Good Bridles Make Good Neighbors

The day before Mike returned to the USA, we moved Happy Times to Hog Island and hooked up to a mooring left behind by Pete Lucas, our friend and captain of the s/v Coral. Pete had set down a 400-pound anchor months earlier when he’d begun refurbishing the 100-year-old vessel. With Coral in Trinidad for the next month, we took over the ship’s prime spot and mooring.

Being on a mooring gives Mikayla and me a sense of security that we lack while being anchored. Happy Times has dragged twice through Prickly Bay, and we don’t want a repeat performance during Mike’s visit to the USA. We prefer to stay where we are, tightly snugged to the mooring.

The latest storm that hit yesterday at 3:15 a.m. got me to thinking about our bridle. It could prove to be the weak link in our system, and I couldn’t get back to sleep for a long time as I worried over the thought of the bridle snapping off either hull.

I asked Keith Pomeroy of s/v Kookaburra to look at our bridle and give me his opinion. He agreed that the knot on the line at the hull was vulnerable. It had no tail and could work its way free under load or simply snap. He had a better idea and returned to his boat to take a photo of his bridle, a possible alternative.

When Keith returned, Mike Sweeney and his wife Rebecca of s/v Zero to Cruising raced over in their dinghy. He agreed with Keith that our bridle needed improvement. Together we decided on a two-step approach: improving the current system and adding a second bridle as a backup.

Keith improved the current bridle by retying the knot at the hull end with a Figure 8 Trace, a knot that’s a clone of a Figure 8 knot. It’s a mountaineer’s climbing knot, certain to hold tight under load. What’s more, he tied the Figure 8 Trace in a new location not exposed to wear and added a decent amount of tail on the end to make it easier to untie the knot.

Mike added a backup bridle. It consisted of a short length of chain attached to a short length of line. He attached one end to the chain hooked to Coral’s anchor and attached the other end to two spare dock lines on Happy Times that ran back to cleats on the port and starboard bows.

Now with two bridles, not one, I no longer have to worry that Happy Times will drag 500’ in reverse into the monohull behind us.

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About Cheryl Crockett Lezovich

Mom, first mate and writer aboard a 40' Manta catamaran, S/V Happy Times.
This entry was posted in Cruising, Sailboat, Sailing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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