I would probably be the equivalent of your wife. Although I was born and raised on the water, my initial experience is with (shhhh – motor boats). I grew up on a 40’ Mathews and a Boston Whaler and lived on Fire Island every summer for many years. Therefore, when I met Skip, a single-handed sailor who also happened to be a Master Shipwright, I had to learn the language you all share and so many other things important to know and exclusive to sailing. Years ago, Skip gave me a 2-day single-handed course on a 30 footer as a Christmas present. Receiving my textbook before hand, I set out to learn all I could before I actually got into the boat. When it came time for the actual sailing part, I was surprised and disappointed when asking questions, that my instructor did not know the text and terms as well as I did. This was an ASA course. The good news is that I nailed the man over board drill the first time and every time after. Certainly not a bad thing to be good at considering I would prefer to keep Skip on board when ever possible.
Valiente said it best, at least in my opinion. It really does make sense to have the helm to yourself while knowing you have the support of someone so knowledgeable standing by if you need assistance. It has allowed me to work through some of my confidence issues and the logistics of sailing. Because MISTRESS was only launched last year and spent several months with only one mast in, there has not been a lot of opportunity for me to have the helm while being close to shore. Skip and I agree we will be putting out buoys for me to sail to, around, and the like to help me get use to MISTRESS’s ways while pretending to be in close quarters.
Skip originally picked this kind of Schooner because with just her working sails, (main, staysail, and jumbo) each being on its own boom, she tacks herself when the wheel is turned. No need to play with the lines; of course that is once they have been raised to begin with. The jib is a furl jib and is not difficult for me at all. The Queen Fisherman is another story, therefore in light air, by myself; this will be a bit of a chore. That sail requires someone to assist it with each tack, thereby making it a bit difficult to be at the helm and assist the Queen. It won’t look pretty.
MISTRESS is a 50’ Staysail rigged Schooner. With either of her Fisherman’s up, she appears to be a Gaff 4.