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Old 25-06-2012, 17:12   #1
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No-Drama Sailing - Keeping the Spouse on the Boat

Since taking up wooden boat building and sailing a few years ago, I've tackled a lot of thorny problems. But nothing like the problem that cropped up this spring. It's such a common problem, that I think it's worth some serious discussion. And some not so serious...

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So it was finally here: Spring 2012. And what a spring it had been. The warmest on record. Perfect sailing weather. But the Blue Moon had been stuck at the dock with all her spars and sails out of her.

I'd had a good plan for a normal winter: redo all her running rigging so she'd be strong and easy to sail. It was a plan I'd been working on for over a year -- since returning from my long voyage home. And now I was done. I'd added powerful reefing gear to the main; figured out how to rig the mizzen so it would be easy to raise and lower; and I'd rebuilt her boomkin so it didn't interfere with tilting the outboard out of the water. Fantastic!

I'd replace old halyards, figured out a way to set my flying jib without flying overboard, even learned how to set the topsail, which probably hadn't been set by several past owners.

In short, the Blue Moon was ready for spring and I was raring to take my darling Helena out sailing.

Funny thing was, I couldn't seem to pin her down to a time...

Read complete story: Helena Gets a Notion
So, what do you to keep your reluctant sailor happy?
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Old 25-06-2012, 18:15   #2
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Re: No-Drama Sailing... keeping the spouse on the boat

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Originally Posted by UnlikelyVoyager View Post


So, what do you to keep your reluctant sailor happy?
This may not be right, but.........

Put her on a catamaran.
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Old 25-06-2012, 18:32   #3
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Re: No-Drama Sailing... keeping the spouse on the boat

Strong mind altering drugs do wonders with this.
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Old 25-06-2012, 18:44   #4
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Re: No-Drama Sailing. Keeping the spouse on the boat

What does SHE like to do? Eat good food? Dance in the moonlight? Go shopping?

Whatever it is, combine it with sailing. LOTS of it. Bribe the hell out of her.

Pavlov was right. I did this for a while with my wife and now she associates sailing with everything good that she likes to do. The percentage of time spent actually sailing was somewhat low in the beginning but now she loves the boat and thinks of it as a gateway to all kinds of fun stuff.

The good thing is, you dont have to even be secret about it. I actually said to my wife "I want you to learn to like sailing so I am going to bribe you so that you associate sailing with all kinds of fun stuff." She brightened up immediately and was happy to play along. Why not? She just needed to see that there was something in it for her. Now, sailing is one of the things she wants to do too. Last time we went out her only complaint was "Cant you make it go faster?"

SK
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Old 25-06-2012, 18:45   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnlikelyVoyager
Since taking up wooden boat building and sailing a few years ago, I've tackled a lot of thorny problems. But nothing like the problem that cropped up this spring. It's such a common problem, that I think it's worth some serious discussion. And some not so serious...

So, what do you to keep your reluctant sailor happy?
Tough message to follow...

I read the blog post. This is your problem not her problem. You state you really know her but take a moment to read what she wrote. Sailing is scary for her. For you a rail in the water is cool. Maybe even for Nick. For her it is scary and you are ignoring her fears.

You definitely need to reef more when she is on the boat. Save the rail in the water BS for when you are out with the boys. The reality is that the boat is probably at full power in 12 knots. She is describing white caps so you are pushing 18-20 knots. Reef at 15 knots. The boat wont heel as much and will go almost as fast if not as fast.

Here is a guess on my part. As a piano teacher and gardener she is probably more left brain than right brain. All the technical stuff is your deal. Plan a "picnic" sail. Pack some wine, cheese and crackers, pick a warm day and absolutely promise no big heeling or dramas, then make it happen. Sail reefed so that the the wine doesn't spill or better yet, sail or motor sail to a local anchorage, drop the hook and have some couple time.

I took my sister and brother in law out. They confessed to bad experiences with another sailboat cowboy and they didnt like it. I promised a different experience and sailed reefed, had a greeat lunch and both of them drive the boat and had a blast. Admittedly we didnt have a strong day so that helped too but here's a photo on board.

If you can take a moment to find the posts from Sarafina (one or our top mods) her significant other, the male, is afraid of sailing but he is trying. sara found sailing lessons for them as a couple and ended up on two different training boats. If you get Helen to agree to lessons, don't go with her and heaven forbid don't be the instructor. She needs a safe place for her to figure it out for herself.

Finally in regards to mob. Get her some time at the helm under motor. Lots of time. Show her that under motor its "like driving" a car - albeit on ice. Then after she is comfortable with that the mob drill is blow sheets, maybe dump main halyard clutch, hit the happy button and motor back to me.

Yoru mob plan is not a good one even though likelihood of you going over is low. - although sailing with a rail in the water increases the chances. If she throws a ring towards you and lets the boat fend for itself I doubt you will get back to the boat. You should be sailing as conservatively as a single hander and in 20 knots that means clipped in.

Anyway - sory for the lecture. Just my persoective on your situation.
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Old 25-06-2012, 18:53   #6
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Re: No-Drama Sailing. Keeping the spouse on the boat

You need to find better women. Mine at the end of the sail just says "I went sailing, so lets go get a beer!"
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Old 25-06-2012, 19:01   #7
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Re: No-Drama Sailing. Keeping the spouse on the boat

My wife loves to sew.
After making a new sail cover, wheel cover, new ultraleather upholstery in the saloon, new portlight magnetic light blocking covers, custom sheets for the v berth, quilt etc.,
she loves being on the boat !

Recently after going for a sail with our new jib, I suggested reefing.
She looked at me like I had two heads and said, "We're just sailing faster because of the new jib !"

She was right.
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Old 25-06-2012, 19:21   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas
You need to find better women. Mine at the end of the sail just says "I went sailing, so lets go get a beer!"
Drop to a knee. Say three Hail Mary's and get her a beer!
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Old 25-06-2012, 19:29   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico
My wife loves to sew.
After making a new sail cover, wheel cover, new ultraleather upholstery in the saloon, new portlight magnetic light blocking covers, custom sheets for the v berth, quilt etc.,
she loves being on the boat !

Recently after going for a sail with our new jib, I suggested reefing.
She looked at me like I had two heads and said, "We're just sailing faster because of the new jib !"

She was right.
Drop to a knee. Say three Hail Mary's and get her a beer, as well.
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Old 25-06-2012, 20:41   #10
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Re: No-Drama Sailing. Keeping the spouse on the boat

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Originally Posted by Dave the Canuck View Post
Drop to a knee. Say three Hail Mary's and get her a beer, as well.
I already have. MANY TIMES !!
Only one problem, she doesn't drink.
"Just a glass of water (or tea), thanks!"

42 years and counting.
Sometimes I think I hit the lottery.
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Old 25-06-2012, 20:56   #11
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Re: No-Drama Sailing. Keeping the spouse on the boat

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Originally Posted by sck5 View Post
What does SHE like to do? Eat good food? Dance in the moonlight? Go shopping?

Whatever it is, combine it with sailing. LOTS of it. Bribe the hell out of her.

Pavlov was right. I did this for a while with my wife and now she associates sailing with everything good that she likes to do. The percentage of time spent actually sailing was somewhat low in the beginning but now she loves the boat and thinks of it as a gateway to all kinds of fun stuff.

The good thing is, you dont have to even be secret about it. I actually said to my wife "I want you to learn to like sailing so I am going to bribe you so that you associate sailing with all kinds of fun stuff." She brightened up immediately and was happy to play along. Why not? She just needed to see that there was something in it for her. Now, sailing is one of the things she wants to do too. Last time we went out her only complaint was "Cant you make it go faster?"

SK

I think you're a loving and perceptive man. It makes sense -- make sailing attractive to her. I have a friend who doesn't like sailing but who loves to open her home to friends. Her husband bought a good looking boat she can be proud of to call her "water home." Any time they're out on a group cruise it's brunch on their boat, and my friend is in her glory. Everyone brings something -- pot luck brunches are really great! She gets to do what she loves, and he gets to go sailing. There's something very special about these get-togethers and my friend truly values them.

It's a win-win.
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Old 26-06-2012, 01:24   #12
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Re: No-Drama Sailing. Keeping the spouse on the boat

I've lost count of the number of proud owners who've taken their pride and joy and their wife out sailing in less than perfect weather and the result has been a sold boat.

So, my first suggestion is to check the weather very, very carefully. Explain the forecasts (I'm currently using 12 - long range, short range, wind speed/direction, swell, combined wave height...) in great detail and give your beloved veto power. If she says no go it's no go.

Secondly, if she ever agrees to put foot on the boat again, do not raise the sails until you have permission in writing - and maybe not even then.

How do I know this, I don't hear you asking? Well, we've got from Sydney to Yamba with some truly abysmal weather happening around us (only two months so far!) and we're still planning to keep going. But I know I'm only one poor decision from it all falling apart.

This is the current favoured weather forecast. Hint: If it ain't the palest blue (wind or wave) we ain't goin'.
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Old 26-06-2012, 02:58   #13
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Re: No-Drama Sailing - Keeping the Spouse on the Boat

Well, Helena says in her post that she has already agreed to sailing lessons. That is a good thing, because an instructor will know to start her off gently, and gradually build up.

You know how you should never teach your own wife to drive? That's 'not just cos of the arguing and not listening stuff. That's also because proper driving instructors know to start off in an empty lot, rather than jumping straight onto the motorway!
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Old 26-06-2012, 03:24   #14
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Re: No-Drama Sailing - Keeping the Spouse on the Boat

Great read,
Myself and my fiance are both from landlocked Central Texas, I however have spent a large portion the last 10 years or so at sea in one form or the other. I am hoping in the near future to dip my toes into the sailing world, am looking at boats, destinations, etc., etc. but in my mind, I know that paramont to all these things; she will have to enjoy it as well, to ever reach liveaboard/cruiser status, she will have to love it!
My plan? Being far from coastal waters, I have found some sailing classes at a nearby semi-urban freshwater lake, I am going to participate in these until i have at the very least the ability to make a comfortable day sail out to anchor... Wine, dinner, swimming, and of course, her favorite- sunbathing.... Luckily there is shopping nearby as well
From there- only time will tell, if she enjoys it, then that's one step closer to MY dream, and one step closer to it becoming OUR dream... If not, well, on to something else!
Great thread, and some great input, thanks CF'ers
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Old 26-06-2012, 08:41   #15
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Re: No-Drama Sailing - Keeping the Spouse on the Boat

As I hope comes through the blog posts, Helena still has a sense of humor about all this. As long as she has that, I think there's hope.

But after a lifetime of sailing, she's definitely made me look at sailing in a new way. That's why I'm using the phrase 'No-drama' sailing. Not 'No-excitement' or 'No-fun'. But there is a line that Helena is more aware of than I am where excitement and fun turn into drama. At least for her.

And 'No-drama' often means 'good seamanship', I think.

Anyway, I think there's some good lessons to be learned here... And as Helena says, I think I'll be learning most of them ;-)
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