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  #1  
Old 08-04-2009
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Just had a "break-through" with wife

Hi,

I just had a "break-through" with my wife and wanted some advice on how to capitalize on it.

A little background first: My wife is not the adventuresome sort. She can't really swim and until now has had zero interest in sailing. I currently have the boat on a cradle in our backyard in the 'burbs. She tolerates it but has joked about it being her "new flower planter." She's also afraid of heights, so refuses to climb the 8' up the ladder to look at it. So far, her only expressed interest in the boat is for sunbathing and fishing (oddly, she likes to fish and I don't). My children (6 and 8) on the other hand love the boat and can't wait to put it in the water.

Just the other day, though, I mentioned a thread I read on this board about a man who sailed to the Carribean for four months and how much fun he had and how he moored at resorts for low fees. She then asked if my boat ( a Soverel 26) would be able to sail to the Carib from the Great Lakes. I told her that for that type of distance I would prefer a larger boat (I said 34 foot). She thought 26 was big enough and I said we could vacation around the Great Lakes for a few years first. Somehow she all of a sudden was interested. She started asking when I'd be done with the work to launch and how much was dockage, etc.

I need to know, from the ladies, what is going on and how to keep her interest in sailing. I think that she is not really interested in the whole sailing and sailboat part of it, but in the family time/vacation/liesure aspect - I guess lifestyle is a good word. My tentative plan - once I'm in the water - is to start off taking the boat out by myself and then with my (more adventuresome) kids - they'll be 8 and 10 by then. Once I get her out, I'll make sure that there is either an activity planned, such as fishing, or a destination - my Aunt has a beach nearby and there are some nice port towns not too far away. I want to make sure that there is something "fun" planned besides sailing - I'll handle that kind of fun on my own or with my kids. Once she's more accustomed, then we'll head out to the islands or further destinations for weekending.

So what do you think, and what should I do? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-04-2009
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It sounds like you are on the right track although I have always loved the water and I have enjoyed sailing from day 1.

One thing that I often hear about being a problem is that some husbands are impatient with their wives while learning and sailing and it often end up turning the wives off. I am very fortunate that my husband is extremely patient and wiling to teach me anything I want to learn.

I am not saying that we don't have our moments, but they are few and far between.

The other thing that might help is to have some of your friends go out with you and make it a social thing, if you have the room to do so.
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Old 08-04-2009
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Old 08-04-2009
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My wife likes the cruising aspect of sailing. She can handle the boat and relieves me when necessary, but prefers to help me get away from the dock and settle back with a glass of wine or cup of coffee and just relax.

She was a little wary of taking a long trip, but agreed to make the trek from the Chesapeake to the Bahamas. We had a wonderful time and met a lot of great people. Here is a picture log of our trip. Hope it helps get her excited.

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Old 08-04-2009
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My suggestion would be to enroll her in a women only weekend ASA course. Having a bit of confidence in your own ability to work with the wind, water and boat in order to get moving is a huge help in instilling a love of sailing. Knowledge is power after all and self confidence is a wonderful thing to have.

The women only courses are also great because it will allow her to socilaize with other women who are starting off in the sport. You know how we all like to go to the bathroom in groups? Turns out we like to be in groups for lots of things.
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Old 08-04-2009
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Tom,
First of all, follow Mimsy's advice. My wife took a weekend course from Womanship (don't know if they're in your neck of the woods but if so my wife and I highly recommend them) right after we bought Enchantress and it really helped her confidence in handling what was a much bigger boat than she'd ever sailed.
After we got Enchantress we sailed her for a season to see just what fixes, upgrades and improvements we needed to make. Then I had her on the hard for a year while I did the work.
This is what my wife told me had to be fixed:
The head -- she could not stand the smell and the fact that you had to manually pump it out. I replaced it with and Vacuflush (and a freshwater tank all its own) and a bigger holding tank. I replaced the hoses and washed the whole area out with Lysol to eliminate the problem.
The sink and the fresh water -- the stainless sink was pitted and in bad shape and the water, despite the filter, did not taste good. I replaced the sink with an acryllic sink from Home Depot ($69.95 on sale), replaced all the hoses in the system and got a Seagull water filter (IMHO the best but expensive) and solved that problem.
Fans and ventilation , especially in the galley. Since I was completely redoing the electrical system (AC and DC) it was no problem to put in fans. also put in more opening ports.
Cleaning the boat: I hired a crew to throroughly clean the boat. It wasn't as clean as my wife liked buit it made it possibel fopr her to finish the job without too much effort.
I taught how to use both the paper charts and the GPS so she could always tell about where we were.
Finally we moved the boat to the nicest marina on the Chesapeake.
Future improvement, much bigger primary winches. She cannot handle the big genoa with the winches we have so now when I sail with her is use the 100% jib. But for safety sake both of us need to be able to crank the sails.
My wife now can't wait for me to get home on Friday so we can take off for the boat.
Don't know how much of this will apply to you but if you pay attention to her needs and make sailing easy and pleasant you can't go wrong

Last edited by bloodhunter; 08-04-2009 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 08-04-2009
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Just wanted to add that a full on, over night weekend women's course can be upsold by reminding her that the kids can't go. A bit of "me time" is an awesome selling point. Throw in a massage and I doubt you will hear any misgivings about the adventure...
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Old 08-05-2009
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Alternatively, enroll her in a co-ed ASA liveaboard course. When my wife got interested in sailing, she went to Bluewater Sailing School in FL for a week. She said the last thing she wanted to do was spend a week on a boat with all women! Of course, she's not your ordinary chick - she does the diesel work, the plumbing work (including replacing our head and unclogging our waste hoses) and a lot of the other manual labor (for example, 5 days of compounding, polishing and waxing our hull). Anyway, I digress. I'm sure your wife would hate a week in a tropical location. My wife came back all excited to get out sailing to try out everything she learned, and now we live on our boat, cruising the east coast and the Bahamas (with our kids).
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Old 08-05-2009
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From the ages of the kids you seem to be talking about being two years away from launching. That will occupy a lot of your time if you are working on the boat and may cause some resentment if you are not careful to set aside wife's and children's time.
I would try to make the benefits more real to her, possibly by a trip sooner, and maybe by involving her in colors etc which is a bit more difficult if like many she is wary of ladders, but not impossible.
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Old 08-06-2009
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I'm trying to be very careful with my time management. I'm doing my best to make sure I put in a good effort on her "honey-do" list. Mostly I work on the boat while she is at work and scramble an hour before she gets home to do other chores around the house. That's the great thing about having the boat next to the house - its easy to steal an hour or so a day to work on the boat. Over the course of two years that adds up to a lot of time. I used to keep the boat at my parents' house. The round trip drive was about 45 mins, so I needed to do my work in large chunks of time which are both harder to find and create more resentment.

She's been talking about a vacation in Maine. I'm not sure if I have the time this Summer, but I will next year. She's never been there and I'm not sure what got her interested in it, but that would seem like a great opportunity to peak her interest. I was thinking Boothbay Harbor windjammer days. I'll have to be careful, though, as she might want to move.
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