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Picnic Sailor
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It's remarkable that the suggestion gender should not matter is itself considered sexism or a marker for it. I'm more inclined to think the characterization of men in this thread is the most sexist thing I read. It's a forum that allows for it, not unlike a men's only club would in reverse. Yes, sexism exists. Abundantly both ways.

I would inherently prefer a male instructor, because they are more likely to be like me and I'm more likely to relate. l would never allow myself to take that poison pill, because it simply perpetuates the division. It's no more valid for a female to generically predetermine other females more capable.

You pick. If you're okay with segregation, you're okay with it. If you're not, you don't get to proclaim your indulgence to be appropriate.
I don't think it's a sexist thing to simply state that 'gender shouldn't matter'. That is a valid comment all things being equal and hopefully that is where we all end up.

However my issue with your viewpoint is that in this specific case it ignores any historical or contextual power imbalance or gender bias. Both of which in my experience have existed in sailing.

Heard of Kay Cottee? She was the first ever female member of my yacht club 30 years ago (and she had to sail solo around the world before she got membership, I just had to get my mate Dave to second me). 30 years is not nearly long enough ago for the yacht club I grew up in to have it's 'first female member' in my books.

So I think it is perfectly understandable and reasonable that some females, entering a historically male dominated sport might find it easier learning with a female instructor.

Whats the big deal with that?
 

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1968 Columbia 50
Columbia 50
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Let's just face the fact that men and women are inherently different. Women inter-relate differently between each-other than men more often than not...often it is not a matter of capability as it is how two people interact due to personality types and sometimes pre-dispositions based on gender.

Chall: you mention the "Women Who Sail" group on facebook, I'm glad your wife has found the Aussie group to be extremely beneficial, I however have not found the US version of that to be the case as much(Mrs. Siren posting here). I did enjoy the group to a point, as I am trying to get into sailing more, but the male bashing that takes place far too often was hard to overlook and I felt I had to leave the group after a few months. After a while the bashing was just too frequent to just keep scrolling and overlook, despite the benefits.
 

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Let's just face the fact that men and women are inherently different. Women inter-relate differently between each-other than men more often than not...often it is not a matter of capability as it is how two people interact due to personality types and sometimes pre-dispositions based on gender.

Chall: you mention the "Women Who Sail" group on facebook, I'm glad your wife has found the Aussie group to be extremely beneficial, I however have not found the US version of that to be the case as much(Mrs. Siren posting here). I did enjoy the group to a point, as I am trying to get into sailing more, but the male bashing that takes place far too often was hard to overlook and I felt I had to leave the group after a few months. After a while the bashing was just too frequent to just keep scrolling and overlook, despite the benefits.
Mrs. Siren... and others... I wonder what people do is condescension rather than sexism. I personally don't have much patience for dumb... from wherever it comes. My hunch is that sailing, not unlike many other "things" favors people who can see the big picture... are "mechanically" inclined... can conceptualize 3D and even 4D. My experience is that females are often "educated" to excel at a whole different skill set. (not all but we need to speak in generalities don't we??)

Years ago when I was just under 40 and new to sailing having recently purchased the boat I still own... I met a too young for me woman at a restaurant. She was also polish and a single mother. We started to date despite the age difference. Aside from being good at all the feminine stuff she loved to fix and do things... which struck me as odd. But she was good at it. When she came aboard she took to sailing like a duck to water... That was amazing! I am not referring to lying about on the deck sun bathing... but steering and trimming and so on. WOWSER! Eva was brilliant! I had recently separated from my wife who was lost on the boat and would do nothing because of her fear. My experience is that most females are closer to my ex wife and the Eva. Many don't even want to learn a thing. But the ones that do... are a pleasure to teach... the ones that don't are passengers and need attention and get in the way too often. I find myself (perhaps condescendingly) telling them to sit there and stay out of the way only because the cockpit is small and I need to move around it to tack, gybe, trim and so on... but people who don't help... or don't know how to help are often in the way. That's reality.

I don't know much about yacht clubs... racing... sailing schools. I do think.. anyone interested in these things can READ and research and prepare themselves rather than "show up bright eyed and bushy tailed wanting to be taught." Again... my own experience.... I bought a 36' boat with only a few week ends on the water but AFTER I took a Colgate class with the ex wife. But I also immersed myself with reading and research for a year before I took the course. I read 20 or more books and subscribed to all the sailing magazines which I read cover to cover. For me the class was basically to practice what I had already learned from books.

If someone is serious about learning to sail... in my opinion... before they show up at a class... they should do some serious reading/research.... which is more accessible today that it was in the mid 80s before the www and YouTube. And I think for anyone who DOES do their research... they will only experience sexism from a true dyed in the wool sexist pig. They exist (unfortunately) allover the place.

This guy, Joe Cooper... is a great example of a sailing teacher and savant... and not the least bit sexist. https://www.facebook.com/joe.cooper.142035.

Before you sign for a class... interview the instructors!
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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I am an ASA instructor, I am male, and I am in the USA (I understand that the cultural mores are different in other countries). I have never had a gender specific issue with either a male or female student. Because I am an ASA instructor, I have met and worked with a few female instructors (both ASA and US/Sailing), some of whom are great instructors, and some of whom I would not want to take a course with, let alone have them teach.

I once had a female student shut down on the morning of the first day of ASA 101. She was the female half of a married couple. After her initial turn at the helm, she refused to take the helm again and as a result she did not pass the class. To be fair to her, she was scared. Her turn at the helm consisted of my helping her in bringing the boat back to the marina where we started so that I could reef the main. Winds had picked up to about 18kts from under 10 when we left the mooring. Reefing is normaly covered later in the class. However, I believe that the main issue in this case was that the sailing dream was his, and she was attending the class to appease him. I believe that she shut down because she was terrified of failing in the eyes of her spouse.

She was able to act this way because her spouse was on the boat with her. In effect, he was her crutch. If she had either been with a group of friends or people that she did not know, she would not have shut down as she did. If not for his presence on the boat, she would have either risen to the challenge of taking the helm again, or quit the class because sailing was not for her. I have experienced similar behavior when trying to teach (ex)girlfriends how to (snow) ski.

Whenever possible I prefer to split "couples" into seperate boats for ASA 101.

Regarding the OP; Did your wife fail the written or the practical portion of ASA 104? If she failed the written, she needs to study the book or spend more time aboard a boat. If she failed the practical, I suggest that she does not need to take a course with a female instructor, she simply needs to take the course without you.

For those reading this other than the OP; In ASA 103 students are taught to manuver a 30+ foot boat, dock, and anchor. They are also introduced to the mechanical systems on the boat and COLREGS. In ASA 104 students are taught how to provision, more about systems and COLREGS, and how to navigate with a chart. 104 classes also leave the marina overnight. See https://asa.com/certifications/

From my perspective 103 is a harder course to teach, and pass, than 104.
 

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. they will only experience sexism from a true dyed in the wool sexist pig. They exist (unfortunately) allover the place.
This is basically what the issue is. For most straight males sexism is just the overt kind and something nasty psychos do (wife beaters and such) not "normal guys" like them (us, since I am one). This ignore the subtle, sometimes subconscious kind that is especially rampant in male-dominated fields. Talking down to women, "mansplaining", addressing the man and ignoring the women in a couple, assuming women are ignorant or uninterested, etc. This of course often ends up being self-fulfilling as the women will not be particularly interested in anything where she is treated this way.. I have thought male-dominated sports myself and had to constantly evaluate my behavior to avoid doing these things, and sometimes I fail as it is so ingrained in our culture. Not to mention that even today girls from a young age are taught to be less assertive, and that technical things are "not for them". Of course I don't assume you'll agree, or even acknowledge any of this but thought it post it for others.
 

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This is basically what the issue is. For most straight males sexism is just the overt kind and something nasty psychos do (wife beaters and such) not "normal guys" like them (us, since I am one). This ignore the subtle, sometimes subconscious kind that is especially rampant in male-dominated fields. Talking down to women, "mansplaining", addressing the man and ignoring the women in a couple, assuming women are ignorant or uninterested, etc. This of course often ends up being self-fulfilling as the women will not be particularly interested in anything where she is treated this way.. I have thought male-dominated sports myself and had to constantly evaluate my behavior to avoid doing these things, and sometimes I fail as it is so ingrained in our culture. Not to mention that even today girls from a young age are taught to be less assertive, and that technical things are "not for them". Of course I don't assume you'll agree, or even acknowledge any of this but thought it post it for others.
No I don't agree with much of what you wrote. I have never been sexist. Don't do mansplainin... and don't ignore the female half of a couple... ever. I do explain things I understand to any HUMAN who doesn't understand... and wants to learn.

I don't participate in any sports and stopped after little league. I don't attend to follow spectator sports for a number of reasons and one of them being the macho hyper competitive aggressive nature of team sports. I played tennis for a while not to win... but for the exercise. I don't go for guys hanging out and drinking and acting very male/sexist... at the local bar or at a yacht club.

But this thread is not about me or you... but about sailing school instructors... As far as I am concerned... an instructor that does not treat males and females the same should not have the job. PERIOD My grand daughters are bring brought up to believe that boys and girls are equal but different. One of my grand daughters is like me... she does gymnastics for the joy and to compete only with herself.... just like her grandpa sails.
 

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Okay folks. Please stop. This is on the verge of going from borderline to worse.
 
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Yeh....get real.
Been many years since ASA spec'd a chainsaw as required teaching tool.

Just go forth...to learn. Challenge your instructor. Ask a lot of...why's
Make it fun.
Wet the rail and learn you wont die...:)
 
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