It was sunny, water quite cold, and wind at 5 mph with a lot of lulls with no wind.
A word of caution - don't let sunny skies, warm air, and light winds lull you into a false sense of security. Cold water is no joke and it is not uncommon for new sailors to get themselves into big trouble sailing during springtime if they underestimate conditions. Your situation sounds all too common - brand new boat, early in the season, itching to get it out on the water. It doesn't take much to capsize a beach cat. Even if you don't capsize, an unexpected change in the weather or a little more spray than you were expecting can really drop your body temperature. You didn't say where you're sailing, but this time of year in the North East, it would be full wetsuit or drysuit weather for sure. The bay was still 2/3 frozen over last week....
1) got to find an easier way to step the mast alone.
Tie the forward end of your main halyard to one of the bow tangs. Lift the mast all the way up. Lean against it with your body and use your hands to take the slack out of the main halyard. Tie off the halyard to one of the cleats on the mast. Jump down and pin the forestay. Release halyard.
2) Had rudder cams in backwards and they didn't lock down.
Definitely get the rudders working properly. In a 5mph drifter, it won't make a ton of difference, but when the breeze picks up, it will make a huge difference. You'll get tired super fast and the boat won't be any fun to sail if the rudders aren't locked down all the way.
3) I sure need to learn how to read the wind direction much better. I often got suck not moving about when tacking.
Practice for sure. A few more trips out and you should be able to get the tacks dialed. Streamers on the bridle wires or a wind vane will make reading wind direction a lot easier. The trick when tacking is to not straighten the rudders until you're fully through the tack. You want to keep the main sheeted in tight until you're head to wind and then release several feet of mainsheet so the boat doesn't weather vane. If you blow the tack, reverse the rudders and do a K turn to back out.