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Old 06-09-2013, 09:14   #31
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

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Originally Posted by Mknebes View Post
My husband and I just bought our boat- he's been sailing for decades and I was brought up on powerboats. I know squat. I read and try and actually we do pretty well, but there are some times he just expects me to "know" somehow and these times it really hasn't been the best of times, lol. I have often thought of just signing myself up for a course so I could just learn without it being so personal. We plan on cruising for years and this just seems like it would give me a huge boost in confidence. Guess I'll go look some schools up- I wonder how much this will be!

Monica
Absolutly, take a course , away from your own boat , frees you from that worry, you get to mingle with like minded etc.

dont worry about the costs.

Its a very rare husband that can successfully teach ones wife to sail.

dave

PS: I had to look up "donnybrook" ( I have a friend in Dublin who lives there, nice upmarket area!!).
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Old 06-09-2013, 09:49   #32
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I was actually looking into using my boat! If my husband could part with it..... He would probably insist on coming.... Just what I'm trying to avoid....

Monica
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:27   #33
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That didn't sound very nice- sorry honey! Not how that was intended! Oops
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:56   #34
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

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I was actually looking into using my boat! If my husband could part with it..... He would probably insist on coming.... Just what I'm trying to avoid....

Monica
Good idea. I'm sure you could find a club instructor that will give you private lessons on your boat.
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Old 06-09-2013, 13:03   #35
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

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You'd referenced this experience in another topic some short time ago. While I may not have contributed to that one, my read on it was simple: I agree that YOU were responsible. I also felt that you blamed someone else for your shortcomings in that situation.

Absolutely not! It was my boat, I was skipper, and all calls were my calls. HE blamed himself and I had to work some to point that out to him. Having a difference in experiences is NOT the same as "that was your fault."

I knew my boat; he did not. I knew she was bow tender; I knew the sail we had out was too big; I knew she tends to squat on her behind. I put that all together in that situation too late in the game.

It certainly wasn't his fault that the hardware on the mailsail failed and the mainsail was in the lazy jacks. I chose that hardware, not him.

You CANNOT expect others who occasionally sail with you to know your boat as well as you, the owner, do.

I have *always* said what I believe happened:

The boat was out of balance. That's a given sailing only with the headsail.

As conditions built, the headsail was too big for the conditions. It should have been taken in and motoring. That's what I said to do, but just a little too late -- which meant that I was cutting it way too close. But as I've said before, I love to sail, I love to sail fast, and my favorite moment is when we turn the engine off.

The waves were close together and confused, with the waves coming from one direction, the wind shifted to another, and a tide against us from a third direction. A wave broke under the stern while another wave helped hold the bow up. I believe the large headsail encouraged the bow to stay up, and the stern dropped.

This is what I have ALWAYS said. It is what I said at the time and ever since. The channel was shallow, BUT I KNEW THAT.

No. It's all on me. I was the skipper and my sailing companion would have done whatever I told him to do.

I was having fun, too, and I made the call to give up on the sailing about 30 seconds too late, and since we weren't racing, that was WAY too late.

I HAVE said that the man didn't know the significance of the word "coastal" in coastal cruising, but *I* knew that and the decision to stop sailing was not his to make.

I paid for the repairs and would not have taken his money if he had offered it, but I convinced him that it was the skipper's call and essentially, "my bad."

I would not even say the man had "shortcomings." He's an excellent sailor. There were some things on sailboats he didn't have much experience with. So what? There are some things I don't have much experience with. Actually we were a great combination of skill sets.

It's my boat, and I was the skipper. Therefore it WAS my fault. Period. And I have never said otherwise.
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Old 06-09-2013, 13:14   #36
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

Originally Posted by Rakuflames
I tried this once with a friend and it turned out to be a disaster. When the ship hit the fan I knew my boat better, I had studied the charts where the other person had not, and I had read a really good book and had knowledge the other person didn't have.

The boat was trying to round up and broach at the bottom of each wave, and my friend was enjoying the wild ride and not realizing how seriously out of control the boat was.

Of course we weren't married. If I were married, I would HOPE that we would work together. I would HOPE that we would recognize each other's strengths and weaknesses. I would HOPE that we would discuss various scenarios and who would do what.

When things are hairy and scary one person has to be the person who makes the final calls.

On my boat, it's me, unless i have someone else who BOTH knows more than me AND understands my boat. But it would be my choice to turn the helm over to that other person.

One of the problems is that one person may know more about cruising while the other knows more about racing. I lost a rudder because I had a racer at the helm who didn't want to do the prudent thing, stop sailing, pull the headsail in and use the engine. In the ten seconds of delay, the boat bottomed out stern first and the rudder shaft was bent about 30. it wasn't his boat, and he was racing.

But I don't take racing risks with my boat. i never race her. I can't afford the possible damage from pushing her to her limits.

He thought (and probably still does think) that he knew more than me, and he does -- about racing. He was looking ONLY at the speed and not how out-of-balance the boat was (we had lost the mainsail to a hardware failure, and the headsail really was too big for the 20+ knots we had).

I knew that sail, and I knew my boat's tendency to squat on her ass, and she did that big time at that moment.



You're the 4th Hunter owner I've heard that has either bent or lost a rudder; I'm going to start keeping a list.

And the guy wasn't that good of a racer. You don't win races with a bent rudder. Trashing the boat to the point it's inoperable or your crewmates hate you isn't good racing and frankly is shitty seamanship. "


Actually the guy is a very good racer, but his experience is all in deep water. He did not realize the risk of sailing that particular boat in those waters, and here's the clue: before the rudder bent, we "skipped bottom." Now, we all know what that feels like, but he did not. He said, "What's that?"

I said, "It's time to take in the sail and motor." He did question that decision, and while we were talking, we ran aground. Thunk. He didn't know what that was, either.

I said, "Don't worry, the next wave will take us off" -- as I was pulling in the headsail. The THIRD bump was the bang on the bottom.

He knows a lot about racing, but up to then he'd done it in the English Channel. He wasn't accustomed to coastal sailing. He didn't realize the danger.

He didn't have to. It was my boat, and I was skipper.

Actually I now personally know of five Hunters with lost or broken rudders. I found out what happened on the 34' one. Turned out that his 8' shaft was welded at the 4' point, and the weld failed.

I've been to Foss Foam and seen their operation. There are no welds on the Hunter rudders they sell. I think that rudder had been rebuilt.

It seems to me that's an awfully high count considering that it's all people I know (two were mine; the first one had a rusted-through shaft. Never did figure out how/why it rusted but it was an accident waiting to happen and I'm very lucky it broke -- as in , moving through the water vertically instead of horizontally! -- while I was under tow).

I am now *extremely* cautious about shallow water.

But to be clear, my quote at the top about the "co-captaining" was not the incident where the rudder broke. I hadn't bought this Hunter then. I had a little 25' Irwin, 8' wide.
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Old 06-09-2013, 13:19   #37
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

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Originally Posted by Mknebes View Post
I was actually looking into using my boat! If my husband could part with it..... He would probably insist on coming.... Just what I'm trying to avoid....

Monica
Monica, getting a club instructor for your boat does sound like a good idea. However, I'd like to point out just a couple of items and then make a suggestion.

The first item is that you noted that your husband occassionally expects you to "know things" and when you don't, that's when the trouble begins. But, if you take a class or spend some time with an instructor, you might not cover the areas that your husband "expects" you to know. This sets up a failure loop where, even though you have "been trained," you still don't know what your husband expects. He, on the other hand, may feel like you "wasted your time" in class, since you did not learn the things he felt you should.

The second is that, even if you do learn everything that your husband expects, you may learn to do them in a different way than he does them. Then, when you attempt to do them the way you were taught, a larger problem may develop as the two of you get into a discussion about the "right" way to do things.

Now comes the suggestion. Rather than trying to find an instructor who will go with you alone and "teach you," perhaps it might be better for you and your husband to try to find an instructor who can work with both of you. He can "teach you" how to do the basic skills and, at the same time, teach your husband how best to work with you going forward. Your husband will know not only what you learned, but why, and, if the two of you are considering long term cruising, he will be ahead of your learning curve for a very long time. It would create much greater harmony if the two of you learned how best to work together.

It may be true that most husbands have trouble teaching their skills to their wives, just as it may be true that most fathers have the same trouble with their children. But a good instructor can work with both of you to smooth out the rough parts on both sides and, at the end of the day, you will probably be a better sailor and a better sailing partner for the effort.

These are, of course, simply my opinions. However, what is fact is that most basic sailing classes have less than 40 hours of instruction in total. You will spend far more time with your husband, one-on-one, than you ever will with an instructor.
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Old 06-09-2013, 13:36   #38
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

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The basic issue here is that you apparently turned your boat over to someone who was not competent. In other words you abdicated your responsibility as skipper.

I agree with Bash. My wife is perfectly competent to run the boat - with me aboard or without me (she takes a "girls only" trip very summer - she's the skipper). We works as Bash and co work. The one at the helm calls the shots. The other one is the crew.

The only time that changes is when there is a need for simple brute force - I'm stronger than she is. So far - this has only happened once, when a Gennaker got away from her and was in the water. We traded places.

No, I did not "turn my boat over to someone who was not competent." In the first instance, I took charge, got the boat into deeper water at a better attack to the waves, and did a bunch of other things, all of which protected both the boat and the people on it. I didn't tell the whole story here; it was three installments on my blog. You can go there if you want to read the whole story.

In the second instance, someone else was at the helm but I was still skipper.

In the first instance I saved my boat from damage and no one was hurt. In the second instance, I did not save the boat from damage. But I never abdicated my responsibilities as skipper and have been arguing that one person *must* be the skipper, even when husband and wife are sailing. Can't have "do this!" "No-do that!" "No do this!" "No do that!" in an emergency.

Although I am virtually always the skipper, I don't insist on always being at the helm, but I do insist on it if things go south (unless I had someone on my boat I knew to both be a better sailor and understand my boat, as all boats vary) ... and when docking. No one docks my boat but me. I just saw a new boat come into this marina way too fast. They hit the dock box with two anchors hung from the bow and moved it several feet. The person most familiar with the boat should be docking. I know how fast to come in, what she will do with winds from various directions, etc., how much power to give her in reverse, etc., etc, etc.

I've had three people on my boat who assumed they should take over in a pinch and could not gracefully accept the fact that it was my boat and I was the skipper. In all three cases they were sure they knew more than me. In all three cases they were wrong (two wanted to move the boat closer to lee shores in storms, for example). None of those three people will ever sail on my boat again, but that's OK because I don't think they want to. They wanted to take over.

Such people should go buy their own boats.

Would I yield the skipper position to you if things went south, in the unlikely event that you were sailing on my boat?

You sound good online, but I would have to see it for myself on my boat before I would do that. For instance, suppose a storm was approaching. We would have time to prepare the boat, and ourselves, for a storm, and I would be judging what you thought of what I was doing and the quality of the suggestions you made. If you wanted to continue "destination sailing" in a really rough storm, I probably would not yield. I don't have to get anywhere so fast that I have to keep destination sailing a tender boat in a big blow. Would you be making suggestions that set destination aside and dealt with taking the boat through the storm as well as possible? Then I probably would yield to you, because I would know you were making your suggestions based on the reality of our situation, and I know you have considerably more experience than me. I think your instincts would be sound, and I think you would get the feel of the boat very quickly. I'd be an idiot not to let you take it. But only if your decision-making on my boat were up to all your experience. Unfortunately for some people, their "experience" is only repeating the same mistakes over and over and being lucky about it.
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Old 06-09-2013, 13:38   #39
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

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Originally Posted by Mknebes View Post
My husband and I just bought our boat- he's been sailing for decades and I was brought up on powerboats. I know squat. I read and try and actually we do pretty well, but there are some times he just expects me to "know" somehow and these times it really hasn't been the best of times, lol. I have often thought of just signing myself up for a course so I could just learn without it being so personal. We plan on cruising for years and this just seems like it would give me a huge boost in confidence. Guess I'll go look some schools up- I wonder how much this will be!

Monica

I think that's an excellent idea and worth whatever it costs. In most sailing schools, when they have a couple, they separate them.
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Old 06-09-2013, 13:50   #40
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Frank- believe it or not I had thought of that and you are right in a lot of aspects. However- I can just say with absolute certainty that my husband with near 40 years of sailing experience will in no way shape or form take a course with me with someone who hasn't done 1/2 of what he has. I know he does just have his ways of doing some things and he freely tells everyone they might not be the right ways, just what he has done and what works for him. The man knows his boats inside and out-you would be amazed at the work he has done on ours in a couple months, but that's another thread. I would just like some basic how to's - docking especially. Actually, I want to try things without the pressure of making sure I do everything to a T the first time. For example- we were out for a lesson and decided to practice coming about- great! We had plenty of deeper water, no one around. Each time he wanted it done just a bit different and I was trying to do as he had told me last time. He gets a bit frustrated thinking I could read things- I just have no idea- I'm just trying to follow instructions and learn. Needless to say- by the end of it we both wanted to sell the boat! Not his fault- not mine- i just want to gain on his learning curve a little bit without the subject of divorce coming up--lol ( you all know what i'm talking about). Right now it's just a bit intimidating. Guess I'll just suck it up and say screw it and let the hubby be the guide. It's cheaper! I just have to let the Captain be the Captain. He really does just have volumes to teach...

Monica.
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Old 06-09-2013, 17:48   #41
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

Hello, Monica,

Getting yourself some sail training ASAP will probably serve you very well. All the weird terms will get learned. In your case, I have a suspicion that your husband has not explained to you the nuances of what he sees on the water, or what the relationships between the sails and the wind actually are.

Give yourself the "leg up" of some classes, knowing in advance that your more experienced skipper will certainly want some things done his way, period. That's actually good and goes with being a skipper. There's a saying, "different ships; different long splices," and the crew has to do *it* the way the skipper says.

It might also be of some help to you to get your husband to tell you what he was getting at during your tacking conflicts and perhaps you can take that input to your instructor in the form of a question or many. There may be a number of things your husband would like you to come back knowing how to do. Find out what they are, and make sure they'll be covered in your course, so that you'll at least have some idea what to not do. To me, this is not "being dominated", but trying to accommodate both your need to learn, and his need to have you learn certain things.

There will be things your husband feels that tell him a lot. Heel angles, wind strength and speed, course changes, and all without referencing the instruments. Part of what you learn is body stuff, and it's not something you could have learned on a motor boat. Those neurological skills take a while to develop, but if you continue, you'll be writing something like this in the future.


Advice for you: it's the opposite, actually of the "don't shout" advice for the men; it is lose your defensiveness to the greatest extent you can. He is not on an ego trip with you [most likely]. Forty years of experience is a huge gap for him to try and remember how he was brought along, and unless he's a tactful teacher, your buttons will get pushed. Try to accept that.

Be strong, and learn to love a super sport and a magnificent lifestyle.
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Old 06-09-2013, 18:01   #42
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

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Frank- believe it or not I had thought of that and you are right in a lot of aspects...

Monica.
Of course, Monica. Really, if you take him with you, and they teach you to do something differently than he does it, or if it doesn't match how it has to be done on your boat, he'll probably want to explain that all to you while you're trying to learn the instructor's way.

Learn it the class's way, and if your husband wants you to do it differently, his instructions will still make a lot more sense to you.

I really think 99% of the time spouses should not teach spouses the basics of sailing.

As for the rest if you came for a sail with me, I might do some things differently than you were taught. That's actually GREAT because then you will know TWO ways to do it. Sail on another person's boat and you may well learn a third way for the same thing.

For instance, reefing -- to some extent it depends on how your reefing system is designed. Yours might well not be the same as it is on the instructional boat, but you'll sort out the differences quickly on your boat.

I've sailed without a clue and with a clue, and with a clue is more fun ...
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Old 06-09-2013, 18:27   #43
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

Raku, you make a good point about Monica's husband trying to explain "his" way, which is why I suggested that she find an instructor who could work with both of them. A good instructor would work with her husband to try to get him to understand why that action would be counterproductive. Of course, it would require an instructor who is used to working with the dynamics of couples, which apparently is rare outside of the Chesapeake bay area. I've worked with five different school organizations here on the Bay and none of the ones I worked with broke up couples, but different methods in different areas, I guess.

However, Monica's response indicates to me that it would be useless for her to do anything except to try to learn from her husband. Anything she learned might be different from her husband's techniques and she would end up questioning and second-guessing herself. Hopefully, as she gets more confidence, the friction will lessen.
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Old 06-09-2013, 19:45   #44
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

Speaking as an instructor in another sport, I wouldn't go anywhere near a husband and wife team. One or the other, not both. Particularly if they're in their twenties.

Easiest way to make her hate sailing is for him to try to teach her, easiest way to get started on a divorce is for there to only be one "right" way aboard, and the path to "only one right way" is for there to be only one aboard with knowledge or experience.

My suggestion is the independent classes, particularly in another state.

If it's truly useless to try, I can always use good crew, and coming from a "captain" (note the quotes) who wouldn't listen, she'd love me.

A Captain does well to listen to his/her crew. That works best if they have something to offer, and the best way to make that happen is to learn from as many different places and people as possible.

No one has a monopoly on good seamanship, and the idea that they do is the reason I wouldn't try to teach a husband and a wife together.
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Old 06-09-2013, 19:48   #45
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Re: Teaching Wife To Sail

I never said it was HIS fault. Sheesh, I agree with YOU.

One other thing: Docking.

The very FIRST thing I teach anyone who sails with me is how to dock the boat. If anything ever happened to me, I'd sure want to know I could get home, if not to our own berth, at least somewhere safe.
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