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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum
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  #1  
Old 05-25-2005
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bigbeam is on a distinguished road
Convincing the significant other to go cruising

I have had this passionate desire to take a couple of years off to go cruising (caribbean) but I am having a tough time convincing my wife that this is something we should do. She isn''t saying no but at the same time she isn''t really interested in the first steps toward planning something like this.

We are both mid 30''s and we have one son who is 7yrs old. I took her to the sailing in the BVI''s and we both got bareboat certifications (she did better on the tests than I did). I thought this would close the deal but I still don''t sense the same desire and excitement that I have.

Our sailing skills are novice to intermediate but my wife is really scared of the sea, while myself I "respect" it. If push comes to shove, she would do this but I am really concerned that this hesitancy she is showing now will cause problems in the future.

I would love to hear from anybody with similar experiences who has done it and what the outcome was.
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Old 05-25-2005
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Orion48 is on a distinguished road
Convincing the significant other to go cruising

Aloha,
My husband is from Hawaii and when we met he told me of living aboard at ala wai yacht harbor and going to the University of Hawaii- I was intrigued. Flash forward 20 years and we are living aboard a 48 ft ketch in KoOlina Hawaii.
Where are you living? Can you get local sailing experience Some times it is wiser to think about doing this a step at a time- Have you thought about share the sails as a family to see if this is something all of you can do? There are many opportunities to pay to be included on a leg of someone''s cruise- Being afraid of the Sea is not a stopper in my opinion...as a cautious person by nature I think it is good to have both attributes in a sailing couple- My neighbor in the next slip hates swimming, hates the fish in the water but has cruised all over the south pacific happily because as she points out the cruising part of it is really minimal and the spending a month or two at anchor in unusual countries is most of it- That''s what she likes-
I am leaving in a few days -doing a passage from here to SanFransisco for the experience... on another boat to help crew - without my husband- he is delighted and I''m not going to lie and say that I am not apprehensive but I think it is important to add to my knowledge base-
My husband has shared my dreams and made them his own the way I am doing with his dreams...
Fear keeps you safe...
excessive fear keeps you from experiencing lifes joys-
Pat on ORION
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Old 05-25-2005
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Irwin32 is on a distinguished road
Convincing the significant other to go cruising

A couple of years is a BIG commitment that usually mean severing a lot of ties - like job, home and family. What about a shorter length of time as a trial - like 3 or 4 months - where those ties could still be left in place? Then look at a big jump if the family is into it.
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Old 05-26-2005
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Irwin32 is on a distinguished road
Convincing the significant other to go cruising

When I first posted I decided not to say this, but coming back on this tonight may be it is something that I should say:

I too, 30 years ago, after a few years of sailing, had that passionate desire and the wife did not. I tried to talk her into it for a while and finally gave up. A few months later, out of nowhere, she said lets go and get away from all this crap. Like, twist my arm, man. Plans were made. I quit a very good job and the departure day drew very near. On my farewell party from work I found out she was leaving me for another guy. Trip cancelled - I was too devestated to go alone.

While I do not think the trip was the only reason for our breakup, I do think it was a big factor in that it magnified other problems, which the anticipation of living in a closet with 3 people has a tendency to do.

My 2nd wife (24 years) is not interested, but what she is willing to do is let me take extended cruises - I leave July 1 for 2.5 months and she will be joining me for 2 or three weeks of that time. I am just retired, but while working she was willing to let me go for up to 5 weeks at a stretch and she and my son would join me for a couple of weeks in that time span.

I no longer have the desire to live aboard for years at a time. My plan is to spend 3 - 6 months aboard each year, never returning to a base port, but keep moving the boat. I now realize that I do have other passions, music being the principal one, that cannot be fufilled if I live in a closet for the rest of my life.
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Old 05-27-2005
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bigbeam is on a distinguished road
Convincing the significant other to go cruising

Thanks everybody for the comments. Part of our problem is we are a 4 hour drive from the ocean so in alot of respects owning a boat that far away is not financially practical. Also taking our son out of school for short periods of time is not fair to him, hence my position being that if we were to do something like this we need to do it over a long enough period of time to adjust and prepare for home schooling. Although I don''t know what our financial position will be in a few years, my initial plan is to sell our house and use a portion of those proceeds to purchase a boat suitable for the duration. Sounds radical but I have spent a long time thinking about it (with both ups and downs).
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Old 05-29-2005
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JeffC_ is on a distinguished road
Convincing the significant other to go cruising

Bigbeam,
Convince her? You may be able to wear her down and get intellectual concession, but you stupid man, that''s not what you want.

<em><b>Happy wife, happy life.</b></em>

Put this at the top of your list of goals, or you are doomed to failure. "If push comes to shove, she would do it" sends up huge red flags-- are you willing to shove? What will be the price you pay for that?

Typically, women are more security-oriented than men. It seems as this may be of central importance to your wife. Assuming that is the real issue, you need to make this your project. Her attitude needs to become more positive about this before you can even think about getting what you want: a Carribean cruise <em>and</em> an intact marriage. That means you need to lay a pathway of secure stepping stones for her to travel from where she is to St. Kitts.

If I were in your foulies, here''s what I would do:
<ol>
<li>Relocate closer to the shore.</li>
<li>Keep an affordable boat for weekending.</li>
<li>Be completely safety-conscious when sailing with your family. Teach the boy to be a good sailor: seeing him as self-reliant instead of her helpless baby will help relieve her fears for his safety.</li>
<li>Be a good mate: don''t dominate, yell, or isolate her from what''s happening. Include her in the operation of the boat, including decision-making, equal to her skills/comfort zone. Praise her regularly and sincerely. Let her become invested.</li>
<li>Constantly listen to her & show empathy, understanding, and support. Forget the Carribean exists, or she may think you''re manipulating her. Your goal is to create positive family memories, which will have value on their own.</li>
<li>After a seaon or two, mention the possibility of some short-committment summer coastal cruises when the boy is out of school. Gauge her resopnse to this idea. Be content to become a life-long daysailor at this point.</li>
<li>If you see that necessary changes in her, float the idea of the big cruise. Give her reasons to believe she will have regular contact with family/loved ones while on the cruise, and that she will be financially secure once she returns to shore life. Will she be torn away from every relationship that is important to her for two years? Will she have a house to come home to?</li>
</ol>
I just don''t see you jumping from your situation to the cruise in one step. You ain''t going cruising (well, with her, that is) until her perspective changes.
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Old 05-30-2005
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Irwin32 is on a distinguished road
Convincing the significant other to go cruising

Another $.02. Living aboard is nothing like taking a bareboat charters class in thed BVI. My longest cruise was 5 weeks. Do a one week charter in the keys just to find out what that amount of time is like.
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Old 05-30-2005
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sneuman is on a distinguished road
Convincing the significant other to go cruising

This is a tough sell. My wife went and lived all around the world with me but absolutely balked at the idea of cruising. We recently separated - i would not say her lack of interest in cruising was THE factor, but it was one of many. Some people just don''t have the spark and nothing you can do will give it to them
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Old 05-31-2005
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WHOOSH is on a distinguished road
Convincing the significant other to go cruising

BB, I came into this thread based on its title: I think it''s a fool''s errand to take the position that you either want or need to convince your wife to go cruising.

After reading your personal circumstances, my sense is that you are understating the task considerably. Stated in my words vs. yours, I would say you are asking your wife to take a blindfolded leap off a very tall platform with no real certainty about what lies below...or how far down it is. You (both) have had little exposure to boating, apparently none to cruising, are geographically divorced from being able to significantly change this, and the steps towards Day 1 of leaving on a Caribbean cruise involve essentially total disruption of your/her status quo. Given that, IMO you are expecting far too much to even pose the question.

If you feel the itch (burning desire, even...) do ''go cruising'', two general choices come to mind: work on this as a personal goal (asking only for her support and understanding that it is something you alone wish to commit to) OR asking her to take a few beginning steps with you, as you build skills afloat and work on her anxiety issues and your presumed joys.

In truth, you can''t know you want to go cruising yet; you can only covet the *thought* of cruising, as you understand it intellectually right now. My advice would be to be satisfied, near term, with half a loaf and gain some experience, preferably together, that will help each of you better understand the kind of commitment needed and the nature of the experience...and then both of you decide what you wish to do, based on reality rather than imagination.

Tough issue; good luck to you.

Jack
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Old 06-13-2005
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choffman is on a distinguished road
Convincing the significant other to go cruising

Have you actually asked her what all of her fears are? A fear of the water may be the quickest and easiest excuse.

My suggestion would be to buy the book "Changing Course : A Woman''s Guide to Choosing the Cruising Life" by Debra Ann Cantrell. Read it first yourself, and then ask her to read it so that you can discuss it together.

Your son is seven and can be homeschooled on the boat, but are you expecting her to take full responsiblity for that? I am sure that you are envisioning a life that is free of worries and burdens, but for most women, cruising adds even more worries. This book addresses most of the fears that women have.

You may have to accept the fact that she will never change her mind, as we all have different ideas on how we want to comfortably live our lives. My partner and I are in our final year of preparation to cut all land ties. His first wife met him when he was living aboard and always thought that he would "outgrow" his obsession with sailing. When he met me, I had never set foot aboard a sailboat. Four years later I cannot imagine sailing not being part of my life.

Make sure you understand your priorities. While the sailing life is your dream, what are you willing to give up to pursue it?

Cheryl H
S/V Air do Shocair

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