I did it: sailed around the Sea of Cortez for five days with four strangers and learned to helm a boat.
The hardest part was the four strangers. Several were loud and chatty. Distracting. But then Doubt is loud and chatty, so I had to deal with it anyway.
There were three written tests, and many physical and mental challenges. Can I raise and lower a heavy anchor by myself? Yes. Can I raise and lower a heavy sail by myself? Yes. Can I trim the sails alone? Yes. Can I steer in heavy wind? Yes.
It was fucking fabulous, after the terror wore off on Day Two.
On Day Four I awoke and all the dots were connecting, theory becoming practical knowledge. How to solve the problem of the too-heavy snubber on the anchor chain? Another classmate’s method of hauling it aboard was not feasible. In the quiet dawn light near Isla Partida the answer came: tie a line to a winch to hold it and then detach the snubber, freeing the chain. (A snubber keeps the weight and strain of the anchor chain off the windlass. A windlass is a winch that controls the chain, so you can raise and lower it.)
There is always a solution.
The best part? Passing my own test: sailing single-handed and living on a boat is not a delusional dream. Doubt is appeased, and Confidence reigns (for the time being).
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