Thanks for sharing that Melrna! That was far more challenging than my first solo. Sounds like you made many good decisions along the way. Knowing when you're getting tired is so important for safety. Docking, well, I think a high tolerance for public humiliation is a great characteristic for sailors to have. When you care too much about how you look to others, you're going to spend a lot of time stressed out. Jack Klang, who does presentations at the Strictly Sail shows for Quantum Sails, has a book that includes several solutions to docking dillemas. I used to be able to access it online on the Quantum site, but it's not cooperating this morning.
I'm just finishing my third season of sailing. My husband Dave & I bought a Catalina 25 that we sail at a beautiful mountain lake in Southern Oregon. So no tides or currents, but we get good wind with the switches a high lake provides. It's a wonderful place to learn. The first season I worked on overcoming an unexpected hysterical reaction to heeling. And given I've never gotten hysterical about *anything* in my life, that was pretty discouraging. But Dave and I worked through it and at the end of that season we took our boat to the San Juans and spent a couple weeks cruising up there. My goal for season two was to take the boat out solo, sail, anchor, spend the night, sail off and dock single-handed. I was lucky because one of my dearest friends decided to solo her boat for the first time with me. So we were able to share and congratulate each other. And she planned a celebration for that evening at anchor that included streamers and champagne. Since then I just plan that there will be some mishap each time I go out alone
It's like I get a pop-quiz on random topics before I can return to a dock or mooring. As for docking, I use a long dockline that reaches from the bow to the cockpit so I can step out on the dock with a bow and stern line. The midship cleat and line is an excellent aid for shorthanded docking too.