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Need your help. I have no experience with moorings

Nov 30, 2009
69
Oday 28 Lake Michigan
Fellow sailors'
All of my sailing experience has been based on the boat beings docked in a marina. I am now moving to a mooring ball at the local yacht club. Any tips and/or suggestions of the pro/cons of mooring would be appreciated. Would rather learn from fellow sailors than by trail and error.

There is one question I have now. I have a 28ft ODay with a Universal 5411 inboard diesel. The boat has 2 batteries. At the dock I have had shore power which charges the battery. Now being based at a mooring, will the running of my engine be enough to recharge the batteries? Does the running of my engine recharge my batteries? I'm not a big "electrical" user. Will the two batteries be a adequate source for a casual power user? My power use will be weekend use of cabin lights for a hour or two. Starting the engine. Don't use electrical water pumps or ship-to-shore radio.
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,975
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
How long will you be running the engine to recharge? Might not be enough which means your charge can gradually be stepping down until you don't have enough for the starter. You might need solar or wind supplement. Be sure your alternator is doing its job.
 
Jul 5, 2011
536
Oday 28 Madison, CT
One thing to look at is what lighting you have. The original lights were guzzlers so we replaced all the cabin lights with Hellamarine florescents 15-20 years ago. Today, LED's even thriftier. Justin is spot on that engine run time is going to determine your charging capability. I installed a voltmeter and A/B switch also to monitor battery levels and that will make even more sense for someone on a mooring so you can monitor things. Solar charging, as Justin noted, is done by lots of folks too, of course. Finally, how good a shape are those batteries in and what size group?
 

NYSail

.
Jan 6, 2006
2,581
Beneteau 423 Mt. Sinai, NY
If you are not running refrig or anything like that I would recommend getting a 50 watt solar panel to keep the batteries nice and charged.

I have both a slip and a mooring.... once I get fully up to my solar needs I will ditch the slip and save many thousands a year. Although slip is convenient, mooring can be nice and quiet and private.

Good luck!
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,975
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I have been chatting with a potential new member here in our club. I'm the harbormaster. Besides the power and fresh water issues, these can be worked out, our moorings aren't deep enough for a monohull that drafts 6.5'. We really only have trimarans on the balls.
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,517
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
I had my 27' boat at a slip without power for many years. At the time, my electrical use was light, as you describe. I never had a problem keeping the batteries charged via the alternator, but I motored frequently for a variety of reasons … the wind dies, getting home on time, tired of tacking, just for the hell of it, etc. I'll suggest that charging only with your alternator may keep your batteries charged, but chronically undercharged. I think the batteries never lasted as many years as they should have. I think you can get away with not installing solar, but adding solar would probably be better for the health of your batteries. There is solar on my new boat, and the previous owner kept her on a mooring full time for 20 years with refrigerator running. My 6 year old batteries seem to be in pretty good health after 6 seasons.
 
Jan 19, 2010
8,816
Hunter 26 Charleston
If you are not running refrig or anything like that I would recommend getting a 50 watt solar panel to keep t
:plus:Solar has gotten cheap and a trickle chargers are very inexpensive. If you are going to be away for the week, leaving a trickle charger in the cockpit is all you should need. I did this for years with a Coronado 25 I used to own. The betteries were always topped off by the next Friday afternoon when I returned to the boat.
 
Nov 30, 2009
69
Oday 28 Lake Michigan
My most common motoring would be 15-20 minutes, to and from the mooring. There will be longer motoring from time-to-time as my wife and daughters do not have patience's for downwind sailing (can't we just motor?). Love the idea of changing the lights to LED's. Been thinking of doing that for a while anyway. Now I have the motivation.

Reference solar power. Could I, is there, a setup that could be portable? Don't want a permanent mount. A panel to lay out on the deck when leaving the boat? Store away when using the boat? What is the correct layout? Solar panel direct to batteries? Solar panel to charger to batteries?
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,975
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I also upgraded my 12v fans with Caframo. They are quieter and use less power.
Portable solar is out there. You want to be sure they are secured so they don't blow away in a storm.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,270
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Store away when using the boat? What is the correct layout? Solar panel direct to batteries? Solar panel to charger to batteries?
Sure, flex panels work great for that.
Solar to controller to battery. Never install solar without a controller. Ever, you'll kill your batteries. Go to www.marinehowto.com and read up.

For a mooring:

1. solar
2. get your anchor off your bow (storms tend to let anchors cut the mooring line!!!)
 
Jan 19, 2010
8,816
Hunter 26 Charleston
Yeah
Do a search for trickle chargers with controller. There are a lot of options
 
Oct 26, 2010
1,206
Hunter 40.5 Beaufort, SC
I'm not versant about the COLREGS for lake Michigan but here along the east coast, by COLREGs, if you are on a mooring your are "anchored" and most display the appropriate light (all around white light) when anchored. The only exception is in a "designated anchorage" which will be shown on charts. Just because there is a mooring field set up by a yacht club or even a municipality does not make it a "designated anchorage." That means you wil need to budget for the electrical load of an anchor light too. You can get an LED anchor light with a dusk to dawn feature built in to reduce the drain.
 
Sep 25, 2008
5,848
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
My most common motoring would be 15-20 minutes, to and from the mooring. There will be longer motoring from time-to-time as my wife and daughters do not have patience's for downwind sailing (can't we just motor?). Love the idea of changing the lights to LED's. Been thinking of doing that for a while anyway. Now I have the motivation.

Reference solar power. Could I, is there, a setup that could be portable? Don't want a permanent mount. A panel to lay out on the deck when leaving the boat? Store away when using the boat? What is the correct layout? Solar panel direct to batteries? Solar panel to charger to batteries?
How well and how quickly your engine will charge your batteries depends on:
1. What your alternator capacity is at various engine speeds,
2. How much your batteries are depleted, and
3. What your demand is.

Buying a solar cell, controller and wiring can help but you still won’t know what or how big a solar system you need absent knowing 1 - 3.
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
3,976
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
We've basically lived on the hook and been using solar for around 10 years. My suggestion is to buy and install the biggest solar panel and best controller you can fit and afford, if you are going to be off the dock. For me it isn't really about keeping the batteries full, but running the bilge pump, perhaps for days and nights, until you get to the boat, if you develop a small leak.
 

PaulK

.
Dec 1, 2009
539
Tillotson Pearson J/36 Southport, CT
We have a small solar panel that we put out when we're moored or anchored. Keeps our batteries topped off and is simple to set up & use.
 
Jan 19, 2010
652
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
Looks like a lot of responses regarding the batteries but not much on the mooring. Presumably the club or Harbor Master have guidelines on the type of tackle. Typically 3x your depth. 2x with heavy chain, 1x light chain. I like dyneema for a pendant. 7/16" line has a 23,900 tensile strength. Being a small diameter line, it will easily tuck through a cleat and bend over the ends. Being synthetic, immersion will not result in swelling. I use a bright pool noodle on the pendant to keep it from wrapping around the mooring ball AND being bright , catches the eye of others who might run over your gear.
I had an O'28.... Great boat. I combined the two batteries that lie along the starboard side of the engine on position 1 of the switch and added a third battery in the port lazaret that went to switch pole #2. The 3rd battery was dedicated to the bilge pump. but could be used to start and was charged with the dual bank.
 

PaulK

.
Dec 1, 2009
539
Tillotson Pearson J/36 Southport, CT
Our harbor is a bit more crowded than Casco Bay. The yacht club and town don't let mooring holders mess with setting their own gear for moorings. Standards are set, locations determined, and the work bid out by the town each year. Generally, the club gets the contract. Last time it didn't, the moorings started coming loose midseason... Seems like the OP's club sets their moorings too. It's a good way to keep overall costs down and to ensure that ALL the gear is maintained properly.
 
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DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
828
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
I used to us a small portable 15 Watt panel on my C&C 27 that kept the batteries topped up when I wasn't aboard. It really depends on your use. 40 Watts panels are pretty cheap now so I'd probably go with that if you can find the space, and as was already mentioned, a flexible panel would easy to just flop out on the cabin top with a few strings to the grab handles to keep it in place. I installed a plug on the engine control panel to make it easy to connect.
For the mooring, make sure you have good chafe gear where the lines come aboard and inspect your lines regularly.
 
Nov 8, 2007
1,331
Hunter 27_75-84 Sandusky Harbor Marina, Ohio
We gave kept Lady Lillie at a slip for 21 years, and only charge our single battery with the 1GM 10 stock alternator. We motor sail about 20-30% of the time when cruising in light winds. Our only loads are running,anchor, and cabin lights, our radio, and our autopilot (used only when motoring.) Battery life is 6-7 years. I don’t see a need for solar or shore power to charge our battery. (We have shore power at our slip.)
 

RoyS

.
Jun 3, 2012
795
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
Around here the downside of using a mooring ball instead of a slip is the seagulls and terns. If the flock decides your boat is a fine offshore nesting site you are in big trouble. You will come aboard with guests someday and discover a horrible mess with no running water source to start cleaning. A few episodes of that will have you back in a slip. Another joy, if you are dependent on a launch boy to bring you in from your mooring, and he has gone home; what now? We once came home from our annual three week Maine trip on a lousy weather day. We packed up all of our travel gear onto the deck and radioed for the launch. No answer. Kid decided who would be out sailing on a lousy day like this? Might as well go home. Charging your batteries may not be your biggest problem.