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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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I'm afraid I don't quite know anymore how best to respond. I see issues with both of your approaches to sailing
Yep, both seem to be locked into their own traditional customs and societal mores. She probably needs to go through a sailing class or find someone who can loan her a small sailing dinghy.

Does she even understand the points of sail?

He seems to be pushing boundaries because he's 60 and retired and wants to go now.

This might be more than just a fear issue....
 

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Discussion Starter #42
OK here's what we are going to try thank you everyone

(1) We already have bimini and sun shade and she's very careful with sun exposure and I take it serious and never tease her about it in fact I remind her to put the sunscreen.

(2) I'll wear my harness/lifejacket and tether when getting the main down and I'll let her do it on days not so windy (as she already drops the main sometimes.) I'll continue letting her down the jib, and we will both wear life jackets and harness/tether even on nice days as training and to get used to it for the day we'll need them.

(3) We'll talk to each other on the VHF from time to time so she gets used to it

(4) Continuing with the hand signals, I'll try REALLY hard to never yell or criticize.

(5) I'm going to teach her to stop the boat under sail and heave to, she can already sail a basic course once I have set things up. Take baby steps, I'd like her to learn to sail a circle and figure 8 but we'll get to that. Our boat sails really well without a jib and main only makes that much easier.

(6) The boarding ladder is stored away down below and if I got it on deck at least she could hang it if we needed it.

(7) I'll talk to my friend with a Catalina 36 and see if we can get out someday on a bigger boat with a wheel and inboard diesel

(8) She used to be really afraid of the dinghy and after this summer spending 3 weeks in it she's over that fear so I'm hoping some of this fades with use, her main fear is the upcoming voyage, not me getting the main down on the Pearson in 20 knots.

(9) I'll see if she'll go sailing with the women-owned and crewed Catalina 27, 2 slips down from us.

I'll continue listening to her and trying to understand and help. She sees me a big strong man, confident, nearly my whole live on the water with no fear and highly competent, yet she has heard some sea stories about nights and big storms during races and she wants to understand how I put my fear behind me when I have to. It's hard to explain what being a captain in a race with a bunch of guys who depend on you with their lives means and how a man responds to that.

I've seen deep courage in this woman and I have all the confidence in the world in her even if she doesn't have that for herself, yet. I can see inside her is a core of strength and power, and despite years of people telling her she can't do it, she put herself through college and became a teacher. And yet she's willing to leave that for me. Deep down, really deep down, she knows she's better than what they all said and deserves better and now she has it. Those of us who have cruised have heard this, none of her coworkers believe she's actually going to leave, but I know better, she's already filed her papers to leave work, as have I.

Our fifth date 3 years ago was sailing from Ensenada around the Islas de los Todos Santos 15 miles out and back - her FIRST time on a boat and she did great and we've never looked back.
 

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You started this thread by asking about how to manage fear. Forty three posts later, you've gotten cultural advice, marital counseling, some sailing advice, invitations to self-criticism, psychological assessments, and some advice about fear. Some of it has been pretty good. I'll just stick to fear.

Fear is not "rational"--it's primal. It may or may not be rationally related to the circumstances at hand. I've experienced, and directly observed in others, both absence of fear in overtly hazardous (immediately life-threatening) situations, and severe fear in situations that were clearly (and known to be) not particularly dangerous. You can't reason your way, or her way, in or out of it.

So, first question--who wants to manage your wife's fear? You obviously want her to manage it but that is not enough. Does she want to manage fear or does she really want simply to not be afraid? There is a big difference. I wouldn't assume that she really wants to manage her fear just because she says so. You need to look at what she does, not what she says. If what she wants is to avoid fear, not manage it, that's what she'll try to do, and you cannot successfully force the issue. She, herself, needs to want to manage it if she is to succeed at managing it.

Second question, if she wants to manage fear, how does she do it? You already know part of the answer, because you included it in your first post: "In a stressful situation you fall back on your training." That's one half. The other piece is desensitization, or graduated habituation--starting with relevant situations that produce small, manageable amounts of anxiety, mastering those, then gradually working up in bite-sized pieces. And as for training--it's not just training--it's actually drill, i.e., repetition, to the level that behavior becomes automatic or reflexive. That way, when the fear-inducing stimulus occurs, the response doesn't require much (or any) analysis or judgment--just a "go"--and in the flow, enough calm usually comes that perception and judgment can kick back in
 

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I can understand where your wife is coming from, I sail with my husband and i do most of the deck work. Not because I don’t or can’t do the helming or engine, but because I just like it. Although I do draw the line at hauling up the anchor and 30 meters of chain 3 times in 45 mins because he’s not happy about the way we are lying.
 

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There is a very good reason GOOD marriage counselors make good money. It’s damn hard work, takes a tremendous amount of skill and emotional fortitude and sucks.
 

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Fortunately, the habit of courage can be learned as any other habit is learned through repetition.
We must continually face and overcome our fears to build the kind of courage that will allow us to face the inevitable "ups and downs of life" without fear.
The starting point for overcoming your apprehensions and developing your courage is to examine the factors that predispose you to be afraid. The root of most fears is conditioning in childhood, most often associated with destructive criticism.
This leads us to develop two major types of fears. These are the fear of failure, which leads us to think:
******"I can not, I can not, I can not," and the fear of rejection, which leads us to think:
******"I must, I must, I must. "
Your fears can paralyze you, prevent you from taking constructive steps in the direction of our dreams and goals.
 

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Not every person can learn to sail... run a boat and some don't really want to... but they are fine with being aboard and traveling by sail.

If you have tons of experience and a boat... you need to sail it single handed with no help whatsoever. You should never NEED crew to operate your boat. PERIOD.

If your wife/partner wants to help she will learn and be motivated to learn. She may not be physically capable of doing everything that needs to be done on your boat... but she can do some things and that is VALUABLE help.

My wife is a land lubber, doesn't even drive a car... and has no aptitude with mechanics. She doesn't trim... doesn't want to learn.... doesn't care. When we anchor her concern is that I do it correctly and we don't drag or swing into another boat. She can watch and alert me to "something" I need to see in order to deal with it. I single hand and welcome the help she provides.

She cooks, cleans, know how to "organize things", takes the sail down, deal with sail cover etc.,picks up the mooring... and tells me when she is uncomfortable... "make this boat stop tipping so much!" She used to get seasick all the time... now she never does. She is wonderful company and if she is not happy and comfortable aboard... neither am I. I have sailed enough that I don't NEED to sail... and only sail ... venture out if there a lovely weather or we have to go some place... like get home.

She's a grand mother and does not want to sail off leaving her grand kids... who are more important to her than cruising. She enjoys the boat... being aboard... being away from work...

Any guy who expects or wants or worse... needs their wife to help them operate a boat.... shouldn't have a boat or a wife.
 

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You can fix or replace a boat. Doing that with a spouse tends to be way more traumatic and expensive.

There’s another thread about tourism on this site. My wife likes that aspect. I get a pure simple joy from the act of sailing. She doesn’t. She done enough ocean passages to be a OCC member (1500 mile uninterrupted open ocean passage). She’s been in squalls, groundings, t storms and has done 10,000 miles of coastal. But she still doesn’t know how to sail. I think she does as she can hand, reef, strike and raise. She can read a chart, understand a screen, monitor the AIS and radar. But according to her she doesn’t know how to sail.

Therefore, I single the boat as we go island to island or harbor to harbor. I fix the boat. She helps with maintenance but only as a second pair of hands. However I need her to operate the the boat. I need her to take the helm if something goes wrong. I need her if I need a head break or time down below. I need her to dock and handle lines. I need her on the VHF as I’m running the boat as we approach a fuel dock or slip. . I need her to keep sane and happy. I know a fair number of men alone on their boats. Some are quite large-over 50’. I wouldn’t like that life. I’m happy with my wife. More importantly she’s happy with me. I would be most unhappy without my wife. I would be unhappy without my boat.
I still think I should have a wife (and so does she). I still think I’m a good captain and shepherd for my boat and should have her as well.
Respectfully disagree with this S. He’s written some very thoughtful and excellent posts but on this think he’s plain wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being human. Needing to sleep so needing another at the helm, needing to take care of the other biologically obligate behaviors. Needing companionship and love. Needing help from another.
 

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....
Respectfully disagree with this S. He’s written some very thoughtful and excellent posts but on this think he’s plain wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being human. Needing to sleep so needing another at the helm, needing to take care of the other biologically obligate behaviors. Needing companionship and love. Needing help from another.
I am not sure what you are disagreeing with me about here. Love and companionship are certainly valued and should be cherished... actually in all things we do in life... kinda.

You shouldn't need a companion to drive your car somewhere.... And analogously your should need a companion to take your boat somewhere. Obviously big complicated boats can exceed the capability of one person. And we see that many who cruise seek a big comfortable fast boat and the line where it is too big to single hand is clearly fuzzy... as are the condition under which one can single hand.

If you decide you need a big complex boat then it's likely you need crew to operate it. Then the discussion is what is short handed sailing??? Many sail as couples and for all practical purposes... they are mostly single handed with a occasional assist as Out mentions from a wife, or crew. And these occasional assists make the difference between sailing or not.

I won't even get into the emotional needs that companionship offers.

++++


Back OT, anything which takes you out of a comfort zone requires confidence and perhaps courage. Wiki says:

Courage (also called bravery or valour) is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Physical courage is bravery in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, or personal loss.

Sailing may require courage... but it usually does not. It does require competence and confidence in your skills.
 

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Fortunately, the habit of courage can be learned as any other habit is learned through repetition.
We must continually face and overcome our fears to build the kind of courage that will allow us to face the inevitable "ups and downs of life" without fear.
The starting point for overcoming your apprehensions and developing your courage is to examine the factors that predispose you to be afraid. The root of most fears is conditioning in childhood, most often associated with destructive criticism.
This leads us to develop two major types of fears. These are the fear of failure, which leads us to think:
******"I can not, I can not, I can not," and the fear of rejection, which leads us to think:
******"I must, I must, I must. "
Your fears can paralyze you, prevent you from taking constructive steps in the direction of our dreams and goals.
Indeed fear is part of sailing. When you get right down to it it is part of life. It can creep up on you when you least expect it. I know it has on me. Exhibit A: https://biankablog.blogspot.com/2011/03/lesson-learned-fear-and-panic-in-east.html
Though when it creeps up it I find it is best to do a quick analysis of the situation and run through the possibilities of what is going wrong. Often it is not as bad as you first "feared" and the solution is simple. I think Hunter Thompson said it best:

"I understand that fear is my friend, but not always. Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed."-Hunter S.Thompson

 

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Anxiety has been defined as the anticipation of fear. Anxiety is total counterproductive. I think anxiety not fear is what holds people back from much of the joys of sailing.
I went halvies on several boats with another doc. It made sense as with our call schedules the boat sat otherwise and of course expenses were halved as well. He loved sailing in weather. I thought he was nuts. However, when neither of us were on all off we go together. Usually a fresh breeze or strong breeze but occasionally a gale. I got use to it and actually started to enjoy the power and majesty of an angry ocean. Never sort it out like him but did lose the anxiety associated with weather within reason.
My (at the time) 10 year old and I were out cruising for the weekend. We needed to get back by Monday for school and work. We got caught out in a constant 30 kts. Needing to free a line gave her the helm. Got back as quick as I could and found her smiling. Surfing the boat with great skill and control. Anticipating the 10-12’ ers better than most helmsmen I know. Giggling time to time as the spray hit her. She had lots of prior experience helming with me by her side but this was fairly new. She knew not to broach or gybe. Thing is she had no preconceived ideas so no anxiety. She had the skills from prior experience and was able to apply them flawlessly. I left left her at helm with instructions to turn it over to me when she wanted and stayed by her side. When she had to pee I got the helm again.
 

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Many people, especially children don't understand their own limitations. This may get them into trouble. Prudence may be knowing that you don't know and need to protect yourself from your ignorance and short comings. Maybe
 

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Going to toss a log on the fire here since it's been burning... what? three years?

This really isn't about the women being afraid it's about the men being afraid to leave the helm! Face it guys you don't wanna give it up!! (This is meant to be humorous! if you haven't figured that out so don't get all crazy on me)
 
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