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  #11  
Old 05-19-2008
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Lucy - This might be an idea. We are also in our '50s. My wife and I have sailed together for many years, but when we moved up to a 50' boat she became uncomfortable with the size of everything (boat, sails, gear etc) and especially her ability to manage in heavier winds and seas. After an uncomfortable gale, she determined to do a cruising course without me. The course gave her experience and information that she was able to digest at her own pace and her on schedule without her loving husband interfering or "muddling up the dynamics" of the learning experience. You might try this approach as well as the sound advice above.
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  #12  
Old 05-19-2008
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It is certainly natural to feel a little scared when the boat heels in heavier wind - hopefully most of us were built with a good healthy desire to stay above water and on top of the boat.....

All the suggestions above sound great, even (although I hate to admit it) the suggestion to look at catamarans if you can't overcome your discomfort with heeling. You will probably "get over it" for the most part, however, with a little experience and more time at the helm. My youngest son used to put on his PDF/harness and lash himself to one of the rails/cockpit lines any time the wind was over 5 knots and the boat healed enough to be able to tell. Now he just climbs for the high-side rail and begs to "go faster."

Good luck and keep at it. We're all pulling for you.
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  #13  
Old 05-19-2008
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Keep us posted Lucy.
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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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  #14  
Old 05-19-2008
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Once again, thanks to all. You cannot know how much each of you has helped to encourage me to continue on. I just read somewhere that some sailing programs do not allow husband/wife in the same group, and now I understand why. At the beginning they asked if we wished to be together or in different groups, and we chose "together". My thought is that, at the end of this course, if I'm still not comfortable, I'm going to look into taking another course without my husband, who just can't understand what there is to be so nervous about....

I'll let you know how our final outing goes - thanks again everyone!
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  #15  
Old 05-19-2008
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One more peice of advice I'd add. After or during trying all the above advice, if you still keep having what you feel is an irrational fear of healing. Go get or rent a small sail boat on a windy day. Strech full canvas so to speak, put your life jacket on and try your best to flip the sucker. Keep trying till you do.

This will help in two ways. First you'll find how much it takes to flip a sail boat over. Second you'll find that flipping over isn't the end of the world either. It's along the same line as getting back on a horse that has thrown you, or getting back on a motorcycle after a wreck. except that you forcing the wreck.
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Old 05-19-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danjarch View Post
One more peice of advice I'd add. After or during trying all the above advice, if you still keep having what you feel is an irrational fear of healing. Go get or rent a small sail boat on a windy day. Strech full canvas so to speak, put your life jacket on and try your best to flip the sucker. Keep trying till you do.

This will help in two ways. First you'll find how much it takes to flip a sail boat over. Second you'll find that flipping over isn't the end of the world either. It's along the same line as getting back on a horse that has thrown you, or getting back on a motorcycle after a wreck. except that you forcing the wreck.
Maybe I'm missing some cryptic message with your suggestion Dan, otherwise, I simply can't agree with this approach in overcoming a fear of "healing" (heeling - ironically).

Keep in mind that Lucy is in her mid-50s, not a pre-teen Opti-sailor. Advising her to "flip" a small sailboat deliberately, cannot possibly alleviate her fears of a knockdown on a larger keelboat.

On the contrary, I believe it will only amplify her fears since as most sailors know from experience, small sailboats, such as centerboard dinghies, are very tender and will go over easily without crew ballast. This in no way can be comparable to the size sailboat her and her husband are considering.

Could you possibly expand upon what your intent is with this advice?
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  #17  
Old 05-19-2008
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I'd have to agree with TB... that DanJArch's advice might not be the wisest. A sailing dinghy isn't really the same thing as a cruising keelboat. It is kind of like comparing sailing a Hobie 16 beach catamaran to a Lagoon 38. One will be very easy to capsize, the other a bit more difficult.
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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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  #18  
Old 05-19-2008
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Yep, one of my favorite things to tell visitors:

If you want to fly a hull fly a hobie, this is a home.

I never intentionally flip, even in a dinghy. I don't swim with fish and the pool is too small to sail on.
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  #19  
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You need a bigger pool...
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Telstar 28
New England

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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  #20  
Old 05-19-2008
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Lucy, confidence comes from being on boats repeatedly, and finding out with your ears and eyes and hands (and butt[g]) just what the boat may do. FEAR IS A GOOD THING. It prevents us from doing silly things like petting the sharks.

What you are fearing is the unknown--and that's normal. After you have been out a couple of dozen times, with sailors that you have some trust in, you will find out that it feels normal to walk "up the walls" in the cabin when the boat is heeled.

On the rational side of things, it is really really hard to capsize most keelboats. They are designed so that they will tip a certain amount very quickly (typically 10-30 degrees) and at that point, the opposing pull of the keel (big lead weight, remember) overcomes the wind pushing against the sails--because the sails are now angled over and the wind is spilling off them madly, instead of pushing them over.

In technical terms, boat designers talk about "form stability" versus "dynamic stability". A boat with good form stability would be like a raft--you can't tip it over without really getting one side up high. Faster boats, racing boats, usually push more for dynamic stability: Like a bicycle, they "stay up" best when they are moving. When you first step aboard one, it will be very tipsy. As it comes up to speed and balance (at a designed heel angle, not flat) it will become much harder to tip.

If the boat makes you nervous, there's also nothing wrong with taking a benadryl or sominex (mild antihistamines that have a sedative effect, sold on the counters in drugstores no rx needed) to take a little of the edge off.

If I had gone sailing in what I call "a good blow" in the first season that I learned to sail....I'd have never gone back. Now? "Wheeee!" And logic has nothing to do with it, I've just learned that good boats, in good hands, are damned robust creations.

So find people you can trust, push your edge a little, and remember the Kenyan proverb about how to eat an elephant: One bite at a time.[g]
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