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Old 14-10-2012, 09:52   #31
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Re: A Reluctant Crew - What Do You Do?

Ive been at this boating stuff for ever - I've made my living from it - I've had my wife out with me a few too many times when I scared the hell out of her - especially commercial fishing - going from point A to B in lousy weather. So, when it came time to set sail and retire, I thought I'd take it easy on her - work into it slowly. I had done what nobody should ever do - have expectations in other people - just because we've been together for 32 years doesnt mean we've enjoyed the same things. I made my living on the water - not her! I assumed she would take to sailing like I had and like we did in our youth - never assume anything!
We were doing alright until the shakedown cruise last spring when we got dismasted. That was a major setback in gaining her confidence in sailing - to say the least!
Now it's back to square one but at least she's willing to try again.
Moral of the story - don't scare the hell out of her until she can handle it and never assume or expect your crew to be as good or as tough as you are.
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Old 14-10-2012, 11:47   #32
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Re: A Reluctant Crew - What Do You Do?

I remember when I took up diving I was a bit scared of water too. Then - EUREKA - our instructors NEVER ever pushed - we only did things when we felt we were ready. I still have the fear today, but it does not stop me from freediving and admiring all the beauty of the ocean and the marine life therein!

Since then, I believe it is all the same for all other activities (except perhaps for a visit at the dentist's). Give your crew/love plenty of time to learn. Fear drops off as soon as we feel we are safe. Fun sets in. That simple.

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Old 14-10-2012, 11:54   #33
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@ Lake Effect:

This is a boat I bought a week or so ago and I haven't been through everything yet. It is the third time I've sailed her and the last one of the season (definatley now that thay shackle broke!).

The sail is not set up for reefing and I sailed her to my mooring in winds this strong with no real issues, though that trip I was not sailing her solo. I have never reefed a sail beforr, but, my understanding is that there are spots in the sail that allow you to tie it down to a shorter sail.

I think a good idea, looking back, would have been to furl that jib in a bit. I am not 100% positive, but, I do think it is a genoa. Looks larger than the main.

@ Comorant:

I'll keep my eyes out...
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Old 14-10-2012, 17:49   #34
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Re: A Reluctant Crew - What Do You Do?

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Originally Posted by Muscongus View Post
This is a boat I bought a week or so ago and I haven't been through everything yet.
Don't take newbies out on an unknown boat if you are an inexperienced skipper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muscongus View Post
I have never reefed a sail beforr, but, my understanding is that there are spots in the sail that allow you to tie it down to a shorter sail.
Learn how to reef the sail

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Originally Posted by Muscongus View Post
I think a good idea, looking back, would have been to furl that jib in a bit.
Ya, think?

Not to be rude but you listened to no one's advice on this thread about keeping the boat relaxed and comfortable. You put a rail in the water and you broke the boat and you never got the guests to their promised lunch - Major FAIL...

You sorta lost the right to complain about reluctant spousal crew at this point and I'd be surprised if she goes out again in any sort of wind at all.

Solo with the race team burying a rail and breaking the boat sounds cool and macho - with newbies it is almost a crime.

My sister and BIL visited Singapore. Their last sailing experience was with another BIL about 20 years ago and they both stated they didn't like sailing. Their first experience was one similar to what you may have provided.

I started in 8 knots of wind with sails reefed. We never got above 4 knots boat speed and 5 degrees of heel. At any time during the sail they could climb the companionway with ease to get another beer or use the head. No one broke a fingernail holding on to the boat.

They both had a blast because I made it about them.

We ended the day in the club bar with Mr. Tan's "better-than-Raffles-Singapore-Slings"

(Sorry to get so wound up...)
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Old 14-10-2012, 18:18   #35
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Re: A Reluctant Crew - What Do You Do?

First rule: Don't yell at her. I have seen that in practice, and it brings a bad result.

Second rule: Unless and until she gets to like it a little, never take her out on really windy days, when seas are up, or when any possibility exists you might get slammed by a storm.

Third rule: If she gets sea sick easily, don't take her out of sight of land, and try to pick protected waters and anchorages.

Fourth rule: If you can talk her into it, get her to try some of the medications/remedies common for the prevention of sea sickness. Keep her hydrated while on the boat, and have a land based option to get her off the boat and on terra firma if all else fails.

Fifth rule: Never admit your lost, there is a serious problem, or that YOU are scared no matter what happens.

If all of the above fails, maybe consider buying a camper and towing it behind you car.
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Old 14-10-2012, 18:29   #36
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Re: A Reluctant Crew - What Do You Do?

First and only rule - Make it a priority to do what SHE wants. She may NEVER want to sail as much as you do. But - can you sail to a place where she can go shopping (and give her a chunk of cash to play with when you get there)? - or to a romantic restaurant? or whatever it is she wants to do?

Pavlov was right. I just shamelessly bribed my wife for a couple of years saying things like "I am obsessed with sailing and I want to make it so you want to come with me so I am going to give you this $100 bill so you have a jump start on buying whatever you want when we get to wherever we are going" or "I have a supply of your favorite food and your favorite drink which you can consume while listening to your favorite music while I do all the work"

After a while she started looking forward to it. Now she asks if I can "make it go faster".

Oh, and dont even think of going out in bad weather. That will ruin everything.
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Old 14-10-2012, 18:54   #37
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@Ex- C: You got it spot on. I agree 100% and don't blame you for getting wound up.

Next season, I am going to solo it a bunch and not take passengers until I am VERY comfortable with the new boat.

Also, just to set your at ease about my intentions, I am going through the boat completely, rebedding everything, replacing anything worn/worriesome, adding a few things like an ipod dock, a solar panel, and a chart plotter. She'll get painted top and bottom - just saying that I intend to go right through her.

My wife, after the day, says she actually enjoyed the sailing just not the broken gear fiasco and my jumping all over the boat dealing with it.

One thing - I am not trying to be a racer or macho. I'm trying to become a good sailor and I am still just a newbie. I do have a bit of the thrill seeker in me, though, but do try to reserve that for times with others that do, too.

It was way too windy yesterday and I should have either just calles the day and taken them out for lunch or stayed out of the bay and in the islands where the wind is a little less.

Feel free to give me grief anytime. My skin is thick, especially when I agree.

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Old 14-10-2012, 19:02   #38
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Re: A Reluctant Crew - What Do You Do?

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Originally Posted by Muscongus View Post
Next season, I am going to solo it a bunch and not take passengers until I am VERY comfortable with the new boat.

It was way too windy yesterday and I should have either just calles the day and taken them out for lunch or stayed out of the bay and in the islands where the wind is a little less.

Dan
Hindsight is SO 20/20, ain't it?

I made your exact mistake when we first got our boat. I took us out and let her get a bit overpowered and between the heel and a few things down below that were not secured adequately that went flying, Himself was really scared. It's been a long uphill battle for him to find a "happy place" sailing. I was having a blast, because I knew we were fine, but to him it looked as if we were coming apart at the seams!

Really, as I said earlier, go SLOW. Really really REALLY slow...
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Old 14-10-2012, 19:14   #39
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Re: A Reluctant Crew - What Do You Do?

@Muscongus - Sounds like a good plan.

No worries about "stronger" winds - learn to reef. I took gf (albeit experienced) through a thunderstorm. 1 reef main, 80% genny and +40kts of wind w/ torrential rain and lightning. She We had a blast.

Learning to handle ever bigger stuff is part of the process. You should never feel beyond your capability as you are likely to always be the most experienced person on the boat and you should always feel in control.

I find that the other time newbies get scared is raising the sails. Raising the main head to wind in any kind of breeze causes the sail to flog and the flogging sail "seems" out of control and scary.

I always brief the mainsail raising as part of the safety brief with new sailors.

"When we get out I will point the boat head to wind and raise the main sail. It should take about a minute or two and during that time the sail will flog about and make a lot of noise. This is perfectly normal and once the sail is up we will head off and the boat will settle right down. During this time, just stay seated and don't worry about me moving about the boat. The autopilot (or XXX (if I have a crew)) will steer the boat."
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Old 15-10-2012, 08:38   #40
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Re: A Reluctant Crew - What Do You Do?

Dan, we have all been there. Or at least me.

I took my mother in law and two kids (ages 11) out in 25mph winds. The rail was not quite in the water, but close enough. The kids had a blast, and maybe that helped my MIL. She used to have her private plane license, so is quite willing to "get out there", but at the end of the sail, I think, from the look she gave me, she was happy to get off.
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Old 15-10-2012, 09:07   #41
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Sailing, you click with it, or you don't. Her first impression ain't going away because you get a better boat, better weather, better food, better anything. If she disliked it day one, she will dislike just as much, if not more, on each time out. She will use each time out to build a foundation of dislike no manner of outside forces will be able to change.

My wife hates sailing. Hates it. She is afraid of the water. Afraid of the wind. Hates the crampt spaces. Hates the heat when it's hot, hates the chill when it's cold. Hates the darkness when it's night. Hates putting up sails, and complains she will only have to take them down again when the sailing is over. Any amount of time on the lake is time wasted she could have been doing anything else.

Each time she goes out, the feeling of dred increases just a little, or a lot, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

I thought maybe larger more stable sailboats might help her relax, and maybe it has helped some, but larger also means more to do, and she just dislikes the whole sailing process.

She does not mind being a dock queen. Short visits to the boat when we do not go out is about her speed.

If your wife dislikes sailing, it is just a matter of time till the pimple festers into a boil, and eventually a carboncle
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Old 15-10-2012, 09:22   #42
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If all of the above fails, maybe consider buying a camper and towing it behind you car.

Have a 70' diesel toy hauler. It is still too small for her. Lol
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Old 15-10-2012, 09:38   #43
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Re: A Reluctant Crew - What Do You Do?

A few other little things:

Listen to the NOAA forecasts and take them seriously. I.e., don't take your wife out when it's forecast for 20-knot winds. Wait for a nice 5-10 day.

The force of the wind increases with the square of its velocity. So a 20 knot wind is 4X stronger than a 5-knot wind.

Land folk tend to think of days as either "calm" or "windy" -- but a 25-knot wind, which on land just makes you notice that it's windy, on the water can cause all sorts of trouble. (Save it for your outings with fellow thrill-seekers.)

Keep an eye on PassageWeather.com -- both the wind and the wave height forecasts. If it has been blowing 25 knots from the south for three days, and overnight it goes to 5 knots, you may think, "Oh, a nice calm day. . . " but you'll be faced with all the swell left over from that big blow. Not a good day to take the wife out!

Keep at it. You're climbing the steep part of the learning curve right now.
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Old 15-10-2012, 09:46   #44
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Re: A Reluctant Crew - What Do You Do?

My wife puked for the entire crossing (both ways) of the GS to get from FL to the Bahamas ON OUR HONEYMOON charter. Once there all was swell. She'll be flying to meet me and the boat next time. Problem solved..
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Old 15-10-2012, 09:48   #45
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Quote:
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We had strong winds and had the little B24 cruising right along, trying not to heal up too much (though we did have a gust that pushed the rail right down to the edge. That scared all the passengers, but, was just a single gust and I let the boom out to right her quickly.
It sounds as if you've done just about everything wrong.

When you arrange to take non-sailors out, every sentence should be qualified with the phrase "weather permitting."

You went out in strong winds. WRONG!
You went out at a set time with a pre-arranged interim destination. WRONG!
You allowed a gust to push the rail "right down to the edge." WRONG!

Rule #1: Only a bad skipper frightens his passengers.
Corollary: Any skipper who screams is likely to frighten his passengers..

Rule #2: Wind gusts never surprise expert sailors. Not even single gusts.
Corollary: If the only way to recover from a gust was to blow the mainsheet, you should have reefed long prior to that point.

Rule #3: People having a bad time on a boat should never feel trapped on the boat.
Corollary: Until you are certain that no one is going to have a terrible time on the boat, stay close to the harbor.

Aside from basic seamanship and navigation skills, the most important skill for the master of a vessel to master is the ability to install confidence in passengers and crew. The moment the "Are we going to die?" question flashes through a passenger's head, the skipper has failed.

The fundamental problem when a rookie sails with his wife is that she knows he's a rookie. In other words, if you've only owned a boat for a couple of months, it's going to be hard to impress a woman who has known you as a non-sailor for a couple of decades. I was lucky in this regard: I'd raced for years and years, wifeless, before Wonderblond ever came sailing with me. But then out of the blue she accompanied me on a Jack-and-Jill race, and was astonished to discover that I knew what I was doing. (It helped that we won the race.) From that point on she was more than willing to help me deliver boats between races. Before you knew it, we discovered cruising together, and I gave up racing.

I'm not sure what the answers are, ultimately, but here are three good starting points:

1. If you're not underpowered, you're overpowered. Get yourself an inclinometer, and learn to sail the boat without ever exceeding 15 degrees of heel (note the spelling.) Once you can do that, and only then, you can think about taking out non-sailors.

2. Never commit to a timetable or a destination when dealing with non-sailors. On a first daysail, I tell passengers that we're going to look for a quiet lunch spot where we can drop the hook and open a bottle. That's all they need to know.

3. Let newbies know that you don't really need them to pull the strings, handle docklines, et cetera. It only stresses them. If someone insists on being given a job, I'll assign that person the task of doing dishes once we've returned to port. Otherwise, sit down and enjoy the ride.
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