This particular course has a rather grand title, but is more commonly known as ‘pontoon bashing’. While ‘bashing’ may not be obligatory, it did reassure participants that previous experience of mooring boats wasn’t expected or needed.
Despite numerous challenges with weather and Covid-19 Lockdowns, two courses were successfully organised. The first group managed to squeeze theirs in during March, the second waiting until October.
On the second course, we started off being presented with the challenge of coming alongside another yacht, using the ferry-gliding technique. The yacht we were using as target practice was owned by a club member (who was on the course), which might have added to the pressure had the skipper in question not remained perfectly calm. All went very smoothly, which boded well for the rest of the day.
One of the main learns was the speed needed for successful mooring. Most motoring I’ve done has been when trying to reach a specific destination and the wind decides not to play nicely (either in direction or general lack of existence), or for manoeuvring in limited space like a river. On these occasions, 6 knots is generally the speed chosen. For our mooring practice, the engine was rarely in anything above tick-over, other than very quick bursts of power as needed. It was a very different use of the engine!
We all had several attempts at mooring in progressively more difficult scenarios, so we soon learned that volunteering early was the way to go!
We may not have finished the course feeling like we could moor up without issue in any situation, but we were more confident that we’d be happy to test out our new skills.
17th October 2020