I sail my destroyer, or now my fire boat, out to the stranded vessel. I contact the boat to be recovered at the center of gravity(or the center of rotation) and push the boat in on the bow of the recovery ship.
It is more difficult to recover a ship, when the recovery vessel is under fire by three enemy destroyers, and the ship that you are trying to recover is a 6'-6"(1981mm) Light Cruiser.
This can be even harder, when you have to get both ships through a 2'-6"(762mm) gate. We were painfully successful....
(more on that story when we get the results of the 2004 combat nationals posted)