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Old 18-01-2007, 15:10   #1
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Married..., how should we get started?

Hey folks,

I just got interested in sailing and hopefully full time cruising someday while I was deployed to Afghanistan. I am a married US Army soldier stationed at Ft Bragg, NC and have about 10 years left until I retire from active duty and I would like to drag my wonderful wife with me and cruise. Once I retire, I don't want life to just pass me by... Instead, I would really love to just sit on the deck of a sailing boat while I pass by life and watch.

I have no boat, but have been on plenty enough, both power and sail. I would like to buy a wooden boat or build my own out of wood. do any cruisers out there have wooden boats? if so, what's it like? I also thought about FRP, but I'm not too sure. And if your woman thought you were nuts at first, let me know how that went and what I should expect.

At first, my wife thought I was nuts. Now she's all for it. I don't think she knows what she's getting into, but neither do I and I'm sure I would handle it no problemo. I'm just worried about how she will take it. any suggestions from women who've had their wacky husbands drag 'em along for a really long boat ride, would be very appreciated.

Kind regards,

J. M. Krenzer
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Old 18-01-2007, 15:34   #2
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Welcome aboard JM.

Thank you for serving your country. Even we Canadians appreciate your dedication, service and sacrafices.

So ya caught the bug huh? Good for ya! I'm sure you'll be flooded with plenty of good advice from the guys & gals on here. Everyone loves to relate their stories. Me? I'm lucky my gal (knottygirlz) is all for boats and cruising. She's a trooper and we're even taking safe boating course this winter. Maybe that's a good place to start? Local power or sail squadrons often offer free introductory courses and if you like it you can get more involved. I think there's something called the American Sailing Association that offers sailing/cruising cources as well.

Once you feel proficient enough maybe chartering a few different types of boats would give you an idea of what you'll eventually want to end up with.

We're powerboaters so our perspective is a little different but we're going to start building our next boat in about 14 months. There's plenty of resources on the net for wooden boat building and if you've got something more specific in mind I can help you locate the info. We've chosen a design that uses a relatively easy stitch & glue marine ply & glass method from Boat plans and kits at bateau.com. They have a few decent sized sail kits as well.

Again, welcome aboard.
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Old 18-01-2007, 15:55   #3
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Aloha J. M.,
Welcome aboard and thanks for serving the U. S.. Lots of Vietnam vets here on the forum so military is not foreign to us. I learned to sail on a Lake in Germany through sailing lessons advertised by MWR and taught by the American Red Cross. Being Navy and around boats for lots of years helped me accelerate my passion.
Wood boats are good for folks living in extreme northern or southern climates and who are liveaboards. Tropical climates are not good for wood boats. I've owned both fiberglass and wood and if you are not a liveaboard full time fiberglass is better.
Good to have you here.
Keep the dream alive.
Ask questions.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 18-01-2007, 17:24   #4
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J M - If you are thinking to take that boat to tropical waters, wood is not the best choice. Worms and dryrot. I have owned wood. I love wood. I have a glass boat with plenty of wood. I will not buy another wooden hull.
Watch out for Kai - he has the wood sickness.
Glad you made it back stateside.
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Old 19-01-2007, 02:14   #5
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The real question is - do you want to sail, or do boat maintenance? Of course every boat needs maintenance, but a wooden one requires far more.

I would suggest that you at least charter a boat or two before taking the plunge - it is the cheapest way of seeing if you like the life, and of deciding what is the correct compromise in a boat for the type of sailing you want to do.
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Old 19-01-2007, 03:00   #6
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Welcome JM,
Great to hear of the direction but be warned - the biggest challenge you have is getting Mrs JM keener than you. If you don't - you won't be going!
I'd back Talbots suggestion of a gentle charter somewhere warm to begin the task of convincing your partner of the values in sailing. No heavy winds, no severe angle of heel, absolutely no bashing and crashing - and definately NO SHOUTING by the skipper.
If on your return the interest has been expanded, then maybe consider some local sail related education and dial into lots of reading about cruising globally.
You may even find a local sailing club where you might both be able to crew on someone elses small boat ...... might be racing..... but with a good skipper that too would only add to the enthusiasm.
And like all the others have inferred - if you want to go cruising and enjoy the places and each others company - as opposed to head down and with varnish brush in hand all the time - then reconsider GRP or another maintenance free material for your first boat.
Enjoy
JOHN
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Old 19-01-2007, 03:45   #7
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Welcome to JM

Its not only the Viet Vets on here, ex RN with 12 under my belt. Bet someone has more and will soon let us know.

I started very young but after I got married we bought an old 24foot T24. It was in Abu Dhabi at the time and then had here transfered to Turkey. ( New job)
The other half loved being on the boat but wasn't to keen on the sailing, especially when we heeled a bit.
Anyway we now have a small cat. HT 26. But why don't you try with a Hirondelle for a while. Their cheap(ish) level and for a young couple a good way to get to know the water.

There is quite a big following in the US and a dedicated website.

Best regards
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Old 19-01-2007, 22:36   #8
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Wives who cruise

Hi from a Woman who has cruised twice for about year (no home on land) and now have another boat but also a land home.

Personally, I think most women need a nest. A place we can put our stuff and fluff it and feel 'home'. The boat can be that, but I think for many women it is an extension of the home, not THE place.

Sometimes it just feels too close and not enough personal space on the boat. I can now be on it for months at at time, and also know I can leave it and go home if I've had it for awhile.

I am the sailor in our family and my spouse learned from me. And we stayed married...but it was NOT fum teaching. He tried to teach me to fly a plane and that wasn't fun either. Now he's a good sailor it's way more fun to be on the boat with him. Many things are only learned by doing.

Be realisitic about cruising. It's glorious at times and awful others. I've met a LOT of men who want to go cruising and their wives aren't interested. I think often the men ruin it.
She needs to not feel scared,( take classes on sailing, boat handling and safety together) and needs to feel some autonomy (you may be the skipper or 'captain' but she is the admiral). NEVER yell at her especially when things are tense. Anchoring seems to make couples ugly. We use hand signals and not the middle finger either! Tell her often what she has done right!
Don't expect her to be the one to do all the grunt work ie: cooking, cleaning, laundry, do your part too. Expect her to navigate, handle sails, dinghy motors, change oil, etc so she knows she is as good at it as you are...competent..heh, maybe better.

I hope your dream comes true! This is my third boat, and we still love the adventure!
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Old 20-01-2007, 04:13   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacjennifer
Hi from a Woman who has cruised ...
... Be realisitic about cruising. It's glorious at times and awful others. I've met a LOT of men who want to go cruising and their wives aren't interested. I think often the men ruin it.
She needs to not feel scared,( take classes on sailing, boat handling and safety together) and needs to feel some autonomy (you may be the skipper or 'captain' but she is the admiral).
NEVER yell at her especially when things are tense. Anchoring seems to make couples ugly. We use hand signals and not the middle finger either! Tell her often what she has done right!
Don't expect her to be the one to do all the grunt work ie: cooking, cleaning, laundry, do your part too ...
Obviously, pacjennifer is speaking with the voice of experience (albeit the converse). She alludes to an important point:

Try to ensure that your partner’s early experiences sailing/cruising are as enjoyable (in every way) as possible.

Once a “first impression” is made, it is virtually irreversible. It’s amazing how much subsequent grief a good first impression can overcome.

Since we all like to be right, we tend to reinforce first impressions, as this will further confirm that our initial decision was a good one. We subconsciously try to validate our initial hypothesis. This is known as the psychological cognitive confirmation bias, where we search out confirming evidence, and ignore evidence contrary to our initial impression. Very powerful stuff!
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Old 20-01-2007, 05:41   #10
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Pacjennifer's joke about the middle finger is hillairous!!!

Of course she's got it right. She knows better than any of us. I will also add that you have to have the right relationship *before* you get on a boat. Boats basically amplify life. The make the good times great and the bad times agonizing. If you have little bad times now (such as arguing, fighting, disputes over dishes or laundry, or aren't comfortable in your places with each other) you will have those same disputes continuing, but amplified greatly.

So... be sure you are getting along well while you do everything mentioned above.
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Old 20-01-2007, 06:09   #11
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Quote:
Once a “first impression” is made, it is virtually irreversible. It’s amazing how much subsequent grief a good first impression can overcome.
One good sail is often all it takes. Beter to have a few just to make sure it sticks. It's mostly about finding out what works - for you both. There are just so many possible ways to use a boat that it could takes you months just reading all the ways people of this forum enjoy boating. Most of them actually work.

Go often any way that works. Next thing you know you are doing it most all the time. Watching boats is great fun - if you are sitting on one at the time.
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Old 20-01-2007, 06:19   #12
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Not all women can overcome their fears and anxiety and find a love of sailing. Some things just don't fit to some people.

You can see other people enjoying something, but that doesn't mean it works for you. It can be anything.. skiing, motorcycles, camping or sailing.. all passions and even "lifestyles" for some, but not for all.

Cruising sailors have a wanderlust, a thing about being alone... or untethered from society and the hum drum. They like the idea of having their own space ship to voyage on and discover... the challenge of acquiring the skills to do it and the fact that their lives are relatively spartan and close to nature. They embrace and try to mitigate risk... but it is always there... more so than on shady lane.

We could go on and on about the reasons sailors obsess about it... but the fact is that this obsession is very complex and broad and not everyone can embrace this range of skills, desires and attributes. Many can love some aspects of cruising, but not others...

It's really a very complex path to take a landlubber and plant the passion for sailing and nurture it to the point where that person is chaffing at the bit to slip the lines and sail into the sunset.

Good luck... You'll find a lot of help in all aspects of sailing and cruising on this site. We're enablers... hahahaa

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Old 20-01-2007, 07:04   #13
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J.M.,

Hello from a fellow Navy veteran! To any service member, active, reserve or retired and no matter which branch he or she serves in, I extend my thanks! A salute to any and all who wear the uniform like I did.

I too have the same itch to go cruising. I was in a similar situation as you, where I had experience sailing, but no boat. Just lofty dreams. My wife had no sailing experience what-so-ever. My sailing experience came from owning a Sunfish and sailing catamaran's, but nothing big. So after lots of talking, I told her , let's start off small. In 2001, I spotted a little 23' Oday in a boatyard, neglected and up for sale. I eyed her for a full year and a half, no one bought her. Finally, I heard what their asking price was and however knowing they simply wanted to "get the boat moved", I extended an offer. Half of what the asking price was, and soon I was signing papers on my first boat. I did all the refitting. She was in pretty bad shape, but the sweat, blood and Navy language I used to get her in shape finally came together. We splashed her in summer of 2004.

Knowing your wife doesn't have the experience, go out on days where the wind is light to moderate and forecasts are good. Take things slowly. We did that almost a dozen times, often letting my wife steer the boat with me giving her tips, suggestions. Soon she was gaining confidence and liking sailing alot. In summer of 2006, we got caught in a squall coming back from an overnight at anchor up north. Squal line hit us, driving rain, winds were wicked and waves reached about 6' high (notbad for Bay of Green Bay). I was out in the cockpit, bearing the brunt of the storm, while wife was down below in the cabin, but she was calm, collected. She didn't like being in a storm, but she didn't worry once.

By the end of last summer, it was my wife who was wanting a bigger boat for long cruises! So we sold our 23' and bought a 27' Oday. So yes your wife will enjoy it as time goes on.

Maintenance, boat handling and navigation will come as confidence and your time on the water grows!

Fair winds to you! I know you guys

Mark
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Old 20-01-2007, 13:10   #14
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I'd buy two copies of Dragged Aboard (Amazon.com: Dragged Aboard: A Cruising Guide for the Reluctant Mate: Books: Don Casey) and read them together. While you're overseas, write back and forth about each chapter. The book is good. The communication will be great.

Good luck, sail fast, and thank you for your service.
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Old 20-01-2007, 14:25   #15
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Thank you everyone for the advice and support. We both plan on taking the basic keelboat certification course from US Sailing once it warms up to boost both of our confidence levels and overall sailing skills. We've both been on boats in the past, but never doing much ourselves, just as passengers enjoying the ride more than anything.

As far as boats go, I've checked out the Vagabong 23 here

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I liked the design and I went ahead and got the plans. Seems a good enough size for weekend (or longer when I get leave) trips on the east coast until I retire from active duty and we start seriously cruising. The stich and glue construction seems straightforward enough and I would like to start building soon.

Thanks to all of you who have served and thanks to all of the couples out there who shared their experience. If you have anymore advice, me and the wife would appreciate it.
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