As stated earlier you will not have an issue getting started or going straight. The manual tranny is helpful, but expect to wear the clutch faster than normal since you will probably let it slip more during acceleration when towing. People tend to be ginger when towing at first. Keep current on your brake and tire maintenance (a good idea anyway, but more important when towing). Learn how to balance your trailer so you get the 10% tongue weight. This will make the trailer stable and allow you to have control over your car. We can have a whole thread on how to trail properly.
For reference I towed an '82 Hobie 18 (~400 lbs) on a steel (~500 lbs) and later aluminum (~250 lbs) trailer with a loaded box (~150 lbs) from Vermont to Maryland regularly. My vehicle was/is '01 VW Passat with the 1.8T and a 5 speed manual tranny. When you add up the weight using the lighter trailer it is ~900 lbs. This is less than loading up the three other seats and the trunk so it had the needed stopping power. As for the suspension I only had about 100 - 150 lbs on the tongue so the shocks were fine (actually I finally put new rear shocks on at ~260,000 miles).
What I am trying to say is your "small" car will be fine if you are towing a few hundred pounds. It comes down to proper trailer loading and understanding how to drive with a trailer. Don't jerk the wheel of your car at highway speeds, don't turn and brake at the same time, brake early and gradually, and generally be smart about driving.
I have used the car to trailer my boat since new and I now have over 260,000 miles on it and am on my third clutch and I just replaced my original rear shocks. So, if you are responsible about loading your vehicle it will still last a long time. BTW, I used to load the trunk and backseat full of tools and camping gear and the roof rack with two sea kayaks and two mountain bikes when I did the long trips with the boat.
If you want to know more about towing and get answers from people who are doing it all of the time, try the Hobie forums
. Even though you only have "half a boat" they will still be glad to help out.