Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Sausalito, CA
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Some broad brush strokes here.
Sorry if I painted with too broad a brush here everyone. Of course raising your voice to be heard and of course raising your voice in an emergency are necessary. I don't think any reasonable sailor will disagree with those statements.
Regardless of the reason for yelling, the perception in interpersonal communication is one of either aggression or loss of control (most of the time, I don't think that aggression really applies in sailing). That goes for yelling "FIRE," as much as it does, "GET DOWN!" In a true emergency, of course raising your voice is entirely appropriate. If there is a fire on board or a wayward sheriff's boat about to run me down, you bet I want to know. However, if you are yelling this at me, I know for sure that you are not in control of the situation. That can be good to know.
My comments were framed in terms of making a hesitant or reluctant partner feel comfortable on board. I've been on so many boats where it seemed the captain encountered an "emergency" in every maneuver. Heck, I've done it myself many times when the conditions exceeded my abilities. My wife didn't like that at all.
I learned though, and they were expensive lessons. Now I treat the whole endeavor much more professionally. It's not about kowtowing to my wife's every need. It's about remaining in control, anticipating every maneuver, staying way ahead of the boat, having a plan and a backup plan. It is about leadership. I literally never raise my voice anymore. Yes, even in 45 knots. I reef early and often now. If I don't, it scares both me and my wife, and that makes her not like sailing.