This is a topic that fascinates me and I can relate to right now. Like your wife, I have sailed for many years, since I was three years old it turns out...I thought it was five years, but my Mom corrected me last week. So 37 years I have been sailing.
I have sailed with my Mom and Dad until I was nine. Then just my Mom for my teenage years, and then I went to a college where I raced on fifty footers. I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay
, and once knew the Severn River very well.
Flash forward to the present. After college I only raced for one more year. I taught sailing to children
and adults the first year I was out of school
. This was my full time job. Then we moved and we were landlocked...no more sailing...I now know that was just an insane thing to do.
I had only gone sailing a very few times after that and now a little shy of twenty years later my husband and I bought a 32 footer three years ago and have started sailing together in North Carolina
What stood out in your post for me was this:
Originally Posted by CFR
We have anchored more then 20 night and she loves a quite and calm nicht at anchor
, there is no fear about water
or sailing BUT always fear that we run agound, that the engine
quits or whatsoever.
I think and she confimred that not being in control about the situation esp. the weather
and waves and water depth
etc is her biggest concern.
It is a little bit difficult now.. carsten
I do not know your wife so any assumptions I would make regarding her discomfort could only be assumptions. But here is what I have learned from my own experiences over the last three years:
1) Sailing with my husband, for me, is much different than racing
with eleven other people I am not intimately related to. We knew our jobs on the boat, we practiced for hours together, while we were friends off the boat, when we were sailing we were team mates. It was very clear what our expectations for each other were, we did our jobs like a well oiled machine, and we trusted each other implicitly. We studied, we learned, we maintained the boat and thus knew her systems, her quirks, her strengths, her weaknesses...much like we knew each other. We won a lot of races ;0)
2) Sailing is about 'Relationship'. Relationship to one's Crew and/or Skipper
, relationship to Nature (i.e. weather
, water, Sea Life), relationship to one's boat. I don't know about you all but when navigating new relationships whether they be to people or those mentioned above, I take my time, I practice prudence, I pay respect to others, I arrive prepared, I ask a lot of questions, and I make sure I don't put myself in too vulnerable a position in the beginning. I know when we started sailing on our 'new to us' boat and I had to manage establishing a new relationship with this boat I didn't know well, I had to manage my relationship with my husband sailing for the first time together, and also become acquainted with an entirely different body of water, weather patterns, and current
it was a lot to take in and handle. I couldn't bite off a little at a time like I like to do, I was immersed in it all at once, and it did create tension and control issues for me and my husband.
3) I think these issues of fear we are discussing have a lot less to do with whether someone is a man or woman, and a whole lot more to do with different individual's comfort with different levels of risk. I am a risk adverse person I am learning
more and more. I knew this a little before starting to sail with my husband but sailing has really highlighted the difference between my comfort with risk, and my husband's.
4) Styles of boating
and sailing differ. I tend to like to be a bit organized. I like to have a plan in place when leaving the dock
, practicing tactics, or dealing with any chore that needs to happen. I like to "talk it out" before hand just enough so that we are on the same page, and I like there to be a 'plan b' or escape route
...my husband, not so much.
5) I like to be as prepared as possible before pulling up the hook, or leaving the dock
. I like to be fed, coffee drunk, and dressed appropriately. I like everything put away...and this doesn't matter if we are on the Neuse River or going out to Cape Lookout...I have been known to get really t'ed off when we get out there with running seas, over 20 knots, and I haven't had my coffee and stuff is flying down below...
6) Those systems on the boat I least understand are those that I tend to build fears around the most. The engine
for instance...I have fear about our engine dying too in some crazy busy channel with strong current
...but I hope that my husband and I can practice sailing under these conditions in a safe place so that if that ever happens we will be prepared with our 'plan b' if the motor
craps out. It also helps to remind myself that people have sailed for hundreds of years without engines. I am also trying to learn more and more about our engine and to do some maintenance
. My most recent obsession is with the rig. I have developed this fear of the rig falling on my head
...so I am learning
more and more about rigs and how to maintain and check them. Doesn't mean that when we get out there and it is blowing stink that I don't have to shut my imagination off....
I am just now starting to feel comfortable on our boat after three years of taking her out on many weekends and multiple vacation
weeks spent aboard. I know what her capabilities are, what she can take in regards to winds, and how to most efficiently sail her. I am just now feeling like NC waters are home waters now, like I can somehow understand their currents, weather patterns, and depths...
I have also learned it is an entirely different dynamic being out there in the capacity of skipper
of your own boat vs. crewing
for someone else. When you are the decision maker it requires a whole other set of skills. I don't think it is enough in a situation where a couple cruises and sails
together that only one is Skipper all the time. It leaves the other at the disadvantage of never having to be the decision maker. There may come a time when the person who has never skippered has to take the wheel
or tiller...and not only does this person need to know how to command the vessel, but they also need to be comfortable with calling the shots...So no matter how much flack it sometimes causes my husband and myself to switch back and forth skippering, I demand it because I need to build those skills...plus I like to be Skipper some of the time.
It all takes time, respect for one another's needs, comfort and belief in one's boat, building a crew relationship with one another. Nature can dole out some pretty rough stuff, and anyone who is not a little frightened at times I think is dangerous...it's all about healthy respect...
For me, I have had to reel my husband in, put myself in occasionally uncomfortable situations from my perspective to either see a) he was right, I was being overly careful or b) I was correct and we still have time to readjust and go with my plan. There have been moments I have been torqued onboard, felt unheard, or disrespected...those moments have been quickly remedied with communication though and a good kick in the arse
I am seriously considering getting an ASA
instructor to come out with my husband and me before we hit offshore
sailing. I do not have offshore
experience and for me it is scaring the ba-jesus out of me. I feel like I have SO much to learn, including medical
So for what it is worth that is my experience with fear so far. I am determined though to not let my fear win. I am grateful to my husband for pushing me when I really just don't want to be pushed. He has so much Faith in me and my abilities, and it is helping me have more faith in myself. But there is a balance between healthy pushing and encouragement vs. pushing someone into a situation they are not comfortable with, or one that is too soon for their present knowledge.
I don't know if any of my blabbering has been helpful. I hope you all continue with the cruising dreams, and find a way to feel as comfortable as you can in all conditions. Just know your not alone...