That was Donald Crowhurst in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. His suicide had more to do with the mounting pressure from faking months worth of race claims and the mounting pressure of having his logs scrutinized when he made the finish line. Lots of solo sailors out there. You see more reports of little boats than big ones because there are more people who can afford little boats. Figure out what you want to do for self steering, then figure out three more ways to do it. small boats and limited fuel means limited amp hours to run an autopilot, so people carry undersized autopilots that burn out if they get hit with a lot of weather helm. A mechanical wind driven system takes a bit more thought and effort but takes no fuel, these can also break, and spare parts can be weeks away. I have heard many miserable stories of people who lost autopilot halfway through long voyages and had to stay at the helm for days on end. The 246' Phocea , back when she was Club Mediterrenée, was built as a single handed sailer. That is probably excessive for your wants, but it can be done.