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Old 15-04-2013, 14:15   #1
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Fail on my wife's first sail

Hello Forum Friends,

This is my second season with a sailboat, it's only 21' and I have single handed it many times. My wife has been uneasy about getting on any sailboat and many of my lake friends feel the same way. Only because you can't hit the throttle and steer the boat to exactly where you want to go and without any patience.

So with that said, I finally got my wife on the boat this weekend for her very first time. We left the marina with winds of 8 - 17 knots. We were under a wind advisory so I should have just stayed on the hook. But anyway, the wind suddenly kicked up to 30 - 40 knots and the boat heeled over to about 45 degrees, the first time I had been in this position. As I veered the boat into the gusts to dump the wind from the mainsail, the boom slid up the mast and popped out, swinging freely to the starboard side. (no, I didn't realize the thing had to be tied at the bottom of the mast, it is now.)

The wind never let up for the rest of the afternoon and she was not enjoying this at all so that was the end of this adventure. There are a lot of things I could have done, (reef the mainsail for instance) but she was already done with this craziness.

Needless to say, she says she won't be out there in anything over 15 mph winds. And quote, "you better get the ski boat fixed". So even though she didn't say she will NEVER sail again, I know as she tells the story around the campfire, my other lake friends will say, "see, that's why I'm not getting on a d^&N sailboat."

Just thought I'd share how I wasn't as ready as I thought and I'll probably have more room on the boat for me and my dog.

Ray
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Old 15-04-2013, 14:27   #2
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

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Originally Posted by Ray4Man View Post
Hello Forum Friends,

This is my second season with a sailboat, it's only 21' and I have single handed it many times. My wife has been uneasy about getting on any sailboat and many of my lake friends feel the same way. Only because you can't hit the throttle and steer the boat to exactly where you want to go and without any patience.

So with that said, I finally got my wife on the boat this weekend for her very first time. We left the marina with winds of 8 - 17 knots. We were under a wind advisory so I should have just stayed on the hook. But anyway, the wind suddenly kicked up to 30 - 40 knots and the boat heeled over to about 45 degrees, the first time I had been in this position. As I veered the boat into the gusts to dump the wind from the mainsail, the boom slid up the mast and popped out, swinging freely to the starboard side. (no, I didn't realize the thing had to be tied at the bottom of the mast, it is now.)

The wind never let up for the rest of the afternoon and she was not enjoying this at all so that was the end of this adventure. There are a lot of things I could have done, (reef the mainsail for instance) but she was already done with this craziness.

Needless to say, she says she won't be out there in anything over 15 mph winds. And quote, "you better get the ski boat fixed". So even though she didn't say she will NEVER sail again, I know as she tells the story around the campfire, my other lake friends will say, "see, that's why I'm not getting on a d^&N sailboat."

Just thought I'd share how I wasn't as ready as I thought and I'll probably have more room on the boat for me and my dog.

Ray
As you now know, you just selected the wrong day to go out.

But the fact that you survived is a good thing. Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.

Maybe, one day, she'll give you another chance. Oddly enough, now she's now seen the worst case scenario.
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Old 15-04-2013, 14:31   #3
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

You might see about signing her up for sailing lessons on her own. It will help her understand how sailboats work, will absolutely increase her confidence and comfort and if you need a hard sell to get her to try- tell her it will give her the knowledge to tell you when you are making bad decisions.
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Old 15-04-2013, 14:37   #4
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

Ahhh. Reminds me of my first time sailing my 16 foot dinghy with my dad in Galveston Bay. I was psyched to go, we were going to meet the previous owner of our DE 45 to pick up some parts at the sailing club on the 'right' of the boardwalk (haha, very funny george), and it was a nice day- until the wind kicked up to 25 knots, and the self bailer started leaking, and a pin came out of the rigging wire for the mast, and that son of a dog gave us the wrong directions to get there in the first place! By the time we made it home 4 hours later, having fought against the wakes of a million power boats, and an outgoing tide in the entrance of our marina I was shellshocked. Stunned. This was supposed to be FUN? It took months to get back in that dinghy. but the whole point of that excursion was experience, and now me and dad can look back on that day and laugh, and it doesn't seem so bad anymore. Hopefully soon your wife will look back on your sailing trip and laugh too I bet soon enough she'll catch the sailing bug!
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Old 15-04-2013, 14:40   #5
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

Its a little like my story. I first took my wife out frostbiting on the Hudson River in January for her first sail. That's racing in a 15' dinghy with drysuits on and a very good likelihood of falling into the icy river. We even had snowball fights between boats that day. That was her first and for a long time last sailing trip. The way I got her back was to start chartering boats in the Caribbean. First trip was half boat, half hotel. From then on it was all boat. Now she lives aboard full time. Don't give up hope.
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Old 15-04-2013, 14:42   #6
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

actually , you may have done permanent damage here, Women are not like men, in general ( and it is a generalisation) they dont like being taken out of their comfort zone.

never ever take a significant female other who is nervous out into anything other then a mill pond initially. Over time you build up to more adventurous situations etc. How do I know ... well!

dave
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Old 15-04-2013, 14:55   #7
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

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never ever take a significant female other who is nervous out into anything other then a mill pond
Isn't this one of the 50 ways to leave your lover?
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Old 15-04-2013, 15:04   #8
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

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Isn't this one of the 50 ways to leave your lover?
Damn! Is it that easy?

Haha. I took my kids out for the first time and we became becalmed and had no motor. 2 hrs in 90 degree heat before a fiz-boat towed us to the dock and now they never want to see another sailboat.
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Old 15-04-2013, 18:12   #9
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

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Originally Posted by Ray4Man View Post
So with that said, I finally got my wife on the boat this weekend for her very first time. We left the marina with winds of 8 - 17 knots. We were under a wind advisory so I should have just stayed on the hook. But anyway, the wind suddenly kicked up to 30 - 40 knots and the boat heeled over to about 45 degrees, .................

Needless to say, she says she won't be out there in anything over 15 mph winds.
Almost a classic story of guy takes gal out for the first time. The only thing that prevents it being one is that she left the door open to go again.

You better get it right next time.
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Old 15-04-2013, 18:19   #10
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Might be simpler to get a new sailing partner. One with a sense of adventure and support for yours. They are everywhere.
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Old 15-04-2013, 18:52   #11
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

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Originally Posted by Mimsy View Post
You might see about signing her up for sailing lessons on her own. It will help her understand how sailboats work, will absolutely increase her confidence and comfort and if you need a hard sell to get her to try- tell her it will give her the knowledge to tell you when you are making bad decisions.
This is a great plan. If you (she) can arrange it, make it an all female class. There are sail schools that specialize in this. The admiral and some friends made this happen and the results, confidence, etc were very worthwhile. She ended up with an ASA certificate and learned a lot.

Oh BTW, a bad day is a BAD DAY. Find something else to do. (its supposed to be fun) We avoid high winds on our 58 foot ketch if possible. No reason to suffer or put guests at risk. We order in and have dinner delivered. - on deck. As Scarlette said, " oh fiddle-dee-dee. Tomorrow is another day".
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Old 15-04-2013, 19:07   #12
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

The biggest problem that novice sailors face is not connecting with the wind. From time to time, some even have difficulty telling what direction it's coming from. Novice sailors almost never anticipate the shifts, they seldom realize when they're about to be hit by a gust, and they are often unaware whether it's going to build or die.

Learning the boat is the easy part; learning the wind is what makes a sailor. Don't take another non-sailor out until you've connected with the wind. In other words, unless you're absolutely certain that you aren't going to be surprised by 40-knot winds, you're not ready to skipper non-sailors.
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Old 15-04-2013, 19:09   #13
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

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never ever take a significant female other who is nervous out into anything other then a mill pond initially.
Yep. I don't even sail to windward with my family right now. Motor on the mill pond flats or sail downwind, that's it. People can knock it all day long but I'm out here with my family and they're happy which is more than I can say for most people in my situation.
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Old 15-04-2013, 19:10   #14
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

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Hello Forum Friends,

...Needless to say, she says she won't be out there in anything over 15 mph winds.....Ray
Great that you shared such a common mistake that many have made with introducing sailing to a partner.
Your Wife’s a keeper… she understood your mistake and set some ground rules.

When you do go out next time with her in light winds…. Sail mostly 120 off the wind.

That is why we call them “Broad Reaches”
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Old 15-04-2013, 19:19   #15
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Re: Fail on my wife's first sail

Good suggestions above. In the short term, (no ladies sail school), pick a nice day and encourage her to take control. Give her destinations and courses. Get her confident in setting courses and making it work. This is tough for we who have "the knack". Be quiet, calm and listen. Bring a nice picknic, have a laid back time and don't keep a schedule.
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