JENAL ~ Spud Leg

A strange name for a very useful device. JENAL has two, fore and aft to simplify shallow mooring.

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Spud-Leg is an unusual name for a barge pin-anchor system and suspicion lies in translation corruption from Dutch to English. It is a method of anchorage better known for securing floating work platforms to their watery bed to prevent general movement and drifting from their work area. For example; dredger rafts and crane ships (usually having one in each corner of their platforms) where their shallow water work allows.

  On the advise of the naval architect we opted for a 2 hydraulically actuated spud-leg system, one at each end of JENAL to simplify mooring on inland waterways. The operation is simplicity itself, when stopped at the desired mooring location, we simply press the two buttons and the fore & aft legs drop down with a pressure of 2000lbs per sq. in and spike the canal bottom. A valve releases the hydraulic pressure, leaving JENAL to float like a pontoon on its pilings.
They are constructed to be very strong and... very heavy because lightweight ones, just like lightweight anchors, don't work! Made from 350mm diameter thick-wall steel tube, one inside the other, their 500kg weight ensures their firm anchorage. If a bow-wave from a passing boat disturbs JENAL, she simply rises and falls on the secured spud-leg, which is preferable to the alternative slack roped mooring.
As many barge and would-be barge owners have quickly trumpeted, "a barge doesn't have a keel and therefore it would be awful in rough seas". This is generally true but JENAL's design is such that her stay-sail will reduce beam wind roll and the spud legs will act as fore and aft keels where the water depth allows.  
JENAL's forward pin-anchor flanked by her rope boxes
  A keel on a barge is needed at sea when the weather is bad, lowering the spud-legs to their 3m below sea level will act as a roll damper system, emulating lea-boards but without reducing large sail area induced side slip. The lowered legs may reduce a little forward speed but that is a minor set-back compared to the comfort they can afford the occupants.

Early example of a pin-anchor in the bow


Primary Values of Spud-Legs

  • Easy and safe mooring with minimal danger to mooring crew
  • Single-handed navigation
  • More comfortable than roped mooring
  • Prevents local 'Pond-Slime' from slipping mooring ropes when barge is unattended
  • Simplifies navigation for the less experienced
  • Light lifting of hull on initial pin-anchor deployment confirms firm anchorage
  • Simple and safer Mediterranean mooring (end on) and much easier to both moor and cast-off
  • Instantly copes with mild changes in water levels
  • Enables mooring where bank foliage, debris or situation may otherwise prevent
  • Act as reasonable keel stabilisers in rough seas