Went out singlehanding again last night from White Rocks Marina in Rock Creek, outside Baltimore, MD. Last week when I did this the winds got up gusting to 20, and I struggled to control the weather helm and deal with the sail trim.
This time I went out with a Cajun tiller tender (a flat 4' bungee cord I stretched across the cockpit) and winch handles to hand. I also made sure the backstay tension was off a bit from last time. The wind got up again, amazingly, though not so bad -- only gusts to 18 kt instead of 20.
It was quite a difference. Being able to leave the tiller and not have the boat fly up into the wind was a great improvement, and being able to winch that genoa in when necessary was just what the doctor ordered.
One question: it seemed that by oversheeting the genoa just a bit helped cut the weather helm by quite a bit. Could this be due to spoiling the air flow and making the foresail more resistant to the wind, pulling the center of force more forward? I did quite a bit of close reaching/hauling, and it really seemed to help.
All in all a much nicer ride. I got some nice photos too, of the sunset and a boat in the distance, and a much closer photo of one of the racers heading back into the creek. I'll get 'em posted this evening.