What was striking was that even on a familiar boat in perfect weather, sailing by yourself is a lot more demanding - read the editor's welcome to the August 2020 issue of Yachting Monthly, now on sale
Absolutely exhausted. It was only when the boat was finally tied up alongside and I sat down that I realised how tired I felt.
This hadn’t be an offshore odyssey, however. The conditions had been perfect – flat water, a Force 3 blowing in from the south west, and few other boats around.
I hadn’t even sailed that far – just a few miles in the Solent – as this wasn’t a proper cruise.
I had in fact been singlehanding my Sadler 29 during the photoshoot for this month’s article on sailing alone. I had spent the day slipping moorings, setting sail, reefing, heaving to, rigging lines and fenders, manoeuvring alongside and repeating.
Busy, in other words, but no more so than any other solo daysail, and much easier than a long singlehanded passage in harsher conditions.
What was striking was that even on a familiar boat in perfect weather, sailing by yourself is a lot more demanding, physically and mentally, than sailing with a crew.
This month’s article on how to prepare your boat and yourself for sailing solo (p30) is a timely refresher in a year when those who are able to cruise again may need to do so without their regular crew.
I found several things I’d want to change on my boat to make it easier; the absence of lazyjacks is a real issue and having to go to the mast to reef is less than ideal. At least both of those things should be easy enough to sort.
Reading the advice was also an encouragement that it is eminently possible to get out on the water with crew or without.
Also, now that my wife and I have been joined by a new little crewmember, we know that one of us can be on family duty while the other safely handles the boat.