We have played a handful of games. We always play that if you use the Wharf you can launch without preparing at at the docks. One of our regulars questioned whether this was correct.
So can you use the Wharf to just immediately launch a ship? Or do yo need to prepare first and the Wharf just reduces the launch cost?
Your gaming mate is correct. The Wharf just reduces the launching food costs so you would still need to have a ship prepared and waiting at the pier. The Dry Dock is the only building that does both at once - costs 2 wood and the full amount of food to launch. Well actually you could do both using the Inn's special two actions also.