How do you moor in a box berth?

Yachting Monthly - - ANY QUESTIONS? -

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

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