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Old 29-01-2010, 18:35   #46
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A most interesting discussion topic indeed... FWIW, I have had to deal with similar behavior pattern of "couples" when I taught diving until a few years ago - Invariably, one of the duo would attempt to be the "translator" between me, the instructor, and the trainee, the other half of the couple. At times it got pretty tense when I would refuse to pair them up as dive buddies. There definitely is some delicate psychology to deal with when working with couples.

And, the usual disclaimer: This was a 'frequent' occurance but not 'always'... ..just in case, someone gets worked up with what I posted

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Old 29-01-2010, 19:15   #47
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question?

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Mct brought up a delicate but valid question about crew/couple dynamics and I am quite sure we all saw some validity in his observations.
Take another look at the title of this thread. "Couples as crew--no thanks." That's an introduction for a rant, not a delicate question.
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Old 29-01-2010, 19:26   #48
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one thought about the question of archaic traditions

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Your thoughts on the land authorities are spot on. We've been stopped and questioned here and there, as the authorities sometimes do, and they always want to know who is in charge. Call the Harbor Master on your radio and he will also ask. It's more than just an archaic tradition. There have always been good reasons why there should ultimately be one person in control/responsible on a boat. It's not a Democracy for a reason.
I am not inclined to allow a port captain, much less a harbor master, dictate how we run our boat.

When we pull into ports in Latin America, I generally handle the clearing in duties, not only because my Spanish is better than my wife's, but because of the unfortunate chauvinism among Latin American officialdom. However, when clearing into port in French Polynesia, my wife would handle the duties because my French is non-existent and she has a way of getting things done in France and its former colonies.

To say "There have always been good reasons why..." is a great way to invoke patriarchy. I'm not accusing anyone in this discussion of promoting patriarchy, but I'm urging caution in applying its logic. The role of the sea captain evolved at a time when it was considered bad luck to have a woman aboard. I hope we can at least agree that such superstitions have become archaic?
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Old 29-01-2010, 19:44   #49
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Take another look at the title of this thread. "Couples as crew--no thanks." That's an introduction for a rant, not a delicate question.
+1 Sounds a lot more like a blanket statement than anything delicate.

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Old 30-01-2010, 16:30   #50
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I was making a narrow point of my situation - hauling together volunteer crew for a longish passage on shared contribution basis.

I think Paul L is in the business of boat deliveries, so not really the same sort of thing - crew who have done this sort of thing many many times will know the score.

Bash is determined to make a point about about sexism, not the same thing at all.

The thread title has to be short. Yep, bit brutal, sorry about that.

Pity the issue wasn't debated/discussed more with flair shown by InternationDrifter, but that's forums I suppose.
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Old 30-01-2010, 17:22   #51
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MCT, I think you've got some very valid points there. And this coming from a professional crewing couple. We've crewed as a team on a number of luxury yachts and have sailed well over 60K bluewater miles each.

Absolutely right - we do act as a team, and bring others on board too. Too often we've both witnessed just plain silliness when it comes to boat safety, and other tactics. In some cases it was obvious the owner and his/her buddies had little or no bluewater experience and lacked respect for the sea. But that's why we were there.

I would say majority of our experiences have been positive.

It is interesting though, and listening to your point of view, I can understand how couples would be viewed in the way you describe.
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Old 30-01-2010, 20:47   #52
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The thread title has to be short. Yep, bit brutal, sorry about that.
....
MCT,
I'll certainly give you that, the titles are short and it may not have been your full thoughts on the matter - if it was, we wouldn't need the message part. I suspect when it comes down to it, if you met crew in person it probably would matter whole lot more who they were, rather than how they were attached. It sounds like much of your crew gathering has been via web and e-mail. That is always going to be a bit of a crap shoot, as it is easy to come off online very different than in person.

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Old 30-01-2010, 23:30   #53
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finally!

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Bash is determined to make a point about about sexism, not the same thing at all.
Well, we finally agree on something. Yes, I am determined to make a point about sexism.

Take a look at the forum upon which this thread was posted. I believe it's called "Women Afloat."

Hmmmmmm.

What I find deeply ironic about this thread is that my wife and I are constantly being asked to crew on other people's boats. Constantly. Admittedly, were you to peruse both of our sailing resumes you'd probably conclude that mine is more impressive than hers: my involvement in one-design racing at the national level and collegiate sailing at the regional level would probably eclipse her considerable time afloat. However, most of the time we accept the invite to crew for friends, it's with the knowledge that her sailing skills are almost invariably superior to those of the boat owner for whom we will crew.

I'm amazed at how often people will assume that just because she's blond, she's petite, and she's in her 50's that she's incapable of grinding a winch or trimming a spinnaker sheet. Put her on the helm and she's truly gifted; she learned long ago that there's a better way to get a boat from point A to B than to muscle the tiller. She's easily distracted by conversation, unfortunately, and she tends to pinch a bit when she can get away with it, but despite these faults she can often coax another 1/10 knot of speed out of the boat than anyone else aboard.

I've come to conclude, over the years, that her skills intimidate far too many "captains." If we go out for a daysail I'm always being asked whether I'd like to take the helm, and she almost never is. If she gets remotely close to a sheet during a tack or a gibe, some male will invariable say, "Oh. Here, let me take care of that."

If I understand the gist of the polemic at the beginning of this thread, it's that couples should not be welcome on crews because they'll team up against the rest of the crew, functioning as a team within a team. Sheesh. What sort of deep-seated insecurity would lead to such a concern? If it's not sexism, the alternatives become truly disconcerting.
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Old 30-01-2010, 23:37   #54
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The truth is that how folks present themselves ashore is all too often different at sea from what they adverstise. Boats bring out personality issues much more than regular life ashore. Close conditions, stress, out of routine and away from familiar comforts all exacerbate quirks that while easily overlooked ashore, become significant irritants when offshore or on a constant 24/7 basis.

I would expect that these type issues probably show up at about the same rate in single and/or couples. The problem is that in couples, if one is susceptible to behavioral quirks, then the other quite likely is as well. After all, they've 'learned' to live with the quirks and may be quite similar.

The pre-trip screening is the only way to minimize this but it's not foolproof by a long shot. While I consider myself alert to potential personality issues, I'm not sure I'm any better or worse at picking the winners and losers here. Probably that's why I'd prefer to not have to pick any at all.

Ideally, I'd hope to endure/overlook most of it until the next port but for a long-ish trip, I'd much prefer only having someone with whom I've sailed already for a week or two.

Finally, and this is my personal bias, I really don't think the power trip of being The Captain is the way to approach cruising on a yacht. Yes, someone signs the customs forms-- big deal, no 'power' required here, only someone to accept responsibility. Yes, in an emergency situation quick cooperation is necessary. But, that co-operation will seldom come from Commands. It comes from trust, respect, knowledge and clear communication. Those are the criteria for choosing a crew. Do/can they trust me? Do I have their respect? Do they know what they don't know as well as what they should know?

Being 'Captain' is not really a substitute for mutual respect and understanding nor likely to engender it. While Rank works in the military and within organizations, it's basically meaningless on a small craft alone on the sea. Only those who understand Responsibility (mine and theirs) will make good shipmates.
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Old 30-01-2010, 23:44   #55
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....
Being 'Captain' is not really a substitute for mutual respect and understanding nor likely to engender it. While Rank works in the military and within organizations, it's basically meaningless on a small craft alone on the sea. Only those who understand Responsibility (either up or down) will make good shipmates.
With all due respect, rank does not work in the military unless there is trust and respect in the ranking person. It's no different than on a smaller boat

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Old 30-01-2010, 23:56   #56
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Well, we finally agree on something. Yes, I am determined to make a point about sexism.

......she can often coax another 1/10 knot of speed out of the boat than anyone else aboard.

Bash.... are you now bringing up the "Race" issue?...

I've come to conclude, over the years, that her skills intimidate far too many "captains.".....What sort of deep-seated insecurity would lead to such a concern? If it's not sexism, the alternatives become truly disconcerting. Curious as to what you feel those alternatives might be?
Obviously Bash you have missed the point that mct was not specific about which of the coupled crew members might be the weakest link and your comments about other captains only seem to validate negative dynamics from you on others being in command when your wife is on board.

Perhaps it is because you are more a "racer" than a cruiser which has caused you to go off on a long tack that was never the direction mct wanted this discussion to go.
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Old 31-01-2010, 11:51   #57
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With all due respect, rank does not work in the military unless there is trust and respect in the ranking person. It's no different than on a smaller boat

Sailndive
You are absolutely correct. I was thinking in terms of the military that when you don't respond to Rank, you tend to end up on KP or in the brig. Usually, that isn't the consequence on a small yacht at sea....
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Old 31-01-2010, 13:04   #58
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Well, we finally agree on something. Yes, I am determined to make a point about sexism.

Take a look at the forum upon which this thread was posted. I believe it's called "Women Afloat."

Hmmmmmm.
I was going to comment that I believed that mct's original post was thought-provoking & that I could certainly appreciate that perspective. Then, I read the afore-mentioned comment by Bash. I hadn't realized, until it was pointed out, that this was probably not the best place for this thread, as it intimates that the issue could be attached, specifically, to the female gender. Perhaps, the same discussion in another area of the forums might be more appropriate?
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Old 31-01-2010, 13:10   #59
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I was going to comment that I believed that mct's original post was thought-provoking & that I could certainly appreciate that perspective. Then, I read the afore-mentioned comment by Bash. I hadn't realized, until it was pointed out, that this was probably not the best place for this thread, as it intimates that the issue could be attached, specifically, to the female gender. Perhaps, the same discussion in another area of the forums might be more appropriate?
Mike
Apologies - i'm newish here so didn't know the right place to post. I wondered if some would recoil at this as a sexist issue, as Bash continues to feel. Not so. My points would/could be valid for a father/son "couple" on board, perhaps.
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Old 31-01-2010, 13:41   #60
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Very good point. I've moved it here, to the "General Sailing" subforum, and left a 7 day re-direct in the previous forum.
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