SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 86 Posts

·
You mean North ISN'T up?
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am curious how many of the cruising couples here initially experienced reluctance from their partner concerning the cruising life. How did you approach the issue? What was the turning point in the situation?

My wife enjoys boating, but I am hoping that she will eventually agree to a long (over a year) cruise. (not in our current little boat)

I am committed to doing what I need to do to make this a smooth and natural progression for her. Also, I am willing to modify my expectations to accommodate her. Currently, I am limiting her exposure to passage making, and letting her meet me at anchorages and cruising grounds.

I could really use some advice from the "old salt" couples out there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,471 Posts
Started out with some ASA courses (be careful to pick an instructor that is "woman-friendly"). Moved to a couple of one-week, bareboat charters in easy areas like the BVI and Bahamas (our first bareboat charter, in the BVI, was "the best vacation ever" according to her). Moved up to longer charters. Eventually did charters where we made overnight passages (St. Pete to Dry Tortugas and back, island hopping from St. Vincent to Grenada and then all the way back in one shot). Now she's ready to go, as soon as our finances are in order.

Oh, and I would add... I made sure that she was really a part of the whole thing--from planning, to sailing, to docking, to whatever. In fact, she controls the helm more often than I do. No offense to anyone who might recognize themselves here, but I think the husbands who want to run everything--and basically only allow their wives to be winch grinders, or line handlers--are completely missing the boat. If their wife doesn't share the enthusiasm can you blame them?
 

·
TROUBLE
Joined
·
963 Posts
We left Kemah back in November, 2012. We are back in Texas for a while, after cruising the past two years (5000 miles). The nice thing is that you can do the ditch to Pensacola, Fl., so not too many offshore passages necessary getting to the Keys. The ICW is fun actually, and a good way to break your wife in. Cross to the Bahamas for your first gulfstream crossing, and enjoy beautiful water, snorkeling, and in general, the cruising life.

In my case, this was what we both wanted to do. I'm not sure how it will turn out, if you have to convince her to go. She really should want to do it, otherwise it could be a short trip. Best wishes!



Ralph
 

·
You mean North ISN'T up?
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
RTB

Good advice on the ICW....I had passed on that because I want to do the rhumb line passage and battle the sea, and all that. But I am going to seriously look into the ICW. My wife wants to do it, and she LOVES traveling and tropical areas....no problem there. I just would like to get her comfortable enough to do a multinight blue water crossing. But, there is plenty of time for that.

Denverdon,

I am kind of treating my boat as the "bareboat" charter by having my wife fly to meet me in Key West. So I am with you on that. The ASA route is a thought, I have taken some of the ASA courses, so I am familiar with the format. Good point on the woman friendly issue.
 

·
Mermaid Hunter
Joined
·
5,674 Posts
Hello,

I am curious how many of the cruising couples here initially experienced reluctance from their partner concerning the cruising life. How did you approach the issue? What was the turning point in the situation?

My wife enjoys boating, but I am hoping that she will eventually agree to a long (over a year) cruise. (not in our current little boat)

I am committed to doing what I need to do to make this a smooth and natural progression for her. Also, I am willing to modify my expectations to accommodate her. Currently, I am limiting her exposure to passage making, and letting her meet me at anchorages and cruising grounds.

I could really use some advice from the "old salt" couples out there!
What passagemaking are you doing on a Grampian 26? What are you wife's lifestyle expectations?

My suggestions are:

- Sit down with your wife and tell her (if these are true) that you are interested in a longer cruise, you want her to come along, but that she is more important to you than this dream.

- Charter a larger boat somewhere beautiful for a couple of weeks.

- While there are many places for "baby steps" passagemaking is not one. I feel strongly that a four or five day hop is a better introduction to sailing offshore than an overnight. YMMV.

- Listen carefully to your bride's concerns and needs and address them. Don't argue with them or minimize them - address them. Build responsive solutions to her communication and comfort needs (for example) into your approach.

In our case Janet will sail passages with me if I need a hand but they aren't nearly as much fun for her as for me. Generally I sail (with crew) and she flies. Then we cruise and island hop. This works for us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
We have been sailing together for 11 years and cruising for 7 years and one of the biggest issues my wife hears on other boats is that the male did not learn to sail and navigate sufficiently well to make the wife feel safe. She will not enjoy if you scare her every time you go out.

Your wife needs to learn to be safe and competent in her own right. When we go in a new marina and they ask if I am the Captain I reply..."No I am the mechanic, the Captain is the Lady driving the boat!"

The other issue is comfort...my wife did not enjoy my 31 ft,18 knot tri but loves our big cruising boat.

Get her to enroll in the "Women who Sail" on Facebook...lots of positive feedback there.

Good luck Phil
 

·
You mean North ISN'T up?
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
- While there are many places for "baby steps" passagemaking is not one. I feel strongly that a four or five day hop is a better introduction to sailing offshore than an overnight. YMMV.
This is an interesting point, can you elaborate on why? I have never thought to take this route.

- Charter a larger boat somewhere beautiful for a couple of weeks.
I have a specific reason for not doing this yet, tell me what you think. I want her to focus on the results of cruising vs. on the mode at this point. She is OK with the boat we have, and she has been very involved in desiging / decorating the cabin, choosing the exterior color scheme, sewing some of the canvas, ect. If I take her on a "fill in the blank" 40' palace, she may start to focus on the difference between the experience in the different boats vs. focusing on the experience outside of the boat. I want her to see the sights, feel the sense of community cruisers share, without "boat envy". I realize that the boat is an integral part of the cruising life, but I was hoping to focus on that a little later in the journey.

Initial trips are Cruising in the Keys, Bahamas, and Cancun / Cozumel. Three separate trips of about 3 weeks each not counting passage time.
 

·
Old soul
Joined
·
5,655 Posts
My spouse is fully engaged, and as rarin' to go as I -- some days, even more so ;). We discovered the cruising life more or less at the same time, but it's certainly true that I glommed onto it quicker than she. A few things seemed to be vital for us to move together with this.

• Early on we both took sailing/cruising courses (CYA here in Canada). We took our initial cruising course together, but after that we did our intermediate and advanced courses seperately. This gave us both the opportunity to develop some sailing skills independent of the other.

• We've done all the planning together. From picking our boat, to deciding when and how to pull the plug on the land-life, we've worked hand-in-hand (so to speak :)). We make sure our choices satisfy both our needs -- always.

• Finally, we approach sailing and cruising as a team. There's no "captain" and "admiral" for us. We both do everything. That's not to say we each don't have strengths and weaknesses, but I'm as likely to be found in the galley cooking as she is to be seen doing an oil change.

So from my experience I would say do it together. I don't think of accommodating my spouse, or about getting her to embrace something. What's worked for us is honestly moving forward together.
 

·
You mean North ISN'T up?
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yorksailor

one of the biggest issues my wife hears on other boats is that the male did not learn to sail and navigate sufficiently well to make the wife feel safe. She will not enjoy if you scare her every time you go out.
ABSOLUTLEY agree on this point....it is the same in aviation. Fortunately, this hasn't been an issue, I have taken great pains to make sure she feels safe, and I haven't seen any indication that she feels otherwise. This is one of the main reasons behind my incremental approach to expanding my sailing "envelope", so to speak. Sorry....too many years in aviation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,400 Posts
This is an interesting point, can you elaborate on why? I have never thought to take this route.

I have a specific reason for not doing this yet, tell me what you think. I want her to focus on the results of cruising vs. on the mode at this point. She is OK with the boat we have, and she has been very involved in desiging / decorating the cabin, choosing the exterior color scheme, sewing some of the canvas, ect. If I take her on a "fill in the blank" 40' palace, she may start to focus on the difference between the experience in the different boats vs. focusing on the experience outside of the boat. I want her to see the sights, feel the sense of community cruisers share, without "boat envy". I realize that the boat is an integral part of the cruising life, but I was hoping to focus on that a little later in the journey.

Initial trips are Cruising in the Keys, Bahamas, and Cancun / Cozumel. Three separate trips of about 3 weeks each not counting passage time.
the boat needs to be comfortable for her and women do not suffer from boat envy. boat envy is a guy thing. women cruise on a boat, men cruise on their very new big faster then yours boat. he who has the biggest anchor wins, right? Cruise with her interest in mine not what you think her interest is. you will be a much happier crew that way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Yofy

·
Super Fuzzy
Joined
·
17,132 Posts
YorkSailor nailed it.

Biggest mistake some blokes make is to set out to impress by sailing the boat on its ear. Wrong wrong wrong. One sail on an evening of the full moon was all it took for the Wombet. Other than that try and make the boat inviting to be on board. I don't mean pretty the thing up with a load of schmaltzy chintz just neat, tidy and comfortable.

Nowadays the Wombet is if anything more keen than I am to get down to the boat even if all we do is putter around the corner to a nearby but generally very quiet anchorage and kick back for a few days.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,928 Posts
... I want her to focus on the results of cruising vs. on the mode at this point...
My first question is why are YOU deciding what SHE should focus on? Let her make up her own mind by simply including her in your training/research/trips, etc. Let her do whatever you do or let her choose not to. Over time she'll figure out what feels natural to her, what she wants to learn more about, what SHE wants to focus on to help make this dream a partnership.

I'd have a serious issue with my partner saying to me "This is my dream for us, and for now I want you to learn this [insert whatever] in order to help me obtain it." We bought the boat together. He has his comfort areas, I have mine. I chose to learn the things that he's more comfortable doing and vice versa. Neither one of us made the decision for the other.

That's not to say that there were some areas in which I wanted him to become more comfortable and I've ranted about them here. But in the end it was his decision to learn more.
 

·
Old soul
Joined
·
5,655 Posts
My first question is why are YOU deciding what SHE should focus on? Let her make up her own mind by simply including her in your training/research/trips, etc. Let her do whatever you do or let her choose not to. Over time she'll figure out what feels natural to her, what she wants to learn more about, what SHE wants to focus on to help make this dream a partnership.
Thanks Donna. This what I was rather clumsily trying to say as well. For my spouse and I, it can't be about one person's dream, and the other person coming along for the ride. It's about engaging together in a shared life. I even chafe a bit over this notion that I, the big strong man, have to make it safe and comfortable for her. What works for us is that we make it safe and comfortable for BOTH of us.

I do think there is a difference between those of us who see cruising as a lifestyle vs an activity. If the latter, then it's fine to make it yours, and bring her along for the ride when possible. But for us, cruising is a lifestyle choice. It has to be a shared plan, otherwise I can't see how it can be sustainable over the long run.
 

·
Mermaid Hunter
Joined
·
5,674 Posts
While there are many places for "baby steps" passagemaking is not one. I feel strongly that a four or five day hop is a better introduction to sailing offshore than an overnight. YMMV.
This is an interesting point, can you elaborate on why? I have never thought to take this route.
Oh man. Asking me to elaborate on something means you haven't read my posts here. *grin*

First, vocabulary is important. The problem that I have seen time and again is that people take a short trip, an overnight hop from Florida to the Bahamas, Newport RI to Cape May NJ, Charleston SC to Beaufort NC, or similar and are so charged up with adrenalin that they get no rest and the entire exercise is exhausting. I'll be the first to recognize that there is excitement about leaving port. Especially on a shorthanded boat the offwatch HAS to get rest early, and the "skipper" has to let go and become a collaborator, not a "boss." You need enough time to make that happen and get in the groove. Ft Lauderdale to Norfolk in the Gulf Stream works. So do Newport to Bermuda, Norfolk to Marsh Harbour, or any number of other four or five day jumps. With experience you'll get in the groove in half a day, but in the beginning it will take you more time, possibly much more time.

That still doesn't say everyone will have fun, but at least you'll have an honest perspective on what passages are about. It may be that you'll end up island hopping with an overnight here or there as your longest uninterrupted jumps. Fine. Your wife may really get into passages (you never know) and you'll end up circle the planet. You'll just have to see. You may be the one that ends up not getting into passage making. You have to try to see. An overnight is just an overnight. It isn't a passage.

Charter a larger boat somewhere beautiful for a couple of weeks.
I have a specific reason for not doing this yet, tell me what you think.
I agree with the posts above about not trying to guide your wife's experience. Share everything, thoughts, dreams, fears, concerns and grow in your experience together. I support the Women in Sailing Facebook group idea. Check out the INI material at Seven Seas U . Be honest with yourselves and each other about your lifestyle expectations and make your decisions together.

A 30-something foot monohull in the BVI or Bahamas to develop the island experience could easily contribute a huge amount to the expectations of BOTH of you and what a cruising lifestyle could mean.

Depending on your location and schedule I strongly recommend attending an SSCA Gam (see Welcome to the Seven Seas Cruising Association ) to meet other cruising couples and families to get first hand information from lots of people out there cruising, each in their own way, meeting their own needs.

It is not my intent to give you "the answers," simply to guide you toward finding your answers in your way.
 

·
You mean North ISN'T up?
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
DRFerron

My first question is why are YOU deciding what SHE should focus on?
Firstly, so you know. We have been married for 34 years, from the age of 19 till now. We both know each other very well, and we trust each other to help in our areas of expertise. We passed the point of worrying WHO was making the decision long ago, what matters is the REASON the decision is being made and if it is of benefit to our shared goals. Also this is not a decision as much as it is a measured guide. As an instructor pilot, I make decisions on what my students should focus on in order to get them to the point where they can safely make their own. And make no mistake, having too much boat too quick IS a safety issue. As she becomes more comfortable with the lifestyle, I will make sure she has everything she wants / needs to become as self sufficient as possible. I want her to be able to handle any aspect of the boat without my involvement. This is also a safety issue.

Let her make up her own mind by simply including her in your training/research/trips, etc. Let her do whatever you do or let her choose not to. Over time she'll figure out what feels natural to her, what she wants to learn more about, what SHE wants to focus on to help make this dream a partnership.
You may have missed in my previous post the statements I made concerning her involvement. She has been very involved in the fitting out of the boat, And she is always raring to go out. As for what she may or may not want to learn about...I disagree with that. When you learn to fly, you may not WANT to learn to navigate without a GPS, or want to learn the performance aspects of your aircraft, but you HAVE to do it to be a safe, responsible pilot. I have heard of plenty of stories of a cruising partner being in a perilous situation because the other partner had become inoperative, and the operative partner lacked the skills / knowledge to handle the situation. So certain things have to be learned by both to go forward. This is why I let her handle the boat so much. But yes, there are times based on my experience that I have to decide what she needs to know or learn.

I'd have a serious issue with my partner saying to me "This is my dream for us, and for now I want you to learn this [insert whatever] in order to help me obtain it." We bought the boat together. He has his comfort areas, I have mine. I chose to learn the things that he's more comfortable doing and vice versa. Neither one of us made the decision for the other.
There are plenty of things that I let HER decide for me. And actually, HER decisions will dictate if this is a go or a no-go long term. As the owner of a fairly good sized business, it always amuses me when people are SO opposed to someone else making a decision for them, especially in an area they may not have exposure to. In my experience, EVERY project and venture that I have seen that was run by committee has FAILED. There has to be a decision maker. This is why our marriage is still going strong after all these years, because a high performance team has an innate understanding of give and take concerning decision making, and TRUSTS one another when decisions are made. YMMV

My questions were centered around the process of getting your cruising partner comfortable and up to speed in order to facilitate some bigger final decisions.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,928 Posts
Gift suggestion:

Changing Course: A Woman's Guide to Choosing the Cruising Life by Debra Cantrell (Aug 12 2003)

Written by a woman whose husband proposed living and cruising on a boat and she wasn't entirely sold on the idea.

I second Dave's Women in Sailing Facebook group. I belong. When I first joined a woman was posting who was extremely nervous about her first overnight sail to the Bahamas. She reached out to the group to express her fears. She and her husband were leaving in hours and expecting to sail through the night to arrive in late morning. Many women who had already done the trip gave her tips, compassion, virtual back rubs, told her about their first time, etc. After they made sure she was safely on her way the mood changed to how almost all of them were scared ****less their first time but didn't want to turn the woman into even more of a basket case. The thread gave me a warm feeling that I wasn't alone.

Also, it helped to bring my partner into the mindset by introducing him to people who are out there doing it. We joined SSCA and attended gams where he could talk to others and begin to feel that the lifestyle wasn't so alien after all. I introduced him to and we socialize with SailNetters who are living the lifestyle. He's feeling comfortable enough now that he's fully on board with the Next Boat and OUR plans for it.
 
1 - 20 of 86 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top