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Captain's Blog



Berthing

Most Mediterranean marinas expect sailors to moor bow- or stern-to the quayside (another feature of an almost tideless sea) and this is true in Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza. This can be intimidating to a charter sailor, but rapidly becomes second nature. In most marinas, a marinero will guide you in and help you to find the lazy line which is attached to the quay. This line needs to be taken to the back of the boat (the end furthest away from the quay, which will obviously be the front if you are moored stern-to) and made fast to a strong cleat. The lazy line leads to a secure mooring warp that is attached to a chain or weight in the fairway and holds your yacht of the quayside.

Going with the wind

Many advanced books will recommend that you berth bows-to for privacy, or stern-to to allow easy access for crew to get ashore. I recommend a different approach: go with whichever way the wind makes easiest:

Warps and fenders

An additional tip, probably frowned-upon by purists, is to have fenders on both sides and warps on all four corners. We typically rig the yacht in this fashion as we approach a marina and are ready to choose any berth, whether bows-to or stern-to and whether there are other yachts lying alongside. Having a rope ready-rigged on all four corners have got us out of scrapes on more than one occasion.

Lazy lines

The crew-member tasked with taking the lazy-line astern has a critical job, and needs to focus on getting this job done, especially if the wind is blowing the yacht into its berth. Marineros frown on the use of the engine in this situation, because if a lazy line gets wrapped the propellor, someone has to dive under the boat and cut it free. Assign a crew member to this role and allow them to focus on completing it. It may be worth wearing a pair of sailing gloves, as the lazy lines are often muddy or covered in algae, and may be the living quarters of some crustaceans with sharp edges to their shells.
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