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Old 11-02-2016, 19:54   #16
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

Having taught sailing at the yacht club, in college, and at Steve Colgate's Offshore Sailing School, I have given some thought to this subject. I think there are at least two factors at play. The first is the, perhaps natural, inclination to defer to the husband or other dominant male. Most often, the woman slides into the role of mate and the husband takes over the role of skipper. The problem with that is that the mate has only to do her job(s)--be they cooking, watch standing, steering, whatever. The skipper does all that too, but he does one more thing: he bears the burden of command.. He and only he is responsible for the lives and safety of every member of the crew and the welfare of the vessel. There is a world of difference between being the surgeon and the assistant surgeon, the pilot and the copilot, the platoon sergeant and the rifleman. When a couple boards the boat, the man takes the helm and the woman reaches for the job sheet, nearly every time. Consequently, when I taught a woman to sail, her husband could not be in the boat. Better if he's not even at the club that day. And if there are others aboard, I prefer they be women.

If you want your wife, girl friend, or significant other to be a full participant in the sport, if you want her to be having as much fun as you are, if you want her confident and smiling...you must teach her to sail.. Trust me, it will pay off in the end. And I've said it before here: put her in a Laser or other small dinghy. She must be in command of her own vessel, however humble it may be. Start on a gentle summer day beam reaching back and forth. Then work up to other points of sail, other wind velocities. When you see her smiling as she sails her boat, you'll know progress is being made. When she comes off a screaming reach grinning from ear to ear, she's ready for the next step: racing. At first she may be content to follow the fleet around the course, but soon enough she'll come to know other back-enders and will eventually race them. And she will be forced to make her own decisions: which end of the starting line? Which side on the first beat? How to steer through the jam at the mark? Now you are ready to go aboard your big boat. Insist she skipper a passage. She is the one who inspects the boat and her equipment while you do the provisioning. She decides on maintenance and replacement of gear. She plans the route, watches the weather, sets the departure. She will soon become a full participant in the sport. I hope it all works out for you both.

But, as I said, there are two factors. The other one is natural inclination. My wife and I sailed together most weekends between April and October for twelve years, both racing and, after starting a family, day sailing. Regatta after regatta, several North Americans, she was always the good soldier, never complaining, never a problem. But never into it either. Never one time in twelve years did she ever read a single article on sailing or racing. Never a single book, despite my suggestion, then asking, finally pleading. Never one time did I hear her discuss or inquire with any friends or competitors about anything to do with the boat, the sport, or anything else. We were both there but only one of us was into it, only one was sailing. The other was physically present but never engaged. Contrast that to Corbo Corbishley with whom I campaigned a Star in, I think, 1978. Corbo was the skipper, I the crew. He had first stepped into a sailboat two years earlier. He read everything he could get his hands on, every book, every article. He talked to every competitor, "Buddy, why did you go left on the second beat?" "Dennis, why'd you get rid of your traveller?" The following year he was tenth in the Olympic trials. Tenth! In four years! I've never seen anyone like him, before or since. My wife, on the other hand, I doubt has been in a boat one single time in the thirty years since our divorce. So there's personal inclination.

Deference and personal inclination, two major factors in why so few women are true sailors.

Paul
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Old 12-02-2016, 06:10   #17
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

On our boat you will see my wife at the helm more often than me. To me and my wife, this just makes sense. As mentioned above, men and women are different. In particular, men are generally stronger than women. Which is why it always looks so silly to me when I see the man standing at the helm--delicately holding the wheel, doing no physical work at all--while the woman is wrestling with the sheets, or the anchor, the dock lines, whatever. I do the work that involves physical strength and agility, and my wife does the work that involves concentration and a delicate touch.
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Old 12-02-2016, 06:24   #18
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

i started my sailing life in 1955.
i was a kid.
my grandmother ALWAYS scorned the fun i was having..."LADIES do NOT sail" was my response from her.
and so.... this lady DOES sail and has since 1955.
yes sailing is a boys club.
always was and always will, even if some jerko makes a law saying thou shalt have equality and wtf between genders.
have we become that evil in our nannyismms??

do we NEED to have EVERYthing made freeking equal?? how about sporty car racing. should we make laws stating that the women need also to be allowed to win nascar?? formula 1?? gimme a stinkfreeking break.
i found the article to be a trolling measure. seems as if written to cause discord and unhappiness amongst the masses who donot understand sailing and history of sailing.
as annie bonny and some certain other non lady individuals were the women sailing in not so long ago history, it seems that my grandmother was correct--not that i will grant her that....
girls are trained from birth to be ladies.
males are trained from birth to be testosterone peacocks.
is the way of this allegedly modern world. the men went to sea , the ladies stayed home and worried.
that is how it was.
widows walks on all the sea captains homes, overlooking the ocean....
LADIES did NOT sail. ladies waited.
but , now ladies DO sail.
of course there is no parity between genders in sailing. there need not be, either, unless done naturally and by experience gained, which takes a LONG time.
hell, SOME of us actually own our own boats.. the horror!!!!
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Old 12-02-2016, 07:30   #19
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Why is it that in nearly every car that I see containing one man and one woman, the man is driving?
Because the woman is navigating!







I better run and hide......
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Old 12-02-2016, 07:47   #20
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

We have several woman-owned boats in the area, including those which are raced by all-female crew. I see women at the helm all the time...but when it comes to grinding winches, it seems that the enthusiasm isn't the same!
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Old 12-02-2016, 12:19   #21
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
....i found the article to be a trolling measure. seems as if written to cause discord and unhappiness amongst the masses ....
I agree. It made a few good points about the dangers of long-term cruising with only one person who is comfortable at the helm, but it could have made those points without the undertones it did, which I also felt were aimed more at creating discord than being productive or informative.
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Old 17-02-2016, 18:31   #22
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

My wife and I can both drive cars, but it is just assumed that I will drive when we go someplace together. That may be how it evolves on boats, too. But I do know a small minority of women who are the skippers of their boats and the husband is the first mate.
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Old 17-02-2016, 18:58   #23
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

The sea does not care...Z said all of it....what is this question but a troll?
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Old 17-02-2016, 19:15   #24
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

I'm lucky, my partner is a great sailor in her own right and has owned a few boats.

I teach sailing and up to the age of 14 girls are hands down better than boys, then quite a few girls slow down, it frustrates the heck out of me, but fortunately this is a declining trend. Some of the girls I taught went on to great success in college.
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Old 17-02-2016, 19:26   #25
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

I'm surprised to see the vast majority of boats arrive at an anchorage with the women doing the heavy up front work at the bow, fussing with all the anchor and mooring stuff, whilst the male barks orders from behind the wheel. The same during docking procedures.

On our boat, I always do the fussing with the anchor and direct the procedure from the bow with hand signals, while Mrs. Mac takes care of helm duties. Mrs. Mac is able to do anchor duties, but prefers to be at the helm. Docking the boat, our roles are usually reversed, but the boat is always brought to a complete stop without anyone ever having to leap off with a line.

Navigation and adjusting the auto pilot is split 50/50.

Here's a video I posted on another thread. Pam cruising down some waves in 40 knot winds under bare poles and.... Having a blast!

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Old 17-02-2016, 19:56   #26
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

I recently flew a Falcon 900 from DFW to Cabo for 4 days with a Female Captain. We had never flown together before this trip. She also flies a B29 and a B24, one of the best trips I have had in years, awesome Woman, great pilot, and a lot of class! Too bad she was married already...

Chicks Rock!



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Old 17-02-2016, 19:56   #27
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

OK, I went directly to the source and asked Mrs. Mac why she thinks so few women like to steer the boat?

Her answer: "On our old boat, I hated it because it was so hard... I got tired and sore." "On our new boat it's easy."

Who knew? Not exactly the answer I expected. So... I guess it has more to do with how well balanced the helm is. The better the balance, the higher the enjoyment factor?

Anyway... That's her answer. Whether some like it or not.

Maybe instead of trying to guess or speculate as to why so few women like to steer a boat... Maybe it's easier just to ask one?

Another thing that was mentioned in the article which we find very important on our boat... We make all repairs together. Many if not every time we do it this way, she sees something I missed or the other way around. Her Hands are smaller than mine and can fit in tighter spots, she's better at following written directions from a manual, I'm more mechanically inclined, etc. We always get the jobs done quicker together.
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Old 17-02-2016, 22:27   #28
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

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Originally Posted by Gareth Hughes View Post
I'm lucky, my partner is a great sailor in her own right and has owned a few boats.

I teach sailing and up to the age of 14 girls are hands down better than boys, then quite a few girls slow down, it frustrates the heck out of me, but fortunately this is a declining trend. Some of the girls I taught went on to great success in college.
This is what also happens in the sciences and pretty much all sports. It's (mostly) about cultural conditioning. I did a presentation on this a while back and the research shows that at this age: girls are six times more likely to drop out of sports than boys; there is a greater desire for relationships and connectedness, not competition; during adolescence, girls suffer a severe crisis in confidence and a larger drop in self-esteem than boys; sometimes girls don’t receive the support they need; there aren’t enough role models. Just connect the dots to sailing...
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Old 17-02-2016, 23:02   #29
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

Generally my wife Kelly and I have adopted the following roles:

Kelly
Passage planning
Provisioning
75% of cooking

Me
Navigation (including setting up route in chartplotter)
Going in and out of marinas
All electronic and mechanical maintenance and repairs

All other duties are shared, although I probably do most of the helming when anchoring and mooring on a buoy. So far she has done a majority of the night helming as well.

As to the lists above, the person who is better skilled does that job.
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Old 17-02-2016, 23:13   #30
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Re: Gender parity in sailing

On our boat, we take turns ... intentionally and purposely. We sail as a duo. Underway duties roughly fall into helm/navigation vs deck/cabin/galley. We alternate each and every day.

I am not as good a helms person as my partner. We fight over who is the better navigator, although I have to admit she is more "wholistic" in her approach (I just know the rock isn't in front of us ... she actually knows where it is). On the flip side, I'm better at setting and managing the sails, and I might be a better cook .

The point is, as a short-handed crew, we each have to do everything. I think it is both foolish, and possibly dangerous, to have segregated roles in our circumstances. Are we both as good at everything? No. Are we both able to do everything? Yes. The idea that one sex is inherently better is at these tasks is not supported by evidence.

On the bigger question, I think it would be easy to explain any discrepancy in "captainship" by looking at systemic issues around historic and present gender discrimination. Who has the babies has nothing to do with who can run a vessel.
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