So, I've never had a boat on a mooring before, but I'm about to put this boat on one:

Mango.jpg

18' 6" long, 2' 7" draft, maybe 2,000 lbs?

The mooring is prepared already--a 50 gallon drum filled with concrete for an anchor, with a steel cable connected to a beefy shackle (with swivel) on the bottom of the buoy. There's also a beefy shackle on the top of the buoy.

So, how do I go about connecting the boat to the mooring? Do I rig a separate mooring pennant to the top shackle? Or to the bottom shackle?
I do have a spar buoy that I assume is meant to hold the mooring pennant for easier pick-up.

What kind and size of line is best? Braided, 3-strand, nylon, etc?

How many lines do I rig? Is it standard to run a line from a bow cleat, through the pennant, and then back to cleat on the boat? Or is it better to rig two separate lines from boat to mooring? (That would be my guess). And is garden hose a good chafe guard to use for the mooring lines?

Like I said, I've never had a mooring and don't want to make any mistakes that will put my boat on the rocks. The mooring buoy is about 50m from shore, in adequate depth, on a relatively sheltered side of the island. It does get some wave action but nothing drastic except in a rare W wind. I will be sailing on and off the mooring--not a crowded field so that shouldn't be much of a problem. I will most likely be solo a lot of the time.

Any advice on how to get this right would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Oh, one more question: In a region where 20-25 knot tradewinds are common for much of the year, would a boat cover like this one work?

boat cover.jpg

I will have a Drainman bilge pump, but it'd be nice to limit water aboard. And this kind of cover goes over the sail so would provide UV protection as well. I do worry about how it would hold up in wind.

Tom