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Hi all,

My wife and I are preparing to do some cruising in the Gulf and Caribbean. My wife enjoys sailing, but she is mostly excited about getting to visit lots of new places, go snorkeling, relax on sandy beaches, etc. I'm just trying to say that she isn't the kind of person who enjoys reading books about the technical side of sailing.

So I've been trying to convince her of the importance of learning navigation skills. She keeps saying things like "why do I need to learn navigation...don't we have GPS?" Of course the answer is obvious to me, but I can't seem to explain it adequately. Any tips on how I can motivate her to learn basic navigation? Also, can anybody recommend any good resources for learning basic navigation? Books, videos, android apps or other software?

I tried to get her to do the course at sailingissues.com, but she quickly became frustrated, I think for two reasons. First, the course was too advanced and moved too quickly for her to follow. Second, the course didn't adequately explain why the material was relevant, so she didn't feel motivated to continue.

Anybody else been through this? I need advice!
 

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I would let her pick up navigation and other skills as she sails. It will come naturally. Learning in the abstract is often not very successful.
 

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DC, welcome aboard! How about a little information/background? Are you sailing down to the Carib on your own bottom or are you chartering? How big is your boat and how long have you and your wife been sailing? MrsB is probably a lot like your own spouse, Not really interested in the detailed study of navigation. She gets by on understanding the general concepts. She would rather have me do all the problem solving, laying in the course, waypoints, etc. But once we are underway, she becomes a navigating maniac. She has been known to hand plot positions down below while I follow the chart plotter at the helm. Make sure you keep Chart #1 on the boat. I’m constantly being asked what this or that symbol is.
 

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So I've been trying to convince her of the importance of learning navigation skills. She keeps saying things like "why do I need to learn navigation...don't we have GPS?" Of course the answer is obvious to me, but I can't seem to explain it adequately.


Welcome to SN!

First question for you sir; Are you a teacher? 2nd, Do you have a firm knowledge of the topic? (in this case navigation)

Spouse teaching spouse often strains the relationship!

Ideally, both are a team and able learn all the aspects of boat handling, navigation, maintenance. etc . Example, if you went or her went overboard. Do you both have the skills to "save" another?

I would suggest, (trying to be tactful here :) ) you let her find where she fits in sailing and not assume she needs you teaching her. Be glad, and really thankful that she even wants to sail! Not many guys can even get their lady to go on a boat!

A casual hint about women's sailing classes, may save your marriage, or at least spare you both the stress of the "me,me,me, and my wife" battles.

Having been around a male dominated trades all my life I've attended classes taught by lay persons. Often it's more about the "teacher" then the topic.

Good luck!
 

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"And now, in a cooler moment, I hasten to blab the whole simplicity of it, to blab on Roscoe and the other navigators and the rest of the priesthood, all for fear that I may become even as they, secretive, immodest, and inflated with self-esteem. And I want to say this now: any young fellow with ordinary gray matter, ordinary education, and with the slightest trace of the student-mind, can get the books, and charts, and instruments and teach himself navigation. Now I must not be misunderstood. Seamanship is an entirely different matter. It is not learned in a day, nor in many days; it requires years. Also, navigating by dead reckoning requires long study and practice. But navigating by observations of the sun, moon, and stars, thanks to the astronomers and mathematicians, is child’s play. Any average young fellow can teach himself in a week. And yet again I must not be misunderstood. I do not mean to say that at the end of a week a young fellow could take charge of a fifteen-thousand-ton steamer, driving twenty knots an hour through the brine, racing from land to land, fair weather and foul, clear sky or cloudy, steering by degrees on the compass card and making landfalls with most amazing precision. But what I do mean is just this: the average young fellow I have described can get into a staunch sail-boat and put out across the ocean, without knowing anything about navigation, and at the end of the week he will know enough to know where he is on the chart. He will be able to take a meridian observation with fair accuracy, and from that observation, with ten minutes of figuring, work out his latitude and longitude. And, carrying neither freight nor passengers, being under no press to reach his destination, he can jog comfortably along, and if at any time he doubts his own navigation and fears an imminent landfall, he can heave to all night and proceed in the morning."
---Jack London, 'The Cruise of the Snark', free download versions HERE.


+++++++



*How To Find Where You Are From The Sun (what you need to do when the GPS fails)*

The simplest & clearest "how to use a sextant and navigate" book in the known Universe!

"Simplistic" - a major distributor that refused to carry it.

"We hit Hawaii"- a satisfied user.

"If you can't follow this you best give up and buy a ranch in Nebraska. . . ." --- the author.

Available HERE.

:)

#include [std-disclaimer]
 
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Ideally, both are a team and able learn all the aspects of boat handling, navigation, maintenance. etc . Example, if you went or her went overboard. Do you both have the skills to "save" another?
Denise said it perfectly. You wife doesn't see why she needs the skill. On our boat, I do most of the navigation, but Vicky can get us home if she needs to. So keep it simple, stress that's it's for her safety, and start out easy with the GPS (does she know how to get from here to home using it?). 95% of navigation is ultra simple piloting anyway, so get her used to that.
 

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Assuming that you're sailing as a couple and she'll be taking her share of watches, I would focus letting her get comfortable holding a course and trimming a sail. I assume you have a GPS and you plan your routes in advance. Show her how to operate the GPS. You can maintain the paper chart until she expresses an interest in that. Answer all the related questions as they come up ( when she wants to know) Being able to hold a course for several hours at a time and not hit anything in the process is a valuable skill set.

I'm with Denise, be happy she wants to partake in the adventure. The questions will arise as you go along.
 

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I agree with most of what Denise and the others said. Even though my partner served on a CG cutter, there was always someone else to get the boat where it needed to go (he was an electrician below decks and just had to keep the engine running). When we purchased our sailboat he had to see for himself the importance of knowing how to navigate and some of the other sailing skills we're using. I stopped telling him that he had to learn stuff and just started including him in decisions for which the only way he could be an equal participant and know what I'm talking about was to learn it himself. He started asking questions on his own.

It also helped to meet a lot of other sailors face to face and for him to hear things from someone other than me. Jump start a social life with other sailors. She may pick things up in casual conversation.

In my CG Aux sailing class, more than once I've separated couples who started arguing during the navigation class. I often wonder how they make it on a small boat.

There's no easy answer. Everyone is different. It may be that your wife simply doesn't care to learn.
 

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Incentive/inspiration:

"Molokai fisherman Ron Ingraham, who was rescued after 12 days at sea, is getting some needed rest, but could head back out to sea in a few days.

On Nov. 27, Ingraham radioed for help, saying his boat was in danger of sinking, and gave GPS coordinates that indicated he was 46 miles west of Kailua-Kona.

Ingraham said he didn't know anyone heard his call and said the GPS coordinates from his GPS device turned out to be inaccurate."

---from this thread.

Backstop your electronics -- they can fubar more ways than you can count.
 
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I would let her pick up navigation and other skills as she sails. It will come naturally. Learning in the abstract is often not very successful.

I would commend you to read the above post from Killarney Sailor twice.

Computerised navigation has made cruising fun. Long gone is the fear of not knowing where you are, when and how you will arrive.
Theres enough un-fun things about the cruising life to not impose another one for little but academic reason.

Get her iNavX (or similar) on her iPhone and let her watch her dot move around town and home. Then at sea let her plot her own routes or legs and learn to follow them.

Try, if you possibly can, to give her the responsibility for her watch. I think its pretty futile to hand over the Watch and say "don't touch anything and call me if anything happens" its tantamount to treating an intelligent person like an idiot... But so is throwing an antiquated, complicated, irrelevant system at her.

:)

Mark
 

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If you ever figure it out please let me know. I could teach you possibly even your wife how to navigate or sail. In fact I could teach almost any one

Except my wife.
Teaching my kids has not been a great success either.

I content myself with her willingness to actually come sailing. She seams to enjoy it. But gets instantly annoyed if I try and teach her anything. She is content to sit with a glass of wine. While I sail.
She claims not to know any thing. Yet she will handle the sheets when we tack or gybe. She will steer for me while I raise lower sails stow sails.
She is quite happy to point out when I'm doing it wrong. She does that in the car to.
She will steer and use the engine throttle while anchoring but will not dock the boat. I dock single handed.
She claims to know nothing about navigation. And has no interest in navigation. Yet she insists I check every thing and explain how I know we won't hit the rock on the way in.
If she doesn't like my explanation she will read the cruising guide just so she can tell me why I'm not doing it right.
The really funny bit. When I ask her to ease the main sheet she never knows what it is. It has let the blue rope go.
When we have friends inboard she can tell them how to do every thing and even tell them the maisheet is the blue one.

Just accept her willingness to come and talk about what you are doing. I thinkyou will be surprised how much she knows.
 

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I assume that you are concerned about chart based navigation.

The most common classes I teach ashore are navigation classes. The classroom setting is good because an instructor is available to walk students though navigation problems.

Where are you located?
 
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I assume that you are concerned about chart based navigation.

The most common classes I teach ashore are navigation classes. The classroom setting is good because an instructor is available to walk students though navigation problems.

Where are you located?
my ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Workbook was divided up into 3 sections, 27 pages, General knowledge, Chartwork, Tides and Currents, with the help from the forum I was able to finish and partly understand 24 pages, up to and including practice exam 1. I shouldn't fault the teacher but the class room atmosphere was a little overwhelming, 1 instructor,12 students, and 8 hours. The youngsters had no problem but us old timer's, well it was like I was learning German, there wasn't enough one on one instructor time, which several of us needed. I refuse to sail out of Galveston Bay without knowing how to plot a course factoring tides current and drift, a talent that was lost on a seasoned crew when they ended up on the Galveston jetty, returning from a Corpus Gala.
 

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I assume that you are concerned about chart based navigation.

The most common classes I teach ashore are navigation classes. The classroom setting is good because an instructor is available to walk students though navigation problems.

Where are you located?
SSI.
It's ok she would flat out refuse to attend.
Oddly even though I've taught lots of other people. I would gladly book her into a course if she would go. She would probably find it quite interesting.
 

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At the very least make sure she knows how to zoom in on the chart plotter.
Just saying.:)
 

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At the very least make sure she knows how to zoom in on the chart plotter.
Just saying.:)
Thats something that you don't have to teach. Its intuitive. More and more new technology relies on methods that people already, or naturally, instinctively, understand. Remember the size of user manuals in the 1980's? We are saving a lot of trees now.

The barrier to learning has dropped, and the hurdle of knowledge lowered.


Mark
 

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Navigating was one of the first things I learned as a kid. I literally recall being about 12 years old and underway with my Dad, plotting courses up and down Long Island Sound while we were underway. Navigation is best learned in real time.

Admittedly, I found the charts, parallel rulers, dividers and a whiz wheel to be as exciting as kids find video games today, so I was a more willing student. It was like playing with adult stuff that would typically be off limits.

My Father would show me where we were, I would find the course to the next nav aid with the parallel rulers and determine distance with the dividers. He would then tell me how fast we were going and I would use the whiz wheel to calculate how long it would take. I would then wait anxiously to see if I was right. Naturally, it would off by a bit and I would go back to the whiz wheel with my new time and distance and solve for speed.

At that age, I wasn't messing with deviation or drift or other things that are indeed important. I'm also sure that he already knew where we were going and how long it would take in his head. But I felt like I was taking us across the ocean. I was hooked and the experience has served me extremely well for a lifetime.
 
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See this guy at the helm? His name is Eric Peron. Right now he's busy working with the Chinese team doing the Volvo race, but when he's done with that, you might give him a call and ask if he'll help get your girl up to navigation speed.

Hell, I'm fairly decent at navigation and I'll be glad to help pay for, take classes, feed and care for him, too :)

 

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If I was married I don't think I would have him teaching my wife anything. :eek: maybe if he doesnt go to the gym for a while....


;)
 
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Flying around Nigeria we have had GPS outages numerous times. When your onboard system says "Dead Reckoning" and at the same time your handheld Garmin goes into "searching" mode you had better have your map close and your clock already running.

I find that teaching the concept first is the most important. Like the earth as a grid system and sllooowwwlly work it from there. Teach the concept and the rest should follow.

Jerry
 
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