Anchors - ugh! We don't have a windlass either, but just having bought the boat we currently have, haven't needed it...yet. That is on the list, but I haven't decided if it's right before or right after self-tailing winches for the cockpit.
Our club is offering what basically amounts to a 'Racing for Dummies' series this summer...they have the beer can races on Wednesday nights, and this year they're doing a Thursday night series for people looking to learn to race. This way we can do it without posing major risks to ourselves or others.
I've been racing with other folks for a few years now, but nothing too serious...and mostly I just stay out of the way. I've learned a lot that way, but I think it's time to get my feet a bit wetter.
Best of luck in your docking endeavors! We're moving to a slip across the pier from us, but this one isn't in a channel opposite other slips. This way I can back out and take as much room as I'd like. It'll be a good start. I too have the goal of being able to take the boat out without the assistance of my husband. Even if I never do it, I'd like to know that I can. I think he's a little nervous about this!