OK, so how've I done in my personal preparation? Short answer: Good.
I wanted to ensure I was confident in my theoretical sailing knowledge and I've reviewed a few things. I'm happy.
I have read up on weather quite a bit and now feel much more comfortable about synoptic chart reading as well as general appreciation of how to visually assess the upcoming weather. I've got this great app on my phone that downloads and displays GRIB files - essentially wind directions and pressure gradients. So all good.
Finally, physically I am especially proud!
As a single hander, I will be bodily challenged. Be it hauling up the anchor (I've no electric windlass as most larger boats would have) or wrestling with the dingy. I'm not going to wimp out of going ashore just because I'm at anchor. And getting the dingy out and in again is a fair old faff: Hauling it out of the locker onto the deck, pumping it up (a good aerobic exercise in its own right), getting it over board, setting the outboard onto it (or simply rowing it) and doing the reverse when I'm done. Tiring stuff on your own. Not to mention the sailing bit, winding the keel up and down, winding in the sheets, and generally cavorting around the boat.
My brother warned me about back care! Fortunately I've escaped back problems in my life but there's plenty of opportunity for sudden moves and awkward actions to put a spanner in those works. He says I have to be conscious of my movements. I'll heed that advice.
Anyway, to mitigate all this I've been going to the Gym. Now, I have to say that the gym is THE most boring place on Earth. There is absolutely nothing cerebral about that activity what-so-ever. You've got to have a strong motivation to keep going as far as I can see. And I guess if you take pride in a chunky physique then that's reason enough for most people. My reasons were quite pragmatic; I needed to get stronger. And I have. 25% stronger I reckon, at least. My core in particular (to help my back) and my upper body as most of the hard work as described above involves my arms! To be honest, my arms were pretty weak and puny.
Now, judging by the physique of most of the blokes (and girls) down the gym, I'm still a weakling. But I win the prize for the most improved over the last 10 weeks. I've visited at least 30 times and my routine lasts an hour.
I've also noticed that people spend a fair amount of time doing nothing in the gym, though the mirrors seem to help pass the time for some. Not me. I go from one "machine" to another without a pause. I therefore have a fair heart rate going for the duration. I'm quick between exercises but I make sure I take good time to do each one properly.
I realise this is all way too much detail, but remember, this site is a record for me just as it is for anyone else, so there. Here's what I do (did):
That's an average of 35% increase. Some of this is down to learning the technique of doing the exercise efficiently but there's no doubt that I look and feel stronger hence my assertion that a 25% increase in strength is a reasonable estimate.
* Don't you just love it when a total comes out to be a power of 2? No? Oh, must be just me!