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  #1  
Old 07-31-2014
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My wife, the reluctant sailor

Does this ever happen to anyone else? A few weeks ago, my wife and I were going to do a long planned sailing trip from CT to Boston and back. This was a going to be a major achievement because while she's a great day sailor, she generally considers an overnight on the boat to be like a bad version of camping. In the end, she didn't sail a single mile with me. Instead, she was the best shore side support team that I could ever ask for!

Day 1: Plan was to sail with a buddy to Block Island and stay overnight. He would leave Block on the ferry the next morning and I would sail solo to Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard where I would meet my wife, who would then join me on the boat for the rest of the trip. Buddy backs out at last minute (for a good reason, a broken foot). I decide to skip Block and go direct to MV.

Day 2: I sailed from CT to Martha's Vineyard myself (0300 departure to catch the tide at the Race) while my wife took the ferry to MV from RI as planned later in the day. She ended up getting there way before me, so she took a last minute room at a B&B to have a base of operations while I was still out in Vineyard Sound getting bounced around. I pick up a mooring at 9PM, go ashore and we grab a quick dinner. We stay overnight at the B&B.

Day 3: We do the typical sightseeing / beach-combing stuff - after the beach, we decide to keep the B&B room for another night. I have to admit that I was all for that decision! Another nice dinner and back to the inn. She hasn't set foot on the boat yet.

Day 4: Weather forecast was ugly (and accurate) for this day. She decided that bashing to windward from Edgartown to Mattapoisett (our next stop) didn't sound like fun, so she took the ferry back to RI, picked up her car and drove to Mattapoisett while I sailed there. I had a good time, but she definitely wouldn't have liked it. We stay overnight shore side with family in Mattapoisett.

Day 5: Weather is still not great. We're supposed to leave early to catch the current through the canal and sail to Provincetown, but as the wine bottles were drained the prior night, our sailing trip turned into a car trip out to Provincetown. We made another last minute reservation ($$$ - yikes!) at a B&B for that night. We drove there in the pouring rain and enjoyed the sights despite the weather. We both agreed that we would have been soaked if we had sailed there. Another nice night in a B&B rather than the boat.

Day 6: The plan was to sail / motor from Mattapoisett to Boston. It was a beautiful day, but there wasn't much wind. We drove back to Mattapoisett from Provincetown that morning. On the way she convinces me that it would be a pain in the neck to retrieve our car from Mattapoisett if we leave it behind there. She's right about that. She'll drive to Boston and that way, she'll be able to spend more time with our (adult) kids and their significant others, who all live in the Boston area. When I get to Boston (the next day), we'll have a nice BBQ with the whole family at the marina. I had to admit to myself that it was nice having access to the car during the past day so I could make a side trips to a grocery store, laundry and West Marine. She waves goodbye to me as I once again set out solo for Boston around noon. She still hasn't been on the boat.

Day 7: There was a lot of motoring to get to Boston. I arrive at the marina (Constitution Marina in Charlestown) in the wee hours of the morning and grab some sleep. In the afternoon, I took a few family members out to one of the harbor islands, but my wife didn't come along - she had to go shopping to get ready for the BBQ. We had a nice time with everyone at dinner, but now we have to solve the logistics problem of the car again! If she accompanies me on the return trip from Boston, we'll have to return to Boston to pick up the car somehow. Solution - she will drive home in 2 1/2 hours rather than spend 2 1/2 days on the boat. By now, I'm beginning to see a pattern. She leaves that night and I'm solo again.

Day 8, 9, 10: On day 8, I did a little sightseeing in Boston (there are 294 painful steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument!). I left the next morning for home, stopping overnight in Mattapoisett and arriving back in Old Saybrook the next evening. My wife greeted me on the dock with a big smile and said it was the best sailing trip that she had ever been on! I guess I'm really a fair weather sailor because I liked it too!
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  #2  
Old 07-31-2014
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Re: My wife, the reluctant sailor

You have just described my wifes favorite trip on the boat. She made more than a few very unpleasant passages with me, but meeting me along the way was the better part of our boat ownership. She was a great sport, but reality was that her inner ear did not do well on the boat. I loved it, she did not. She is still unhappy that I sold the boat. Did I say great sport?
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: My wife, the reluctant sailor

It's painfully clear what is happening here. What a pity. Good thing is - she is trying to hang with you on land so that means she cares and is trying. I can see my wife doing the same exact thing.

Like many of us, you are devoted to your wife so you don't do the things which would put you in contact with better sailing partners. I am the same way. But maybe it is time to just put up a request for crew or ask around locally to see who can come and who you would enjoy sailing with. And then just come home to the wife afterwards instead of playing the cat and mouse game. Life is too short and perhaps when she has time to think about you out there enjoying sailing she will come around. I mean, part of being married is letting the other person do their thing.

Perhaps not. But solo sailing is a bit risky.
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Last edited by Sal Paradise; 08-01-2014 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: My wife, the reluctant sailor

Guys...guys... you are all missing the point.

Women want to feel safe and secure in their lives. Why would you think spending time on a small fiberglass boat would be any different?

I couldn't get my lady within a mile of a sail boat until she saw her first catamaran....

So... I bought one.

Having a happy admiral means you're a very happy captain.
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: My wife, the reluctant sailor

TropicCat has a point that few men understand, nor do they care to understand.

Women like men who keep them safe. Men who don't keep their woman safe will find she does the 'ol midnight flit.

Take a bit of science with your boat buying and wife-as-a-sailor learning curve:

Quote:
Predation is generally thought to constrain sexual selection by female choice and limit the evolution of conspicuous sexual signals. Under high predation risk, females usually become less choosy, because they reduce their exposure to their predators by reducing the extent of their mate searching. However, predation need not weaken sexual selection if, under high predation risk, females exhibit stronger preferences for males that use conspicuous signals that help females avoid their predators. We tested this prediction in the fiddler crab Uca terpsichores by increasing females' perceived predation risk from crab-eating birds and measuring the attractiveness of a courtship signal that females use to find mates. The sexual signal is an arching mound of sand that males build at the openings of their burrows to which they attract females for mating. We found that the greater the risk, the more attractive were males with those structures. The benefits of mate preferences for sexual signals are usually thought to be linked to males' reproductive contributions to females or their young.
Our study provides the first evidence that a female preference for a sexual signal can yield direct survival benefits by keeping females safe as they search for mates.
That science says that if you have a better, safer, house the woman will head there. Give her the option of a man with a better house and some lame sailor trying to kill her she will take the dingo-ugly mud-guts slob with the nice safe house miles from the sea shore. Not only that, but the research shows if you ADVERTISE the bigger house or boat the women will come flockin'

PLOS ONE: A Preference for a Sexual Signal Keeps Females Safe
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Notes on a Circumnavigation:
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Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 08-01-2014 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: My wife, the reluctant sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by TropicCat View Post
Guys...guys... you are all missing the point.

Women want to feel safe and secure in their lives. Why would you think spending time on a small fiberglass boat would be any different?

I couldn't get my lady within a mile of a sail boat until she saw her first catamaran....

So... I bought one.

Having a happy admiral means you're a very happy captain.
Not sure we can be that stereotypical in our judgements. It was my wife's idea to do a circumnavigation (on a monohull) and she had only been sailing for a few years. I think what is critical is that both members of the couple need to be involved in the sport, from choosing the boat, to helping with maintenance, deciding what to spend on, etc. If it is one person's love and the other person is only going along for the ride because they see how important it is then it does not work nearly as well.
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: My wife, the reluctant sailor

Seriously, we're going to go into life as cavemen to figure out the problem here? C'mon guys.


Instead of posting on a forum about it, ask her specifically what she doesn't like. She will tell you as long as you won't jump down her throat about it.
Maybe she likes warm showers.
Maybe she likes pretty hair that takes using a blow dryer.
Maybe she wanted to see her kids.
Maybe she wanted some alone time.
Maybe she doesn't trust you as skipper.

If you want her with you, figure it out. If she just doesn't like it, then she doesn't. She's not a bad person for it or a bad wife. Husbands and wives don't have to like everything the other does. Obviously she's supportive of it enough that you got to make your trip.
No need to start discussing women as primates.

She might know she gets miserable on long trips and perhaps didn't want to spoil your fun. She tried and for some reason she couldn't tell you the truth. Either your feelings would get hurt or it'd turn into an argument. If/when you ask her why she didn't come with you, make sure you don't prove her right by being hurt or starting a fight.

Just remember, if she takes you to some girly store filled with gowns and other ******** you have little to no interest in, traps you there for days on end and keeps you miserable, are you gonna want to go back? No, you'll be waving from the front door of your house with a big smile saying, "Have fun, honey!"

And a big key most men are missing-
Women lose trust when scared.
Men are all, "I was scared as hell but he got us through the gale with 20 foot swells. Hell yeah I'd go back out to sea with him!"
However, if a woman is scared it doesn't matter if you got the boat through. You put her into a situation that scared her. Some don't get scared easily. Some do get scared easily. You may be out enjoying the trip because you're testing yourself while she is absolutely miserable and wondering why in the hell she got on a boat with you.
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: My wife, the reluctant sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
I think what is critical is that both members of the couple need to be involved in the sport, from choosing the boat, to helping with maintenance, deciding what to spend on, etc. If it is one person's love and the other person is only going along for the ride because they see how important it is then it does not work nearly as well.
Very true in my experience. My wife has always enjoyed sailing though has developed few seamanship skills. She started experiencing some skin cancers and now almost never goes sailing with me, even passed on a BVI charter because of her fear of more skin cancer. I really don't fault her, but bottom line I'm sailing less without her as a partner.
John
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: My wife, the reluctant sailor

Before marriage told her I wanted to cruise. She said ok.
Before building boat got a hit list of her must haves and had her make final say of boat.
Before any cruise have her pick plan and approve weather window.

Reef to third reef when I would go to second.
Go to Solent when I would just put one roll on the genny.
Fall off when I would pinch.
Take it in steps. First 400 m jogs with pro crew and her. Then single watches for her. Then 200 m jogs with just us two.
Make her oversee my chart work and weather down loads. She has the final go- no go.
Take land breaks. We go where she wants. Never dump cooking/ cleaning on her. We share.
Always remind her she is more important than the boat.

Doing above so far so good.
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: My wife, the reluctant sailor

Interesting replies all - from cavemen and other alike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sublime View Post
Instead of posting on a forum about it, ask her specifically what she doesn't like.
I didn't make the post to get advice for the lovelorn - I was hoping to relate a funny story and give my wife props for doing all that she does to support my boating habit over the 30+ years we've been married. If I didn't make that clear, let me state for the record:

- I love my wife!

- I am completely OK with our "one if by sea, two if by land" arrangement.

- We get our fair share of sunsets together on the boat - it's just that generally, they are experienced within ten of miles of the dock!

With respect to your other points:
- She does like warm showers, as do I. Some day I might pull out the entire V-berth and install a jet tub and rainfall shower!

- She has beautiful hair - me, not so much anymore (OK, none!). I think my generator could handle a small hair dryer.

- We both wanted to see our kids - that was why Boston was picked as the destination.

- Maybe she wanted some alone time... absolutely!

- She doesn't trust me with the coffee maker, so trust in me as skipper? Probably not!
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