Ever notice the more one uses their boat, the less repair it needs?
Yes it is because there are millions of short/little repairs over a longer period of time, rather than lots of major repairs from sitting and neglect.
I am heartened to hear Jeff describe his way of sailing, anchoring and addressing things. I attempt to use my boat as a single-handers boat frequently. I too loathe complex systems and faulty equipment. I'm still getting used to "Freedom," but my intentions are to learn to sail her into, out of the slip and to know how to deal with her when she becomes fickle and will not start motor (with hopes she'll not ever have that issue).
I also dug out her emergency tiller and spent some time seeing how she sets up and how hard she is to steer that way. Its manageable but one should know what they are up against. We had to use the e-tiller twice on Dad's US27 on Barnegat, both times we improved our response to diagnosis and implementation. In fact our second time using the e-tiller we barely luffed up from the time the steering cable jumped the sheave till the tiller was in place and boat was under control (good thing too because we were on the edge of the channel).
I wondered about dealing with the anchor solo on "Freedom," so I am going to have to play with some options. She has a manual windlass on her, and I'll have to see what will work best for me.
My skills are not honed like Jeff's but I endeavor to get there in a measured fashion.
I've only owned keelboats 22-26 feet of my own, but I've not hesitated to sail any of them into/out of their slip or anchor.
I believe it is our requirement as boaters that we attempt to prepare ourselves for any possible hardship, in as best a manner we can, obviously within reasonable margins of safety.
Ironic that nobody spent a lot of time on safety gear, except jacklines.
Safety harness, jacklines, requisite PFDs...
A way to heat things up
A way to get or carry drinkables
A way to communicate VHF or SSB, EPIRB
Charts? (navigation is good, but physical charts are sometimes a great backup to have, or at least have multiple electronic backups)
Some kind of dink, inflatable, kayak - way ashore
For me it requires a swim/boarding ladder. Nothing worse than trying to get aboard a boat bouncing in a chop (and a way to retrieve that boarding ladder from the water).
Obviously coming off the boat is task number 1, especially under way, but when at anchor, or anchoring, or adjusting anchor its almost MORE likely you'll have issue, and if you are solo it can be a game changer if you cannot get back aboard. A swim/boarding ladder is safety equipment to me.
Most of this is moot to me, I'm just on a lake, I can flag down the nearest bass fisherman. It would still stink going for a swim in Jan.