Many a great day out on the water has ended not quite as planned as the wind has got up whilst you were at sea, with a net result that even before you have arrived back at your marina, your stress level is already through the roof. Windy conditions are what most skippers fear, in reality like most afloat the key is planning what you intend to happen and briefing the crew accordingly before you actually get into a confined area. At sea on a windier day the wind direction is reasonably constant, closer to land the wind can often become gustier with sudden shifts in direction, especially around buildings.
So key before arrival is to establish what the overriding wind is and where it is pushing you – this gives you the downwind ‘Danger Zone’
Now the best thing that you can do is make the wind your friend. Motorboats especially planing ones, by definition have a relatively small underwater profile with lots of topsides to accommodate the living space. This generally means that they can be affected a lot by the wind. So try to use the wind so that the boat is balanced against it, this is much the same way as ferry gliding on a tidal stream, a good helm can balance the boat on the wind. Just remember to watch for gusts, as you need to be able to read the wind in ADVANCE of the gust so it does not catch you out.
The people that make it look easy have really only an over developed skill at reading the conditions and your practice at this is what will make you a better boater. So reading the gusts, and moving the boat early so it’s closer to the safe, windward side before a gust hits you is a key skill which you can practice every time you go out. Even on gentle days there will be enough wind to learn to read it, it may not need a movement now but the awareness is the skill that you need to build.
Getting berthed just needs a simple plan, with if possible the wind acting as a brake to the boats momentum. This can sometimes mean actually going past your intended berth, turning round and approaching from the other direction so the wind and any gusts are not accelerating you into danger.