You model of sensitive 21st century manhood, you! (ok, the kidding around part is done now)
Look over on the hersailnet forum. This issue was discussed there at length and there was even female participation!
I agree with the giving her the helm as much as possible part. Start slowly with easily achieved goals, to build confidence. Instead of commanding her to move the helm one way or the other, try phrasing it with a, "maybe try....".
The driving illustration is perfect. The intense pressure to not screw up, mostly internally generated by her, can be overwhelming. If that seems to be the case, do and pay whatever it takes to get her out with someone else, male or female, for some lessons, formal or informal. The only thing i know for sure is that we do not shed the emotional baggage of our marriage just by stepping on board a boat. The irony is that they may want to suceed as much or more than we wish them to, but just cannot respond naturally to your tutelage. To keep the marriage, the boat, and fun all in the same sentence I'd endeavor to get her out with others.
And, yes, you will need to put yourself in a mind-set where you will show zero anxiety. That may require reefing from the git-go. But, short of physical harm, you should put your mind to work on the idea that it is only a damn boat. Boats may come, they may go, your marriage you want forever. If you gybe and rip out the main, well it needed replacing anyways! the funny thing about women is that they think they know how much that sail meant to you, even when it didn't. See, in my experience, just because I talk about the boat and sailing all the time it doesn't mean i value the boat or sailing above my wife. But that's the way they hear it. They think, "he doesn't talk about me, or to me, as much as he does about the boat" therefore I'm not as important to him as.... You probably know how that one goes. And again, if you're like me, you're immediate response is, " I married you, what more can i do or say to show how important you are to me?" Realizing that that line of talk is going nowhere, you endeavor to compliment her on her figure (well, it's the first thing that comes to mind right?) and make the mistake of mentioning her butt, which while you genuinely love her butt, you have forgotten that no woman loves her butt, and now you're on the outs for a day, and forget about sailing, you're not even going to be getting what you got married for!
So, if you have a modicum of success with this, let us know 'cause you ain't alone out there. Well, you are. But there's alot of us out there alone just like you, trying desperately to not do the wrong thing.
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.