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A boat is not always at sea: port calls, both short or long, anchorage and berths should be, however, as comfortable as possible. Let's now discover some useful advices to minimize unpleasant discomforts


Sailing, sailing, sailing... Once in a while one has to stop, to enjoy the surrounding landscapes, to take a swim, to try some fishing or just to relax in a perfect quietness. Stopovers may occur overnight or for longer periods. Under sail the weather conditions, good or not, will cause, obviously, roll and pitch movements but, once at berth or at anchor the boater deserve a more comfortable situation (especially if he is not an experienced sailor).

On the other hand, it is normal for a boat to move a "little bit", while this "little bit" have to be kept at a minimum to improve comfort on board. Usually everyone use hundreds of tricks to improve berth comfort in his home marina but, during a summer cruise nobody knows why we just bring a line ashore! In this article I will describe the most effective and practical defenses to reduce the boat's movements at anchor or at berth, while berthing techniques will not be part of the discussion. I will help myself with some pictures and drawings, in order to be as clear as possible.

First of all we have to identify several berthing situations:

  • the "quick-stop berth" in know or unknown places;
  • the "some-days berth" in known or unknown places;
  • the "home-port berth" (at the dock, floating pier, with or without anchor and with or without dead bodies).
The above mentioned circumstances will suggest the different and more appropriate solutions, always taking into account the sea state and , generally, the weather conditions. In order to reduce the loads on the boat, one can invent many different breakthroughs, but the most famous one is surely the stainless steel spring (known to almost all boaters), while two strong rubber strips will certainly do the job in an emergency.

The "salmon" is, unfortunately, less common. It consist of a weight positioned on the middle of the rope span. Occasionally a spare anchor, a short chain or a stone are used. The roll is an unpleasant movement which can be minimized by using underwater "umbrellas" such as buckets, wheels or ballasted cones (easily found in specialized stores).

Remember to let some slack on mooring lines so that the boat can absorb slight movements: on the contrary, the mooring hardware may result overloaded while hard movements are uncomfortable on board as well. All the mentioned methods can operate at the same time, especially in extreme situations: the stainless steel spring, for instance, may result insufficient (either because it is under dimensioned or because of a heavy sudden load) causing the unpleasant and dangerous "wrench". By adding a "salmon" along the mooring line the problem is, in most cases, diffidently solved. In conclusion, there are many ways to improve comfort on board when at berth: those mentioned are just some and now it is up to you to discover your own.

Have fun!

Barth comfort

the "quick-stop berth" at a dock or a pier may be softened with a rubber strip connecting the two stern mooring lines. During the boat's movements the rubber strip will elongate, adding elasticity to the lines. The efficiency of this system is up to the size and position of the rubber strip which are different from boat to boat and have to be found only by testing.

Barth comfort

the two cones (B) shown in the picture minimize the roll movements. The appropriate dimension of the surface opposing the roll is essential for the system efficiency. The fender (A) serve the purpose of protect the toe-rail. The two cone should be accordingly ballasted, especially if the roll period is short . This system is available at specialized stores and is usually made of a metal disk with a fabric cone. It is very effective and practical to store requiring a small space.

Barth comfort

a typical mooring with bow anchor is shown in the picture. The chain is positioned at the end of a rope and serve the purpose of improving the anchor efficacy. The "salmon" (a lead or iron weight) will help to soften the movements and will improve the anchorage strength. It can be easily positioned using a common block. A spare anchor or a short chain may be used as weight " and they are, on the other hand, easy to find on board.