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  #1  
Old 10-02-2007
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Question "Women only" learn-to-sail courses?

I've heard of these but never done one. In fact, most of my formal sailing training was in settings (like Navy) where differences were minimized, not catered to. I have to admit that I don't get it. The forces of nature and physics that the sailboat responds to don't particularly care if you're male or female. There are tasks on the boat that flat out require strength - though it could be argued that the better you are, the more you use skill and foresight instead.

I'm curious about these sorts of courses, that many (men!) here have recommended for new sailing spouses. Are they truly responding to differences in the way women, or just individual people, learn? The whole idea seems somehow condescending to me.
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Old 10-02-2007
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Actually there are differences in the general ways males and females learn things and this is being proven out in same sex classroom experiments where the teachig is geared to the gender learning styles.
That said...I think the courses like "womanship" etc.teach the same stuff that the standard ASA courses teach and don't really pay much attention to the latest pedagogy theories. The difference is that it is generally women doing the teaching and there are no alpha males posturing or yelling or making it difficult for others to ask a question or express their fears. I've known two women (who could make a sailor blush and hold their own with the guys) who learned in "women's" courses and came away loving the experience and each made friends with others that they still keep up with today. They found nothing condescending in the experience and indeed felt like they were more individually challenged than they would have been if guys had been there.
I think he availability and long term operation of such choices speaks to the fact that many women prefer to learn this way. It is just as apparent that many prefer to learn in standard ASA type courses or in couples type courses. Nice to have the choice!

http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Gender_Differences ...for some gender learning difference facts and issues
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Old 10-02-2007
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Another reason is that in many couples, one of the partners is dominant and the other will give way to them in making decisions or doing things and often this one giving way is the woman... By having a women's only course, there is a much greater possibility of her learning everything she needs to know to sail a boat single-handed, which might not happen if her spouse/partner were there.

IMHO, both halves of a cruising couple need to be able to sail the boat single-handed under almost all conditions. If one is injured, sick, falls overboard or otherwise incapacitated.... the other will effectively be singlehanding.
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Actually, if one partner was "dominant" in the marriage it would be an excellent temptation to leave him if he fell in ...
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Old 10-02-2007
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These are all great post. I cannot agree any more than what was said. Eryka, you and I it sounds like we are cut from the same cloth. Strong woman, who isn't afraid of speaking your mind. However, as you well know most women aren't like that hence very successful businesses to help out women sail with other women. It is the same in the flying business as well. Husband/boyfriends make lousy teachers to their other partners and it is rarely done successfully. There is no greater way to see this disparity than to go to the womens sailing convention in So Calif in Feb and hear what women say and talk about.
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Old 10-02-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eryka View Post
Actually, if one partner was "dominant" in the marriage it would be an excellent temptation to leave him if he fell in ...
Heh..heh...heh...maybe that's why hubby #1 didn't suggest learning to sail...Eryka, you're a little wicked. I think you and I would get along pretty well!
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I believe they start with a rigorous line of courses such as:
- Pink sails: where to locate, how to fly
- Sailing harnesses and breast management
- The effect of estrogen on winches

JUST KIDDING

I haven't taken a women-only sailing course but my understanding is similar to what others have posted - that they are simply "normal" sailing courses taught by women to women. Some women will find that a better learning environment so I'm glad the courses exist.

I've had informal instruction in rock climbing by women and it was useful in eliminating my own baggage and limitations that I brought to the sport as a woman. In a sport with many fewer women than men it was freeing to see women kicking arse and pulling down hard and it was useful to me to have female climbing role models.

YMMV of course.

I think that the reason that I don't feel the need for a woman only sailing course is that the men I hang around with are open to expressing emotion, are relatively non competitive and are comfortable with female leadership...and I hang around with tough, take charge, get dirt under your nails women. I've emphasized the non-traditional aspects of each, I guess I should say that the men and women are more alike and less like separate species than other people's groups of friends.

Rather than taking a women only class, I chose a woman friendly sailing partner (my fabulous husband)

I think some of the differences in gender needs are cultural and generational.
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Last edited by Livia; 10-02-2007 at 01:07 PM.
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To me it seems a giant leap from a woman learning to sail taught by a husband or boyfriend, to dismissing the possibility of learning from 50% of the human race! I cringe at something that looks like an echo of 'separate but equal' - we as a society have been down that road before and it didn't turn out so well the first time!!! Melissa, I think your point (that I agree with pretty strongly too) is the same as that in the link Cam's posted, which hints that most of the differences are based on societal expectations. Oh well, once a rebel ...

What do they talk about in SoCal (pls translate from valley-speak for me)

DJ- You're on! I'll brew up a big pot of coffee!

Last edited by eryka; 10-02-2007 at 01:11 PM.
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Livia - too funny! Are those special harnesses sized by bra cup size? And you get your choice of color - dark pink, light pink, sunset pink, flamingo pink ...

Last edited by eryka; 10-02-2007 at 01:12 PM.
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The precepts of Cam's post on pedalogy aside (which I firmly believe in BTW) if my wife learns better, and thereby enjoys sailing more when taught by a woman, I'm all for it. We are seriously considering having a 6 pack toting, experienced on our boat, licensed skipper take her out for a day on our new boat; not because it would be a woman teaching, but just so she can learn from someone who is not me. Ego aside, I'll donate my bucks for that anyday of the week.
Having said that, and as a possible expansion on Womanship's business line, shouldn't these types of schools open classes up to Men only curriculums so we can truly understand the differences as applied to onboard activities (men being too stupid to learn if not directly related)?
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