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Old 04-03-2017, 13:15   #16
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

Hi, there, Woman who chose Carsten,

I'm delighted to have read what you wrote, and agree with you, although i have no formal training, having learned through mentorships.

Welcome aboard CF, I hope to hear more from you.

Ann

PS. You're quite right about the general chauvinism in the sailing world, but perhaps I can shed a little light on what happened while docking in a marina that sends down dockhands. I was a volunteer dockhand for the Australian Wooden Boat Festival this year, in Hobart, Tasmania. The volunteers are trained to ask others to get out of their way and give them space to help the skippers dock the boats, which are all backed in to facilitate their leaving at the end of the show. Still friends and other skippers, as well as the public thoughtlessly get in the way. I had men and one woman actually take lines out of my hands to tie up someone's boat. I have roughly 135,000 sea miles, and countless docking and un-dockings. But, I am also short, plump, and aged (77). I felt furious, at their usurping my position, but, we also are told to be friendly to all, and wasn't able to say in a fast friendly way to let me to my job. I felt like my personhood was negated. It was especially aggravating. Shame on all of them! However, my personal goal for this is to find a joke that will make them laugh, and let me get on with it. Anybody out there with a lesson in humourous tact for me, please send a PM. Thanks.

However, the reason for all the training was so that the AWBF's insurance would cover any injuries to people docking boats. I have often thought that that is why, where they have dockhands to help, they want both of you to stay on the boat and let them get on with it. Doesn't matter if they're incompetent, you're potentially in their way, as they see it, and they want you elsewhere. It is much easier to deal with the situation in advance, before you enter the marina at all, while you're on the phone or VHF with them, and just ask them to stand by and help as you require, you're still the skipper. Their coming to take your lines may be for their convenience, not yours.

Cheers,

Ann
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Old 04-03-2017, 13:18   #17
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

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Originally Posted by Sea Dreaming View Post
Great post!

Honestly, "equality" is not natural for me. I was raised to be passive and accepting. I'm very greatful that my bf does not take advantage of this attitude but I am still learning to communicate as an equal. He does know more than me. I try to take advantage of what he can teach me but also learn on my own too.
Sea Dreaming,

I have the same program, and could be more assertive. You seem to have a great attitude, and will learn heaps as time progresses. We all start where we start, and I certainly have room to improve. Once you guys get out sailing more, the boat handling skills will develop, too.

Ann
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Old 04-03-2017, 13:51   #18
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

Thumbs up to these posts! Guess who takes the helm at docking time? Not me. My spouse of course. Guess who gets the compliments for the always serene docking? Not me. Guess who can just tell when the sails aren't set quite right while below getting something... not me. Yea, and I'm the macho sailor.... :-0)
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Old 04-03-2017, 14:09   #19
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Ok guys (and gals) usually every few weeks someone starts a thread about how their wife/GF does not want to sail and what can they do to get them to become a willing sailor.
I asked my wife and here is her answer. This is what to do, read and then go do it.

This article about being a female sailor is written for both male and female sailors – and I hope that this will help more women to become real sailors in the best sense of the word.

Being a female sailor
This isn’t an easy role in the male dominated sailing world, and trust me – the maritime world IS male dominated.
“Ma’am – stay on board”
“Ma’am – get back on board” (louder)
“Ma’am- get back on board (angry voice)
As you’ve probably guessed, those words were spoken as we were docking – in St. George Town Marina on Grenada in the Caribbean. I really tired of being scolded and directed by the “best captains who are sitting on the pier”. To make matters worse, now my husband, Carsten tells me to get back on board. He never reacts like that, but now he is getting stressed by listening to the aggressive harbourmaster.
This dismal atmosphere is totally unnecessary, since there is nothing critical about this landing. Carsten was landing Capri at a “finger” in an easy breeze, but there wasn’t much room for our 4 meter wide Capri, since there were 3 boats in the same slip. So, Carsten was working his way very close to the finger to avoid hitting the boat alongside. This resulted in Capri getting very close to the finger and I noticed that the rubber fender that you usually find on fingers was missing here. I didn’t want Capri to get long or deep scratches on her side. I’m still careful with Capri. Despite her being 11 years old, most sailors think she is either new or only a couple of years old – we try very hard to take god care of her.
Her in the Caribbean, you call ahead on the VHF and announce your arrival to the harbourmaster, who then assigns you a slip. Since this marina is an expensive marina, two employees are waiting to take our lines as we enter the slip. So far so good, but every
Thing goes south hereafter because of a total misunderstanding of each others roles in this little drama.
During this calm and well-controlled landing, Carsten is making, I toss the bowline to one of the guys waiting and our spring to the other one. The finger is much shorter than Capri’s length, which is why I gave him the spring instead of the stern line. He starts yelling that he wants the stern line, which Carsten then tosses him. The “harbourmasters” now start hauling Capri in and she is really close to being scraped down the metal side of the finger. I react by quickly jumping down onto the finger to hold Capri off and to help the “harbourmaster” who is now holding both the stern line and the spring, while he tries to mash a fender down between the finger and Capri. Simultaneously, he’s giving instructions to the other “harbourmaster”. Everything here is going south, so I jump down to help him.
And then he begins yelling at me. I don’t follow his orders and try to take the spring from him, which he won’t release to me. Instead, I push on Capri to held her off the pier.
It was a humiliating situation for me and the humiliation would have been total if I had gotten back on board. So to maintain my self-respect, I stayed on the pier.
Later when Carsten was at the office paying, he told the “harbourmaster” that he had been out of line, since I know perfectly well how to dock a boat and also know perfectly well how to handle lines and fenders going to the pier.
Unfortunately I frequently have the experience that whether I’m the helmsman or the “fender-bender” – then the “pier-captains” (read: men) start telling me what to do. This hurts me and many times I get irritated and other times I get just downright angry. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet learned to just ignore them.
I frequently experience little or no respect from men for female sailors. I guess this has to do with the roles most women and men play on board a boat.
In most cases, the women, who I call “fender-benders”, get the lines ready for a landing and tie the fenders on the railings. Or when the anchor is dropped, she gets to push the button on the electric winch to drop it. But she follows orders from the man at the helm, when to drop, how much chain to let out, etc. etc. Only seldom is the woman at the helm and giving the orders.
At sea, it is usually the man who is the skipper (and 1st mate), he navigates and decides how the sails should be set. Occasionally the woman is allowed to winch in the sheets (after being given the order by the man, naturally). If a woman is allowed to take the wheel and be the helmsman and perhaps even stand a watch (typically the man will take the night watches, as he doesn’t trust the woman to do this), she quickly becomes an “autopilot”, holding the course the man has told her she must and calling him immediately at the least sign of any change/difficulty. In essence, she becomes an additional “AIS/Radar” alarm, keeping her eyes open and waking the man if the boat needs to be tacked or gybed. –should the wind change direction or strength and the sails need trimming or reefing – call the man.
This is not to say she shouldn’t call the man if necessary – both parties should call the other if a situation develops they cannot handle alone. But, she should learn to handle the boat by herself until she only calls the man rarely.
How much fun it is to be a “fender-bender” or an “autopilot”? That’s up to the individual woman to determine, but my experience is that the women who are locked in these roles become what I call “harboursailors”. When the boat leaves the marina – all they think about is how soon it will be in the next marina – the sailing itself means nothing to them – it has become a transportation interval that must be endured and frequently is neither comfortable nor fun nor interesting. These women are only on the boat because their husbands love to sail – they’ve never developed a love of sailing themselves.
My husband is frequently asked by other male sailors – “How did you get your wife out on the big oceans and how did you get her to become a cruiser”? or “Carsten – you’re one lucky guy, having a wife the loves to sail.” My husband always says, “You get the woman on board that you develop. If you don’t get her to become an active partner in sailing and in the boat – meaning she also gets to do half the fun things – you’ll never get her on board”. I can only agree with him. If my life on board were as a “fender-bender” or an “autopilot”- we’d never have gotten to the Caribbean and we wouldn’t be attempting a circumnavigation.
I’m lucky that I have a husband who thinks we both should be able to sail – equally well. We don’t have to be exact equals in everything – we can supplement each other. We decided at the start of our sailing lives that both needed to be able to single-hand the boat adequately. This is simply a safety question – if one of goes overboard, the other one must be able to maneuver the boat back for a pick up – alone. One of us can also have an accident on board that results in a debilitating injury – the other one must be able to sail the boat to the nearest harbor alone – even if that harbor is 1000nm away.
So we’ve both taken the formal training, sailing proficiency exam, Yachtmaster 3rd class, Yachtmaster Ocean. Long Range radio certificate and Motorman’s Proficiency exam. The practical aspects of sailing are a common task for us – meaning we discuss the weather and plan the routes etc. – together. Harbour maneuvers and anchoring, we split the duties. So we both stay in practice and both of us can dock or undock Capri equally well. The role of helmsman and the watches are split evenly – we’ve agreed that the person at the helm is that day’s “skipper” and calls the shots. We’ve also agreed (this was my decision) that in a critical or life-threatening situation - Carsten is the Skipper and he makes the decision. He has read so much more about sailing and not the least about water sailing">blue water sailing (he also has more experience blue water sailing than me), and he simply has more guts that I do, I’m happy to defer to him if we ever reach that kind of situation. Finally, everyone else expects the man to be the skipper. Everyone (read: men) seem to naturally address Carsten as the skipper – I don’t need that type of power struggle nor do I feel the need to “piss off” my territory. I’m completely Ok with him being the formal skipper.
The fact that I also am an active participant on an equal footing with Carsten has made my sailing life much more interesting and exciting. The desire to circumnavigate is just as much mine as it is his.
So all you male sailors out there – if you want your wives/girlfriends out on the ocean with you, you need to yield the skipper role to her and, not least, motivate her when her courage fails. Carsten has been really good at motivating and supporting me, especially in docking maneuvers, when I’ve lost my courage and asked him to take over. His answer has always been “ you can land the boat just as well as I can – if anything happens – well that’s why we have insurance”.
But my last words here are to my sailing sisters. You can take the challenge and take responsibility for the role you wish to have on board. Participating equally with your husband means not only that you are both sailing, but also all the other tasks there are on a boat. There are many tasks that women generally shun. Some would say, ”you have to take the sour along with the sweet”. I’ve never looked at it that way, even when I’ve been doing some nasty, dirty or dangerous tasks. You need to be ready to leave your comfort-zone and get your hands dirty and perhaps break some fingernails.
I’m the safety officer on board Capri, so in addition to checking all the safety equipment and updating all the manuals, I’m also the lucky one who gets to go up the mast and check the rigging. First time I went up the mast (this was in a harbor), I wrapped myself around the mast. My hands were wet with sweat and they were shaking uncontrollably when I was putting riggers tape around the splitters. When I was standing on the spreaders, I could feel my legs shaking and my knees wobbling – it was anything but fun, but I was proud as a peacock when I finished it and was back down on deck. “Enjoy the view”? I was so terrified I never looked down.
Safety also means underwater and I dive on the hull to check our propeller, zincs, axel, keel and the rudder.
I’m also the one who is in charge of the winches on board – I’m the “winch-wench” as Carsten likes to call me. I take them apart, clean, oil and grease them so they purr like a kittens when we use them. I also check the engine, change the oil, oil filters and impeller. If I need help – I call Carsten.
When we were preparing Capri for our journey, before leaving Denmark, the men in the marina were astonished when they saw me in coveralls, facemask and eye protection, sanding Capri’s hull. I’m too small to use the big machines so I was using a mouse sander and it took me almost 3 days to sand all the old antifouling paint off the bottom of the hull. This was something the men had never seen before – ok, women might help with the painting – but the sanding? Not in a million years. It was hard and very dirty work, but I think that cruisers should participate equally on as many projects as they can. Carsten is much more technical than me – but I can supply the elbow grease.
There are a number of technical tasks I haven’t learned how to do yet – and there is one little item I’ve neglected – on purpose – to learn. Repairing the toilet remains a man’s work on Capri – this is one job I cheerfully let Carsten do (but he doesn’t do it cheerfully).
So dear sisters – if you want equality on the boat – you have to get involved in all the jobs there are on a boat (and there are many, many jobs). But look at it this way – you’ve developing yourself as a capable sea(wo)man. I learn something new every day as a cruiser. Carsten and I quit our careers, jobs, sold our house and everything else to become full-time cruisers. We enjoy every one of our days and after 8 months and one third of the way around the world, we haven’t regretted it for a minute.
You can do the same.
Vinni, don't worry about it. You can compare to any male I'm sure. It's a stigma about women. Just blow them off and tell them so. I've seen some really dumb males. I hope wed. goes well.
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Old 04-03-2017, 14:53   #20
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

The post is great, I think, about experienced cruisers. If the problem is how to get your wife or girlfriend interested in becoming an experienced cruiser, that part of it is not addressed.

My husband is the sailing enthusiast. I raced Lightnings on Lake Winnebago and iceboats on Lake Michigan when I was in college and owned a small 23 foot cruising sailboat before getting together with DH, but I'm more about being on the boat, going new places and taking my house along. When we first bought our boat, there was a big difference of opinion on how to enjoy it. His idea of enjoying the boat was to take the helm, put up the sails and then yell at me to trim this or adjust that. (And yes, I know the difference between a loud voice to be heard over ambient noise and actual yelling.) My idea was to let him take the helm and enjoy looking at the scenery or chat with him or read a book. The constant adjusting and trimming (and the yelling) almost put me off boating for good, or at least boating with him.

If you want your partner to enjoy the boat with you -- which may lead to living aboard, cruising, or even circumnavigations -- you have to ensure that they enjoy their time on the boat. If what they enjoy is reading a book while you "drive", at least they're enjoying being out there with you. A partner who enjoys time on the boat with you is someone who might be willing to take a more equal role. A partner who doesn't want to get on the boat with you in the first place is one who is unlikely to be amenable to learning to change the engine oil, fix the head or dock/undock the boat. And a partner who is yelled at or subjected to harsh criticism when learning such things is probably not going to be enthusiastic about continuing to learn.

If your wife or girlfriend doesn't want to sail with you, is it because her idea of enjoying the boat is vastly different from yours and you're not allowing her to enjoy it her way? Does she avoid going sailing with you because she doesn't like the person you become when you're at the helm? Sometimes you have to adjust your own behavior on the boat so that your partner is willing to go out on the boat with you. Because if he or she isn't willing to even go sailing with you, you can bet they'll be unwilling to go cruising, live aboard or circumnavigate.
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Old 04-03-2017, 14:57   #21
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

On my first boat, we had the classic system as you described...me at the helm, the wife forward ready with the lines. I found it frustrating. She was timid to get off the boat, and timid with the lines. She had neither the weight nor strength to fend off or pull the boat. To make matters worse, we would come in dead slow, so I was really just standing there, waiting to shift a little lever for a bit of reverse.

So we switched.

She would steer the boat to the dock. She knew when to shift into reverse. She loved it. She was safe in the cockpit. I got to jump to the dock, and handled the lines as I like them without having to say a word. It worked great. And people were so impressed...a lady at the helm...oh my...LOL!

Years later, different boat, I would put my 8 year old daughter at the helm when coming in to dock. She knew how to steer. And if I said PORT or STARBOARD, she knew which way to push the tiller. It was a smaller boat (C&C25) and I would put the engine in neutral after giving her the helm, so we could speak and be heard by each other. I would jump ashore, and stop the boat with the lines. Once again, people in awe...a little girl driving a big boat....LOL! But really, she was safe in the cockpit, holding the tiller. Her 5 year old brother had the important job of killing the outboard.

As I have told so many people over the years, a boat is NOT a car. The guy at the wheel is not the driver, not the boss. And when the boat is going really slow, the wheel is pretty much useless anyway. The sailboat is run by a team, and every person aboard is part of that team. Even if you aren't "doing" anything...your weight still affects the trim, your body may be blocking a locker or someone else's way.

I enjoy watching people dock. I like when everyone yells REVERSE.
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Old 04-03-2017, 15:13   #22
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

In the spirit of what Ann T Cate had to say about humour, please read this in that vane, no offence intended
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailorlady323 View Post
"Remember we are capable of doing more than one thing at a time.
The guys are serial computers -one thing at a time".
- If women are so good at multitasking - why can't they have sex and a headache at the same time?
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Old 04-03-2017, 15:24   #23
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

This whole write-up brought tears to my eyes. I must certainly be ggetting old and soft.

My wife and I own a cabin cruiser and we rarely get out into water too deep or too far from land. Mostly we like to cruise around and stop in nice places for lunch. Done the ICW a couple of times and enjoy a nice trip to the Bahamas every couple of years. But because we are older and both retired, we don't really get in too much of a rush too often. The wife, who is Panamanian, likes to drive the boat, but really just enjoys the time that we get to spend together without a lot of interference from others. For her privacy and competence, she gets pretty demanding in areas of respect. She is a bit of a charmer and becomes a very demure chiquita with a soft Spanish accent when she needs to and a ferocious jungle fighter when warranted.

This story reminded me of several incidents where similar things happened as we were docking. Often she would be off the boat with a line in her hand before anyone else would get there to guide us. If they are respectful, she can melt your heart. But on one occasion, I saw her wait until one of these macho guys stepped across a line she was holding and she snatched it up into his BVD's so hard that it made me hurt. Then in that little Spanish voice she said....Oh, sorry senior. As I remember, he didn't say much in response. On two other dockings, with particularly boisterous, I have seen her put two of them in the water with a little hip bump.....followed by the same sweet "Sorry senior...are you OK?"

Now I don't think that any of these guys learned anything, but they will remember her I am sure.

Keep up the good fight.
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Old 04-03-2017, 15:42   #24
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

Making the boat more wife/GF-freindly helps, and all of the equity stuff is dead-on, but at the need of the day you don't push.

Learn to singlehand. You'll love her all the more when you get back. No one said you have to do everything together, and I'm not even convinced it is healthy.
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Old 04-03-2017, 16:46   #25
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

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Fat chance. My wife's refusals to sail on anything smaller than a large commercial cruise type vessel or perhaps one of the big European river tour boats have nothing to do with anything I can say or do!
Arrrr Buzzstar I suspect she needs a catamaran.

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Old 04-03-2017, 16:48   #26
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

Have her go to a Women Sailing school with a good friend...trust me
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Old 04-03-2017, 16:57   #27
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

Great post. After years running a charter fleet I've seen it all. Mostly big guys at the helm yelling at his wife for not handling the anchor or lines right. After all he's doing the difficult bit STEERING!!!
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Old 04-03-2017, 17:02   #28
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

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Arrrr Buzzstar I suspect she needs a catamaran.

What part of "anything" fails to translate from US English to oz speak?
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Old 04-03-2017, 17:17   #29
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

the usual answer to a harsh or hasty request more to verify the request than to mindlessly follow it is 'yes dear'
in another part of the country a long time ago we had a female boat owner berthed next to us she often complained that she was getting old and men made comments about her sagging breasts /for that reason when she was coming in to her pen she yelled out 'i'm right i do it on my own' / one morning in the dark i heard her yell out 'i'm right i do it on my own' out of habit i answered 'yes dear' / they must be magic words / next time she was coming in she yelled out'can you grab a rope' which was no problem / there is a little bit of bad in the best of us a little bit of good in the worst of us.
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Old 04-03-2017, 17:20   #30
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Re: So Your Wife/GF Doesn't Want to Sail, Here is Why and Here is What You can do Abo

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Originally Posted by Sailorlady323 View Post
I am a female licenced Captain and have sailed oceans. You just have to keep to your job and ignore the noise. Remember we are capable of doing more than one thing at a time.
The guys are serial computers -one thing at a time. Many of the "instructors on the dock don't even know how to tie a cleat hitch properly. Just enjoy your sailing . Its a great life. We can only change them by demonstrating our competence.
Thank you for this. I am the sole (female) owner of my boat and often sail with men on both ends of the spectrum with respect to experience. It is very difficult for me to "ignore the noise" and so it's easy to get mad or to try to talk it through when it might not be the best for the situation. The best advice I've been getting about this lately is to start thinking and acting more like the Buddha and maybe try to redirect the onslaught when it happens.
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