There is a way of keeping the main up while using the mainsheet for lifting a MOB
It works whether or not there's a headsail up. It does rely on having a permanently rigged preventer on both sides, as more and more offshore
boats are starting to do.
There's a little-known method of heaving to which works particularly well for sailing up to an MOB
, which I'll spell out if there's some interest.
This party trick makes it straightforward to stop the boat quickly, easily and accurately to windward of the MOB, with the fringe benefit that the boat is automatically put in a hove-to condition, with the main boom squared outboard
and triangulated stably, and (simply by tightening the windward preventer and the topping lift) the mainsheet snapshackle can then be uncoupled from the traveller track and used to recover the MOB.
It deserves to be better known, I reckon.