My last trip with Tabula Raza (a 29ft sloop, back in 2006) was planned as a three week solo exploration of the Channel Islands. On the second day the engine broke.
Bobbing around at anchor in Santa Rosa island, looking at three weeks of food and water packed to the gills in the galley, I started reading all those sailing books that I had collected. “Dang it, I can do this,” I thought, hoisting the mainsail, and pulling up anchor slowly as the boat tacked and zig-zagged on the hook.
Over the next three weeks I sailed alone, in and out of 5 different anchorages, including becher’s bay, coches prietos, forney’s cove, pelican bay, and some random stretch of windy beach that I got stuck in with night falling. I returned to Santa Barbara with skills and confidence that would have taken me years to normally develop.
They say “adventure begins when plans fail.” Well, it sure does speed up learning!
In this mindset, I readied the boat for my first overnight sail on Aldebaran, ever. Hard to believe, but true.. in 8 years I’ve never sailed her overnight alone.