Skittish first mate... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 07-19-2007 Thread Starter
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Cool Skittish first mate...

How do you get the wife to relax when weather rears it's ugly head? My wife will sail in fair weather but sometimes gets very uncumpfortable when the wind and waves build. How can I ease her into the un-predictable situations of weather when half foot waves build to four or even eight feet high while the boat heals over 15 degrees and will sail seven to even ten knots while surfing. I sail in the western basin of Lake Erie where it's shallow and a true nor'easter can stir up uncompfortable water. I do know not to sail when the weather is threatening, but sometimes you just get cought. Does anyone have a suggestion? Has anyone had secess with a particular strategy?!
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post #2 of 35 Old 07-19-2007
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My wife is the same way, even when we get smacked by the wake of a massive powerboat. I figure the more she experiences it, the easier it will get.
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post #3 of 35 Old 07-19-2007
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My wife/first mate hits the cockpit deck whenever a large powerboat approaches . . . knowing what usually comes next. We've been sailing on this boat for 4 seasons now - and she still gets "skittish" with wakes and heavy weather.

I don't think there is anything I can do to ever change this anxiety she has about heeling and rolling - except to minimize the angle of heel as best as possible. I do this by reefing early with approaching fronts and letting out more mainsheet whenever reaching.

Regarding powerboat wakes - stay alert, anticipate the wake's approach and change course if necessary to cross the wake at approx 45 degrees.

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sold the Nauticat
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post #4 of 35 Old 07-19-2007
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Time.....

In our early years of trailer sailing I never really felt that comfortable myself always kept it close to horizontal so it was not really an issue. Then came the real Keel Boats and for the first 3 or 4 years she would just stay up on the high side and stare off into space Then she finally got more used to it and now although she doesn't like to heal more than 10 degrees she accepts it without pouting. Now sometimes she just goes into the Pilothouse where she feels more comfortable when I'm playing or just doing what I have to do to sail the boat in the existing conditions in the direction I want to go.

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Wickford/Narragansett Bay RI
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post #5 of 35 Old 07-19-2007
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Giving your wife control of the situation is the key to making her comfortable. When it starts to blow, reef down, and then give her the helm. Quietly coach her through handling the boat as it blows. Set it up so that she can head up, spill the wind, etc, but give her control. Make sure the boat is balanced out so that it will respond to the helm. Quietly disable the wind velocity gauge so she does not know how hard it is blowing. If she is in control her comfort level will slowly increase. You may have to get some help with this. As you know, no one should ever try and teach their spouse how to drive. Doesn't work. I have sailed with a couple of friends wives in deteriorating situations using this approach, and gotten back to the dock to hear "That was fun!" from the wife, and "How in the hell did you do that?" from the husband. Might even be worth hiring a really good FEMALE instructor to take her out on a blustery day. When you give her the helm, you should go sit on the lee side, trail your hand in the water, SMILE, and LOOK RELAXED
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post #6 of 35 Old 07-19-2007
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Here's what I found. There was no way that *I* could make my wife feel more comfortable when the boat was heeling. She went to Bluewater Sailing School in Florida over the Winter, spent the week on a boat getting lessons and being in control, and she's a changed woman. She's a lot more comfortable, and she knows what she's doing. Plus, she gets to participate in the actual sailing now so it's a lot more enjoyable for her. It cost us around $1,300 + plane fare for the week.

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post #7 of 35 Old 07-19-2007
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I know lake erie , it probably isnt so much the steady heeling as it is when the wind gust gives it that extra push . Try getting farther off shore where it is less gusty , there may be more wind but just reef down & you will still maintain good speed . the best thing would be to get a Catamaran no heeling or maybe a tri , but then where in western lake erie are you going to dock it?
I'm she would gain more confidience by conversing with other women who sail , try joining a sail club like wssc (http://www.westshoresailclub.org/)
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post #8 of 35 Old 07-19-2007
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If all else fails, get some Xanax!
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post #9 of 35 Old 07-19-2007
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I agree with the others that helping a woman become confident in whatever you are doing is key. It's easy to forget that women don't often (in my experience) go out there and do all the crazy stuff that we men sometimes do, so they are often anxious about things we totally don't even pay any attention to. In boating for instance you know that the boat can't turn over, I mean you actually know that the keel is like a hammer that is hanging down and that the higher up you try to lift it the more force it exerts to keep the sailboat from going over on it's side. But did you ever just put a long sledgehammer in your woman's hands and have her try to lift it up sideways so she could see that it's damn near impossible once you get to a certain point ? A lot of times I've noticed a woman won't say she doesn't understand something, or that she isn't comfortable, she'll just go along so she won't be seen as a stick in the mud. And she probably isn't going to let you teach her anyway. I like that idea of sending a woman off for training, I could see how that could really work - she'd be free to ask questions without it being a "thing" (you explaining it to her 50 times in your annoying way LOL), she'd see it all from another perspective from an "authority" who's "job" it is to teach such things, etc, instead of it just being you and your usual tricks HAHA. Besides the expense I don't see much downside to that. Putting her into a situation where she can learn some things that you don't know is helpful I would think, so that at some point she can say something like "That's not what my instructor said" and be all happy with herself HAHA. I agree let her sail the vessel too.
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post #10 of 35 Old 07-19-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by labatt View Post
Here's what I found. There was no way that *I* could make my wife feel more comfortable when the boat was heeling. She went to Bluewater Sailing School in Florida over the Winter, spent the week on a boat getting lessons and being in control, and she's a changed woman. She's a lot more comfortable, and she knows what she's doing. Plus, she gets to participate in the actual sailing now so it's a lot more enjoyable for her. It cost us around $1,300 + plane fare for the week.
Would that school teach Canadians? My wife, while game and generally unafraid of weather, is falling behind me in terms of seamanship and needs either to go (alone) on a delivery or three or to get more formal training, or both (I have various certs, Power Squadron, more racing, etc. than her, and exactly one minimally challenging Portuguese delivery... ).

A week dumping Sunfish in the Atlantic plus "offshore-tailored" class time would be a good investment.
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