First time in cruising, in mexico, on a 20'''' sloop.
lots of good advice given. a couple of things that i might add to your boats equipment list...
a backup gps
lots of batteries
a radar reflector
AND a cheap self-steering system (i.e, two cheap blocks, some 1/4" line, and bungy cords....how pleasant and restful to watch the boat steer herself).
oh, and remember when everybody says "don''t," it''s an excellent sign that your on the right path.