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Old 05-05-2010, 23:01   #16
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Can't it just be a term of endearment and appreaciation?

Better than "If moma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".

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Old 06-05-2010, 00:07   #17
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Boracay said about "Admiral" - "6. any of several often brightly colored butterflies"

Hmmm... sounds like some of the more decorative types of women, usually found standing on chairs screaming at spiders. Not cruising material I would have thought - certainly doesn't describe my wife although it does sound more like my eldest daughter.

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Old 06-05-2010, 01:59   #18
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We don't much like Admiral, as it often seems condescending, but really really dislike she who must be obeyed, often abbreviated to SWMBO - as it encapsulates so much misogyny and snobbery without even the possible overtones of respect and goal-sharing that 'admiral' might be expected to denote.

We do use 'captain' for official reasons and also because one of us (Sarah) is more confident and experienced than the other (Pip). But Pip, who sometimes calls herself First Mate, is in charge of all the mechanics and electrics and is waaay more competent at all that stuff. She's also skipper of the dinghy.

We have found that we do have divided responsibilities which cater to strengths and interests, but that sometimes these confuse other cruisers as they aren't divided on the typical lines which often accompany a gender split.
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:30   #19
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I think those titles probably come from the need for some (American) men to wear captains hats. They go to the store to buy one but realise they will get called a twit by their wife so they buy one for them too knowing the woman will never wear it.

Those type of titles are pretty forign to Aussies who have a deep egalitarian streak. The first time I was called "Captain" was overseas and this guy looking at me said 'Captain'.... I turned around and looked behind me to see who he was talking to.

To bestow tottles even in jest is pretty forign to us.

My wench is equal. Neither of us have titles. We listen just for our names
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:48   #20
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it's like anything, the relationship between the capitain and the admiral just depends on the boat and on each other, it can be a good or bad relationship
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:03   #21
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We use names or terms of endearment, can't say we use captain or admiral.

We each have jobs we generally take upon ourselves as "my job" but we tend to switch off enough that we can and do both jobs. (IE I usually park the boat but sometimes she does, she usually prepares the food and I do the dishes but that gets flipped also,,,) we do try to mix up boat chores.

When a final (running the boat) decision is to be made I make it. Such as the engine just quit when entering a marina or the anchorage is becoming untenable, we're moving.

Congrats to the OP on the Praetorian, one of my favorites, great boats.
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:07   #22
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The term 'Admiral' is not commomly used in Britain and expecting to be called Captain on a recreational vessel is to invite derision. I'm not at all fond of calling a partner 'The Admiral' because to me it has undertones of excluding that person from the day to day running of the boat.
That said, if it works for both parties then I'm not going to fret about it. But, before my husband passed away, if he'd called me the Admiral, he'd have been sleeping on the couch for a week.
The message is the journey, we are sure the answer lies in the destination. But in reality, there is no station, no place to arrive at once and for all. The joy of life is the trip, and the station is a dream that constantly out distances us”. Robert Hastings, The Station
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:03   #23
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My better half could be called the "Admiral" or the "handbreak" but I prefer "THE Minister for fun and finance". Every thing is put to her, and her imput is strongly regarded. She is also a dab hand with the paint brush. Life is better with her around and no matter what we call each other, sharing the sun sets/rises and coffee/coco on a watch changes is all part of our lives together. I think some folks look for the hidden nastyness that is not there, lighten up; She calls me her old man....but I am younger then her.!!
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:41   #24
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Whether you call your partner Admiral, mate, better half or anything else, the term can be used in a loving way or can be a used as an insult. It's all in the attitude behind it. To quote from the movies "When you call me that, smile."
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:07   #25
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Maybe the term "admiral" is used more by people who aren't full time cruisers?

Alot of times it seems like it's something on the order of "I wanted to go sailing this weekend but the Admiral had other plans for me." I think generally speaking the wife typically has final say over her husband as to what things will be done just as an Admiral has final say over a Captain, if simply because the husband wants to keep her happy when the wife might not share the same enthusiam for what he wants to do. As stated above, "If momma aint happy, aint nobody happy."

The Captain likes to think he is in charge, but the Admiral ultimately decides.

I have never assumed it was meant in a bad way.

It's used as a metaphor that helps explains the situation. Here is an example:

Rather than having to say:
"I wanted to go sailing this weekend but my wife wanted me to fix the bedroom door and if I don't then I am going to hear it all week and won't get any "###" and then she'll tell her mother who will then think I am a slacker for the rest of our lives so who wants to go through all that so it's just best if I fix the door even though the weather is great and I REALLY want to go sailing and the weather will probably suck next weekend which would be a good time to fix the door.... Dang it!!!"

You can just say:
"I wanted to go sailing this weekend but the Admiral had other plans."

All the men immediately understand what happened. The details might be different, but the situation is the same.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:35   #26
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Admiral is a better honorific as the First Mate is subordinate to the Captain. I really don't think most modern/feminist women of the 2000's think of themselves as subordinate to their men.
Well that's certainly true! It's just that calling us a higher rank, just to make us feel better, is even worse. If it's just a cute nickname, if everyone aboard is OK with it, go for it!
I don't call J "Captain" and he doesn't call me "Mate" - we pretty much just use our names.
In my mind Captain is in charge of day to day operations, technical aspects, sailing, mooring, weather decisions etc.
Admiral is responsible for overall strategy of the cruise (boat or fleet), where and when, not necessarily how.
It would concern me if he acted this way though. He has more experience, but he's not infallible! If the last time I heard from him was for route preference at the start of the trip, I would wonder what he was thinking. I would think BOTH partners need to be involved, even in the relatively small decisions. There has to be a name to put down as "Captain" on paperwork, and sometimes a decision needs to be made quickly, by the most experienced/knowledgeable person, but most of the time, there's a little room for discussion even on the "How".
Ultimately, DonLucas and Skipmac nailed it - it's all in the relationship.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:36   #27
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As a newcomer, and someone who has decent reading skills and can discern the context in which the term is being used, I've observed that it can have multiple meanings.

1. A term of endearment for a sailboat owner's partner, but that the person often has a significant or majority vote in matters of boat maintenance, upgrades, or cruising destinations. Often the "admiral" lacks the skill or the desire to acquire the skills needed to be a full partner in operation of the boat.

2. A term of derision for a sailboat owner's partner, see 1. above. The term "Admiral" in this context seems to imply that the person is officious, and often useless as were several visiting admirals that I have encountered on submarines and duty stations that I have served on.

I have often observed that the more capable and committed the female sailing partner is, her "rank" is lower but refers to a more productive person such as "first mate" or "co-captain", but the feelings of affection are greater, more vocalized by the male partner, and the decision making is more equal, and the bond of trust is very strong. First Mate doesn't seem to imply a subordinate relationship, but more of "she is my first, and only mate" like a life mate.

How's that?
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:53   #28
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I have heard the term used far more often in a humorous, light hearted loving way than in a condescending way.

One day I am going to have t-shirts made that say Captain and Admiral.

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Old 06-05-2010, 07:03   #29
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She who must be obeyed

To add some context to the comparison; the above phrase was coined by a lawyer on British TV named Rumpole. One suspects he loves his wife but resents, among other things, her efforts to keep him healthy and he does "play" at avoiding her sometimes. I think it is derisive but in a loving way, which is to say there is resentment there but also love, as is the term "Admiral". The Admiral wouldn't have to be obeyed if the Captain didn't care deeply for the Admiral. Outside of this forum I've only experienced this relationship where the woman didn't share the passion of the man for the boat and there was something of a tug-of-war over the mans time. This would certainly agree with DaveC's and BubbleHeadMD's (if I remember correctly) assertion that it was used more by people who aren't fulltime cruisers or where the mans commitment is greater then the womens. Though I thought this had the ring of truth when I read it I did wonder if it was in fact true? Are there people using the term who are cruising fulltime or where both partners are equally committed to the pleasures of boating but simply have a different relationship to the work that give these terms meaning?
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:27   #30
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Interesting to see so many differing views on this (IMO) simple expression...

FWIW, my girlfriend is not (yet) much of a sailor, as such, doesn't contribute as much as others as far as the boat handling goes but she is the admiral in helping decide on our itinerary, schedule, etc... In other words, her preferences and input is respected and considered... In a light hearted, affectionate way, she is called admiral when we decide on something according to her wishes.

I am not sure what/when/how all this may have to do with day sailing or short term-long term cruising - it seems to me its acceptibility depends strictly on the individual interaction preferences of the particular couple: If one has a problem with it, I'd hope s/he would share this with the other half and take care of the issue. (Thankfully) we don't all share the same sensitivities

Best regards to all


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