I'm surprised no one has suggested books
by Francis Chichester or Robin-Knox Johnston. No solo-sailing reading list is complete without these. Also, don't neglect "Alone Through the Roaring Forties" by Vito Dumas. Of all of the books I've read on single-handing, this one is my favorite.
Keep in mind, these books and those by Slocum, Moitessier, the Hiscocks, Smeetons, Graham, etc, are mostly narratives -- stories -- not how-to books or instruction manuals
. Certainly, you can learn from these stories, but eventually you'll have to write your own. There are manuals
, and you should consult them, but the best teacher is experience -- actual time at the helm
. Sometimes, preparation is just procrastination.
I've single-handed thousands of miles. I didn't go crazy like some other posters have warned. My advice
is to keep your boat
simple and to always tether up. Lines led aft just tangle, and you will have go on deck
in bad weather
(it's part of the fun). Get real sleep -- not fifteen minute naps.
Be careful in major lanes, but the odds that you'll be run down on the open ocean are infinitesimally small, so rest up; you'll need it. Nevertheless, trust your boat
and yourself in bad weather
, which happens less than you imagine. Bring books, a journal, and a harmonica for the long periods of boredom. Know how to use a sextant
and to dead-reckon because your electronics
will fail all the way to the batteries
themselves. Maintain your windvane
, your sails
, and your rigging
. Keep your boat and yourself clean. Don't be afraid to go swimming in the calms. Lastly, when you say goodbye to your friends and family
, say it like it's the last time. Your mind will rest easier knowing you've done that. Everything else, you'll learn for yourself. Good luck.