Developing Courage - Managing Fear - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 54 Old 10-10-2016
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

Jeeezus! 13 replies and I do not agree with any, except Seagull.

You answered the question in your own first post! And its the only rational answer:

Let her go do what she asked!
Let her do the sail work for a change.

when she is up on deck she can decide if the life jacket is needed, depending on her inherent fear perception. She can then feel more comfortable with what's acceptable for you both.

All jobs on board should be shared or taken in turns. No pink, no blue jobs.

You are a team. But sometimes people need to be forced to be teamy


Mark
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post #12 of 54 Old 10-11-2016
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

I have to agree with your wife and Mark. Let her take the sail down. I don't think its an issue of courage at all - its an issue of teamwork and strategy. Stop thinking about captain courageous and start thinking husband and wife team.

Also, you have to just shut up and give her time to learn how to do that particular job - her own way to do it, in light wind at first. Its all good - learn how.


I have seen many women sailors, particularly racers who are uber competent and run a sailboat like clockwork with hardly a word so it is not a gender thing. Its a training and teamwork thing. In that light - you might want to get her into a sailing school to bring up her boat handling skills before you set out.

Team.
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post #13 of 54 Old 10-11-2016
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

She should learn how to anchor. She should learn how to handle the sails. Until that happens, no, she has not learned how to control the boat. If something happens to you and it's more prudent to stay put and allow the rescuer to come to you, she needs to know how to stay in one spot and not drift. If sail handling and anchoring are not on her list of things to learn, you need to learn how to singlehand. I'm not saying she has to do it all the time, but she should learn how to do them if she's called on to do it, either to help you or in an emergency.

I agree with much of what has been said above. When we decided to buy another boat one thing on my list was to not buy one too large for either of us to handle on our own should something happen to the other. I hope you both took that into consideration, too.

We all screw up. Sometimes the screw up hurts physically. Sometimes it just hurts the pride. Talk about it (not yell), figure out what can be done differently the next time. Move on, but remember what you talked about.

Part of me being prepared to sail across an ocean is mentally preparing for something to happen to my partner. If it could be guaranteed that all would be well, I'd be a happy camper. But my personal training includes figuring out ahead of time what I would and could do in different scenarios if he goes down just as I'm trying to work through different scenarios of boat trouble. It sounds grim, but it's working for me. Some of us take CPR and first aid courses throughout our lives "just in case." Why should that be different on a boat?

"Her job is..." Ugh. I'm trying hard not to read anything into that.

Finally, get over your ego and clip in if that is what will help her concentrate on learning more skills to perhaps save you both some day and definitely have a more relaxed sail. Seriously, how much will that hurt?

I give you props for coming in here and asking.
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post #14 of 54 Old 10-11-2016
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

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Originally Posted by SlyMcFly View Post
She's been sailing 3 years now going every weekend plus some long trips.
Maybe that says something about your teaching abilities.

You need to take it down a notch. I can feel your intensity coming through the computer and am pretty sure based on the one post that I wouldn't want to crew for you.
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post #15 of 54 Old 10-11-2016
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

To quote the OP "She's afraid of (1) screwing up, and (2) something happening to me."

OK, simple...how do we fix both fears:

1. Screwing up: I suspect that this fear is the easy one to fix. Make it OK to screw up. I've been sailing over 30 years and hardly a day goes by on the boat where I don't do something wrong. 99% of screw ups are not life threatening. Yea, you might break a piece of equipment or put a scratch in it. You might tear a sail. So what. I found that when I was afraid of screw ups my crew was afraid of screw ups. Lead by example. Screw up then fix it and don't get upset.

2. Something Happening to You: Go the extra mile. Harness, inflatable vest, whatever. Don't be a hero, be a wimp. Then, let her do every job she wants to do on the boat. Every one. Encourage her to do jobs she is not comfortable with, and when she fails, smile, laugh and have her try again while telling a tail about how you screwed that job up first time you tried it to. Because you did but maybe it was so long ago you forgot.

Leadership is not doing things yourself, it's getting other people motivated and trained to do those things effectively. I don't know you so please don't take this personally, but I know many leaders who fail by leaving no room for failure. The only failure is not trying. It's not brain surgery or rocket science, its just sailing and it isn't that hard or even important. Make it fun.

It's of course more delicate in a relationship than employee/employer setting; however, a team is a team. Many, many years ago my then future wife and I got through some interesting weather and difficulties on a boat together working as a team. Those experiences were significant to us, and had a big impact on our decision to spend our lives together.

I think it might be a good idea to legislate a pre-marital test where couples need to spend time together living on a sailboat. If they survive a few weeks and still like each other, we would issue marriage certificates. There would be a much lower divorce rate

Good luck and may both of you find adventure, fun and happiness.
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

first of all, we are now sailing my race boat, a Pearson Flyer 30 feet. We have not yet selected our cruising boat. I feel that this is an excellent training boat for her, although it is very overpowered, with an SA/D of 22.5, tiller, and outboard. Selection of our cruising boat will be done by the both of us. I am not doing any kind of extensive mods to the current boat. We don't have lazy jacks.

We talked about this last night, she is pleased I started this thread. We came up with some ideas, such as me switching the instruments from a bank of numbers (which I prefer) to the old style analog gage with an arrow pointing where the wind is, which will help her, with my instruments this can be done by simply pushing a button. She is visual, not number oriented.

Her fear is that I will fall over and she won't be able to turn the boat and get the sails down and get me. She wants to know how I get the main down on a windy day single handed. I set the autopilot and go to it. So we discussed setting the autopilot and getting it down together. She would be more comfortable if we were both wearing life jackets. She can't really swim.

None of this was much of an issue until recently, she may have been holding it in, but we are looking at new boats and our departure is getting closer so I'm sure its on her mind.

I came her asking for suggestions so keep them coming. Although its a race boat and I'm a retired racer, she is never treated like race crew although sometimes I do yell. We have come up with a series of hand signals when anchoring that help greatly in that regard. She knows how to use the 2 speed winches. She is small, weak, and girly with fancy nails and so on I think there is no way on Earth she could get the anchor up on the current vessel (no windlass). She wears sailing gloves, she has a very good automatic life vest. We sailed this summer 3 weeks from San Diego to Santa Barbara Island and circumnavigated Catalina living about a week at anchor in Cat Harbor and had a great time.

There is a Catalina 27 2 slips down from us owned and sailed by a woman, usually sailed by women, it would be nice to try to get her on that boat for an outing without me.
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

as she gains experience sh e will gain confidence.. it is only a fool who feels no nervousness when going to sea. the butterflies never go away i promise. let them be the abreojos needed to be alert and capable.
i would not really call it fear, but all souls going to sea feel a bit uncertain as to their fate as they leave--this is a good thing. learning an d survival are spawned by this slight fear we all keep close to us.
if something happens to you>> the more experience she gains in all areas of boat, the better equipped she will be to get your dying or injured self to help and safety safely. stuff happens--we all have a backup plan. let her make her own for this contingency. too many ladies sailing have no clue as to how to get back to safety with an ill or injured spouse or partner. practice and experience help with both these situations./
when you go forward, use a tether. as you both learn, you will both enjoy the lifestyle more.
happy sailing.
oh yeah--i prefer analog also-- for time, and for wind and for much of everything--but i am old and slow to adjust.
my wind was both with a pointer and with digital numbers-- hybrid. loved it until it died on me--i think a helper uninstalled mine...my battery condition is analog..with a lovely needle pointing and colors to guide the eye for condition green yellow or red.
would it be difficult to maintain a second set of gauges for her to use ?? install the analog next to the digital and see how tha thelps.... buena suerte!


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post #18 of 54 Old 10-11-2016
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

Zee - same feeling for motorcycle trips.


Is it possible we all missed an important point? Maybe she just needed more throttle. You said that you hit some wakes and the boat fell off the wind. Maybe she lost steerage, or lost enough that the boat would not point well. A simple throttle adjustment may be all that was needed.
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlyMcFly View Post
...

None of this was much of an issue until recently, she may have been holding it in, but we are looking at new boats and our departure is getting closer so I'm sure its on her mind.
...
This struck me as curious. You have a departure date set but you don't yet have the boat?
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Re: Developing Courage - Managing Fear

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Originally Posted by Sal Paradise View Post
Zee - same feeling for motorcycle trips.


Is it possible we all missed an important point? Maybe she just needed more throttle. You said that you hit some wakes and the boat fell off the wind. Maybe she lost steerage, or lost enough that the boat would not point well. A simple throttle adjustment may be all that was needed.

this is all part of the learning.. she will be awesome


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