Every decade or so, local sailing clubs go through a re-evaluation of their mooring fields, looking for ways to improve or upgrade equipment without straining their budget. Island Mooring Supplies, the same Rhode Island-based company that introduced the splinter-free Deluxe Pickup Stick we featured in the April 2010 issue, has developed a new, soft mooring buoy designed to put an end to the annoying hull-knocking of conventional mooring buoys.
The short, can-shaped buoy is made of closed-cell foam bonded to a UV-resistant, schedule 40 (or higher) PVC pipe that runs through the buoys center. The foam has a lower moisture vapor absorption rate than other flotation foams, so it absorbs less water during long-term immersion, according to the maker. The entire buoy is covered with a durable coating that also helps prevent water absorption. The buoy is available in four different sizes, each of which is capable of accepting mooring chain up to 5/8 of an inch, with half-inch chain as an option.
Until recently, the Island Mooring Supplies buoy was available only to sailing clubs at rates starting at about $80 each (for bulk orders); current customers include Larchmont Yacht Club in New York and Stamford and Norotan yacht clubs. This spring, the company is testing the waters on individual orders, which will range from $100 to $400 per buoy, depending on size; sizes range from 20 inches by 16 inches up to 30 inches by 18 inches. The buoy has a one-year warranty. The company also sells mooring pendants, chains, and swivels. We will be long-term testing one of the smaller buoys to see how well it holds up. If theres any news worth reporting, well let you know.