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  #11  
Old 09-12-2002
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Fear of Heeling

Carol, heeling also freaks guys out at first. The way I overcame that out of control sensation you get when the rail starts to bite down was to sail dinghies.

Go find a good 10 foot sail boat. If your in cold water, rent a wet suite. Now go sail the boat right over on itself. Yep tip it over and get wet. You will learn sail ballance, how to recover from a knock down and how to right your vessle. Try it a couple of times and you will figure out the exact point that you loose control. It is way beyond what you think it is now.

Then go back on your fixed keel boat and relax. It will never be as scary as the ding. There is an old saying that " dinghie sailors are the best sailors". I think its true. If you take a small boat sailing course, this is one of the first things they teach you.
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  #12  
Old 09-28-2002
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Fear of Heeling

About a month ago I was sailing in 20 25 knot winds close hauled, healing nicely and sailing fast A large powerboat passed close (to close) on our leeward side. He was moving full throttle and makeing a nasty wake. Just as he passed us the wind gusted to maybe 35 knots. It was not a gusty day and we didn''t expect the gust or the powerboat.

Needless to say, alot more that the rail went under water. I remember looking over and seeing the powerboats wake hit the cabin top. I brought the boat into the wind and it came up ok, but it was scarey. Seeing the crew of other sailboats standing up and staring at us meant it probably looked as scarey as it was..lol

Anyway, one of my usual sailing buddies (female, if it matters) is now really paranoid of healing. When she is out with us I take it easy hoping she will snap out of it, but if we start to heal much she starts shaking and getting scared. I even tried putting her on the mainsheet/traveler so she can dump the main if heal becomes to much for her. Nothing seems to help.

Any advice?
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  #13  
Old 09-30-2002
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Fear of Heeling

Rob,

If I understand your story correctly, the combination of the gust heeling you over a bit more and the powerboat wake hitting the leeward side of the rail made for a lot more water than usual shipping over the gunwales.

The bad news is that everyone aboard may have experienced the need to really hold on to avoid being thrown out of control, and maybe they didn''t realize just how far over a boat can go. The good news is that the boat handled that and she came up on her feet just fine. What I would hope to take away from that experience is that it takes a lot more than that to capsize a boat.

Having said that, I don''t have any advice for how you get your crew to look at it that way. Good luck and smooth sailing!

Duane
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Old 10-03-2002
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Fear of Heeling

DuaneIsing,

Thanks for your advise. Thats about how it happened. I think the Powerboat wake hitting the deck also helped to push us over a bit more.

Myself and crew have already tried telling her about sailboat stability and how it would take a lot more than that to capsize, etc.

I was hoping for some input from female sailors as to what to say to her to ease her fears. I''m not being sexist, just trying to get another view. Just for the record, I have other female crew and they are all just as good if not better than their male counterparts (nothing they have said has helped either). I doesn''t help that I''m male and always say the wrong thing )

Happy Heeling,
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Old 10-03-2002
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Fear of Heeling

Rob,

Can''t help you much there; sorry. I have observed that fear is often irrational, and it is very difficult to logically convince someone that his/her fear is not justified.

When I got my wife into a situation she disliked (or feared), I often heard the familiar, "you owe me a BIG piece of jewlery for this, buddy!" Fortunately, she was only partially serious. I now tell her we can''t afford trinkets and worthless (i.e. non-boat) stuff so that I can afford to buy us a boat that will make her more comfortable.

Good luck helping your wife over her fears.

Duane
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Old 10-28-2002
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Fear of Heeling

A little understanding of ballast and sail control can help this situation. What helped me when I first learned to sail (and girlfriends that I have taken out to sail since) is learning that there is a keel with a significant amount of lead in it under the boat. This is not always easy to understand so a verbal description to help them visualize the "fin" underneath is helpful, as well as how many pounds of lead it contains. When I told my "most fearful friend" that there were 5000 pounds of lead underneath us it helped to quell her fears. Also, demonstrating to them how some adjustments on the mainsheet/traveler can help ease the situation... (involve them in these controls if they are willing and able) will give them confidence that the boat is not out of control. Of course the most obvious is to stay ashore in questionable weather and provide a life jacket option to those who are uncomfortable.
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Old 11-04-2002
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Fear of Heeling


Deb, yes, this does help, but - you can''t really picture that big bulb underneath unless you''ve seen it out of the water, no matter how much you trust the woman who describes it to you. And, you''re right, steering the boat can alleviate most fears. But if someone in your party is so uncomfortable as to feel the need to wear a life jacket on a clear, flat, calm day; best for all to wear one to make her feel even less unafraid. In my experience, when it starts out like that, on a nice, calm day, you all end up enjoying yourselves. Unless, of course, there is the fear of the giant squid (hey, we all have our own ghosts)... But, we got over that, and enjoyed many a sail after.
MaryBeth
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  #18  
Old 11-05-2002
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Fear of Heeling

Mary Beth said: "Unless, of course, there is the fear of the giant squid (hey, we all have our own ghosts)..."

I say if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. If life hands you a giant squid, make calamari marinara!

Duane
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Old 11-08-2002
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Fear of Heeling

Please don''t say it is a, "girl thing." When someone asks my husband, "How did you get your wife so enthused over the boat?" His reply is, "Its her boat." Yes indeed, it was my idea to sail. At first, heeling is uncomfortable for anyone, male or female. After a while though, you will trust your boat and you will know that it is a natural occurence especially in heavier wind. It will eventually make you smile and you will enjoy heeling. Just relax and let the wind and your boat carry you.
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  #20  
Old 11-09-2002
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Fear of Heeling

I used to think it was a girl thing, but last summer I had a newbie couple on the boat in a strong breeze. The harder the wind gusted, the harder she pulled on the tiller until the boat was near broaching. Meanwhile, her husband was cowering inside the cabin in near terror. I think it''s a "mental conditioning thing." Heeling will scare you if you are not conditioned to cope with it.
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