Seems if I can learn to dock, i'm in business. Being a passenger on a boat, I assume the only reason I can't dock solo is that I want someone to jump off and put the rope on the hooks and help pull boat in, correct? That's something I can't do alone unless I pull it in perfectly and cut off engine at right time, coast in, etc?
Because I don't know what I don't know yet, it seems like the advice given is that sailing solo is much easier, except when I get into trouble. Then it's life or death. When in trouble, which I assume is too much wind, can't i just drop sails and batten down the hatches? I've read in horrible situations, sailors would cut off sails if need be, and be three sheets to the wind. As a newbie have always wanted to ask that.
They way I dock single handed, I come in next to the pier very slow, reverse engine to stop completely, step off and tie boat at the beam, then stern. Problem is sometime the wind is blowing me off the pier, and there is a boat on other side of me, if boat is to far from pier, I cannot tie her off. And if I just reverse, the prop walk, along with wind blowing bow off can cause the boat to just want to do a 180 deg turn. Docking is like driving a car on black ice- somtimes you have no brakes, cannot steer, and if you give it gas the wheels just spin.
My boat has low free board when compared to say a Hunter, so she is easy to step off. A catamaran or a lot of the new boats are difficult to step off- they have high freeboard to make the cabins bigger. This high freeboard will also catch the wind and push the boat around, making docking even harder.
In a blow, you never want to compeletely drop sails, then you have no control and the boat will swing wildley, best thing to do is hove to if you have sea way and just want or need a break from the action. There are hundreds of books on storm management. But how would you handle a jammed sail halyard alone, in high winds? There are thousands of issues to deal with a think about, and thousands of things that can and will go wrong, but you will need to manage and deal with them.