite handy.

For these mooring balls with the metal ring laying flat in a recess... perhaps the best thing is 2 boat hooks, one rigged with a "carabiner."
 
Aug 12, 2014
2,207
Hunter 31 (1983) Pompano Beach FL
Here is a screen capture of the picture from Good Old Boat's preview PDF for that issue. Looks pretty simple and easy to hook a cleat, bollard or piling, but I don't see how you would feed it through a ring.

boathookloop.jpg


Maybe reading the article would be more enlightening.
 
Dec 30, 2010
188
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
Here is a screen capture of the picture from Good Old Boat's preview PDF for that issue. Looks pretty simple and easy to hook a cleat, bollard or piling, but I don't see how you would feed it through a ring.

View attachment 139760

Maybe reading the article would be more enlightening.
Tend to agree... it won't really do what I thought... the only other idea is that using this method, I might be able to drop a loop over the ring with more of a lasso arrangement... vice the bowline, and at least hold the boat until I can thread the ring.

Still, it is a way to use the boathook that might offer others some insight into issues they have encountered.

Thanks all for the search and comments. Fair winds.
 
Dec 30, 2010
188
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
Are you doing this single handed? That's pretty tricky. This video shows how to hook, pass a single docking line through and call it a day. We always double bridle once we have the first line established. The real trick is to grab the pendant or available loop and get it under the safety lines quickly. Not so sure you need any fancy knot like maneuver with the boat hook. If you catch the pendant and your moving forward, either drifting or the wind blows you past, you're gonna have the boat hooked ripped out of your hands and go to the bottom...even on a 27 footer.

Love the bow at the end. GRIN

Yeah, with a pendent, it is frankly easier. That is what the mooring balls at Catalina look like. But up here, it is just a ball with a depression in the top, and a large ring laying flat in the depression... you have to thread a line through the ring to get a good attachment.

I tend to approach at the slowest speed possible... after I have laid out the line on the foredeck and attached one end to a sampson post. I pass the bitter end out to a roller on my bow sprit, and hold it out beyond the lifelines and baby stays. I put a loop in it to make it easy to grab.

Ultimately I have to approach at a near stop, grab the ring with a boat hook, hold the ring up, pass the line with loop through the ring, and then feed that back to the bow roller (this is where the loop in the line helps). I then slip the loop over the other sampson post and wait for things to become still. I then take out any excess line and make it all fast.

But the approach with the boat hook requires that I hold the boat hook in one hand, then slip below the lifeline to thread that ring... not easy.

I may try one of those carabiners for that quick attachment. Then go back and make it all fast.
 
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