Could she sail the boat if necessary? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 138 Old 01-28-2012
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Years ago we were tied up in a marina on Jeckle Island with friends after a sail from Jacksonville. Some how a conversation started about what to do if your husband fell overboard. One wife gave a detailed description of how she would handle the boat and get it back to its home port. It was only at the end when someone asked her -"What about Jim (her husband)?!!
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post #22 of 138 Old 01-28-2012
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Are you truly concerned that she couldn't get the boat back to the dock or do you for some reason feel compelled to train her? Because honestly, sailing isn't brain surgery. Getting the last ounce of speed out of your sails may take a lifetime of practice, but I'm betting she could take the helm if she had to and keep a somewhat steady course. As for docking, my husband keeps pushing me to learn how to dock and I keep telling him not to worry. If there's a true emergency I'm not pulling into our slip anyway; I'm motoring to the marina office and tying her up there. I know how to throw out the fenders and my docking may not be pretty, but I'll get it done. There's a first time for everything, whether it's the first practice run or the first emergency run. I'm far more worried about retrieving my husband if he goes overboard than I am about making it back to the dock. Maybe she'd consider a sailing class to learn those skills?

I can't assume what the dynamics are in your situation, but I've found communication frequently fails when one spouse is trying to train another. Sailing has its own language and if the order you bark out isn't instantly understood, errors happen. Errors take the fun out of sailing and can lead to raised voices. Raised voices kill all the fun. Just be sure a skill is truly necessary before placing the fun at risk of a horrible death.
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post #23 of 138 Old 01-28-2012
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Well, you might try another tact.

If you don't want this debate, how about you just consider that you are alone sailing. Not literally, just in your own mind. Run lines, both sides of the deck, always be in a harness, when you go out of the cabin shackel your harness onto one of the lines.

Sailing is often a very small part of what we actually do, unless your going 28 days from the Panama canal to the Galapagoes. If your sailing to the Bahamas, so it takes 3 or 4 days - that's not a lot to be in a harness. You'll be in port for weeks whooping it up with your loved one.

Harnesse are really not a bad idea for either of you on the open water. If you fall in, you can pull yourself back on. Think about it. If you fall over the side alone or fall over the side while she's not on watch you're done for anyway if you aren't attached to the boat. Be safe. If you switch watches, she is on and your off, the same goes for her too. You won't be there when she goes over the side, you'll be asleep below. Hopefully you'll hear a yelp but maybe not. So, do the best you can so you don't need her to manuever back to get you.

I remember one thing a sailing instructor said to me, if you see someone go over the side and you know you don't have the skill to manuever the boat. Take a bearing, let go all the halyards, start your engine and turn around - don't try to be an expert sailor if you're really not one.

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post #24 of 138 Old 01-28-2012
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Do you let her try to do these things. My wife was green as can be and our berth in the marina was seriously tight. I just gave her the tiller, gave her a few pointers and hopped on the bow with the biggest bumper we had.

Maybe she just never felt like she had to know.

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post #25 of 138 Old 01-28-2012
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Originally Posted by bchaps View Post
What do you do? Can your First Mate sail/dock the boat?
Why yes she can... very well too. She can dock as well as anyone I know.
She is familiar with the 'rules of the road' and how to read a chart.

Grip and upper body strength aren't her strong points but she has wits and finesse. Dealing with the sails would be her biggest challenge but she'd get it done.

Glad to say my wife can handle our boat...MGM

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post #26 of 138 Old 01-28-2012
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My wife is have taken lessons, but since I sail as a vocation we haven't sailed togther in close to 5 years. With a refresher she would be fine. Yes, I certified her BEFORE we were a couple.

Why is that the only time I see women on the helm (huge generalization, I know) is anchoring? With a windlass anyone can anchor; without a windlass and a little thought anyone can anchor. I had a 89 pound lady raise an anchor without a windlass.

When docking, it makes more sense to me that the woman should dock the boat and the man should step off with the line(s). Men tend to have more upper body strength and may need to control the vessel once at the dock.

BTW - apparently if a couple goes sailing and only one returns, the insurance company will pay out. Everyone should learn MOB.
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post #27 of 138 Old 01-28-2012 Thread Starter
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Wow...great comments! Thank you.

We had a heart to heart discussion this morning and I got beyond silence (Donna, you may have been on the mark).

Yes, she does take the helm on open water and on the ICW where depth isn't an issue...definitely not through the Rock Cut nor any inlets. And we do tether whenever we're outside. All lines terminate in the cockpit, so there is no need to go forward in bad weather. Jack line will be added before crossing the Gulf Stream.

Long ago I learned that I am not my wife's instructor. ...taught her to drive stick shift...not good...just had to overlook grinding gears and a bucking car. But far worse was downhill skiing...disaster! don't think we talked for several days. We both agreed any further instruction would be done by a Pro...and I should not be present.

We both took ASA 101,103, 104 but I was present... not optimal for us. Now she is looking for a "hands-on" female sailing instructor within two hours drive of the Oriental, NC area.

Please tell me if you have any recommendations.
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post #28 of 138 Old 01-28-2012
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Glad your convo went well. If you aren't already, do regular man-overboard drills. It's best if it isn't planned out, so maybe ask you wife to take the helm, go fiddle with something on the foredeck, 'lose' your hat or something overboard and ask your wife to keep driving while you scramble around downstairs for a boathook you've conveniently managed to misplace somewhere. The best scenario for this would be with you sailing close-hauled with plenty of sea room.

You can come clean after the fact, and then suggest that you make it a regular part of your routine, and include practice starting from all points of sail.

Sailing a '74 Challenger 40' Ketch rig out of San Francisco
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post #29 of 138 Old 01-28-2012
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I'd like to expand a little on Jackdale's insightful post earlier about docking / anchoring. BTW...this is my first post and this topic is one my wife and have discussed at length and have come up with a solution that works for us. We are both "noobs" in a sailing club here in the SF Bay Area and got our ASA certs about a year ago. Early on, practicing docking and other maneuvers it became clear that me at the helm and her on deck lassoing dock cleats/snagging spring lines scared the bejeezus out of me. So we came up with a plan. Put her at the helm... I'll be the lookout (she is shorter) and then use non-verbal signals to get her in / out of docks and I handle all the lines, etc. It took some practice but it has worked out great. It has boosted her confidence and looks pretty cool.
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post #30 of 138 Old 01-28-2012
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Originally Posted by oslokid View Post
..... and then use non-verbal signals to get her in / out of docks .
This is the key... we have no windlass, a 35#CQR and a fair bit of chain and there's no way my wife feels able to handle that. She drives and I anchor, (just like she drives when I gibe the pole) - anyhow years ago we developed our own hand signals and it's rare indeed to have actually try to converse from the bow to the stern about what we're doing.

But I can't keep track of how many times we've been enjoying our post-anchor drinks and listened to others in the anchorage trying to do all this with verbal commands and questions. It so often devolves into yelling which still can only be heard by everyone else but themselves.

We always strive to keep our EQ* to a minimum....

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