Buoy, what a mistake!

llenrow

Member II
Guess I should write the post—-I’ll try and keep a long embarrassing story short. After 2 years of anchoring in front of our home Weeks at a time in Puget Sound we finally got our officially permitted buoy. Has pennant line with mast buoy. Messy but works great just attaching to starboard forward cleat —e 38 so no center cleat. Simple. Love it. Then blow comes through. I get nervous and want more lines. So from other cleat I looped another line through buoy shackle and back. Next day all good but noticed looped line had fouled around base of buoy and also entrapped larger pennant line. I untangled and brought looped line to same cleat as original pennant line but kept both.

this morning coast guard calls. They had my boat with 1800 pounds of concrete, chain and buoy 5 miles from my home. Boat not damaged. They cut line. Boat happy. Entire buoy system gone.

I’m lucky and feeling pretty stupid. Here’s where I’m at.

1. I’m not going to mull in PTSD—new buoy install on order. $2600 mistake. Permits permanent.

2. Understanding error. I believe install was ok. Service well known and install thought out and designed with proper materials, rode and design. My 2nd looped line made for essentially 3 lines leading directing to buoy all about 8 feet long. The central chain through buoy needs to rotate freely or everything begins to Knot and pull together. Entanglement number 2 was inevitable. This led to a shorted rode. Then came a 13 plus tide at 2 am. Boat lifted whole thing off bottom. Goodbye boat. Tacoma fire boat said ball was capsized which supports entanglement.

3. I need other opinions on this. This is not an overnight buoy. It’s a private moorage I’ll use through summers. So endurance is important. Is my assessment of situation correct

It was so simple just to have the one strong yellow new line. This Pennant line is messy with seaweed but I’m really of a mind to keep things simple. Seen all kinds of u tube videos. Looks like a separate looped line from each cleat to end Loop of pennant line common. But I want this never never to happen again.
Thx ahead
Doug
 

llenrow

Member II
Btw maybe Pennant line needs to go but then you go back to looped lines from either side of boat leading to buoy shackle.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
Is there a requirement that your rode line needs to be so short?

It sounds like the main problem was that the lines lifted the weight off the bottom. I would have thought you could put out 20-30 feet of a single strong line to avoid the problem in the future.

Or maybe I don't understand how it is supposed to work...
 

llenrow

Member II
You know, I’m not sure what is considered standard as a distance to buoy from the boat. In marina situations a limitation is striking other boats. In ours it’s the beach. Its a fairly deep buoy intentionally for our draft of pushing 7 feet. At mean low tide we have 14 feet straight down from buoy over the bottom. So a -3 low tide with a north wind towards beach and long rode —-could put us close to bottom. But I get what your saying. Surely going to request as much rode in buoy system itself as practicable with above in mind. Thx
 

Gaviate

Member I
I've read that the mooring chain should be 2wice as long as the depth of water, this is the section from weight to buoy. I expect you would calculate this at highest tide, maybe add a swivel shackle to the assembly if twisting is concern. Also, my mooring has shackle atop buoy but this just holds chain up, my pennant is shackled to chain beneath the buoy and consequently underwater (hard to inspect) but I believe the boat rides better.. and my pennant is just 12 ft. long, enough to keep the buoy and hull separated but no so long as to encroach on the neighbor.
 

llenrow

Member II
I've read that the mooring chain should be 2wice as long as the depth of water, this is the section from weight to buoy. I expect you would calculate this at highest tide, maybe add a swivel shackle to the assembly if twisting is concern. Also, my mooring has shackle atop buoy but this just holds chain up, my pennant is shackled to chain beneath the buoy and consequently underwater (hard to inspect) but I believe the boat rides better.. and my pennant is just 12 ft. long, enough to keep the buoy and hull separated but no so long as to encroach on the neighbor.
Thx for the reply. I intend to discuss build plan and calculations with builder more closely this next round. The pennant part of it was all me. I attached a shackle to the top shackle for that. Never thought to have it beneath. I’ll look into that more. Do you attach pennant line directly to boat or use bow lines to pennant. Single line or two?
 

Gaviate

Member I
Pennant directly to cleat, had single line but added 2nd at recommendation of harbormaster. The second was on same shackle as pennant but will separate them this season. Intention is to have back up if line chafes and so figured common shackle was ok...but now thinking 2 independant assemblies a better choice.
 

llenrow

Member II
....I’m really wondering about all this. Even with a super high tide, if I had 8-10 ft off boat to buoy and there was say 1.5 times rode of max depth under the water—then how could this have happened without it really have twisted horribly in one night (calm winds) and/or suboptimal chain underneath. Hmmm
 

Gaviate

Member I
Maybe your concrete is still there? You had said they cut the line but did they confirm what was attached before they cut it loose...this could become a great little treasure hunt! Not to make lite of a near disaster but...well?
 

llenrow

Member II
From description —boat was listing heavy to Stanford bow. They could feel weight under tow and when confronted with oncoming freighter they cut. Buoy vanished. Boat recoiled
 

Gaviate

Member I
Well, sounds like lotsa weight.. wishful thinking on my part. I also can confirm that moorings do get twisted rather easier than I had ever expected. One inspection on my ground tackle found 20 ft. of chain circled (fouled) around bottom weight resulting in near vertical pull to buoy, like the dog wrapping his line around a tree..I could envision a rising tide lifting that.
 

llenrow

Member II
Well, sounds like lotsa weight.. wishful thinking on my part. I also can confirm that moorings do get twisted rather easier than I had ever expected. One inspection on my ground tackle found 20 ft. of chain circled (fouled) around bottom weight resulting in near vertical pull to buoy, like the dog wrapping his line around a tree..I could envision a rising tide lifting that.
-sure, who knows what things looked like below. maybe was all twisted up and my recent situation was all there was left. It does have midline float which was routinely on surface at low tide. Never lost site of main ball at high tide. Buoy installed last November and never used until now. Lots of Pacific NW winds and currents—-but goodness —I’d like to have some degree of confidence in all this.
 

fool

Member III
Helix Anchor System

 

Attachments

llenrow

Member II
Helix Anchor System

Been through that. Bottom surveyed by divers for veggies, critters and bottom times 3! Helix unable due to sediment. DNR —-and feds and county and state FW gave exemption for concrete slab
 

1911tex

Member III
Guess I should write the post—-I’ll try and keep a long embarrassing story short. After 2 years of anchoring in front of our home Weeks at a time in Puget Sound we finally got our officially permitted buoy. Has pennant line with mast buoy. Messy but works great just attaching to starboard forward cleat —e 38 so no center cleat. Simple. Love it. Then blow comes through. I get nervous and want more lines. So from other cleat I looped another line through buoy shackle and back. Next day all good but noticed looped line had fouled around base of buoy and also entrapped larger pennant line. I untangled and brought looped line to same cleat as original pennant line but kept both.

this morning coast guard calls. They had my boat with 1800 pounds of concrete, chain and buoy 5 miles from my home. Boat not damaged. They cut line. Boat happy. Entire buoy system gone.

I’m lucky and feeling pretty stupid. Here’s where I’m at.

1. I’m not going to mull in PTSD—new buoy install on order. $2600 mistake. Permits permanent.

2. Understanding error. I believe install was ok. Service well known and install thought out and designed with proper materials, rode and design. My 2nd looped line made for essentially 3 lines leading directing to buoy all about 8 feet long. The central chain through buoy needs to rotate freely or everything begins to Knot and pull together. Entanglement number 2 was inevitable. This led to a shorted rode. Then came a 13 plus tide at 2 am. Boat lifted whole thing off bottom. Goodbye boat. Tacoma fire boat said ball was capsized which supports entanglement.

3. I need other opinions on this. This is not an overnight buoy. It’s a private moorage I’ll use through summers. So endurance is important. Is my assessment of situation correct

It was so simple just to have the one strong yellow new line. This Pennant line is messy with seaweed but I’m really of a mind to keep things simple. Seen all kinds of u tube videos. Looks like a separate looped line from each cleat to end Loop of pennant line common. But I want this never never to happen again.
Thx ahead
Doug
OH, and I thought just reading this that my blood pressure was going to hit the overhead...I could only imagine yours!
 

llenrow

Member II
OH, and I thought just reading this that my blood pressure was going to hit the overhead...I could only imagine yours!
We were on a “morning nature walk” when the call came from coast guard. Didn’t answer. Thought it was a solicitor. Then fire dept. i took call on speaker. I looked at my wife and said —tell me we aren’t awake yet and this is a bad dream. Pale faced, she shook no. Btw—-put your emergency contact number on visable on boat. Was very useful.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
I'm just north of you on Horshead Bay.

I had this guy put a helix anchor in for me in 2016:

Helix anchors have been tested up to 20,000 lb holding power.

No problems since, though Horsehead is pretty sheltered. Couple of thoughts:

1. If you have your permit, the hard part is done. I'm still working on mine.

2. Call Jim Arnold at Alpha marine and get some recommendations. The County's denial of a helix buoy may be due to environmental reasons. If you want to keep your Greenpeace card, you can follow their advice, but once you have the permit, all they look for is the sticker on the buoy--they won't dive and inspect your anchor. If Arnold says he can put a helix in, you can put a helix in.

3. I use a 6ft pennant attached to the buoy ring, then 2 mooring lines--one port, one starboard to the forward (or aft) cleats.

4. I've learned that all winter long, I have to tie up aft--to the stern cleats. In any more than about 15 knots of wind, the bow catches a wind and the boat "sails" off in either direction until it jerks against the buoy with considerable forward and sideways motion. Tied to stern, it trails straight to the wind.

4. The Alpha Marine installation has swivels at both the top and bottom, but they're not foolproof. Barnacles and the general friction of the galvanized metal causes them to frequently bind. So I often have to untwist the lines myself.

I'd be interested to hear how you got your permit. Did you do it yourself, or hire someone?
 

nquigley

Member III
I don't know if it would prevent pennants getting looped/tangled under the buoy in your situation, but we moor with a pair of pennants (for redundancy) that run through pool noodles to the buoy so they remain on surface at all times (makes for easier pick-up too when returning to buoy). The pennants both tie to the same shackle that's on top of the chain (which comes up through the buoy).
 
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