Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: SF Bay area
Thanked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Rep Power: 9
I haven't been sailing for very long, and docking is still the most stressful part of sailing for me. I would ask your boyfriend to teach you stuff that involves being far from the hard, unforgiving shore. I would go in the following order (which is basically how I've been training my crew/wife).
1) Learn to steer the boat first under sail in open waters. It's way more fun and peaceful than motoring, and the rewards are somewhat more immediate. It's still a challenge, but if the weather is right, there's basically no chance of disaster.
2) If you've got some reasonably exposed dock-like targets---a mooring ball is a great example---practice motoring up to it and stopping next to it in very light winds. This will give you a feel for how the boat handles under power in a low-stress environment.
3) Have your boyfriend back the boat into the slip, and then you can try motoring to some other easily accessible dock in the marina, like a guest dock or fuel dock.
Basically start in the least restricted waters doing the most fun stuff, and then gradually add challenges as you get comfortable with maneuvering.
In all these things, have your boyfriend go over the procedure with you beforehand and repeat it back to him. If you do it more than once, he may give you a different procedure because the wind and current are different from last time, so make sure you walk through the procedure beforehand each time. Soon you'll get a feel for how the various forces work, and you'll be able to figure out the proper procedure for yourself. Once you get to that point, you know you're ready to try something harder.
Best of luck and don't lose heart!
s/v Laelia - 1978 Pearson 365 ketch
s/v Essorant - 1972 Catalina 27