What an interesting thread. Of course, our marriages tend to generate much emotion. Add sailing in what can at times be stressful conditions (even when nothing is going wrong), and our marriages can really start to generate emotion.
The original question was posed about by the husband essentialy asking how can he encourage his wife to become more proficient. It is a valid question since they have to rely upon each other as crewmates.
I am a sailing instructor and have taught several couples and I formally instructed my own wife (ASA 101 and 103). In general, I think it is a bad idea for a husband to instruct his wife, but in my case it went pretty well. It is also sometimes a bad idea for husbands and wives to take sailing courses together, especially if there is a wide disparity in their interest level. When one spouse is going along with the training to appease the other spouse, tension can develop when things start to get stressful. Anyone who has sailed with their spouse knows what I am talking about. This tension can be magnified during formal instruction. My recommednation in this case is for the husband to suggest that the wife take a course without him being present.
But, if she is not interested in taking a course or becoming at all proficient, then what? Personally, I think he needs to discuss with her his fears and his expectations. Perhaps they can come to an agreement as to what level of proficiency she should strive for. At a minimum, she should be able to drop the sails, engage the engine, and broadcast/call for help. This is not for the husband's sake - if he goes overboard he is lost. This is for her sake so that she has a chance to survive if she finds herself alone on the boat. The more proficient she can become, the better for him and the better for her. I'd not worry about docking and anchoring so much - yes these are important skills, but if she is suddenly alone on the boat, a poor job of docking is the least of her worries.
One respondant posted about his experience falling through a hatch and his wife having to take over. The only accident/injury I've ever experienced at sea was very similar. I fell through a hatch after messing with the mainsail. My wife and I were sailing over a long weekend with another couple (non-sailors) aboard. I was hurt pretty badly, but thankfully there were no broken bones. My wife was completely able to control the boat for the rest of the day both under sail and later on the engine. With the help of our friends, she was more than able to dock the boat. Her ability to handle the boat was the difference between being embarrassed and being in trouble.
Now, as much as marriage and sailing can generate emotion, that is nothing compared to JordanH's inflammatory remark:
I *hate* that. Although, we don't have a hatch on which to leave open/closed, I have hit my head many times because of ball caps in the same way. One way to avoid it is to give up the ball cap in favour of a dorky Tilley hat. Outside of the better sun protection, they also have a foam top which cushions the blow on those hatch/head meetings!
"Dorky" Tilly hat - tread lightly friend. Them's fighting words!