I'll second what others have said.
Our boat is 50' long, so I value a clear path forward. It takes longer to get to the bow or even the mast. That's the primary difference. (Or rig isn't proportionally higher, so the sail forces are probably akin to a 45 foot boat.) When I need to hurry, there is nothing in the way that will trip me up.
When docking in winter, I sometime kick my heavy (warm) boots off, in favor of being quick on my feet as I approach the dock.
Keep the dock lines tied onto the boat's cleats; tie the other ends to the life line, right next to the gate (fore and aft). That way when you step/jump onto the dock, the lines are right there for you. If the lines could possibly reach the propeller, tie them to the lifeline with a knot. For thick lines, even a single half hitch will sometimes be enough.
I always tend to over-reef too, and end up going forward to shake out from 2nd reef to 1st reef. That's ok by me.
I also try to minimize my time out of the cockpit (true when other crew is below decks too), and sometimes will keep a reef in much longer than needed, so I don't have to go forward. It's not like I'm in a rush to sail that extra know faster. (If needing to get to a destination before dark, I'll turn the engine on.)
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Last edited by Bene505; 12-30-2011 at 01:28 PM.