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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Experienced Cruiser Type Sailors,

I've been sailing a long time. The wife (we're older newly weds) loves the water, loves our new (to us) boat, doesn't mind the money we're dumping into her (refurbing the mast, life raft, new dinghy and outboard, etc.). But when I talk about "cruising" she gets apprehensive, (maybe a little scared).

Did any of you "partner" teams have to get through one of you being uneasy about big water and overnights on the hook, etc.? What cured it (or maybe didn't)?

Dave
 

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Baby steps brotha man. Start slow- a few over night trips, etc. Consider it a shakedown cruise for the newly refitted boat and yourselves. My bet is after a few uneventful trips she will be on board. But just "Jumping in" and going straight to cruising would be a big adjustment
 

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My admiral was sold when the destination included a nice bar/restaurant on the water. Either a yacht club (reciprocals are convenient) or marina guest slip within a half-day sail would be nice baby steps to take.
 

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Are you talking long distance cruising? If so, I agree with Stagman. Baby steps to the boat! If you sail in an area where there is a sailing club then join and go on some overnights with them. The evening raft ups with fellow cruisers and soon to be friends help her not feel alone out there. Help her learn how to sail the boat and get back to port on her own (if you are ever incapacitated you might need this) so she feels more competent. Don't push her or get frustrated - no yelling allowed!! She will come to it and agree that it is the best thing to do.

Tod


Mandolin, Bayfield 36 out of Rock Creek, Chesapeake Bay.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Time and patience.
Be conservative in your boating, and dont scare or wear out the mate.
On alternate days, have her serve as captain so she feels involved and becomes confident about sailing.
 

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Nothing that a little Xanax can’t cure! :) But seriously, most of we couples have been in your boat to some degree or another. All the above is good advice. Club membership is very good in this regard as your SO will have the opportunity to “commune with her sisters” and learn what is normal and that you are actually a really good skipper after all. That, and cruising with a buddy boat will alleviate a lot of the anxiety of the unknown. Remember what is for you an exhilarating experience, may be a lesson in stark terror for her. She really doesn’t appreciate your bar stories the same way as your sailing buddies do. And finally, never broach the boat with her onboard! I cannot stress the importance of this enough. I learned that lesson the hard way after the second time I laid the boat out. For almost a year after that, I could almost drive her to tears just by hauling the spinnaker on deck!
 

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weather, weather, weather ..... get it right the first time and don't scare the beejeesus out of her.

First night out at anchor, make a nice meal, bottle of wine, soft music, then lie to her. Tell her every night cruising is like that :)
 

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Dave, was it Mark Twain who remarked that you can cook a frog easily if you just keep heating the water up gradually?

Odds are the Mrs. is apprehensive because she's not familiar with it all. My mother once asked me "How can you sleep on that little boat in the ocean in the middle of the night?!" and I said it's easy. No crazy neighbors screaming, or banging, or starting kitchen fires. And someone's always awake and on watch, one hopes.

Get her some time on the water, maybe with another couple so there's company and distractions. See if she's interested in a program like Womanship, a one-week sailing course for women (no spouses!) which is designed to build their confidence and self-reliance. That can make a huge difference.

Find another couple, charter a boat someplace obscenely warm and beautiful for a week, and she'll be hooked. Or, you can always sell the boat and buy a great set of golf clubs.
 

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im going through this also. i have been doing Boatpoker's method and telling her of the things she can buy in different countries. siver in mexico, emeralds in columbia... ect lol
 

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I noticed you are in Washington.

The San Juans have some great scenic sailing with good restaurants.

Roche Harbour
Rosario is a must for the spa.
Anacortes
Friday Harbour
Pick up a ball at Sucia for a BBQ.
 

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Also going through this ... believing that confidence is everything, and because she knows that she MUST be able to sail the boat without me, we're going to sailing school. But not together ... frustration and shouting might then ensue. Instead, going with another couple, girls in school together in the day without the boys, couples hanging out at night. The apprehension, I hope, is merely fear of the unknown. And a week of sailing school should make the unknown go away.
That's the plan anyway.

PS Long-time lurker, created an account only very recently ... first post.
 

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Also going through this ... believing that confidence is everything, and because she knows that she MUST be able to sail the boat without me, we're going to sailing school. But not together ... frustration and shouting might then ensue. Instead, going with another couple, girls in school together in the day without the boys, couples hanging out at night. The apprehension, I hope, is merely fear of the unknown. And a week of sailing school should make the unknown go away.
That's the plan anyway.

PS Long-time lurker, created an account only very recently ... first post.
Doing the course together with a good instructor can be very beneficial.

When I teach couples I show how 2 people can easily handle a boat.

As well you will then have common strategies.
 

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I like this thread , because lets face it if your wife/crew is not happy it's up to you to fix that . I can't really add anything here because everyone that has posted here has given good advice . Mrs. Westi was the one who got me into sailing but still she looked to me to be cap. One night(morning) at Catalina we got the wake up call , get off shore now Santa Ana's moved in unexpected. That was one warm wet slog home . When the Santa Ana's hit a wind ward shore you are safer at sea . We made it OK (thank you Patricia A) but we were both a little freaked out .
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Thank you all for the good words of encouragement and advice (something I have come to expect from the good crew of Sailnet). We have been out on mostly 3 hour max day sails and motor rides out of Everett, WA (except for the motor trip home from Anacortes on Labor day - FLAT, no wind, sunny, 70F and 8 hours) which she just loved.

She is in charge of setting up the cabin, galley, picking out material for re-covers, mattress for the berth etc. while I do the man stuff (rigging, motor etc.). We have spent many enjoyable hours together getting our good ship ready for our first summer. I know it's just a matter of starting with an over nighter up to Whidbey or Cornet Bay and go from there. She did the Washington Boaters course BY HERSELF and passed with colors. I was a sailing qualifier in the Navy and she is a super student and it shows. I'm proud of her.

Thanks again! Dave
 

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Is she nervous about the sailing or staying on the boat?

From Everett you can do an easy, comfortable, and fun overnighter to Langley, Whidbey Island. If anything goes wrong you can quickly get home. The walk into town is short and there are nice restaurants for dinner. It is the perfect overnight trial, and also can be under 24 hours, fitting into a normal weekend without taking it over.

I made the mistake of planning too long of a day for our first overnight trip. It all went well, but a shorter trip would have been better. Since that first overnighter two years ago we've spent 7 weeks cruising together and having a great time.
 

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First overnighter I did with the Ex was a ten day downwind passage.

She loved it.

If your wife doesnt, at least you will know within 2 weeks and can look for another one.

:)
One of the first dates I had with my current wife, was to take her out on the boat for five days. She loved it and was a good sport and didn't complain at all. I told her later that was when I realized, she might be the one. :D
 

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My wife was a fish to water. The good part is when the weather gets rough, the more she likes it. Scarry!

My wife had very limited experience before she jumped onto my present boat. For her to learn how to handle/learn how to sail on a 40' boat has been an experience. She spent many weekends at the dock having a drink and enjoying the sun before she was comfortable handling the boat. Baby steps, baby steps.
Honestly, in the beginning she was left at the clubhouse when i would go out in rough weather. She now feels comfortable in all conditions. I run her theu "what if" "who has right of way" situations all the time.
Women love comfort. Make sure that you pander to her. Your boat has to be a home away from home.

Also going through this ... believing that confidence is everything, and because she knows that she MUST be able to sail the boat without me, we're going to sailing school. But not together ... frustration and shouting might then ensue. Instead, going with another couple, girls in school together in the day without the boys, couples hanging out at night. The apprehension, I hope, is merely fear of the unknown. And a week of sailing school should make the unknown go away.
That's the plan anyway.
Sending the women on sailing vacation is a great idea.

Training does help; BUT, If she does not have confidence in YOUR abilities this will play to her comfort level. My wife has no fear because she knows i'm there to fix any issues that come up. Now, when i fall off the back of the boat........
 

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I just wanted to say that it's really nice (and telling) that the respondents have mostly all referred to their wives as 'wife' as opposed to the a-word.

thanks.

BTW, from a 'feminine' perspective (although I'm the skipper). Everyone who is aboard a boat with regularity, that is to say crew, should have a fairly good idea of how to sail the boat and how its systems work. One of my biggest fears for going offshore is that one of us will be incapacitated and the other not be able to deal w/boat things. Some of the issues will involve size and strength, but although I understand engines, plumbing, and fiberglass work, I don't get electrickery very well (therefore our systems are pretty simple).

Learning about the boat will give confidence in all situations….
 
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