First Boat Strategy - reluctant wife HELP??? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 09-28-2007
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First Boat Strategy - reluctant wife HELP???

My second post here. Great forum y'all have. First some background - I'm 32, been sailing literally all my life (Born in Jan, parent's had me out that summer ) everything from dinghy's to currently a Freedom 38. My wife sailed sporatically as a kid - her family would ocassionally charter & she attended sailing camp once or twice. After college she put some time in at Community Boating in Boston on the mercs. We have a 2 year old daughter who loves sailing (and cruising) on the grandparent's boat in Buzzard's bay & surrounding areas.

I've got the itch to get our own boat as we live 100 miles away from Padanaram, where my parent's keep thier boat. I would really like to be able to go for a sail after work or just out for a daysail on the weekend w/o the drive. I guess at 32, mooching off the parent's is getting a little old. The closest harbor is Newburyport, MA (15 minutes) at the mouth of the Merrimack River.

My wife is generally more cautious than I, and does not seem to share my enthusiasum for becomming a boat owner. I've considered shopping on the sly & surprising her, but I think she would resent that & it would be "his" boat, not "our" boat. Attempts at getting her interested in the process have failed so far. My 2 year old daughter lasted longer at the Newport boat show than my wife did..

We've talked about getting a boat, but it was always "someday". I figure, better to get one now, before children are involved in sports/afterschool activites etc which will put additional squeeze on time.

I'm interested in a 30-35 footer that we can coastal cruise on. My wife has expressed interest in a "daysailor" that she & my daughter can take out on thier own. Newburyport isn't that friendly a harbor for a daysailor - 2 knot current + kind of "open" (rougher) water once you get out of the river. I now realize how spoiled I was growing up on Buzzard's bay.

I think her biggest hesitation to the larger boat is that she isn't confident in handling it. She is a competent small boat sailor, but can't seem to make the jump to running the bigger boat. I've tried to get her to do more while on my parent's boat, but I think the audience of experienced sailors intimidates her. I'll admit, I'm not the most patient instructor nor is my mother (ahh the dreading Mother in Law ). It is very frustrating when I know, she knows what to do, but she doesn't trust her self to do the right thing.

I looked into a women only sailing lessons (womanship) she was somewhat interested, but didn't make time this summer to take a class (in fairness, not much available in New England).

So I'm looking for creative ways to get her more interested.

Surprise her with a vacation including women only sailing instruction someplace warm this winter?

Frostbite series? (kinda kidding, but hey if you can sail a small boat in the winter, then a big boat in the summer shouldn't be so intimidating).

Watch junior while she crews on a weeknight race series?

Daysailor in different harbor (Marblehead?) I've always admired the Herreshoff 12 1/2s.

Keelboat daysailor w/ outboard - J/24 or similar?

Pocket cruiser Catalina 250 or similar?

30 footer with a sailing dinghy? (still worried that she'll be great on the dinghy, but not the larger boat)

Sorry for the long post, looking forward to the replies.
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Old 09-28-2007
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Well... I'd certainly get on the parents boat with her more often!. a 100 miles isn't that far! Maybe without the kids a few times... Moonlight peaceful evenings... waking up to breakfast in berth prepared by you? You treating her like the person you want to share such great times with? (re: meg ryan in movie dead calm) From talking with a few women that are married to guys that have sailing bug.. it all seems very one sided towards the guy.(imo) She is often stuck with being "second mate" , plans the meals, bedding, cooking, everything related to homemaking! Personally that sucks! (imo) I'm no longer married and as I'm getting older I can see the disparity in it. When A guys says.. "Wife and I are getting a boat" translation = he gets the boat and she gets another "house" to take care of. On her sailing and handling the boat. I've found it's easier for me to handle a 30ft sloop then a 23ft daysailer! But is she is going to be stuck being the second mate? It could be the secret reason she is hesitant. Most women won't say so to the hubbys but they say it to other women! Now all the great guys here will chime in and tell you how great they are to thier spouses LOL
good luck!
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Thanks Denise - interesting perspective on the "second" house. Perhaps that's why she likes the daysailor idea better, no galley. She is definitely the "homemaker" at home & I handle the outside chores, heavy lifting, handyman stuff & capital improvements. I think she resents that she's doing the same thing all the time (cooking cleaning) while I get to do the "fun" stuff (currently building a new playroom in our attic). I've tried to get her to hire a maid, but she refuses. She also refuses to let me hire out the home improvement stuff (might have to do with the small fortune I've spent on tools over the years ). When we travel or are on the boat, I do my best to pitch in on the domestic duties as I'm not busy building stuff.

We actually get out on my parent's boat fairly often, (pobably slept on the boat about 12 nights this year + a few daysails) It seems it's harder to make time to spend the whole weekend on the boat.

Regarding the "second mate" idea - hmm I don't purposefully try to be the captain, just kinda defaults due to comfort level. The problem is she isn't proactive enough to step up. It is kinda nice having someone else sail you around...
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Old 09-28-2007
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Hey - I'm the skipper, dammit!! ......but that leaves her the Admiral.

Seriously though, I think you've got a tough row to hoe here.. Maybe you need to get to the bottom of her objection to owning.

Is it the handling issue as you suspect? Is it concern re financing/debt? Is it Denise's "another chore" factor? Until you are sure of the true nature of her objections it will be tough to address it.
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Old 09-28-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
) She is often stuck with being "second mate" , plans the meals, bedding, cooking, everything related to homemaking! Personally that sucks! (imo) I'm no longer married and as I'm getting older I can see the disparity in it. When A guys says.. "Wife and I are getting a boat" translation = he gets the boat and she gets another "house" to take care of. On her sailing and handling the boat. I've found it's easier for me to handle a 30ft sloop then a 23ft daysailer! good luck!
Touchie! I couldn't agree more. I also found the same thing on the docks and doing women only sailing cruises plus my own feelings as well.
I agree with your thinking about her taking classes to a bigger boat to make her more comfortable handling a bigger boat. That is what I did years ago after sailing my Tanzer 22 for years and moving up to a 33' boat. I didn't go to a womens only sailing class, I went to a regular ASA course in the BVI for one week with 3 other guys and an instructor. It worked out fine and the guys were all gentleman. I was very comfortable in that enviroment for I am used to working with guys in a mostly guy field. But I have talked to other women who have gone to all woman's sailing classes and love it. There are many avenues available through sailing classes with ASA, US Sailing Assoc or many other schools located throughout the world. I combined my classes with my vaction, hence why I went down the BVI in the middle of the northeast winter. I know all the above offer BVI sailing classes this winter. Good Luck
Melissa
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Old 09-28-2007
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I'd offer some sage advice - but don't have any . . . ask my wife why.
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I'd offer some sage advice - but don't have any . . . ask my wife why.
I read your thread re selling the boat. Sounded like you were making some progress.
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Well - we're in a holding pattern and all's well - hopefully for at least another season.

Can't stress enough the importance though, of ensuring that the reluctant spouse has a full grasp of sailing dynamics - before shelling out the big bucks on an expensive cruising yacht. Start with sailing lessons for the wife first - she may be reluctant to do so later.
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I'll second Denise on the idea of getting more time on the parents 'big boat'. Heck I've been driving 100+ to my boat for over 15 years summers and winters. I'm the reason they keep re-paving 146
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My Big boat is also exactly 100 miles from home and I'm thinking about adding a little dingy (maybe about 14 feet) to the fleet. As much as I love the big boat, I'd love to have a little dingy that the grandkids and I could use to sail around the harbor in. I think the dingy would complete the whole sailing experience, providing a level of fun and excitement that the big boat just doesn't have. Since you already have access to a big boat I like your wife idea of getting a day sailor.
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