You guys have me cracking up! lol my boyfriend and I moved into our first boat about 1 1/2 months ago and are getting ready to cruise
to the Caribbean
. I am 10 years younger than him and it took a couple of years for him to realize that because he was my senior it did not mean my superior. At home in land, I was the home keeper and mostly the leader on all matters of the house "She Who Must Be Obeyed" was by him a couple of times when we lived on land. I prefer Partner actually, but felt it necessary to use my "I Am the Queen of This Castle" card every now and then. Now that we live on a boat and he is the Captain
he pulls the "I Am the Captain
Card! drama queen thing whenever I am doing the "I Am Your Girlfriend, Not Your Boat Bitch" drama queen thing on him. Did I mention we are both very passionate (aka stubborn) individuals? lol
Home is on a boat now. Sometimes at sea. Hopefully soon most times at sea. He is a licensed captain. I was an electrician in the Navy
and have a burning desire to learn "the ropes" ASAP and become a licensed skipper
too but the truth is, he is responsible for both our lives, the safety
of our two puppies and anyone else onboard and (also very importantly) the state of our loved vessell. He, not me.
The truth is, I don't know squat and no matter how quick I learn he will always be the more experienced Captain onboard. Thus, I am learning
that while underway or on matters regarding the boat I should shut up, listen, follow orders to the best of my ability, provide feedback if unable to handle the task given, shut up again, do my best, learn as much as I can from the mistakes
we both make and wait for the right time to handle relationship issues. Is not easy to shift gears, but my military experience is helping to keep things in perspective.
I am increasingly okay with him screaming orders at me during nav ops but I also know him enough to know when he is complicating maneuvers because he is just throwing a temper tantrum and then The Admiral has to step in and I order him to stop, tell him to tell me how to do thinhs right, listen, tell him to shut up again, follow the command, verify I did it correctly and then walk away from the issue.
It took some time for him to realize the wisdom of letting me tell him what he is doing wrong too. He used to scream at me "I am the Captain!" and go on and on about what I was doing wrong in the middle of a maneuver. Now when needed the Admiral orders him to shut up (fist clenched in the air works too).
He does. Screams what I need to do in short, direct sentences. We get the job done. Then as soon as the boat is safely anchored (or whatever the situation was), he tells me "Great Job Shipmate" and tries to give me a kiss. Sometimes I let him and hold no sad feelings about the event. Other times I just have to walk (or paddle) with fire coming out of the top of my head
to the cooler for a beer
(or to the bar for a strong Martini at whatever marina we so ungraciously landed at). If at a marina or at a mooring
alongside other boats I make a point to wave with a big smile at the other scared boaters that just watched the whole freak show so no one calls the Harbor Master on us for "violent vessel maneuvering
Yes, it is a challenge and sometimes I want to pack my bags and go rent a house somewhere. But Most days I am very grateful for the opportunity to live such an amazing and exciting life at sea with my soul mate.
When the boat is in operation or at anchor/mooring he is the Captain and I am the First Mate (not to say I don't man the helm
as often as he serves as Galley
When we are in safe berthing, things shift back to equal leadership roles in (hopefully) ways that gets things done efficiently in a kind matter. We are both learning
to shift gears at a seconds notice and put the boat first regardless of location. I am replying "aye, aye" to his orders/ requests much quicker now and he is learning to listen to my feedback in the middle of maneuvers and realizing that the intelligence, wisdom and common sense which makes me a good partner in land can also serve as an invaluable resource at sea.
So I guess at the end of the day, I am The Admiral and the First Mate but he is still the Captain. I oversee the overall mission. He oversees how we get there safety
, but as I not-so-kindly reminded him recently, "if you don't listen to your crew's feedback, it might cost you your crew's life and you are "dead on the water" with no one to shout orders to anyways!".
My advice: empower your women to become equal partners and share the skipper seat. Be kind Mentors and encourage her efforts to learn by treating her with respect and kindness. There is a lot to learn involved, many physical challenges too and you guys are usually many decades ahead of us in skills!
Just think: If you suffer a heart attack or brake a limb and she can'tbring you back to safety you will wish you were more humble with your claims for superiority and more generous in your role as leader, mentor and partner. She will also enjoy the journey more if she is an esteemed partner in the process and might even keep you both on the water
after you are unable to do it due to illness or old age. My Captain is 55 now. I am 38 and fully intend for him to safely live on a boat under my careful and kind command once he unable to be the skipper and for as long as he wishes - hopefully until the day his spirit wishes to sail cruise
to heaven. So in short, this is my mantra now: my time will come. My time to lead and my time to pay it forward.
I hope this finds you all well and enjoying fair winds and following seas!