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  #1  
Old 06-19-2009
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First single-handing

I had my first single-handing experience a few weeks ago. Not much to say other than what you might expect, it was extremely empowering. I started sailing about 3 years ago with a basic keelboat course on a reservoir in Colorado and we've been the proud owners of a Wauquiez Pretorien for just over 2 years.

Docking was the one task I wanted to avoid solo. I had my husband sail out of town with me on Friday night to Friday Harbor, WA so he could help me dock to clear customs. We anchored that night and the next morning I touch-and-go dropped him at the dock and headed out across the Strait to Port Townsend, WA.

Details on our blog: SV Estrellita 5.10b: Single handing

The feeling of using the lines to un-dock by myself, the terror of navigating in the fog (run down to check radar, run up and blow horn and look around, run down to check radar...), the surprising ease of solo anchoring (at least in a large harbor), and being completely in charge of the boat.

It was way cool. The more I mention it to other women the more I realize how many women haven't single handed their boat. If you want to, you really should. It's super fun.
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Old 06-19-2009
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Well done! I would love it if my wife would get to that same level of confidence, but I don't want to push. Especially with docking: I've had her try docking a few times on calm days, and most of the time it was necessary for me to do some fending-off... I think she's scared to try again. Any advice?
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Old 06-19-2009
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Seriously, docking is the scariest thing you can do at one mile per hour IMHO. I would be scared-excited to be single handing our boat in 25 knots of wind and a chop. I am scared-unhappy docking in a tight/awkward spot in 5 knots. That said, I'm getting better at it and I keep doing it because I'm stubborn and a perfectionist.

Our method right now is for the captain to talk through each docking to the deck monkey (as we call that role) including a brief on what we expect the wind to do to us. The deck monkey's job is to provide honest feedback on the plan. Of course, the wind may change in the marina and the captain may have to alter. This way though, both people are learning about docking by talking through the conditions even when they are the deck monkey.

Perhaps you could start by keeping her as deck monkey but asking her to talk you through a plan. Then maybe next step could be to ask a third person to come aboard as a deck monkey and you (after talking through a plan with her) guide her through the docking (her on the wheel, you talking).

Everyone's relationships are different but in my limited experience I see a lot of couples punishing the behaviors they want in the other person and rewarding the behaviors they don't want. Doesn't make a lot of sense when you think it through - basic learning theory right?

When she docked the boat, after you fended off and tied lines, did you smile a huge smile, yell "WOOHOO!" and go give her a big hug and tell her how proud of her you were for trying? and how any docking where everyone is alive and the boat is hole-free is a success? and emphasize what she did right? and then later, when the adrenaline went down, did you ask her if she wanted any suggestions (and if she says "no" or "not right now" you let it be)?

Or did you get a panicked look on your face, yell something directive, then immediately get on your knees to see if she scratched the hull and finally ask her what she was thinking when she turned so early/late?
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Old 06-20-2009
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Nicely done Livia...
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Old 06-20-2009
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Sweet

I'm working up to singlehanding our boat...is my goal for this summer!
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Go Livia! Well done!
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Old 06-20-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livia View Post
I had my first single-handing experience a few weeks ago. Not much to say other than what you might expect, it was extremely empowering. I started sailing about 3 years ago with a basic keelboat course on a reservoir in Colorado and we've been the proud owners of a Wauquiez Pretorien for just over 2 years.

Docking was the one task I wanted to avoid solo. I had my husband sail out of town with me on Friday night to Friday Harbor, WA so he could help me dock to clear customs. We anchored that night and the next morning I touch-and-go dropped him at the dock and headed out across the Strait to Port Townsend, WA.

Details on our blog: SV Estrellita 5.10b: Single handing

The feeling of using the lines to un-dock by myself, the terror of navigating in the fog (run down to check radar, run up and blow horn and look around, run down to check radar...), the surprising ease of solo anchoring (at least in a large harbor), and being completely in charge of the boat.

It was way cool. The more I mention it to other women the more I realize how many women haven't single handed their boat. If you want to, you really should. It's super fun.
NICE!

It reminded me of the way my wife single handed the first time - she towed me along behind in the dingy! I never said a word to her. Didn't even watch, much.
But in the end single handing that way was enough for her. She felt like she had done it all by herself and that's the important thing.

I love single handing. Mrs Selkirk has pretty much retired from sailing, and her love of being around the house meshes nicely with my love of single handing.

It's funny how the difference between two people can work to result in such resonance.
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Old 06-20-2009
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It's a worrisome matter for most, male, or female the first time. WOW ...... what feeling once you are back to the dock..

The first time I went out it was an ordeal. We use to drop the sails at the entrance to the channel. Nobody was there to keep the bow in the wind. She kept falling off in 20+knots. I thought, well sail her into the marina where it is calmer. I got inside the marina, and suddenly everything looked so CONFINED! I was getting nervous trying to figure my next move. While thinking there was my slip in plain view. I squeaked the wind as tight as I could, and sailed into the slip with the motor idling in nuetral. I nudged the dock gently, stepped off the boat, and tied her up. It was nerve racking, but there was no stopping me after that.....CONGRADULATIONS on a great step forward, and BEST WISHES in improving your boat handling skills!.......i2f
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Old 06-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livia View Post
When she docked the boat, after you fended off and tied lines, did you smile a huge smile, yell "WOOHOO!" and go give her a big hug and tell her how proud of her you were for trying? ...

Or did you get a panicked look on your face, yell something directive, then immediately get on your knees to see if she scratched the hull and finally ask her what she was thinking when she turned so early/late?
I would like to exercise my Fifth Amendment rights here.

Although to be fair I was the deck monkey and I was really more concerned about the larger, significantly more expensive boat in the neighboring slip.

We had a day of docking practice with her and one of my regular crew. She actually did a reasonably good job (some deck monkeying required) and I feel like I rewarded her with a quantity of praise proportional in magnitude and sincerity to the degree of success she produced (which is what I would expect from my own instructor). Was that not the right approach? I will try the big smile and hug method next time, if you think it will boost her confidence.
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Old 06-21-2009
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Adam—

One way to have her build up some confidence is to have her practice close quarters maneuvering with some buoys or other relatively harmless floating objects....kind of like learning to parallel park a car using traffic cones.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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