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Old 03-07-2013, 07:16   #16
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Re: Admiral?

My take is that in the "old" days, the wife/partner/SO was referred to as the First Mate. Now that we are more enlightened, we understand that that term was really demeaning in that it put the spouse in an inferior position.

The reality on our boat and I suspect most is that the husband is the more experienced of the couple. Beth is a capable watch-stander, but she is not inclined to delve into the bowels of the electronics manuals or engine for that matter. My wife defers to me for all things involving navigation, boat handling and maintenance. That doesn't mean that I am above her in any way. It is a recognition that we each have our strengths and hers is not navigation. She is otherwise an equal partner in all significant decisions. I refer to my wife as admiral and she takes no offense from it. It is light-hearted and not demeaning in any way.

I have a US Marine friend who likes to say that even the USS Enterprise (aircraft carrier, not starship) has an admiral below telling the captain what to do. As does S/V Painkiller.

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Old 03-07-2013, 07:29   #17
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Re: Admiral?

Can't stand it. Always looks demeaning, like telling your 7-year-old he's the "navigator" for the family road trip. Will you let him look at the map, maybe pick out a destination? Sure. Will you actually let him navigate? Of course not.
I've seen it applied the same way to women. "Well, the Admiral wants to go to Fiji" so now the Captain gets down to doing the actual work/planning/decision making involved in getting there. Simultaneously removes the "Admiral" from any real power, as well as any responsibility, for the trip.
If there are only 2 of you on the boat, why do you need titles at all? Are 'John' and 'Jane' getting boring?
I understand that sometimes someone needs to be listed as "Captain" for official paperworky stuff, but beyond that - seems silly.

(Of course, I get some people use it for themselves and are OK with it ... to them I say HAVE FUN! Go with what makes you happy. Above applies to me, YMMV.)
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:50   #18
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Re: Admiral?

I dont see why anyone who understands naval heirarchy can possibly get upset. There is only one captain on a vessel. fact. So your partner can either be above you, or below you.

In reality, calling a partner Admiral is a fair representation of how it works in the Navy.. someone of authority, decision-making and power, but not directly and personally responsible for the vessel..

But, if you think your partner defers to everything you say and does as they are told, go ahead ..call them the first mate.......................
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:53   #19
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Re: Admiral?

It's patronizing and offensive. If you want to know how admirals were (largely) viewed in the Royal Navy, one only has to look at the well-researched novels by Patrick O'Brien.

But then, it is my experience amongst sailors that there is a phenomenal amount of chauvinism. Almost without exception, at first meeting, men look at my husband and talk to him about our boat, even when I'm standing right there. Hey bubbas, guess what, I'M THE SKIPPER, and not only that, I understand the physics of sailing, and I know about the boat's systems, and do my share of the mechanics, and all the rigging. Sheeit, husband can't even splice, ffs

Sorry to be defensive, but it's offensive, and has just happened to me again a mere day ago.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:58   #20
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Re: Admiral?

HWMO introduces himself as the Captain, and me as the Boss.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:10   #21
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Re: Admiral?

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Originally Posted by SaucySailoress View Post
HWMO introduces himself as the Captain, and me as the Boss.
Lol!, although not on boats I used to call mine "Boss"........she was quite chuffed at first (and it impressed her friends!), then she discovered that the term could be used in several ways .........."Yes Boss"

For those who object to a term such as Admiral or First Mate, perhaps best to tell your partner ..........as not usually a term others apply when face to face with Mrs Skipper .......and then maybe come up with own shorthand to describe role onboard to others, or a paragraph .
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:13   #22
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Re: Admiral?

How interesting that most of the replies in this thread are from men
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:19   #23
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Re: Admiral?

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How interesting that most of the replies in this thread are from men
Not really. According to our demographics, 71% of our users are Male. SO it figures that most responses would be from the lower ranks ;D
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:20   #24
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Re: Admiral?

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Plain patronising.
Haven't come across a woman yet who likes the term.
No idea why men here persist in using it .
I have not heard it used in Australia (well virtually never), maybe its a cultural north american thing?
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:24   #25
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Re: Admiral?

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How interesting that most of the replies in this thread are from men
Perhaps your hatred for the term is only felt by the few. If you don't like the term, tell your husband. As for me, I will stop using it, I didn't realize it was a curse word. BTW, we bang our heads on the wall too over you ladies. This isn't a one way street.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:26   #26
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Re: Admiral?

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I think it can be read either way, depends on context used.

FWIW, I tend to read it as meaning a wife (or Partner) who is not really so much into the sailing / boating end of things - at least not hands on (i.e. if Hubby as Skipper went glug they too would likely be in the doodah!). And I don't read anything bad into that.

I guess the Admiral tag also says that the wife has the final say (as they often do!, boat or not!) or is at least an easy excuse to deploy (that is readily accepted!) when saying no or feeling that own choices made need to be justified to others.

Of course I may be overthinking!, for some I am sure it is simply because Admiral sounds nautical and looks better on a hat than galley slave!
Yeah, I think it is somewhat pandering to the woman and demeaning to the guy. It shows he's not in total control and/or he is just placating the woman's sense of power in these post "liberation" days.
Bill Burr - Women's Rights - YouTube
Certainly there are woman here who are masters of their own vessels and more guys in that position too. IMO not having to ask permission for anything is liberating for either sex on board.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:26   #27
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Re: Admiral?

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I have not heard it used in Australia (well virtually never), maybe its a cultural north american thing?
I agree. I raced and cruised for a couple of decades before leaving Australia and never heard this term. CF has been my first exposure to it.

It seems I was not wrong in saying some women think it highly derogatory though .
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:28   #28
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Re: Admiral?

When I first got here, all the guys were referring to SWMBO. I asked, and was told. Liking the title very much I made up my very own for him. HWMO.

Nothing quite like keeping it real.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:35   #29
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Re: Admiral?

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There is only one captain on a vessel. fact. So your partner can either be above you, or below you.
That's a "fact" I'll have to dispute. We don't have a captain/crew system on our boat, having long ago decided that the concept of captain is archaic when applied to our situation. We're not a navy ship, and we don't rely on patriarchy to keep order.

My partner is neither above or below me, at least in terms of rank. Rather, my partner is a partner. The boat is owned in partnership, and decisions are based upon a consensus of both partners.

If you envision one partner as outranking the other, you may need to rethink the concept of partner.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:37   #30
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Re: Admiral?

It is a mildly derogatory and sexist term, although I don't think most users are intending to be overtly insulting. I certainly find it offensive, as does my wife. I would never use it, and I cringe when I hear it. Luckily, it is most used by older men. I don't hear it used by many of my generation (mid-40s), and none from younger sailors.

I do find the term "first mate" is usually used in a less deeming way, and does refer to the fact that some (most?) boating couples seem to insist on having a single Captain. On our boat, there is no "captain" or "first-mate" or "admiral." All important decisions are discussed, and when time does not allow it (the oh ****! moments) then it falls to the one who is on watch, at the helm, or has the most expertise in the "oh ****" issue. My spouse and I are equal, but not identical. We each have our own expertise, and we are (mostly ) able to recognize who needs to take the lead.
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