Thursday, September 1, 2011

Walking the Plank

We are officially in the Mediterranean, and consequently, we have to do the "Mediterranean Moor."

Sounds like a dance. And it is, in a way. Here's the deal:

All boats head nose first, or back in with their sterns, to a concrete dock. You squeeze  your boat in between other boats into a slot that is barely big enough. Everyone has their fenders overboard to minimize scuff marks.

For us, we need to have someone at the dock to help us. They attach our bow lines. Then they hand us this little line attached to the harbor wall, sunk in the water. We follow this little line back and it is attached to a larger docking line, lying on the harbor floor. This pleasant line is mucky, ucky and encrusted with tiny barnacles that will leave your palms in shreds. So now we have muck-gloves for this job. The muck line is our stern line.

Some harbors won't have a muck line. Then we will have to use a stern anchor to hold our stern out into the harbor.

Then the real trick is getting off Dolphins by climbing over our bow rail to the dock without falling into the water.

To do this, a passerelle is used. A passerelle is a homemade rig. The million dollar yachts have ones that will deploy, complete with handrail, by the push of a button through a trap door and have hydraulics to adjust them just so. Us sailing mortals design our own. And there are literally as many designs as there are boats. Everyone has something different.

Here's ours. First you climb over the bowrail and balance on the bowsprit.

Then, you step onto the wiggly passerelle which is dangling by lines from the bowsprit.

Then you balance, and walk backwards, while holding on:

And, if all goes well, voila:

Now: Try this with bags of groceries.

For the geeks: I bought our passerelle at Home Depot. It is one of the tracks used for wheeling your lawnmower or ATV into the back of a pickup truck.

We have to keep it loose and dangly because the boat rises and sinks relative to the dock with the tide. In this set of photos, the passerelle is below the bowsprit. But sometimes, the passerelle is on top of the bowsprit.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

it wouldn't be easier to back in and deploy/retrieve bow anchor ... poss. easier to use at stern and/or more stable passerelle mounting points available at stern ?

adding diagonal tie offs to same points as horizontal hanging ties offs should make for less "tippy" and minimize any sway/swing....

might take a while to figure out a quick/easy method to attach/detach, but a small diameter or width pole/board maybe 4' long, solidly attached to dock end would make it rock solid and it would stow along w/ pass. in same space

and if anyone does take a dockside swim.... take pics first before offering any reboarding assistance (extra points for pics including various flotsam (groceries ect..) surrounding the unfortunate swimmer)