Ok, the boat is actually mooring, not anchoring, and so the whole book is miss-named. But really, how many people out there know the difference between mooring and anchoring? Well soon a few more, but that won’t mean that any more of them care.

There is actually a lot going on here, and to make it clear I could have taken a bunch of pages and bored everyone but avid sailing geeks out of their minds, and the sailing geeks don’t need the explanation anyway. Given that quandary I feel forced to put the explanation down here where you my dear reader can easily ignore it at no cost to yourself at all.

The last time Kay anchored out here he set up a mooring. An anchorage hooks your boat to the ocean bottom with an anchor, and anchors have the small problem that they have to be portable. This is a problem because the ideal way to hook yourself to one place is to use something that isn’t going to move – not something portable. Kay wanted security so instead of hooking himself to the bottom with a 20 pound danforth anchor he used an 800 pound hunk of concrete and rebar which he cast in a kiddie pool. That thing isn’t going anywhere. This is great, until you want to leave. The obvious solution is to un-hook yourself (duh) but then you have the problem that the chain that is attached to your moorage is going to sink to the bottom never to be found again. The simple and obvious solution to this is to put a sizable float at the end of your chain.

So, the moorage consists of something un-moveable attached to the bottom, a chain attached to that, and a float at the end of the chain. All great, except that the float could be a hazard to shipping, and by definition the moorage isn’t going anywhere and could be considered a piece of long-term pollution. Bad Kay! So he used the smallest float that the thought he would be able to find again, a tennis ball filled with foam and attached to the end of the chain with some fairly lightweight wire. Tam helped him find this with an optical trick of making the water disappear, and man that was more difficult than I expected to try to illustrate. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Tam can overlay images onto what Kay sees when he is wearing those spiffy glasses. They will be explained in more detail in a later book.

The last little bit I thought I might need to explain is how he attached himself to the mooring. Why not just hook the chain onto the cleat? Well as the boat moves back and forth in the wind and tide a chain attached that way will almost certainly scrape the side of the boat with results distressing to any boat owner. Also attaching a chain that way is very difficult to do securely. Cleats are designed for ropes, not chain. The rope isn’t just tied because in the long-term there isn’t any knot that a sailor would consider reliable either. Ok, there is the sheet bend, but that is only reliable because it’s always under load – don’t use it for long-term anchorage. Instead he is using one of the best tools of the well prepared sailor, the rope with a bight (aka a loop) spliced at either end. He attaches one loop to the chain using the method that you would use to attach rubber bands together, and the other loop can very securely attach to the cleat. Tada, complete security, and no scratches, probably. In practice is never quite works out like the theory, which is what makes sailors somewhat paranoid. Actually, its not paranoia if the Ocean really is out to get you is it?

I did warn you that you could have skipped all that right? Aren’t you glad I didn’t try to illustrate all of it? I ¬†know I am.

↓ Transcript
Four panel image showing a tennis ball at the end of a wire being found, and the chain that is attached to the wire is then hooked to the boat, mooring the boat.
Tam: I have found what appears to be the object in question.
Kay: Show me ... Cool!
Tam: Why such a small object as your marker?
Kay: Permanent moorings are not allowed here, I didn't want it to be obvious.
Kay: Feels like I'm back home.