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S/V Lilo, Islander 32
249 Posts
I have no experience with swing keel boats, but SailorMon seems to have given some good advice. Here's another thought, trying to sail with the keel up while out in the open water will also give you a feel for how the boat will react, without putting anything in danger. You could tie a fender to your anchor line and deploy it as a target float in a shallow but open area, and practice sailing up to it with the keel up just to give you some experience trying to hit a target with whatever side slip and reduced pointing you may encounter.

Or if the mooring field is not crowded, or you can find a public park mooring or such that has lots of room, go ahead and give it a try on a calmish day, but keep the motor running just in case! The first several times I sailed on or off a mooring I just kept the engine running, although I only needed it a few times. Now I am more comfortable with it and usually do not keep the engine on, but occasionally still will if I am not completely comfortable with the situation.

I do not keep the boat on a mooring however, and most public park moorings I sail on or off of tend to have plenty of room around them to goof up in. I think the real question is how much damage will you cause if things go awry? If the answer is none (except to your pride) give it a try and see what happens! If the damage potential is high, practice elsewhere first.

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