Re: Don't be so hard on the new guys
I tried both - forward and reverse. Cant say either are better or worse - just depends on the situation. I don't think I would start trying in reverse, but it's an OK option if you miss. As some have mentioned, having the proper person try to catch and tie up to the mooring is also important. The mistake we made a long time on our boat is me handling the driving and my wife handling the lines, anchor, etc. She was more comfortable doing those jobs than handling the wheel. I guess she did not have the confidence to drive a 46' boat in tight quarters. At one point we were trying to anchor at night close to a bunch of other boats with a limited amount of maneuvering room between boats, shore and a reef. Our regular anchors didn't work, so I had to duck below to get our back-up Fortress ready and my wife had to drive in the meantime. She nearly freaked out but did extremely well, considering the circumstances. These types of situations didn't bolster her confidence though and driving at sea doesn't provide that confidence. So I am still the main person to drive while we dock or moor, while we switch during anchoring maneuvers. Knowing what to do with the mooring pennant also helps. We had one of our earlier mooring attempts where I presumed that my wife knew what to do with the pennant. I had reminded her to have our docking line below the life lines, to have the boat hook low and to grab the pennant early. But she ended up having to let go several times because she kept trying to hook it on the cleat or to tie the docking line on the pennant. i had to remind her to just pull the docking line through the loop in the pennant, which also helps when getting underway later. Training under non-stress circumstances, loads and loads of communication and having the right person at the right job and talking problems through afterwards seem to me the best ingredients for success. Don't let others rattle you - they are not on your boat nor are they in the same situation. You were successful in the end and surely will get better as time goes on and you get through more learning situations.