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Old 23-11-2012, 00:02   #91
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

But in Thailand they specialise in turning blokes into the women they want to be.
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Old 23-11-2012, 00:06   #92
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

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Marry an outdoors woman. Then, if you throw her out on a cold night . . . she can still survive. W.C. Fields
What if she throws you out:
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Old 23-11-2012, 08:44   #93
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

Ah yes the broad sword. Sometimes the better part of valor is to set sail, esp if you can remove an arm easily. Then again my longbow may penetrate your chain mail- but with the storms going on outside? I think I will just stay under battened hatches thank you.
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Old 30-11-2012, 11:51   #94
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

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Part of the reason we love sailing together is that we work it as a team. There's absolutely no captain/1st mate relationship. If either one of us wants to reef, we reef. Much of the time we let the autopilot do the work and both end up reading. A great life. If the sails need trimming, sooner or later one of us will get around to it.

In my experience, a lot of the fellows who complain about being unable to recruit sailing partners aren't really looking for partners. They're looking for crew. I understand why women fail to get excited about such a prospect. There's nothing exciting about perpetual subservience.
While the rest of you are out finding your measuring tapes and waxing poetic, I just wanted to Thank Bash so much for posting this.

I have been wrestling and struggling with the question of whether we must have 'one' Skipper aboard who is declared when I am fully capable of a large portion of operating and sailing our boat.

The rest of the world sometime robustly declares and at other times whispers in my ear...literally and figuratively..."There must only be ONE Skipper...." This leaves me in a predicament for these reasons....

1) While I fully respect Chris' (my husband) abilities to Skipper our boat - when I am out doing my night watch and he is sleeping below decks I am fully aware that a situation could occur that would necessitate some quick decisions that he may not be able to make coming out of a groggy state of sleep...

2) I have been sailing since I was three years old and raced on big boats in college - I have a lot of hours under my belt, most as crew though except for the occasional boat delivery where I would have my own watch...I have a lot of experience and time sailing...

3) I am conservative by nature at the present when it comes to weather routing and taking on long passages (i.e. straight North out of Abaco to Beaufort, N.C. directly)...my husband is up for more adventure in that realm presently...sometimes this can cause a lot of strife for me aboard...now that I co-own our boat I really just don't feel like crew anymore, and feel it is just as much my responsibility as his to safely get our boat and selves to the next port...That sense of ultimate responsibility I think is getting in my way of comfortably taking on bigger challenges and growing myself and my seamanship. Chris has definitely supported me in pushing myself out of my comfort zone when it is safe to do so.

4) It became clear to my awareness during our last season out to the Bahamas which was our first big cruising trip that my husband is presently more equipped mentally to deal with the unknown and new situations that present themselves more easily. He is a more flexible thinker...I am dealing with this and trying to find resources to help me too be less apt to operate on the same neuro-pathways in my brain and to not hold on so tightly to wanting to control the outcome of situations so much.

5) I heed Intuition as a real tool, especially out there, and I have proven to myself over and over again that it is a necessity while sailing and cruising...Chris does not put as much value in it presently as I do....he relies more strongly on Logic...while as a package this sounds like a perfect combination aboard it causes the two of us angst frequently.

6) He is the eternal optimist and I am the realist...some say pessimist. I felt like my personality was some kind of failing in this degree until I read Beth Leonard's book 'The Voyager's Handbook' where she quotes her partner Evans as saying, "That successful crews consist of an optimist and a pessimist: without the optimist the crew would never leave the dock; without the pessimist, they would lose the boat." Upon reading that I felt great comfort that there is a balance and while it is not always easy being the heavy, it could be a benefit at times...

7) I am coming to terms with the fact that Chris in many ways is further along than I am in regards to keeping his wits about him and not letting fear take over, where when I was first coming into our first major channel in Charleston with eight foot following seas behind us, having never felt that before, I was a bit on edge...of course today if I was presented with the same scenario I believe I would be a lot more comfortable taking the helm because of experience. He was in the Navy and at an early age was trained to deal with many different situations and possible emergency situations...I did not get that training to that degree early on in my life.

It comes down to this. We worked well out there last season together for the most part and I am still parsing together that which worked well and that which didn't. It is very difficult to operate in a male dominated arena (though that is changing) and a culture that tells you that you are 'different' because you choose to take on the challenge of being 'Skipper'. I think that somewhere it has infiltrated my spirit to the degree that there are a lot more opportunities for me to question my abilities and competencies and to not take healthy chances or trust my abilities than if I had the 'dangly bits' that Aussee refers to

How many men out there get behind the helm of a boat, take it offshore, with a whole lot less experience than I had last season on a sailboat??? Probably quite a few because they have an artificially, culturally induced, sense of confidence because men should just be able to do that...so maybe that man scares the bagesus out of himself but gains enough experience to try again and then he gets progressively better...and that is alright...because he has been culturally conditioned that this is acceptable...then there is a woman like me, with a lot of coastal experience sailing, years and years, who gets her boat she co-owns to the Bahamas with partner...manages night watches, manages a lot of the piloting, anchoring, sailing, etc etc etc - who is then assumed by others to be crew and told that if she considers herself co-Skippering than she is putting the whole boat and crew at risk.

I find it all very confusing at this juncture in my cruising career. Our last trip found us traveling down the Exumas to Georgetown then to the Families, up to Eleuthera, and then Abaco. We made some good miles for our first trip out I think. We came back from Abaco in three and a half days way out in the Gulfstream.

We managed the straight shot back to Beaufort, N.C. very well, although I spent a good twenty four hours pissed that I felt I had not been heard by Chris and a fellow crew member we had invited along to give us a better watch schedule so we would be able to hopefully catch more sleep between watches and to share the experience with him. He is a good friend and I respect him as a sailor so much. He has been sailing since he is six months old and we had sailed together before. The day before we left he plainly said to me, "I want you to know that Chris is my Skipper"...I didn't say anything at the time...but it just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

I now know that he probably was trying to be ultimately respectful, and say he wasn't going to just take over the boat and act like Skipper. Our second day out as the seas built a bit and there was more action and my defenses came down. I let our crew member know I was a bit taken aback by his assumption that Chris was the Skipper solely, and that there was no discussion about this but that even after an entire season in the Bahamas with me contributing to the safe passage of our boat that there was not even a discussion about who was Skipper.

I let him know I found this presumptuous and demeaning. Needless to say it didn't go over very well...but as I am down below preparing food in ten -twelve footers, because I was the only one at that point that could be down below without feeling queezy...he came down the companionway and told me I was 'amazing'! - 'How was I functioning down here in the conditions and without seasickness meds?' I sarcastically told him that it is amazing isn't it, and I guess it would take getting my 100 ton license before I was granted any respect in other's eyes...." Needless to say he found his way quickly up the companionway and we didn't talk until after dinner.

Luckily we worked through this and the next day all was well...but once another guy came aboard I felt unheard by Chris who I had worked with for five months with our weather routing, navigating, sailing, all of it...it went from a mostly collaborative effort to feeling like I was merely a grunt....it was not a good experience and when we get back out there - there will be NO repeat performance of that experience...

I know I do have a bit of a chip on my shoulder from previous experiences I have had sailing in an arena where there are sometimes quite a few male chauvinists and I can have a tendency to be a bit 'sensitive' to some issues I probably should just let roll off my back...and in this case our friend most likely was consciously trying to be disrespectful. I fear that I have damaged my relationship with him on some levels, but I needed him to understand how it felt to be me in that situation.

I also though had to take a good hard look at myself in this situation and realized that because there are still aspects of ocean passages that I am not completely comfortable with (mainly being out for days when the weather forecast could change) and I am fighting some fear, others will choose to disregard me...or because I present something like weather information in a way that is not just the facts, but laced with a bit of angst and fear, this can cause others to shut down and disregard the messenger.

I really thought twice about sharing this experience because I don't want to air my dirty laundry, or make Chris feel uncomfortable here on CF (sorry Chris), but I think that is an unfortunate aspect of cruising is that many people don't share their fears, or their experiences that could make them appear vulnerable in other's eyes...

Going out in the Ocean in a little boat is an intense experience, well at least it has been for me. It has been incredible and it has highlighted all that is great in my relationship with Chris and myself, and those areas where we could use some work, and I am so grateful for the Ocean's teachings that way. Some couples will live a lifetime together and never be given this opportunity in the way we have.

Overall, I am left with a HUGE sense of accomplishment because I felt the fear and went anyway. Chris and I worked well together most all of the time, and we had a couple big challenges presented to us our first round out and we handled them ourselves, as a team.

Teamwork is so important and I have been the member of a large sailing team of fourteen people - we were a well oiled machine. It is so rewarding to work as a team towards a shared goal...whether you reach it or not, it is truly one of the most rewarding experiences I could have in my life.

What I am left with is that in my opinion it should be EVERYONE'S decision whether to make a passage or not at a particular time and weather window...if there is disagreement or doubt than arrangements should be made that the boat doesn't leave or that person finds other arrangements to get to the final destination. For me, once I commit to being 'out there' I have to want to be out there with every ounce of my being because the consequences of being out can be momentous, and I feel strongly it has to be my decision to be out there...not someone else's, even a Skippers...

I think the trust that is put in just one person aboard a boat to make major decisions as to the fate of that vessel without the crew's input can create some deadly outcomes some of which have been in the news as of late...if there are multiple smart people aboard why should only one person be burdened with the ultimate decisions of weather windows for example...why shouldn't everyone on that boat be empowered with the ability to save that boat and the crew's lives if a situation presents itself??? It is a question I am still grappling with, one which I have not found the absolute answer to yet....but hope I will soon.

It comes down to this - Trust, Respect, and more Respect for each other, the Ocean, the boat, and one's self...
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Old 30-11-2012, 12:04   #95
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Wow! Touching, authentic and so informative.

The info in your post could benefit so many other thread besides just this one.

Brilliant, thanks for sharing this!
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Old 30-11-2012, 12:10   #96
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

Thanks for the encouragement Foolish...sometimes I feel like I 'over-share' and should practice some containment...in terms of this however I think there are probably a lot of people lost to the world of sailing and cruising that instead of being able to voice their experience or fears end up just giving it up. It is such a beautiful life in so many regards but there are some real big challenges too...

Thanks again Foolishsailor...hopefully Chris will feel the same way about my post ;0)
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Old 30-11-2012, 12:46   #97
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

Please note the typo...edit option no longer open

...and in this case our friend most likely was NOT consciously trying to be disrespectful. I fear that I have damaged my relationship with him on some levels, but I needed him to understand how it felt to be me in that situation.
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Old 30-11-2012, 12:52   #98
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

A sticky wicket indeed, HH. I dropped out of a similar deal and know others that were broken up over these kind of issues. Zeehag commented on this recently, possibly in this thread. I guess we know that it can be done collectively because there are folks doing it. Ms Leonard for sure, Lyn Pardey, and hundreds of women less well known.

Still, Mars is not Venus. My ex, an OB/GYN always seriously maintained that women were better than men, and not least because all their "dangly parts" were tucked up safely inside.

Dats all I got. No answers. Ya need a sounding board, I'm over in Beaufort. I had to stop drinking but we have coffee here.

Tom
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Old 30-11-2012, 12:58   #99
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

High Heels, I can so feel your frustration.

We sail as Bash does, very much as a team with no sense of subservience being required. That would drive me nuts, particularly living 24/7/365 in tight quarters together. Perhaps many men don't realise this, so your post will hopefully be very illuminating to them.

My husband and I are both strong willed people and we both have identical sailing experience. It was clear from the start we needed some sort of agreement on how we would handle differences of opinion on the water and the very easiest thing was to decide to follow the safest option (no persuasion or arguments allowed). This has been proven to be a pretty foolproof thing - in the 27 years we have been sailing (we started six years after we got together) there have been no instances where the safest thing was not immediately very obvious.

When sailing, one of us is responsible for the boat at all times regarding keeping a lookout and altering course etc and is I suppose "skipper" for the duration of the watch, but the above "rule" still applies.

I suspect maybe Chris has just not realised how frustrated you are by his attitude (men can be a bit thick at times about things we think should be crystal clear). Hopefully your post will go a long way towards working things out.

Sorry if you felt my light hearted post a while back in this thread was inappropriate . My Aussie sense of humour is often hard to dampen, but it is also helps me through all the tough times much more easily.
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Old 30-11-2012, 12:59   #100
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As a lady, this has been a very interesting thread to read. I hear time and again that there is a dearth of women who actually enjoy sailing. I hope that over time that this myth is debunked. I think you all are onto something re: a woman having an adventurous spirit (I think it's true of cruising men as well). Other key character traits for either sex in my mind are 1) a sense of humor, and the ability to laugh at yourself/ not take yourself so damn serious, 2) perpetual and insatiable curiosity about the world and a deep love of learning, 3) a love of nature, and being outside in the elements, 4) the urge to test your own limits and learn about yourself in the process, 5) the desire to figure out what life and love can be like under a totally different set of circumstances and stressors, and 6) the ability to communicate with your partner and with the world. Like many on this thread I also think that it requires a certain chemistry (it's as much about the perfect man as about the perfect women). Some women would probably be game to cast off the lines if their husbands didn't become (excuse my French) assholes when they donned the captain's hat and patronize their wives when it comes to all things boat related (I've seen and heard about this plenty). I'm lucky in this respect. Encourage your lady to learn and explore on her own, encourage her to ask questions, acknowledge her contributions, unless **** is DIRE, take a couple seconds to calmly relay a message rather than expecting her to intuit your ever thought and/or respond quickly when obscure orders are being barked at her, figure out how her goals/dreams/aspirations do or do not jibe with the cruising life. Before looking for that perfect someone, I think it's always a good idea to look a yourself first (men and women alike).

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Old 30-11-2012, 13:07   #101
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

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.................................................. ..It comes down to this - Trust, Respect, and more Respect for each other, the Ocean, the boat, and one's self...
High Heels. Though all was well stated I particularly liked this final summary. There are likely a good number of cruising couples with equality in skills and decision making. I know that Nancie or I can sleep soundly while the other is at the helm, but we often seem to come to obstacles when docking. I notice that I am rarely spoken to from those at the dock when I am at the helm, but when Nancie is docking the dock crew seems compelled to call out directions, "put it in reverse". "more to port", etc. She wisely ignores these people who often have little experience and are more likely to slam you into the dock if you trust them with a line that they are too eager to make fast. We even had an occurance when I stepped off the bot with a spring line after passing a bowline to the dockhand. We didn't like our position regarding the wind and current and decided to move to another dock. I tossed the spring aboard and Nancie called out to the dockhand to toss the bowline aboard so she could take the boat around for a different dock approach. He would not let go of the line until he heard from me, and even then, I had to take the line from him myself to toss it aboard. You can hammer away at these and other prejudices, but the change comes slow.
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Old 30-11-2012, 14:38   #102
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Lololololol
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Old 30-11-2012, 17:55   #103
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

Thanks to you all for your responses!

Seaworthy Lass, I did not mean to come off crass about other's light heartedness...your posts made me laugh and that is a good thing...I just was thinking about this stuff too...

I didn't mean to make it sound like Chris is some kind of jerk Skipper...he is NOT by a long shot...there is NO yelling unless it is me...yes, that is right...I get frustrated and I have been known to raise my voice, especially when docking or leaving the dock. I docked our Westerly once and it was fine...pulled her into the slip without problems, wasn't a very challenging day with wind or current...I have not continued this though and I need to learn how to effectively dock our present boat in any conditions. Until I have the guts to dock the boat myself in all conditions I need to keep my mouth shut and be the best line handler there is...and Thanks CaptForce for your reply...that is an interesting dilemma I hadn't even thought of in regards to those on the docks being confused as to who to take their orders from and also relaying information they think would be helpful...interesting...

Chris and I have always treated our jobs aboard as responsibilities shared. We had a great season out until it was time to come home and I was hedging with some of the weather possibilities that Chris Parker had reported could be possibilities...but very unlikely...I wasn't 100% convinced it was the time to make the big run...and I was grappling with this while a new dynamic with a third party was playing out - Chris and I had not discussed earlier what it would be like to sail with our buddy after having been on the boat together by ourselves for five months and cruising, and also now that she is our home, not just a weekender boat.

While the conversation had started out collaboratively between the three of us about whether we were going to leave soon became more of a two way conversation between the boys...

Chris is well aware of how I felt about it, the situations and the communication at times...and don't let me kid you - I am NOT perfect by any means...I am not always the best communicator, I don't hold back, I have raised my voice aboard more than I need to, I let fear creep in at times and I then react with anger because that is easier than admitting when I might be afraid, or react too quickly when I feel like I am not being heard, or when I feel a more conservative approach is a better answer for a situation...I need to work on the other emotions in the spectrum of communication and stop falling back on the one that seems to be at the closest to the surface some days...but Chris and I are both head strong and determined people and well at times that can be exhausting when neither of us really wants to back down...

We both have our strengths and weaknesses aboard...and what I strive to do is appreciate Chris for his strengths, and myself for my own, and constantly strive to learn and understand more. The more I start to master new skills the better I feel.

Recently friends of ours that are experienced cruisers conducted an afternoon of private fire class...I got to use a fire extinguisher for the first time and that brought my fear of fire down a few notches...

I have a lot of knowledge but there is always more to know and, fortunately and unfortunately with sailing, you can sail around close to land all you want, take as many seminars and classes you can, but the only way to truly gain the experience and grow yourself and understand your boat best is to get out there and sail your own sail, aboard your own boat...so then it is up to you to really understand how to read the weather and have the resources to gather as much info. as you can before setting out. We have been lucky that we have chosen our weather windows well and the more challenging windows presented themselves towards the end of our trip so that we were able to work up to them and have just a bit more of a challenge each time without overwhelm. I am grateful for that experience.

Glad you all are here to bounce experiences off of, and coffee in Beaufort would be great Tom...always great to meet other cruisers!
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Old 30-11-2012, 19:08   #104
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It comes down to this - Trust, Respect, and more Respect for each other, the Ocean, the boat, and one's self...
Very well said.

I too have had to deal with a friend on my boat that did not respect my knowledge and experience. Like you I had words with him (I can only let things simmer for so long). It made the last two days of the of the cruise really uncomfortable though. Fortunately, when we got back to our respective homes we were able to get past it. However, his wife has not and she has not spoken to me since (8 years ago). I worked in a male dominated profession (in Utah no less) and had to deal with a lot of bias (for lack of a better word) -- should have been home taking care of the kids. I know what it feels like to be discounted because you are a woman. But I persevered and when I retired this last summer, I was brought to tears by all of the people who told me how much I would be missed and what a great job I had done over the years.

My husband and I have been sailing together for over ten years now, but much of it has been lake and coastal cruising. We did run a company together until September when we retired (we do the 24/7/365 thing really well) and we have done a lot of white water rafting -- so we are use to working together in stressful situations. But your post really made me think. We have never talked specifically about roles, but we are very much a team in everything we do. We work well together and (I feel) are pretty interchangable. Don't get me wrong, we each have our strengths, but neither one of us seems to supercede the other. Knowing each others strengths, we seem to automatically differ to that persons opinion in specific situations or crisis. When we are alone on watches, it has always been assumed the person on watch was making the decisions as situations arise.

We also have our disagreements, a memorable one was one of the first times anchoring -- we ended up backing up over the line to the dinghy wrapping it around the prop, we immediately went into problem solving mode as a team again. But that is another story ...

Thanks for sharing.

Robyn
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Old 30-11-2012, 19:09   #105
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Re: "What make the perfect boat woman...perfect"

'Orders' was the wrong word to use in regards to dockmasters and those handling lines at the dock...that is why I love our marina where we were...it was all a collaborative process...if our Dockmaster and marina employees heard me using the word 'orders' in regards to them I would have hell to pay ;0) They didn't take orders...we all worked together to bring in our boats ;0) Miss that marina!
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