Gary Miller constructs a line for lassoing mooring buoys or pontoon cleats

I often sail single-handed and picking up mooring buoys can be awkward, so I’ve constructed a lasso line consisting of a 1m length of 6mm chain with 12mm line woven through the links: its total length is 11m, leaving a generous 5m of line on each side of the chain. The chain is covered by a length of bicycle inner tube which is stitched at each end. The inner tube makes the chain easier to handle and less likely to snag, while the chain’s weight ensures that the loop sinks under the mooring buoy quickly.
The method is to have a coil of line in each hand with the end under a thumb, with the chain and a short length of line being thrown as the loop. The weight of the chain also means that it’s more controllable when being thrown and ensures that the loop stays open. Having the ends of the line held under the thumb means that, if needed, one end can be quickly dropped and the other pulled back to the boat. Don’t make the mistake of putting a loop in each end of the line and having the loops around each wrist – I mentioned this idea to a fellow sailor once and noticed very painful-looking weals on his wrists a few days later, the result of not being able to let go of the end of the line in a difficult mooring situation! I lasso the buoy from midships, and can quickly pull the line in and onto a midships cleat. I have a mooring line running from the bow cleat back to midships, and it’s usually quite easy to put the line through the ring on the buoy and walk up to the bow to secure it, having pulled the lasso line back on board before doing so. This method, although there are mixed views on lassoing buoys, makes life easier for the single-handed/short-handed sailor and, as the line is only used for a very short time, I don’t consider that there is much chance of damage to buoys.

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