Any one who has skippered a sailing vessel over 30 feet who has not practiced the dropping and picking up of a MOB
buoy or cushion under sail alone probably shouldn't be at the helm
IMHO. This is a pretty basic task all should practice until they are proficient. The proper procedure is to come up to windward of the pick up object and stall just abeam and a couple of feet away letting the wind drift you down on the object. The higher the wind velocity, the further out you should stall. This shelters the overboard
object from sea action and allows you a lee side pick up. Luffing of the main and head
sail will bring you down on the object much quicker than a reduced sail area.
Once you have mastered that several times, you are ready to try your skill at berthing under sail. I would avoid a down wind situation until I got really proficient and have always opted for an up wind slip when ever I had that opportunity.
You need to know your vessel and how it performs in light airs, medium strength when it is blowing. Many marinas
have calm water
inside but a fairly good wind speed aloft. Adjust your sail plan accordingly, watch wind direction and use flags
on berth vessels nearby to scope
out direction and force of the breeze.
Easy, easy, easy is the watch word, slower is better and for the first few trys, keep your engine idling in neutral. The first time you acomplish this feat, pat your self on the back, secure your lines and pour yourself a cold one... you've earned it!
My wife and I used to berth our Transpac 49 ketch
under sail all the time if it wasn't blowing like snot and she got pretty proficient at the helm
as well as line handling.
finally forced us in to a power boat
, we were amazed at how easy berthing was with twin diesels regardless of windage or current.
I strongly recommend learning
this skill, not to show off to your neighbors in the marina but to improve your seamanship and gain the confidence to deal with a loss of power event which will happen if you spend enough time out there. cheers, Capt Phil