Full members of the Club can apply for a license to make use of a section of the River Axe for mooring their boats. The annual fee for each license was £75 at the time of writing.

The Crown Estate has allocated sufficient space on the river for approximately 100 mooring slots to be managed by the Club.

Members are allocated slots by the Moorings Sub-committee, at which point they are said to be the 'license holder' for that slot. It is then up to the license holder to provide the mooring ground tackle, keep it properly maintained, and maintain the license payments.

Typically, there are more mooring slots than there are member's boats, though not every slot is necessarily rigged for immediate use. It is possible to take over an existing mooring, paying the previous licence holder a 'contribution' on transfering ownership of the ground tackle. However this transfer is not mandatory, and neither is the transfer managed by the Club. If there is any doubt over the state of the mooring, then a new license holder can simply ask that the old ground tackle be removed.

Remember that the Club has no responsibilty for the moorings, and so if your boat breaks free and causes damage, it will be for you to sort out with your insurance provider.

In all cases, the point of contact for all things to do with moorings is the chair of the Moorings sub-committee - Terry Millier. Members must allow the Club to manage the provision of mooring slots, or we risk being in breach of the license conditions.

A Typical Mooring

The license holder is responsible for ensuring the mooring is suitable for the boat and advising the club of insurance details.

The River Axe Standard Mooring

Full details on the procedure for laying a mooring are given with the mooring application form, along with a safety warning for working on the mud.

Laying a Mooring

Sinker

The foundation of the mooring is a pair of sinkers. Typically we use iron weights, such as train wheels, lorry wheel hubs filled with concrete, lorry clutch plates or standard boat anchors. (Some members have made sinkers with anything from engine blocks to heavy workshop equipment.) The sinker can be improved by adding something like a lorry tyre to increase the resistance to movement through the mud. Don't be tempted to just use a big lump of concrete.Concrete is comparatilvey bouyant, and does not make a good sinker on its own.

The sinker should not be set in the river bed itself. The river scours out any soft mud in its bed, so there is nothing to hold a sinker. The sinker should be placed about 3 metres or so up from the river bed. This will help ensure that there is enough depth of mud to firmly anchor the sinker.

The distance between the sinkers is typically set to the boat length plus 6 metres. (Some members also use boat length * 1.5 as a rule of thumb.)

The sinker should have an eye attached to the centre for the bank line to attach to.

Top anchor

On the river bank, a top anchor is laid into the ground. A top anchor can be made from something like a railway sleeper (100 x 100 x 1500mm absolute minimum), or a concrete gate post, or an RSJ. There is a risk that a wooden top anchor might break free on a very high tide, though it's not thought this has actually happened yet.

The top anchor is dug into a trench. As the edge of the river bank is fragile, the location for this trench may need to be some distance in from the bank itself.

Bank Line

The sinker and the top anchor are connected by a bank line. Leaded 'pot line' is the most convenient material for the bank line. Recently, members have experimented with a graded chain, with heavier links at either end to improve the holding. Do not use wire rope. The conditions of our Crown Estate license prohibit the use of wire rope.

Bank lines are typically around 30 metres long. Each mooring slot will have its own set of problems to deal with when considering how to set out the bank lines.

For pot line (rope combined with a lead 'thread' to make it sink), a hard eye should be spliced into the bank line and attached to the sinker via a shackle.

The bank line is set up to be tight enough to just lie flat on (or just under) the mud, but not so tight that it is under tension.

The Bridle

The bridle transfers all of the tidal and wind forces on the boat to the bank line, while keeping the boat lined up 'fore and aft'. The typical dimensions and angles form shock absorbers to stop the boat from tearing out the anchors.

It helps if the boat is left with her bows pointing up-river, with the rudder tied off amidships. (Please note - this is not mandatory - some boat types will not want the rudder to be tied off against the thrust of the mud.)

Again, leaded pot line is generally used for the bridles, although chain may also be used. The mooring pack gives guidance on the bridle dimensions, although specific installations may benefit from some modification.

Drawings of moorings used on other rivers may show a submerged line joining the bridles underneath the boat. This is not common practice for this river's moorings.

Riser

The bridle sits under the water. So that the bridle is kept away from the prop, a riser chain is fixed to the bridle's apex. The other end is attached to a buoy. The riser is usually a relatively heavy chain. It needs to cope with a significant amount of chafing, and so using an oversized chain will mean the mooring will be more robust over time.

A stainless chain has the advantage that it will not corrode (at least compared to a steel chain) but has the disadvantage of being brittle.

A riser is typically 2 metres long, but again, it depends on the location and circumstances of each mooring to an extent, as well as the draft of the boat.

The riser length needs to be 'tuned' so that the buoy is not dragged under the surface on the highest tides, yet is not so long that the boat is not being controlled by the mooring tackle.

Buoys

The riser is supended with a large red spherical buoy. This should be marked up with the mooring number on it. It would be useful for it to have the name of the boat and the owners contact details as well, though keeping that information clear for any length of time is quite a problem.

The boat's lines are attached to the riser underneath the buoy. Most members make short permament lines available (ideally with hard eyes) in an attempt to keep the mud on the right side of the toe rail. You can either arrange for these lines to come up onto a convenient cleat, or you can pass your own mooring line through the eye to form a bridal. However you do it, be sure to provide some dfence against chafing.

Guest Line

Finally, a guest line is installed between the two buoys. This is typically a rope of around 12mm, approximately 1.5 times the boat length. Most guest lines use a small cental pick-up buoy to make them easier to fish out.

Ideally, the guest line should attach to the boat's lines, so that when the boat is away from the mooring, there are no lines floating around the buoy in an uncontrolled manner.

When the boat is on the mooring, it is usual to have the guest line on deck. As well as the mud, there is a tremendous amount of movement on the moorings, and any slack rope will take every opportunity to wind itself around every available part of the boat.

RELINQUISH / TRANSFER OF MOORING LICENCES

Members are reminded that the Weston Bay Yacht Club is responsible to the Crown Estates for the management of the Mooring Licences, in particular for the condition of mooring equipment and ensuring that Licence Holders are in possession of the required insurance cover. In order to comply with this requirement the Club has stated through its Bye Laws that the issue of mooring licences be managed by the Moorings Sub-Committee.

In addition licence holders shall be subject to the Licence Terms and Conditions (copy available).

Can I draw your attention to the following sections of the Licence Terms and Conditions.

Any Licence Holder wishing to relinquish their licence must inform the Moorings Sub-committee who will then be responsible for re-issuing that licence against the waiting list held by them. A licence cannot be sold/ transferred to another person directly by the existing holder.

Should a licence holder allow the mooring to be used by another boat owner it is the responsibility of the holder to ensure the said boat owner is aware of all terms and conditions applicable to the issuing of the mooring licence.

The mooring ground tackle remains the property of the licence holder to dispose of in any manner they chose. (Subject to para.4a of the Terms & Conditions.)