You use a perfect example of the difference between the average woman and the average man: most men do not let others determine their destiny or career choices. They pursue what they want with determination, without seeking support or encouragement from the "village" - a classic difference between a hunter and a gatherer. Most men don't care whether others think their choices are "appropriate". That is why we speak our minds on the forums and most women are so concerned about offending others.
I agree with James. I am a male, I am a sailor. No one got me into sailing, no one took me out as a kid, bought me my first boat, gave me lessons. I choose to do it, actually, it can be hard. I think most people don't realize how important it is to me, but it is, and I am working hard to make it my reality.
IMO, an American woman could do the same, and I think in some ways it might be easier. More people might be willing to help, to take her out sailing. Not that people haven't been more than helpful and friendly to me, but I'm sure if I was a woman I could do the same.
I see some female sailors, but the numbers aren't close. Just not as many with the drive, and I believe that it is in our DNA, something in men that makes them driven to explore, where women are more likely to "nest".
The book serves a purpose. There are wives and girlfriends going along, with less knowledge. If and when I take a woman out on my boat, I will have to teach her to sail, I have done it before and I will do it again. It's just the way it is, they're just not out there pushing me further, teaching me to be better. How many woman were taught by a man? 90%? Maybe higher. So the book is to help the female first mate.