Our post yesterday about the boats getting tangled up together garnered a number of comments, both here, and on our Facebook page. One thing that I had intended on including in the post, but neglected to, is our planned first line of defense to a dragging boat: our balls!
Fender balls: not just for exercise!
Every day that we’re at anchor, we keep a large, white fender ball conveniently tied to the mast. We’ve done this on all three of the boats that we’ve lived on. Some people may assume that we keep the ball there so that it’s convenient for our workouts, and that’s true, we do use it for that. The fact is though, we keep it there so that it’s easy to deploy if we have an unplanned visitor in the form of a dragging boat. And when we went to our bow on Sunday morning to observe the drama going on around us, the first thing I did was untie that ball from mast so that it would be even quicker to put into action.
Bluewater Sailing magazine. February 2013.
A roving fender is a great tool to have at the ready when docking, if you have the crew to man it. When you’re at anchor with another vessel moving towards you, there’s not much else that your crew can do but try to push the other boat away. Since it’s dangerous to get body parts in between large vessels, especially when the wind is up, people need to be especially careful how they fend off. A big fender ball, or ever better, a couple of balls, in the hands of some motivated crew members, can go a long way towards minimizing damage.