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Mooring Warp Length and Configuration Guide

There is a traditional rule of thumb for determining the length of mooring lines when tying up your yacht alongside i.e. along her length.

Alongside means mooring side-on to a fixed structure along her length, e.g. a pontoon, jetty, quayside or harbour wall, as opposed to mooring stern-to (perpendicular to the shore).

The mooring facility may be a floating dock e.g. a pontoon or grounded e.g. a harbour wall.

Several lines should be deployed from strategic points on deck and at different angles to share the load and restrain yacht movement

Mooring Alongside Configuration

The Rule of Thumb for the Length of a Mooring Warp correlates the length of each line to the yacht length overall.

The problem with this rule of thumb is that it works fairly well up to a point, but gradually gets out of proportion as the yacht length increases.

For example, looking at the rule for bow and stern lines:
11/2 x the length of a 6 metre yacht indicates a 9 metre line which may be a little short on occasion, but will probably be fine for most mooring situations.
11/2 x the length of a 10 metre yacht indicates a 15 metre line which should be plenty long enough wherever you are moored, unless you are on the outside of a multiple raft of visiting yachts.
11/2 x the length of a 14 metre yacht indicates a 21 metre line which is fairly excessive, for handling and stowing, especially for sailing short handed or with a light crew.

Please note, where the mooring point is non-floating, the lines may need to be longer to allow for the tidal range.

Short lines are less versatile than longer lengths, so it is a good idea to consider whether one line can be used for two purposes e.g. a combined breast and spring rope made off on a cleat in between applications.

Spring lines can be deployed in different ways according to the skipper’s preference which may be influenced by a number of factors e.g. personal experience, the position of the available deck cleats.

For permanent arrangements at your home berth, warps on floating docks can be spliced and finished to length, to suit the position of onboard and pontoon cleats/bollards.

Custom Build Mooring Warps to your bespoke requirements online on the Jimmy Green website.

If you have any difficulty, the Jimmy Green Rigging Sales team will be happy to assist you make up your order.

The mooring line length guide in the table below is a good starting point.
Assess the lines in your rope locker and add some more where necessary to cover all the mooring scenarios you are likely to encounter.

Mooring Lines Diagram

How long should you make your mooring lines ?
Diagram Reference Mooring Line Name Mooring Line Length Calculation
1 Head or Bow Rope 11/2 x LOA
2 Breast Rope 3/4 x LOA
3 Aft Spring 11/4 x LOA
4 Forward Spring 11/4 x LOA
5 Quarter Rope 3/4 x LOA
6 Stern Rope 11/2 x LOA

LOA = Yacht or Boat Length Overall as opposed to LWL (waterline length)

Rafting Warps

2 extra long mooring lines may be required to reach the pontoon when the visitor berths are busy and there are multiple yachts between you and the dock.

Simply tying up to the yacht alongside will cause undue strain on their lines and cleats and may cause subsequent offence.

It may also be injudicious to rely on another yacht's lines which you may consider inadequate for their yacht without adding the weight of your own.

It is therefore prudent and polite to bear the strain of your own yacht by attaching separate, suitably strong lines ashore.

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