Why didn't you just blow the Main/Jib sheet instead of dropping the sail? Unless you are almost dead into the wind (in which case, it's not providing momentum anyway) the sail will be reluctant to come down. Blowing the sheet will depower it instantly.
I didn't notice what his orientation was to the wind. If he needed to land going downwind then dropping the sails may be the only option.
Just looked at a rather old sailing instruction video where the SOP for their fleet (Pearson Ensign-like boats) for down wind landings is to drop the sails, then drop the anchor. They have a crew member man the anchor rode to keep from bashing the pier.