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Old 30-10-2008, 16:59   #31
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Send her to: All Women Sailing By Women for Women Women's Sailing Connection "by Women for Women"

Oh, and get some of those "Marriage Saver" headsets. Women hate yelling.

Capt. Jim
s/v Lady Longlegs

"I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts."
Moby Dick page 6
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Old 30-10-2008, 18:12   #32
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I think you just need to let her get comfortable in her own time. If she likes to sail it will just be a matter of time before she becomes comfortable. I was scared to death to be at the helm of our 54' boat for at least a year after we owned her but time on the boat and on the water has helped me get over most of my fears and I am sure it will for your wife as well.
The important thing is that she likes being on the boat and on the water the rest will come with time.

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Old 31-10-2008, 08:11   #33
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I am not sure how you would make someone feel more confident. I guess trial and error. Have her just get out there and do it. Be by her side to know that if she messes up any, you will be there to guide her. If need be, take over for her and show her what procedure you did to make things safe.

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Old 05-11-2008, 09:50   #34
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I think it's important to let her know she's not the only woman out there that feels the way she does. It seems to me, when couples first start out sailing there is a big emphasis on the first mate (usually the more reluctant sailor of the couple) to know how to do everything on the boat. I agree with this and that every sailor should regulary practice things they don't do very often just in case....but that doesn't mean you have to like it. Eventually, couples fall into routines of doing the things they are most comfortable with. I like being at the helm while the cap'n would rather navigate. He drives the boat while docking, while I handle the lines. Could I dock if I had to? Yes, but it probably wouldn't be pretty. So if she doesn't like being at the helm don't force her or take her offshore or away from crowded areas and let her learn how the boat handles without worrying that she might run into something. If she'd like some support from another non-superwoman first mate, have her read my blog where she'l get plenty of comfort from my mishaps.
First Mate Mary
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:06   #35
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I don't know that getting comfortable running a boat is a gender thing.

My advice: pack a lunch, some adult beverages, and go out motoring on a still day. Let her drive the boat, straight line, accelerating, decelerating, turning, forward and reverse. What you are trying to do is let her get a feel for the boat. She needs to be comfortable with how it handles. Make it fun, after she gets a feel, drop a cushion overboard and let her get back too it, let her pass buoys and see how long it takes to make a turn, how long it takes to stop when out of gear, how long it takes to stop when in full reverse. Have a couple beers and enjoy yourselves. I always used a Frisbee to teach new crews how to work together. (Chase the Frisbee) Let her dock the boat on the way in, ask her to take it back out and dock it again. Do it a few times, let her get comfortable at her pace.

Next, pick a nice sailing day and do the same thing. You tend the sheets and let her sail the boat. Pick a mark a mile or so upwind and tack a dozen time to it (She will enjoy watching you sweat the sheets). Talk about how you want to round the mark, let her decide how close she want to round. Then do the same thing downwind jibing a dozen times or so. Do this a few times.

Your goal is to get her comfortable driving and docking the boat. There is no shortcut, it takes tiller time to get there and YOU must make it fun.

Your wife will do fine, just give her time.

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Old 11-11-2008, 05:11   #36
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Speaking as a woman who would have gladly raised the sails lower and lifted the anchor to aviod helming I would suggest it is a lack of confidence and understanding of how a boat sails and responded to the helm. For me it was only overcome by David ( my husband) staying with me when I took over the helm and making sure I was happy with everything before leaving the deck. Then I was safe in the knowleadge that I could call if I needed him. So no strong stern talking, make sure she's happy and let her do small session to build up her confidence. Oh and invest in an oversize autohelm for your size of boat.
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Old 14-11-2008, 07:44   #37
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Here is a reply from you guessed it a woman. I learned to sail in my forties. It was some time before I became reasonable confident. I hated being handed the helm and left. I needed a moment to transition to steering from sheet handling, especially in the beginning. After being badly frightened one time, I became pretty expert at reading the wind... the other thing that helped was steering while raising sail. I am not as strong as my husband so it made more sense for him to raise the sails, rather than going back to get them tighter after I raised them. I am if nothing else sensible.
When making passages, I always know I can call for assistance and there will be no crankiness about it.
For me it was sailing, sailing and more sailing that gave me confidence. Additionally, he never got annoyed when I was nervous or reluctant. In fact he told me he regretted me getting frightened. The reality in similiar conditions I would not be afraid today.
Also for me every spring for several years I felt like I was beginning again... this also has passed. Progress happens. BTW I liked doing deck work, dropping sails, handling lines etc..
I also determined I needed to learn to do stuff simply because it was not safe if I did not do so.
Patience, it will all come if she actually enjoys being out there. I agree with everyone else NO yelling. We use hand signals when anchoring, I no longer handle anchors, cause on this boat the smallest one is 35 pounds. I can manage it, but it is at my limit to bring over the bullwarks.
Have fun
Fair Winds
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Old 14-11-2008, 11:07   #38
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As a recently married man (all of 6 months) I find this thread very usefull. My wife had not ever been on a sailboat prior to our dating and learned some on my 23 footer before I purchased our 41 footer. She is an amazing woman, very smart and strong (standing 5'11 with broad shoulders and only 25) but also has confidence problems associated with helming. As a prior USCG navigator, master helmsman, small boat coxswain, and boatswains mate, I still have my tendancies to be military. I want her to learn too much, too fast, and I keep forgetting it took me years of experience to get to where I am today (still far from where I need to be, though). I think she prefered the small boat to the larger one, as it responded faster and I was less nervous over errors.
With helming, she enjoys it, though has a hard time staying on course. I have a hard time not shouting "come right 5 degrees to three four five magnetic," which she doesnt appreciate, Im sure. I guess I just need to get out on the water with her more often and keep my yap shut, unless things get really hairy.
Maybe Ill try to find a course for her in the NC area to get her confidence up.
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Old 14-11-2008, 16:44   #39
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Well, I once tried to teach a girlfriend how to ski. I was a former ski patrolman and she was a novice. Very bad idea.

Get her sailing lessons with a very cute college-age male instructor-- and with you nowhere in the vicinity. Your ego can stand it, and it will work out for the best in the end.
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Old 14-11-2008, 16:53   #40
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Are you crazy.... I am looking for a very homely and smelly sailing instructor for my wife...and if posibal a certified Homosexual too boot.
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Old 14-11-2008, 17:27   #41
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Originally Posted by Stillraining View Post
Are you crazy.... I am looking for a very homely and smelly sailing instructor for my wife...and if posibal a certified Homosexual too boot.
Not if you want her to like sailing.

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