dousing a hanked jib
Headman has the most seaman-like advice, and if I were rigged for cruising or had an obstructed foredeck, that''s what I''d do. But we daysailors can get by with something a bit less. . .
I''ve had a snag or two with a downhaul, but it''s always been from me being in a hurry to get out of the slip and not preparing it properly.
I have a small boat and no lifelines, so if I don''t get my sail on the foredeck, it gets wet and I look clumsy. I go with the downhaul. Even if your halyard is at the mast (not run to the c-pit), you don''t have to go very far away from the cockpit for any length of time.
Being hove-to lets you forget about the tiller AND provides the tight windward jibsheet necessary to keep your sail from going over the lee rail. And the downhaul makes sure that the head of the sail doesn''t catch wind and lift up, so you don''t have to go all the way forward to wrestle with it.
Then, do as much housekeeping on the foredeck as you''re comfortable with as your boat short-tacks back and forth. Plenty of room, and no traffic? tie the sail down or stuff it. Tight quarters? Let''er lay, and get back to the tiller.