Thank you to everyone who responded. Consolidating your responses, I have 
revised thus:
 
 make.conf file:
 PERL_VER=5.8.5
 PERL_VERSION=5.8.5
 PERL_ARCH=mach
 NOPERL=yo
 NO_PERL=yo
 NO_PERL_WRAPPER=yo
 CFLAGS= -O -pipe
 NO_BLUETOOTH=  true    # I have no need of this
 NO_SENDMAIL=   true    # I use qmail
 
 PROCEDURE:
 /etc/6stable-supfile
 cvsup -L 2 /etc/6stable-supfile
 shut down all services except ssh
 cd /usr/src
 make -j4 buildworld // single CPU system
 make buildkernel
 make installkernel
 mergemaster -p
 reboot
 
 * Instead of jumping directly to /etc/6stable-supfile perhaps I should upgrade 
to 5.5 and then to 6 (and is this actually 6.1?) How do I do the interim 
upgrade? And do I want 5.5 or some other version? And is that even necessary?
  * How do I make sure userland and the new kernel are synchronized before 
rebooting?
 * How do I make sure the new kernel is capable of booting before actually 
rebooting?
 TIA,
 beno    3
                
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