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CharlieCobra 08-31-2006 03:46 PM

My wife wouldn't step foot on my boat but now....
Things are different. This last weekend, I put her at the helm and took my time helping her get used to the fact that ya push left to turn right etc. We then did some MOB drills which, by the way, where a blast and the stated reason for her driving. By the end of the day she was gybing by herself with no help from me while I was the galley slave making some lunch. When the wind picked up and we started upwind (where this boat likes to fly) she handed the helm back, not quite ready to run the boat on the ragged edge with 20* of heel. Now she can't wait to get back out there and go sailing. The thing I've found about teaching the wife something is to keep it light and conversational, don't stress or holler when she forgets to come on course when gybing or tacking 'cause she's still adjusting the sails, just get a good laugh going over it. Matter of fact, while I was in the cabin, she called out saying another sailboat had turned parallel to us when she did and she wasn't sure who had the right of way. I popped my head out, looked at the boat to Leeward and told her they did. When she asked what to do I just told her to duck behind them and come back up on the other side. That she did just fine, while I went back into the cabin. Who else has taught or attempted to teach their SO how to drive and sail their boat?

astraeus 08-31-2006 04:01 PM

I have tried. I would love it if she took the helm position. I've given up though and am just prepping to go through ASA 101 & 103 with her. I think she will learn more from them than she would learn from me.

Faster 08-31-2006 04:14 PM

Yeah, keeping your SO fully involved is really important. My wife shares the driving, sheeting and grinding as long as conditions are moderate or less. She is less confident in the heavy going and leaves that to me.
It is a wonderful thing when both partners are keen. I have seen so many sad situations where one of the partners absolutely loves the boat and the other is frightened or nervous or uninterested. Inevitably the partnership or the boat ownership suffers, usually the latter. BTW, it's not always the women who don't take to it!
25 years ago my wife was a VERY nervous sailor, but taking it slow and easing into things worked well. At the end of our first boating summer we took a 1 week cruise on a nearby sound and that cemented things forever.
Those of us who have that kind of support should be thankful...many don't!

Dewey Benson 08-31-2006 04:18 PM

Wifey taught ME to sail.

She'd been at it since she was a kid.

Those Sicillian chicks really had it good.


Cruisingdad 08-31-2006 04:26 PM

You know, getting your wife involved if you are lake sailing or just puttering around the coast... I guess that is 50:50. There is enough stuff going on with the kids half the times that I just end up singling everywhere.

If you are doing anything even slightly more serious, especially offshore: BETTER MAKE SURE SHE CAN TOTALLY SINGLE THAT BOAT!!

I pesonally would not own a boat I/she could not single: and that includes in the dock, out of the dock, and all the sheets. Just does not seem safe to me.

All that being said, she typically will fight me over the helm half the time when she can. She thinks it is really funny to send me down for a beer while she is at the helm. Personally, I have come to regret the whole teaching her to steer thing....

Better think about that guys!!! Learn from my mistakes!!!!

HAHA I am just kidding. Get them involved, you will have more fun and it will be safer.

CharlieCobra 08-31-2006 04:33 PM

Yeah, I figure to ease her into it all as we go along. I can hardly wait until she has to dip-pole gybe the first time.

sailingdog 08-31-2006 05:33 PM

Hey Dewey–

Sounds like you did well in the wife department. :) A sailor who put up with a landlubber.... :D

cassycc36 08-31-2006 08:17 PM

My boyfriend and I are basically learning to sail together. We used to scrap alot because he would yell at me. My advice is for the wifey to crew on another boat. This helps her realize 1) a high level of performance is expected and important to sail a vessel safely and efficiently, and 2) all captains boss around their crew, so don't take it personally. The result: a more confident and able sailing buddy and less conflict in the cockpit.

gpd955 08-31-2006 08:28 PM

insisting that my wife take the helm for some time, (even the excuse that I needed to know she could come back and rescue me if I went over didn't work) she finally gave in 2 weeks ago. One day I had her motor out and the next day she motored and sailed. I was finally able to sit on the deck and enjoy the ride with my dock neighbor and some cigars!

She ablsolutely loved it and if it wasn't for bad weather this past weekend, she'd have been back at the wheel!

Now she wants me to teach her how to leave and return to the dock. I have a feeling I'm going to cut out of work early to go sailing and find the boat gone!!!! Maybe I'll keep that one to myself! You know the old saying....I taught her everything she knows, but not everything I know!!!

Jack Manning
S/V Victim of Fate
Atlantic City, NJ

captnnero 08-31-2006 10:08 PM

My wife can do it all and serves a mean margarita on anchor too. We learned together over the last ten years. She's even worked on the top of the mast at about 50 feet above sea level.

At this point I've just started crewing on a local raceboat. She has no interest in that so I'm going to try to pass relevant things along as best I can without producing a domestic front ;) .

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