My final sail of 2006 satisfied one of my major goals of the year. I wanted to be sure that my boat was configured for singlehanded sailing. Last Friday, about a quarter of a second after the final deal of the year was signed, I hit the highway and headed down to the marina.
The key to singlehanded sailing is preparation and picking a battle you can win. I picked a decidedly winnable battle, 5-10 knots out of the West. Not sure I prepared as well as I could have, I didn't get the darned fenders off until about 10 minutes after raising sails.
With all of my fascination with racing lately, it's easy to forget how nice and relaxing a sail can be when you have no place you want to go and no time limit to get there. I just shot along the Berkeley Pier for a while, waved back when some kids waved from the end of it, and enjoyed the sunshine and light breeze. I love having an uncalibrated speedo, it showed me doing 8 knots upwind -- what a speed demon.
The only part about singlehanding that really worries me (and this is why light-air practice is so nice) is dropping the sails. I don't have roller furling (and don't want it) so I really need to have everything organized just so to get the sail down efficiently. And without me going over the side.
The sail itself wasn't extraordinary but the satisfaction of a goal was. In that spirit, I'll officially proclaim my 2007 goals: 1) at least one overnight trip to Angel Island with Camille; 2) at least 1 doublehanded race; 3) at least one "real" regatta; and 4) the family-icization of the boat.
With those four things, it'll be a good year with lots of sailing.