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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #11  
Old 07-21-2008
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Which of you is willing to take the legal responsibility for the boat?? If one isn't willing... then the other should be the captain.

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Originally Posted by kingcan View Post
to clarify, nolatom, I my question was; as the two of us learn to sail together, how will we determine which of us is "skipper?"

There are definitely some good suggestions/models set out here - enough to make us think how we'll work together on board. So thanks, everyone.

And if all else fails? One should simply threaten to hide knives or mess up the toolbox! Muwahahaha. (Dang, I learn fast!)
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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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  #12  
Old 07-22-2008
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Although you will have different capabilties---stamina, feel for the wind---I believe the goal is to get both partners up to the same level of seamanship, which can be learned over time.

Recommend you both read Suzanne Giesemann's excellent book "It's Your Boat Too" (It's Your Boat Too: A Womans Guide ... - Google Book Search) and her excellent monthly column in Blue Water Sailing magazine.

Ty and Suzanne Giesemann are both retired Navy (Ty a Captain and Suzanne a Commander) and both have USCG 100 ton licenses. They were my neighbors in the DC area just prior to retirement and they know their stuff.

Enjoy the learning process and remember that you are partners in the adventure.
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Old 07-22-2008
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I have a T-shirt, the front says "Captain, always right..." The back says
"I AM THE CAPTAIN"
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  #14  
Old 07-22-2008
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The skipper underway should be the person who can best handle the boat in all situations. If you both can handle the boat equally well...simply take turns on passages. But leave only ONE person in charge of the final decision on any voyage.
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Old 07-22-2008
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Both, and neither

When we're on the Navy's boats, of course there's a formal heirarchy. But on our own boat, our rule is simple: the most conservative one "rules." If I want to reef, and he doesn't think we need to...we reef. If I want to run off downwind in a storm and he wants to heave to ... we heave to. Completely bypasses the who's in charge discussion to the benefit of the marriage.

Overall, we are at roughly the same skill level, with complementary strengths. I'm better at nav, he finesses sail trim. From time to time we deliberately switch up out of our comfort zones - for example, when we dock he generally handles the bow lines (greater upper body strength) while I take the helm; every half-dozen trips or so we trade for one. And that goes for galley cleanup too.
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Old 07-22-2008
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sounds like a good system... i'd add whoever cooks doesn't do dishes,.
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When we're on the Navy's boats, of course there's a formal heirarchy. But on our own boat, our rule is simple: the most conservative one "rules." If I want to reef, and he doesn't think we need to...we reef. If I want to run off downwind in a storm and he wants to heave to ... we heave to. Completely bypasses the who's in charge discussion to the benefit of the marriage.

Overall, we are at roughly the same skill level, with complementary strengths. I'm better at nav, he finesses sail trim. From time to time we deliberately switch up out of our comfort zones - for example, when we dock he generally handles the bow lines (greater upper body strength) while I take the helm; every half-dozen trips or so we trade for one. And that goes for galley cleanup too.
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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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  #17  
Old 07-22-2008
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Just an opinion, all else being equal

The skipper is the one who is calm, cool, and collected in emergencies. The skipper is not the one who freezes up and can't communicate or decide when the crap hits the air and the chips are down.

The skipper is the one who commands, not requests, in emergencies. Choose for that trait of save your boat by committee.

It helps if the skipper knows what they are doing, which is why I say all else being equal, but you can be a licensed master of the universe and if you freeze when a sheet releases, shroud pops or water appears in the bilge you are a useless skipper more liable to harm than help.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Just an opinion, all else being equal

The skipper is the one who is calm, cool, and collected in emergencies. The skipper is not the one who freezes up and can't communicate or decide when the crap hits the air and the chips are down.

The skipper is the one who commands, not requests, in emergencies. Choose for that trait of save your boat by committee.

It helps if the skipper knows what they are doing, which is why I say all else being equal, but you can be a licensed master of the universe and if you freeze when a sheet releases, shroud pops or water appears in the bilge you are a useless skipper more liable to harm than help.
That's why I'm the skipper, and my wife is along for the ride, and that's ok with both of us. What I am having a little trouble with, is teaching her what to do in an emergency. She runs the jib sheets ok, but is just terrible at the helm, and is not getting much better with practice, she freezes when something goes wrong, and is slow to react when told what to do. Before every sail I remind her what to do if I fall overboard. (release both sheets, try to steer into the wind and wait for me to swim to the boat if I'm able to, if not, call for help) So what I do is prepare the boat as if I'm single-handing it all the time.

We are still new at this and it's likely I just picked it up way faster than she did, so more patience is needed, and I am giving her more practice at the helm. We have only been out maybe a total of 20 times, so there is a lot more learning to do.

But as for who is in charge...

I AM THE CAPTAIN
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  #19  
Old 07-22-2008
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eMkay,
That not an unusual situation, and alas, it's why I'm the skipper and the Admiral is the Admiral - she sails better than I do (feels the wind etc..) so she tells me what to do.
Admirals have told skippers what to do and where to go since time began and the first time two people got on the same floating log.

Yours might find it a bit easier on a bigger boat - there is more time to react if / when something goes wrong on bigger, heavier boats.
(there, you owe me one)
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