I know from experience your concentration and judgement become degraded quickly when you become chilled and the heat can impair your performance also.
As for sailing lessons you probably need to focus on reefing and getting the sails down. Its difficult (maybe impossible) to flatten and depower old baggy sails. In building winds, you can find yourself overpowered and needing to either reduce sail or just get them down in order to be safe.
It seems to me that you are very clearly on the right track.
thanks for the reply ..
Realizing that degradation in judgement as well as physical dexterity I believe is probably the most important lesson I learned ..
There was a point right at the end .. when the wind picked up .. that we were really sailing at (and probably past) our ability to control .. given experience and physical condition .. with the jib flying and unable to turn into the wind to drop .. I must say that we had the presence of mind to regroup .. focus .. and come up with a plan of action .. drop the main and safely recapture the jib .. all seemed well with the outboard started and the channel entrance near .. until I realized the markers were moving further away .. only to find that we were in neutral .. against the strong tide ..
I know that practice drills .. taking down sails .. is in order .. as well as learning exactly what is enough sail/too much sail .. and how to react to changing conditions .. thankful to be sailing on San Francisco Bay where this can be practiced .. so very often