Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Med Mooring and Other Barbaric Practices

2012 09 04
Galaxidi, Corinth, Greece

Meredith Med Moored Bow to the Dock at Galaxidi
yup that's free water and electric right up front
Until today we had dreaded no aspect of sailing in the Mediterranean more than the "Med Moor".  Today we were forced by the Coast Guard to move from our nice side to tie up and moor in the Greek style.  It is race week in Galaxidi and the Coast Guard needed our dockside tie up to ferry people into town to see the sailing races.  

There was nothing for it but to give it a try.  

As we pulled away from our nice side to tie up and into the small cove that it served a small amount of tension built up on board.  We left the boat drift in the 12 knot wind while we readied the anchor and rode. 

How Am I to Climb Off this Stern
We would use our storm anchor and nylon rode for this manoeuver.  Most often a Med Moor is done with a boat backing up into the assigned spot but our boat does not back up well enough.  Also our stern is so full of stuff - bbq, outboard, Outboard hoist, safety ring, life sling, flag, gps antenna, backstay, windvane, that it would be impossible for us to get off our boat from the stern.  

So the first order of business was to move the anchor and rode, which are heavy,  from the bow locker to the stern.  Then we had to run the lines so they could run freely.  As simple as it sounds keeping the lines on a boat from tangling or not running a line on the wrong side of the lifelines is very difficult.  We triple checked our work.

Thinking we were ready but still operating under a bit of nervous energy we just stopped for a minute to catch our breath, a tactic that, like the cleansing breath of a Lamaze class, we find calming.  People on shore wondered what we were doing but they did not know we had never done this before.  Besides it looks so easy.

This is all that holds us away from the Concrete Pier and destruction
Luckily it has 25,000 pounds breaking strength
As I motored ahead slow Connie lowered the anchor about two and a half boatlengths off the pier.  We snugged up the anchor rode to help the anchor set then continued ahead paying out line all the way to the dock where the dockmaster was waiting to catch our forward lines.  

A one paragraph event after a five paragraph build up.  And that is exactly how it happened.  All that concern for such a small achievement.

It was pretty slick.  This time.  

A Word on the European Preoccupation with Backing  Up into a Slip or to Shore

I know three other Canadian monohull sailboats in the Med basin and not one of us has ever willingly backed into a slip.  We all go in bow to.  

All the boats have left of course but one French flag remains
Seen here beside us - stern to
The Europeans are fanatics about backing up and tieing up their sterns.  Every new boat review has a prominent section on how well the boat backs up.  Everywhere we go the euro boats are backed onto concrete piers with their anchors out or backed onto shore with their sterns tied to rocks or trees.  This is true even if the anchorage is empty so it is not just a tactic to let more boats use a small space.  We were once the only boat at anchor on Mylopotos Bay but as each euro came in it would bundle its butt to shore only metres away from the other boats similarly tied.

This is hard for a North American sailor to understand.  I do not like being close to other boats in any conditions.  In weather I would far rather be at anchor swinging with the changing conditions and free to get away if need be.

Backing up is an oddity of European sailing.  In North America reverse is for slowing down and to generate prop walk to control the boat.  Backwards is not a direction in North America.  

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