Well i had my first experience singlehanding our new boat. No autopilot but atleast everything is run aft. Everything was going great until my headsail sheet line got winched into itself. oops.
The little piece that's supposed to keep the line from going under the tongue is broken and i wasn't paying attention to the line while trimming the sails. The wind was moderate but nothing too heavy. It still freaked me out though... i tried to get it loose but it was too tight to budge. At this point i was approaching the channel so my adrenaline started kicking in. I couldn't furl the sail in so i decided to sail back from the river to the creek... under the bridge and to lighter winds hoping it would take pressure off the line so i could get it free. No luck. At this point i was stressed but still in control of everything. I thought at the time that my only option was to cut the line free... so i did. In retrospect i could have just dropped anchor and let the sails luff... but since i was alone i was thinking of the easiest way out... although not the least exspensive.
Lessons learned: 1. Make sure your equipment is working properly. 2. Try and stay calm... you can think clearer. 3. A good rigging knife is a handy tool.