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  #31  
Old 04-05-2010
Nick O'Kelly
 
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sck5 is right

sck5 is right about first impressions. We men have a really hard time remembering just how foreign this whole sailing concept might be for our wives, and we have totally unreasonable expectations of her.

Maybe we grew up sailing, trimmed the main on our uncle's boat, took classes in college, or maybe we've just always had an affinity for all things nautical. She on the other hand might know how to swim, and that's about it. Show her the ropes? Teach her everything you've learned in a lifetime in the course of a month or two of day-sailing? Nobody (you or her) could live up to that.

Easing her into it and making sure EVERY experience is a positive one is the ONLY way to go. What will that take? Depends on the woman. Wishing or pretending she's something that she's not (right now) is where many of us go wrong. We get frustrated or are just too lazy to do what needs to be done.

We can't teach her ourselves, so we say "she's just not into it."

We run the boat without confidence and expertise and then we say she doesn't feel "comfortable" on board.

Saying your wife just isn't into it or is too soft for life aboard are lame excuses.

The next time you are out with your inexperienced or reluctant wife, pretend that she is a paying customer. She has laid down $500 for the experience of sailing with you for the day. She wants to participate-she's not just coming along as a passenger. Would you ever raise your voice or show even the slightest frustration with a customer? How about close-reaching with too much sail up? How about snacks on board? Cleanliness? What about music? Hot cocoa at the ready for the leg home? You bet.

If she were a paying customer; someone you really wanted give the best possible experience to, you would do everything possible to make sure she had the best time ever.

Now why don't you show that same level of commitment to your wife's enjoyment of the experience? Does she owe it to you to like sailing?

The real travesty in all of this is what eventually happens to the boat and to The Dream when he isn't able to get his wife on board. In time, he'll get frustrated. He'll either sail less or not at all. He'll slowly lose ground in the maintenance battle, and he'll come to grips with the reality in a year or two or ten. Then he'll sell.

Think I'm being dramatic? Surveys show that 90% of sailboats leave their slips less than 6 times per year. Go to a downwind anchorage in the Marquesas and count the single-handers (the real ones). You won't find many. The reason? The vast majority who end up living The Cruising Dream are couples in a loving relationship. You've go to get your wife on board, or you aren't going to go.

You and your wife, The Dreamers, are the most important part of this whole crazy dream. Silly how much attention gets paid to boat gear when the real engine of the dream is barely running.
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  #32  
Old 04-05-2010
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Beautifully and lovingly written.
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  #33  
Old 04-06-2010
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Brilliant, Nick!
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  #34  
Old 04-06-2010
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Nick best I have seen written so far
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  #35  
Old 04-06-2010
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Unfortunately, yelling is sometimes a necessary evil. If someone is about to do something that will endanger them or the boat, yelling is often the safest thing to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickokelly View Post
sck5 is right about first impressions. We men have a really hard time remembering just how foreign this whole sailing concept might be for our wives, and we have totally unreasonable expectations of her.

Maybe we grew up sailing, trimmed the main on our uncle's boat, took classes in college, or maybe we've just always had an affinity for all things nautical. She on the other hand might know how to swim, and that's about it. Show her the ropes? Teach her everything you've learned in a lifetime in the course of a month or two of day-sailing? Nobody (you or her) could live up to that.

Easing her into it and making sure EVERY experience is a positive one is the ONLY way to go. What will that take? Depends on the woman. Wishing or pretending she's something that she's not (right now) is where many of us go wrong. We get frustrated or are just too lazy to do what needs to be done.

We can't teach her ourselves, so we say "she's just not into it."

We run the boat without confidence and expertise and then we say she doesn't feel "comfortable" on board.

Saying your wife just isn't into it or is too soft for life aboard are lame excuses.

The next time you are out with your inexperienced or reluctant wife, pretend that she is a paying customer. She has laid down $500 for the experience of sailing with you for the day. She wants to participate-she's not just coming along as a passenger. Would you ever raise your voice or show even the slightest frustration with a customer? How about close-reaching with too much sail up? How about snacks on board? Cleanliness? What about music? Hot cocoa at the ready for the leg home? You bet.

If she were a paying customer; someone you really wanted give the best possible experience to, you would do everything possible to make sure she had the best time ever.

Now why don't you show that same level of commitment to your wife's enjoyment of the experience? Does she owe it to you to like sailing?

The real travesty in all of this is what eventually happens to the boat and to The Dream when he isn't able to get his wife on board. In time, he'll get frustrated. He'll either sail less or not at all. He'll slowly lose ground in the maintenance battle, and he'll come to grips with the reality in a year or two or ten. Then he'll sell.

Think I'm being dramatic? Surveys show that 90% of sailboats leave their slips less than 6 times per year. Go to a downwind anchorage in the Marquesas and count the single-handers (the real ones). You won't find many. The reason? The vast majority who end up living The Cruising Dream are couples in a loving relationship. You've go to get your wife on board, or you aren't going to go.

You and your wife, The Dreamers, are the most important part of this whole crazy dream. Silly how much attention gets paid to boat gear when the real engine of the dream is barely running.
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  #36  
Old 04-07-2010
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Thanks everyone. I just wrote a book on the subject, so the research and the words are in the front of my mind.
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  #37  
Old 04-07-2010
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Some men treat everything as an emergency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Unfortunately, yelling is sometimes a necessary evil. If someone is about to do something that will endanger them or the boat, yelling is often the safest thing to do.
I agree with you Sailingdog. As captain, you must act quickly and decisively to keep people (then the boat) safe if danger is imminent. If that means yelling, you absolutely should and must. However, raising your voice (yelling) is universally recognized in interpersonal communication as a display of aggression or a loss of control. Either are going to make her feel uncomfortable on board the boat.

If the captain knows what he is doing, he won't have to yell. He'll be in control at all times (at or away from the helm), every action will be planned, and every operation will be executed without drama. No yelling required.

I certainly don't direct any of my criticisms at you directly, Sailingdog, as I don't know you.

I certainly have been guilty of making everything into an emergency myself. Our first cruise suffered for it. The boat was too big and I had too little experience. I raised my voice too often. We were both frustrated. We called it quits after one season of a five-year plan.

Miraculously, I got my wife to go cruising again. This time I bought a smaller boat and could thread her through the tightest and current-filled anchorage under sail alone. Made all the difference in the world.
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  #38  
Old 04-07-2010
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Nice post Nick!
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Relationships are everything to me..everything else in life are just tools to enhance them.


The purchase price of a boat is just the admittance fee to the dance...you still have to spend money on the girl...so court one with something going for her with pleasing and desirable character traits others desire as well... or you could find yourself in a disillusioned relationship contemplating an expensive divorce.
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  #39  
Old 04-07-2010
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My wife and I went through the learning process together, with the help of a few experienced friends. She was not 'reluctant' but was certainly tentative to start and I recall many days when we poked our nose out of the harbour only to turn around and try tomorrow if the wind was beyond her threshold of the day.

But with caution and accommodation her threshold moved a bit higher each time and today she's a willing and able sailor who loves coastal cruising and all that entails. In fact she's happiest beating in 15-20 knots... go figure. In recent years she's become very relaxed in Caribbean island hopping type sailing down south.

I think the turning point that first summer was actually going on a week long cruise, with destinations and an objective as opposed to bashing around the bay.

In any event, 30 years, 5 boats later things are good, she still has her thresholds and I respect them (as we did this past weekend with, as it turns out, a good result)
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  #40  
Old 04-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickokelly View Post
Thanks everyone. I just wrote a book on the subject, so the research and the words are in the front of my mind.
OK, so where do we order the book?

Regards,
Brad
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