Re: How to Proceed...
I don't know as I've ever personally run a boat for 12 straight hours alone, let alone without an auto-helm of some sort. I've done several hours on a tiller and 10 or more on a wheel many times, but always had someone to relieve me, even if just for a few minutes, so I could use the head or quickly eat a sandwich.
Every year, my wife and I will do a few dawn to dusk passages. I do not have to remain at the helm the entire time, but I'm always on alert, as she feels capable to sail unless something goes wrong. I am always totally and completely wiped out and we have an auto-pilot.
12 hours alone on a tiller with no auto-helm, would require super-human sailing skills and endurance in open water, IMO. Find something, even it used, to allow you a break.
Take realistic steps on your adventure and it will come together.
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In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.