In another thread, a good discussion began (somewhat off topic) on the need for your spouse to single hand your boat if you were incapacitated. This was particularly noted, if you have a larger boat with furling sails and only one might find themselves having to sail alone.
As a general rule, I think this is a very good approach. I don't think my single handed wife could sail our 54' boat alone with ease, but I'm confident that she could at least drop/furl the sails and motor, if I were incapacitated or (god forbid) overboard. She's even practiced both figure 8 and quick stop recoveries, but in reality, I'll bet she would drop sails and motor under the pressure. I'm also certain, she would call the USCG as soon as she was back at the helm and heading toward me. Our towboat US policy may be another option, if she truly felt overwhelmed and I just went up the rescue basket into the helicopter.
This is my point for raising the issue. Is our risk tolerance at sea actually lower than on land? I single hand my car at 75 mph, routinely. Should I become incapacitated while driving, the odds are bad for everyone else in the car. Maybe even worse than crew lying ahull and waiting for rescue at sea. Don't get me wrong, I think safety at sea is very important. I'm curious, however, if you think we all sometimes get a bit academic about it.
Well, my view is that if 'one' is short handed, with one person on watch at a time, the on watch person must be able to handle the boat. They also should know how to navigate /run the plotter/radio etc etc.
I firmly believe that the mindset of self sufficiency is necessary.
Also there is a difference between real and percieved danger. Stress and lack of sleep can change 'ones' ability to cope with this.
The way we react to instances beyond our preparation, is situational.
I think that maybe the mindset you're thinking about stems both from the need, whether perceived or real, to have someone else who is capable of minding the helm in the event of primary operator incapacitation...because they can.
If your car had dual controls - that is, if the passenger seat had steering wheel, brake, accelerator, etc., making it possible for someone else to take over, wouldn't you be more comfortable if the person sitting there knew how to drive, or at least how to safely get the vehicle stopped in the event that you (God forbid) became incapacitated?
I know that if such were the case with my car, all of a sudden I'd feel differently about who sat in the passenger seat. And, I think that the very reason I don't worry about it now is because it's simply not an option.
Seems foolish not to use an option that's available for the safety of the vessel and its passengers - like making sure my wife can operate the boat to some degree. Tempting fate, maybe.
If setting out for a long offshore passage, would you take an EPIRB? GPS, and backup GPS? Liferaft? None of these things are necessary, strictly speaking, but again...seems foolish not to utilize readily available safety measures.
Just my $0.02.
And, my apologies if my thoughts aren't flowing very cogently this morning...first cup of coffee hasn't kicked in yet.
There are two kinds of mind sets here in commercial world of sea going personnel.
1. The Captain will not teach his crew anything about Navigation or boat handling because he is afraid that that crewman will get a license and take his job. He rules by fear and unfortunately is controlled by his own inner fears.
2. The Captain teaches his crew all that they are willing to learn in order to have a well trained crew, higher standards of Safety & Seamanship. He rules by respect and is respected in return by his crew. Thus his crew can under his instructions, learn to handle the vessel under any conditions.
I rather be with Captain #2. I myself mentored my crew when I was working offshore. And still mentoring by being an instructor in maritime science and helping my students acquire their licenses.
So if you have a newbie on board, teach him/her what they are willing to learn. You can't force them, but by friendly leadership you may have willing students.
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3 = the "captain" thinks for the spouse and decides she's incapable of walking and chewing gum
4 = Spouse is a "Oh well it's what makes him happy and do the cooking, I could NEVVVVER take the wheel
Just a little feminist perspective there.
Geeze Denise, ever the cynic you are.
I had a female crewmember for last fall's races. She was interested in all aspects of sailing and I made her try them all. Now, she's signed up with a local sailing club and we are encouraging her to skipper in some races.
I have recently made a new female friend, and she is also chomping to learn how to sail, and all the different crew positions. I'm hoping she'll be allowed to crew on my buddy's C&C later this year after I get her up to speed.
These ladies are not on my boat to rub my shoulders or fetch my beer. They are good friends whom I respect. I expect them to carry their share of the load, commensurate with their level of knowledge and they never disappoint me.
Really, this stereotype that male sailors are all sexist Neanderthals who can't control themselves is getting pretty tiresome.