It is probably a bit easier if you all ready are used to docking
under aail. Which is a good plan to practice and use if at all possible. If there are uncrowded moorings in a harbor, practice picking them up under sail.
From what I have seen, most people do not know how to dock under sail, and someday, the electrical
power, or engine
is going to fail you.
Practicing with the engine
running is a great tip. But, if you are not proficient, and familiar, and plan ahead, likelihood of looking good at all costs is pretty slim. Prior proper planning prevents poor performance.
We are quite familiar with Avalon
, and would not chose to dock under sail in that packed harbor unless all other options were exhausted.
We have moored under sail in Two Harbors one time on our crealock
situation that was absolutely required. Crew was ready with bridles fore and aft, and were able to approach under the main, with the main sheet run out, and then using the loose sheet by just pulling in on the line itself for more speed, or letting it out to slow down lots of slack, not winching.
That way we could control the speed, and approach the mooring
As we had the mooring made, we let loose the main sheet and hauled up on the toping lift
to scandalize the sail, and keep the boom from swinging and impacting any hard heads. We slowed nicely.
Bow crew yelled " wand " and hauled the eye of the mooring up and ran
the bow bridle
thru the eye, other crew dropped the main. Cleating the bridle to the bow cleat, the Bow crew then ran the sand line back and pulled in the stern mooring eye, and secured the ready stern bridle thru the eye. Done deal.
Main boom was lowered and topping lift
set. Main was flaked, and the sail cover
If we had a beam wind, going down the fair way, and then had turn down wind to pick up the mooring between other moored vessels. I would drop the main into the wind, on a reach roll the jib
in to 50 % , Continuing on a beam reach, and slowly reducing the jib
sail as we approached our turn. All bridles would be set, main secured with a cruising furl. Under jib alone. Bare steerage way.
As we came up past the stern of the other moored boat, we would turn down wind, cut the jib sheet, and quickly roll in the small jib, and head
to the mooring under bare poles.
Having a stern anchor
ready for your down wind approach is also a good plan, have it flaked out and let it run after your turn. If too much speed
you take a purchase
on the anchor
line and slow at the mooring and stop the vessel.
Crew has hauled the bow mooring line, and ran the bridle thru the eye and secured it to the boat. The run the sand line back and capture the stern mooring eye. Rig the bridle.
Do I want to do this in a crowded anchorage like Avalon
Harbor, during the nutso summer season. Nope. But, if we did need assistance there is a plan B. You can also call the harbies .
On a private charter
, summer day, we were sailing from Newport Beach
, to Avalon. What generally happens about 2 plus miles out you wind up in
the lee of the island, and zip for wind.
Well, our sails
were still up, maybe 3 miles out and the wind quits, we roll em in and haul em down, Engine on. No air. We are making about 5 kts under power.
All of a sudden the boat is madly vibrating, and shaking, and we immediately shut the iron jenny down.
The ocean is glass. We haul up the sails but cannot make any progress. So, we call vessel assist, and a boat with a towing bit comes out from the
dock in Avalon Harbor, and tow us in to the maint. dock.
Turns out, even tho this was a nearly new Gibsea 30 plus footer, one of the three blades on the prop totally separated and fell deep into the blue pacific. So, we had no choice, and was it was good that the owner had
subscribed to Vessel Assist.
The reason I was on board is that the owner was one of our sailing club members, and one of my students. He wanted an instructor on board just in case for his first Catalina passage
. He and his wife were doing the sailing and navigating.
Everything was handled very smoothly, a new prop was sent over on the fast Catalina
Express the next day. After the repair, we put her on a mooring, and all was well. The party light was lit for a couple of days, and we sailed back to Newport
. Life was good.
You never know when something totally unexpected can occur. But the more sailing and boat handling skills that you have generally you can sail yourself out of it, or be prepared to ask for assistance if you need it.