This was NOT a Good Idea

Sailing is a never-ending thread of challenges that can make me feel like a total boss or the biggest idiot.  Most of the time one sentiment immediately follows the other.

This week was a shining example of the biggest idiot part and we just so happened to catch it on camera.  We’ve been going through a bit of trial and error with figuring out our mooring situation.  We still don’t have a solution, but we know of at least one more way it should NOT be done.

We like to think of these videos as a public service of sorts.  In less than half an hour we demonstrate how not to do things and prove that one can recover from almost any mishap.

Socrates was considered the wisest man in Athens because he alone was prepared to admit his own ignorance rather than pretend to know something he didn’t.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
― Socrates

Well, that makes it official then doesn’t it.  According to Socrates, we must be the wisest sailors on the seven seas.  Because more than ever, we know we know nothing.

Despite the frustrations, we really do enjoy the challenges and can’t fathom living any other way.



As I write this, Jason found the foul smell brewing in our galley.  It’s a couple of rotten eggs in the batch we just brought home from the market (a common occurrence in the islands).  He separated them out by placing them on the counter…and almost immediately knocked them on the floor.  What was a slight funk hard to track down is now an overwhelming perfume filling the entire boat.

Now we’re the wisest and funkiest sailors.


More Thoughts On Mooring

I know the mooring part of this video leaves a lot of unanswered questions, so I’ll do my best to explain a bit more to help people that want to learn from this.

First off, we know how to tie up to a mooring, but what we’re trying to accomplish is figure out the BEST way to tie up our Leopard 43 to a mooring ball.  Meaning: No chafe, easy to tie up upon approach and easy to release when it’s time to leave.

This bridal test proved that it may be the best solution for no chafe but tying up and releasing was quite the hassle.

Let me start by explaining this mooring.  There are no lead lines on the mooring ball, so it is challenging to run lines through it from the boat unless there is no wind.

Running an extra ‘retrieval’ line to the mooring does not work because any slack lines end up wrapped around the base of the mooring ball.  Then the weight of our entire boat will be held by this one line.

We already talked about running lines to the forward side cleats in the vid, but just as a reminder, it creates major chafe on the lines (not safe in a cyclone) and destroys the gelcoat on the boat.  Plus, when getting pulled in strong winds it still creates massive downward pressure on the crossbeam which could still damage our rigging.

A system like the Mantus mooring snap shackle would work for some mooring situations, but the attachment point on this mooring is a very thick line, and too thick for the Mantus Snap Shackle.  Plus, the breaking strength of this snap shackle is 10T and I don’t know that I trust that with our 16T boat during a cyclone (but I will reach out to Mantus to see what they say).  Sadly, it’s all a moot point because it’s nearly impossible to get things shipped here during COVID times.  By the time it could arrive, cyclone season will be over and we’ll be on our way to another country.

What we need to get is an official statement from Leopard and Robertson & Caine (the boat builder).  We need to hear how they recommend tying up our boat to a mooring, that way we’re not guessing, or using a jury-rigged solution that might not be covered by insurance if anything happens during a storm.  With this information, we can feel confident we’re tying up to a mooring ball the correct way.  And most importantly we know if another cyclone comes barreling through, we’ll be connected to the strongest points on the boat with no chafe issues.  If we happen to break loose and the boat gets damaged, we can show our insurance company that we tied up the way the boat manufacture recommended.




Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (41)

  • Jax The Cat

    I started in the middle and ran into the two gorgeous feline crew mates … And now they are gone. Some mention of one now living ashore. Somewhere I missed their story.

    I was begged to be a subsequent adopter of a grey cat cuz cat mama was soon dropping a humanoid into the mix of two grey cats and a Boston Terrorist. Dogs stay; cats were being booted. One cat larger and apparently wanted to be THE cat, so I took him. He is Jax THE Cat. His nemesis is Teenie Tiny. She is now 1st mate on a monohull sailboat soon to return to base in the Bahamas. An old lazy but loyal black lab joins the crew as well. Married couple that I know. The guy swam fee from the second story of a building submerged by the eye-tide submerging where he rode out the massive hurricane striking across Great Abaco. Animals & sailors–and your fascinating storytelling is so compelling. Even rescuing an injured bat.


  • gilbert eugene waldrep

    I’m so sorry. I asked what all the other boats in French Polynesian were. My mail went away.

  • gilbert eugene waldrep

    After that long ocean trip I see many other sail boats out there. Are they long travelers like you guys are just locals?
    Yall have more courage than us.

  • Mark Hanlon

    I love your videos. They fill the times, like this past year, when I’m not able to get out sailing myself.

    I have had the exact question about tying up to a mooring on our Lagoon 450 as well. I’ve been on multiple cats from FP, Bali, Catana and Lagoon and they all seem to have the same problem. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve considered installing a second set of cleats on the very front inside of the two hulls so that mooring lines would run clear to these cleats.

    The Lagoon manual lists the 6 outboard cleats as to be used for “mooring” but I believe they are talking about mooring to a dock, not a mooring ball. I have used lines on the outside forward cleats, but I get the same chafing and rubbing issues. I tried running the lines against the sides of the hulls forward and even tried to wedge a fender underneath, but nothing works well. When I’ve searched online for a solution, I came up empty as well, ending up at that same Yachting World video. If you find a good solution, hopefully you can inform the rest of us.

    Thanks again for all the great content!

  • Mel

    holy moly that mooring rope system seems really risky. What if your mooring drags or another boat starts dragging towards you and you need to get off it real quick… man I don’t think I could sleep at night with that set up.

  • Justin

    I’ve implemented a mooring bridle arrangement on my cat that completely avoids the chafe issues you’re worried about and should work for you. My cat is aluminium and the deck edge is a sharp corner, so tying mooring lines to the cleats the normal way is a hard no. Because of the location of anchor on my boat I have two bridles, one for the anchor and one for moorings.

    The mooring bridle connects at the same points as the anchor bridle and is one piece of 14mm dock line (nylon core with a poly outer). What I’ve done is tie a double alpine butterfly loop in the middle, which gives you two loops in the middle of the rope. One of the loops is about 10cm while the other is about 30cm. The longer loop has a beefy mooring hook on it (google Wichard simple mooring hook for an example). To pick up the mooring, you just put the longer loop through the eye of the mooring and clip back onto the short loop. Easy as. The mooring hook is rated for 3t and only takes half the load, so it’s got plenty of overhead. You also have two runs of line going through the eye and sharing the load, so that will reduce chafe.

    The down side is that you need to motor back up to the mooring to drop it…..but well….that’s a whole lot easier than Jason jumping in for a swim! >:-D

    If you’d like to see some photos, get in touch (I assume you’ll have access to my email here, or over at insta @just_the_murph).
    And keep up the awesome work! You two have been inspiring me on my boat journey for a long time now! 🤟

  • Marc Montero

    Haven’t seen y’all fish in a while. Are you back to eating chicken of the sea? Also, how was Nikki’s bday?

  • Hank Heyns

    Jason, you married a mermaid!

  • Bernard Schaer

    Thanks guys for another wonderful video. Bernard

  • robert rung

    I love your vid. I have a ?. How do you keep from getting a tan. Thank You

  • Sal and Julie in NY

    Having never moored a catamaran, I feel pretty unqualified to comment but I will describe our mooring process on our monohull in the hope it triggers something. We have two leads coming off our ball and as we approach slowly coming upwind to the ball, I stand on the bow with a boat hook. The two leads are each connected to the ball and they are floating in the water, sometimes on top of a small float that we deploy, and sometimes just laying in the water. Once I get one line on my boathook, I signal to Julie to go to neutral and I try as hard as I can to get the loop over one cleat. Once that is done, we shut the engine and have a drink. Sooner or later, I get the second loop onto the opposite cleat.Getting off the mooring is a reverse of this procedure, except obviously we reverse off. I don’t understand why a similar but obviously wider procedure wouldn’t work on a Cat. What am I missing?

    • Curious Minion

      The problem isn’t actually how to pick up the mooring (although this one is tricky because it doesn’t have a lead line). The problem is that tying to the cross beam cleats causes chaf and rubs the gel coat off the deck. But trying to attach to the bridle results in its own set of challenges as you can see. They have been trying to get Leopard to tell them what the recommended method is for mooring, so this video was aimed more at getting Leopard to respond than anything else.
      Curious Minion

  • Alan Solomon

    Wow. Awesome. The music struck a chord tonight. At 22:35 the woman singing reminded me of a great Western Movie “Once Upon A Time In The West”. There is a song repeated in the movie hummed by a woman similar in some way to this song. Every time that music starts and she sings I cannot help myself, I start crying. It is too beautiful to hear or something.
    Also, awhile back you played a song called Waves by JK. I still listen to that today. Thank you for that.
    Thanks for your Gary Coleman voice Jason!!
    Thanks for your continued efforts.

  • Diane Silverstein

    Love you guys! Love being a part of your continuing adventures. Love your humor. Your photography. It’s a living travelogue! Keep safe and happy.

  • Roy Neyman

    Dang it. I thought of another pearl. On your sail repair, was it chafe that caused the stitching failure? If you’re not sure, you should check the rest of the stitching for UV degradation. It may all need to be restitched. Take a heavy needle or awl and slide it under the threads in many representative spots around the sail, giving each a fairly firm tug. If the stitches break easily, they’re weak from UV.

    • Curious Minion

      The sails are at the end of their lives. Nikki & Jason actually ordered new ones in 2019 and they shipped just as Covid was ramping up. The sails are currently sitting in a warehouse because freighters aren’t running to Tonga at the moment because of the border shut down. Wanh wanh. So they’re limping these along as best they can.
      Curious Minion

  • Roy Neyman

    Thanks for sharing your learning experiences. They inspire me to share mine. Here’s one: Whenever I set my anchor and back down on it, I grip the chain lightly with one hand, feeling it for vibration. Aside from just feeling the whole boat slip or catch as you back down, the vibrations give you a better feeling for the bottom material and how your anchor is behaving. You can feel the chain as it drags on the bottom while slack is taken up and when the anchor stops dragging and digs in as opposed to just suddenly catching on a bommie.

    Not relevant to anything specific that you did or didn’t do in the video, but I also always try to be moving astern as I pay out the anchor chain. As a single hander this can be a little problematic, but I’ve seen so many sailors literally drop (as in not lowering) their anchor and all the chain they think is required, THEN back down. That often leads to fouling on rocks or coral not to mention on the anchor itself.

    Keep up the adventure!

    PS I’ve found the sand is deeper closer to the mooring buoys in Tapana. Up where you were it is shallow sand over coral.

  • Donna

    Love you guys!
    Your “B” footage is worth its weight in gold!
    Your persistence is admirable!
    Love from the Lone Star state

  • dick akers

    How long do you have to hold your breath when you check the anchor at 32ft deep?

  • Pat

    Maybe ancient mariners would find somethings not done perfectly but being a couch mariner I think you
    Both do an amazing job with lots of laughs…thanks for sharing

  • Mike and Joni Connell

    We enjoy your videos each Sunday. Wondering when you will be able to sail on to New Zealand? We are fly fisherman & are hoping you will try it when you are there.

  • Michael Larkin

    Socrates was incorrect, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom Proverbs 9:10, Great to see you both back on the water, stay safe. Michael, Dublin, Ireland

  • Michael Raichel

    How about one from a more recent philosopher?
    MR Paul Harvey.
    “….and now You know,..the rest of the story”

  • OjaiLynda

    Looks like you’re getting your sea legs back. Love ‘The Rectangle of Knowledge” quip!

  • Tom Fitch

  • About Creativity

    Very good.

  • jim

    Great to have you sailing again. Really enjoyed the music as you followed the anchor chain down. Perfect! You seem to be much happier under sail.

  • Mike Ingle

    Mick says the tension on the sewing machine was not set properly.

  • Greg Dobbyn

    Hi Jason and Nicki

    We also have a catamaran.

    We never use the bridle to tie up to a mooring.

    Here is what we do;
    When you get to the mooring ball if the painter is good take a dock rope and run it through the loop from a side cleat or bow cleat. If chafing is an issue take plastic tubing and run the dock line through that to protect it. You should always do that anyway when at a dock to prevent charing so have some plastic reinforced tube on hand. You can also use old firehose if you can find it. I find the reinforced vinyl plastic tube you get at the hardware store works fine.

    Now with the boat attached on one corner take a dock line from the cleat on the other side and run it the same way through the loop on the painter.

    Next release the short dock line so you have a Vee bridle with two ropes. You can adjust each side. If you have a bow cleat and a side cleat you can even attach one point to the bow cleat and the other to the side cleat on each side for each rope. This spreads the load as well.

    If you have rope on rope at the attachment point on the painter you might need to secure to the eyeball on the actual mooring. We do this in our dinghy and then again run ropes through the eyeball – one for each side of the boat.

    Now sailing away is easy. Power up a little bit to take off tension and release the rope from one side and pull it through. Then release the rope from the other side and pull it through. Most times you don’t even need to power up unless the wind is blowing hard.

    We have used this technique on different cats for 30 years so it seems to work.

    • Roy Neyman

      I was going to suggest the same arrangement as Greg. An advantage of this arrangement actually negates much of the need for chafing gear, as the line running from one bow and back to the same bow actually keeps the line from sliding back and forth through the buoy painter or ring, …ie no chafe.

      One more thing, once you get good at this and if you have a long enough mooring line on the off side of the boat when you pull up to the mooring, you can have the working ends of both lines available on the pickup side to put through the mooring ball painter at the same time. I’m a single-hander on a monohull and use this technique all the time, but usually pull up to my mooring until the pickup is almost to amidships. That would require a VERY long offside mooring line on a cat.

  • Kevin Healy

    Another great post, many thanks from a London with sleet, snow and icy rain…

  • Brian F

    When you dove on the anchor, the shot shows the anchor lying on its side followed by Jason signaling the ok. Did you reset in between? We always re-anchor when we see it lying on its side like that – wondering if we’re being too conservative?

  • Steve Webster

    What boat is yours and if you could which yacht would you choose to have ?

    ps. Thank you for your stuff, all very interesting, keep it up guys and keep safe

  • Rob Frey

    I enjoy you post so much and love your videos.
    Thank you for your updates and keep living my dreams.
    I meant your dreams damm spellcheck right.


  • Jim Shook

    You and your friends are awesome. 😎

  • Craig

    I love your Sunday posts….I have a question. I notice you are using the Mavic drone for aerial videos. How do you take off and land them? Do you take off and land from your hand? Do you use the return to home feature? (Asking for a friend…ha ha ha)


    • Curious Minion

      Usually Nikki flies and Jason catches the drone for landings. But yeah, don’t forget to recalibrate each time so it knows where home is! JIC…..
      Curious Minion


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