By mid-October of 2018, on our trip south from New England, the winds showed disturbing signs of flexing muscles beyond the normal conditions one would expect to encounter for that time of the year. Reaching across Massachusetts Bay from Gloucester, Massachusetts, to Newport, Rhode Island, following a forecast of breezes gusting from 25 to 30 knots, we soon were running under our "winter rig" of triple-reefed main and a small staysail. With gusts of 35 knots, even with the shore only 12 miles to windward, we had seas fit for open ocean. There was a menacing bite in the gusts and the sound of hissing, crashing seas in the breaking wave crests. Some days later, blasting our way by Point Judith to Stonington, Connecticut, a northwester whistling off the land kept our good old Mason 44, Frances B, on her beam ends despite our shortened sail plan. Again, there was a fresh punch in the wind. Nearly all the harbors in Long Island Sound are filled by mooring fields. In the weather that we now anticipated ahead of us, hanging out on an unfamiliar mooring began to seem a bit precarious. You never know what exactly is down there to secure your boat when the wind begins to howl. Anything more than 25 knots can be a challenge for a mooring. A lot of experience and knowledge goes into installing reliable moorings and planning the layout and location of a mooring field. Whenever possible, we rely on our own heavy ground tackle, which we heartily recommend. Sometimes, that option isn't available. And owners who keep their boats on moorings seasonally, in towns like Newport where you aren't permitted to anchor for weeks or months at a time, also need to be aware of mooring pros and cons.