How do you moor in a box berth?
QMy wife and I are planning to sail to the Baltic this summer. The thing that scares us about the Baltic, however, apart from all the rocks, is that we will probably need to use box berths. We’ve only moored in one a handful of times in Holland, and every time we’ve made a right hash of it. What with trying not to hit the posts, ans sorting the lines we bumped and scraped our way in eventually, but with much embarrassment and dirty looks from skippers either side of us as they reached for their fenders. What have we been doing wrong, and how can we make box-berthing less stressful? Stephen Morley
AChris Beeson replies: Box berths are not common in the UK; Birdham Pool in Chichester Harbour was the one of the only places we could think of. It can be stressful, but only because it’s different. After a summer of practice, you’ll be past masters.
When the YM team was in the IJ selmeer earlier in the year, a local expert showed us how to moor in a box berth like a native. The key things, he told us, are to keep enough way on for steerage, and to focus on getting a line onto the windward post, followed by the windward shore line. Once secure, you can rig lines to the leeward side at your leisure. If you try and get lines onto both posts as you enter the berth, you’ll end up being blown sideways into the next box.
The other thing to note is that is difficult, particularly on larger yachts, to moor in a box-berth singlehanded. It can be done, but if at all possible, always have a crew on board. Keep an eye out for our guide to box berthing in an upcoming issue of YM, which will explain how to do it more comprehensively.
Getting a line onto the windward post is the key to successful box berthing