One point—if your wife is out cruising with you... as a couple—she really should have the knowledge, the skills and the ability to sail the boat herself. What happens if you fall overboard? Would she be able to make a MOB recovery single-handed under sail or power? What if she can only drive the boat with the motor running and you fall overboard trying to get a line free that has fouled the prop???
I know of at least one cruiser who nearly lost her husband because she hated sailing the boat and didn't have the skills to do a MOB recovery. If my friend's boat hadn't been nearby, and able to pick up her husband, she'd probably be a widow today. I understand that she now can and does singlehand their boat quite skillfully.
My advice to you is to keep an open mind as far as your wife's participation in your sailing dream.
For us, it turned out that my wife hates sailing the boat, but loves sailing on the boat. In other words, she loves being a passenger and having me do all the sailing. If I had pushed her too hard for her to take courses, read sailing textbooks, and learn to sail, she would have bailed out.
We worked our way up to cruising. We had a lot of family fun with the kids on a Hobie 16, then started chartering keelboats, then bought a small swing keel sailboat (ODay 222), and finally chose an Island Packet 380 as our cruising boat (with a lot of input from her). We day-sailed on the Chesapeake, got into cruising around the Bay in the IP, and then to my astonishment, she agreed to sail to Bermuda with me. We ended up cruising up and down the Lesser Antilles for two years.
Your wife might end up fighting you for time at the wheel. But I guess my point is that it's important to make sure you really listen to what your wife wants and doesn't want as you work you way toward your goal. Make it her dream, too.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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