Mooring and anchoring

Mooring and anchoring is a necessary evil!

Often you will be in full sight of everyone there already and will feel very self-conscious as you do it, not unlike when you parallel park your car in front of a pub full of men who in your mind are giving you marks out of 10 for the manoeuvre!

The first thing to remember in all cases is that a little throttle at a time is less dramatic but is frequently more effective than a lot of throttle.

When you steer the boat at sea the same thing applies - if you put on too much helm the bow will over react and you will zigzag.

In port or an anchorage, think along the same lines - the boat may over react if given full astern or full ahead each time and while dramatic it could lead to the collision that everyone's talking about in the taverna that night as you try to find a corner to hide from the knowing looks!

Here are some tips and tricks to consider in coming alongside in a marina and anchoring properly.


Mediterranean mooring is difficult but a fact of life in this part of the world. Here are some tips and tricks to doing it right.

  1. Go in gently.
    There will be a speed restriction of no more than 5 knots in every marina
  2. Have your fenders out, generally on the stanchions with clove hitches.
  3. Have the mooring lines ready, one on each side of the stern.
    You should have enough to go onto the dock and back to the boat for each line.

    anchoring in a marina

  4. Find the berth you want, pass it slowly and put on some reverse throttle to stop the boat with the stern facing the gap.
  5. Put on full helm towards the gap and a little reverse throttle to gently take the yacht into the gap.
    As soon as you are close enough to put someone ashore, give a little forward thrust to stop the boat.
  6. The person ashore should put the windward line either around the cleat or through the ring. Lead it back onto the boat.
  7. At the same time someone should also handle the lazy line (that attaches to the bow) that will be attached to a buoy in the water.
  8. Put the leeward stern line ashore and lead it back to the boat.
  9. Get the balance right between the bow and the stern lines and make fast.

Sound difficult?

By the end of the first week you’ll be able to do this in your sleep!


Once you have established that the buoys in an anchorage are for visitors’ use and are willing to pay a fee to use them, follow the following procedures:

Head to the buoy up wind if possible.

Have just enough forward thrust to go up to the buoy at no more than half a knot.

Someone should be at the bow with a boat hook. They should grab the buoy and the mooring line attached. As soon as they have the mooring line in their hands, put the throttle into neutral.

Lead the mooring line through the anchor fairlead at the bow and fix it to a cleat.

Stop the engine and open the beer.


Establish that the anchorage is safe to use.

The bottom

The first thing to assess is the bottom. If it is a sandy or muddy bottom and there are no huge rocks there that could foul you according to your chart then it may be safe.

The wind

Another thing to consider is the direction and strength of wind


is it blowing you towards the shore and are the winds set to build that night?

Yachts around?

Another simple thing to check is the presence of other yachts in your anchorage. Let's face it, the Greek islands are very busy and it will be a rare event that you end up completely alone in an anchorage unless there is a reason everyone else knows.

If it is empty, check the weather forecast and your charts for the quality of the ground beneath you.
You may be lucky … but most likely stupid!

The chain

Establish the depth of water beneath your keel with the depth sounder. The amount of chain or rode you use should be at least three times the depth of the water.

If there are just a few boats there and it is late, get five times the depth of water over the side to ensure that you won’t drag.
In a busy anchorage, keep it to three times the depth.

how to anchor

  1. Choose your position, no closer than three boat lengths from the next vessel
  2. With the bow into the wind, drop your anchor.
  3. When the amount of rode you need is in the water, make it fast to the bow and then give the engine a bit of reverse thrust - full astern for 2-3 seconds - and then idle the engine to see if you have set the anchor.
  4. If not, drop a little more chain (one length the equivalent to the depth of the water) and a quick tug at full astern.

Get the beer out.