We kept a boat on Lake Windermere for a couple of years and had to develop a technique for picking up our swinging mooring on a regular basis.
The usual technique is to go forward with a boathook, grab the ring on the mooring, or the pick-up buoy, and then attach a line. Some single handed sailors prefer to come alongside the buoy and pick it up from the cockpit, having led the mooring warp aft, outside the rail and shrouds.
The potentially awkward bit is when you’re attached to the buoy by the boat hook and the wind is blowing the bow off – this is when you could lose the crew, the boathook or both.
The answer for us was a Mooringmate.
Mooring devices come in many shapes and sizes including contraptions of fiendish complexity which thread a line through the mooring eye like a magic trick. Keeping it simple is my mantra so these plastic trickeries were never going to win over a straightforward, very strong, stainless steel mooring hook with a spring loaded bail.
The concept is astoundingly simple as can be seen in the pictures. The hook has a working load of a ton and you attach a mooring line to this either with a splice or a bowline. The hook is secured to a boathook or other pole by the special clip which holds the bale open.
You cleat off the boat end of the line, just as you would coming into a dock, and you grab the mooring buoy with the mooring hook. When the hook is through the mooring eye you simply pull the boat hook away and the clip releases the bale, securing the mooring buoy. You then have the boat attached to the buoy and you can sort any additional lines at your leisure.
You can use the Mooringmate to pick up a dock cleat or mooring ring too.
The Mooringmate – simple, safe mooring.
(Note: Not to be confused with the Mooring Mate, an American device of some complexity)