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Old 17-12-2007, 19:26   #91
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Ditto RH's advice. In addition find a "female" friendly instructor and if possible an all female class. Our club will run those on occasion. My partner's wife took a dinghy course with 3 other ladies. They sailed dinghy's together a couple fo times after that but they also made friends in te boating world - also important.

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Old 07-01-2008, 02:12   #92
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those that read this may want to copy this link to other threds as its a nice entertainment site for winter evnings. BBC - BBC iPlayer - Home
the reason i put it hear is have wached a timewatch program on the reconstructed viking long boat and some 60 crew sailing 1000miles.
had read this thred the same day i wached this program. and the coment from a crew member when they were in a bit of troble with broken rudder and not able to shorten sail in bad wether struck home.

"you know we are in trobble when men sound like boys"

there has been more shouting on our boat when we were newbe's as you gain confidence in you ability to put the boat when and were you want it you no longer need a crew to read your mind and you relax and then this confidence gets pased on to the crew thats when they listen and do whats neded.
but it can be a painful thing to get through. my wife is herd to say she likes the rough wether as its exciting, i say ignorance is bliss, and will be making her take a tern as skipper this season.
an understanding of what you are going through can only help (i hope).


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Old 15-01-2008, 05:39   #93
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I liked the story .
I'm happy that you found someone , and even better that she loves to sail ,
must be a blast !
New and learning !

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Old 13-09-2008, 12:39   #94
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To me, "yelling" has always seemed like a very subjective term. I can remember babysitting as a teenager and telling the four little girls "Go brush your teeth and get ready for bed". The immediate repsonse was, "Stop yelling at me". The volume or tone of my voice was irrelevant- I had failed to effectively communicate.

Under way, communication is even more strained. In fact, there are very few reoccuring instances in which a couple's communication skills are as challenged as when they are sailing- espeically if you live aboard. The stakes are incredibly high, and the speed, precision, and skill needed to keep your home afloat creates a stresful, albeit thrilling, environment.
Communication breakdowns while underway are often (at least for us) further exhaserbated by underlying relatioships issues that failed communicaiton brings to the surface, even for land couples.

As a woman, I am definitly oversensative to "man speak"- the stern, abrupt, commanding voice of Captain Ryan. Feeling that my ability and intellegence are in question, I have been known to "yell" and maybe even refuse to cooperate in response. But often, Ryan really is questioning my ability, and back at anchor he has note that he doesn't trust me to exicute essential tasks correctly and safetly.

Our communicaiton problems make Ryan wary of leaving anchor as a couple. This is especially upsetting to me, since our dream is to eventually cruise the world togehter. How can we improve communication while I prove my seaworthiness (and my ability to LEARN seaworthiness) so Ryan is more comfortable leaving anchor together? I've thought about taking sailing classes on my own, but I'm afraid I will become even more stubborn and headstrong... Are there any books written about couples sailing?
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Old 13-09-2008, 14:14   #95
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I met a woman who said she shared my dream. I told her in 6 years I would sail away. I took lessons, and then bought a boat. She had also told me she knew how to sail, but soon I learned she had dated many sailors, but had no skills.

I tried to teach her, but she would not listen. She even told me once "no man will tell me what to do!" I suggested lessons, but she refused this also. Our friends complained to me that my wife had complained to them about my yelling. These are mutual friends who sailed with us. They told me they never heard any yelling.

The boat slowly came between us. I found myself leaving the dock 5yrs and 11 months later headed for Mexico alone from S.F.Ca. while my wife stood on the dock crying. BEST WISHES in finding an answer to your problems. I can only imagine the bliss I could have if I had a co-captain instead of a passenger.....i2f
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Old 13-09-2008, 20:01   #96
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In Response

To clarify,

I am committed to cruising and to learning to sail. I am a marine biologist- the water is my passion. Furthermore, there is nothing I wouldn't do to fight for my relationship.

I recognize that the communication problems do not lie with my partner alone, and in fact they may be mostly my fault. I am looking for a real solution to these problems, not a quick fix that will temporarily appease either of us.

I have joined a small group of coworkers who sail small boats (under 20 feet) once a week, and am hoping to acquire some skills that will enhance my confidence and increase my understanding. Part of the problem is that I often don't understand what Ryan is saying, or it takes me too much time to process it. To me, it seems like his speech is vague, but maybe my skills are sub-par.

I am looking for positive advice from people who have faced similar issues and worked through it and for resources aimed at improving communication underway. I recognize that relationships often do not work out- both Ryan and I have divorced parents- but I am not looking for warnings.

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Old 13-09-2008, 22:44   #97
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You know, this might be abstract, but my partner (in life and on our sailboat) and I were at the SF Exploritorium the other day, and hit upon a little exercise that was initially just kind of fun, but evolved into a good discussion about clarity of communication, tone, frustration, and taking responsibility for all of those things.

The exercise was a table where you sit facing each other, and there is a divider between you so that you can see each other's faces, but no lower. in front of each of us was a big grid on the table, and a bunch of flat pieces of wood cut out like puzzle pieces in geometric shapes in different colors. Triangles, squares, circles, a couple with hard to describe shapes......

The game was, player one would lay out their shapes on the grid in a pattern, and then by using words alone (no hand gestures), get the person across the divider to assemble their identical set of pieces into the same pattern. Dialogue both ways is allowed -----

Our friends from another boat, who have a commander/follower dynamic and he gets frustrated, quickly were challenged in this exercise in a number of ways --- he got impatient, she said he wasn't clear, etc. When she tried to direct him, he said she was indecisive and taking forever and got impatient again. All of their boat dynamics came out in this puzzle exercise.

When we did it, it went really well, but we talked a lot afterwards about why that was --- and what areas we DO find challenges in. This is longwinded, but I am thinking --- if you can find an exercise or activity that really highlights the communication styles that the two of you use to undertake a physical task, work it both ways, and have a moderator (or even yourselves if you normally communicate well) talk about what did and didn't work in the exercise and why --- it might start you consciously identifying and working on issues that aren't about ability, but area about style.

In terms of sailing abilities --- by all means, get yourself involved in sailing that challenges you and makes you learn, but doesn't have you sailing with your partner. My partner and I this summer alternated weeks as the third crew member on a friend's Folkboat at the local yacht club's beer can races --- usually the wind honks, and the sailing is a lot of work. We found that we each learned lots each week, and gained a lot of confidence in not only ourselves, but each other.

Keep at it, try different approaches --- do your part, and hope that Ryan does his part as well (which he sounds as if he will!) --- and hopefully you can reach the place where the two of you can learn together. I tend to think that even if one person is "the sailor" and one is "the mate" that the attitude that both are learning and teaching each other things as you go is important in having the expedition be a team event vs. something unpleasent.

Just rambling.

P.S. -- My dad had a Watkins 27 for many years --- Capricorn, out of Yorktown, VA
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Old 14-09-2008, 00:14   #98
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As an ex maths teacher...

As an ex maths teacher I approached having my wife come cruising with me as I would in encouraging a reluctant student.

That is : trying to keep in mind that any attempt to force learning is going to be counter productive, even though we had discussed our options and she had "agreed" that trying cruising is acceptable.

That is why I brought a real "fixer upper". The boat is always there, I can enjoy it whether or not my wife feels like it, and there is always some marine related activity going on.

If one has been sailing for a while it is easy to forget just how confusing boats are to someone who has never had any experience of them.

I also keep in mind that what she wants can be quite different to what I want so compromise seems always to be going on.
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Old 14-09-2008, 04:22   #99
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IMO onboard and onshore is all the same - yer gotta keep the TWO WAY lines of communciation open, and in my book Yelling and shouting ain't communicating, at least not two ways.

If Capt Bligh needs to vent his boat handling shortcomings on someone else, it simply means he needs to improve his boat handling skills to take account of the skill set of his crew.

Great if the Crew want to learn more, if not (or only to a certain level) then Captain's job is to work with that.

If you would not put up with certain behaviour ashore, why do so afloat?
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Old 14-09-2008, 04:41   #100
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I think yelling and screaming is great!

It really brings all your emotions into play and if you can still function with all that going on…to me that means you really have mastered some control of your performance in that emotional environment.

My girlfriend and I do it all the time privately…..especially when we are making love!
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Old 14-09-2008, 05:50   #101
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My girlfriend and I do it all the time privately…..especially when we are making love!
OK.......... now tell us about the leather,whips and chains
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Old 14-09-2008, 14:19   #102
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Lots of interesting's how it has worked for my captain and me. He is a retired US Coastie, graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy, lots of sailing / and on the water experience. I had never been on a sailboat till we went to a boat show one day just to "kill an afternoon". I was hooked! One year later we bought the boat and moved aboard. Needless to say, I had lots to learn.

We lived aboard our 34' Catalina for 3 years, one of which was a year cruising in Mexico. Before we left to cruise we sailed at least once/week. Because my husband uses a wheelchair, he was almost 100% of the time at the helm. Obviously our boat duties were clearly divided as to our physical abilities.

Because he relied on me to do 95% of the line work, I had to learn to take direction. IMHO, women who want to be on the boat with their man in any kind of active crew capacity need to learn to compartmentalize the captain/crew relationship from their love relationship with said captain. When the captain says to do something, do it. Ask your questions / file your complaints later. It's seems a lot of tension exists when docking and anchoring. We always discussed and talked through docking each time before leaving the dock or returning, developing our plan based on conditions. The same with anchoring.

Having said that, living on the dock we witnessed lots of dock/boat behaviors with other couples. We saw guys who were so nice dockside turn to Capt. Blye when the engine started to leave the dock. I don't know if it's an authority complex or what...? John's explaining the plan to me, whether tacking, docking, anchoring, or even emergency procedures, and how to do it before before the situation actually happened--explaining the plan for coming into dock in strong wind conditions for example--prepared me to act and know what was expected of me and when I wasn't exactly doing something right, his verbal "reminder" (command) was simply that...what I needed to do in accordance with the plan. Knowing the captain has a plan increases the trust of the crew. I gradually learned and our teamwork was fairly seamless.

For us, hand signals were SO important (I'm not talking about the middle finger either!) We tried the headphone microphone thingies but once we developed hand signals, anchoring was a snap.

Again, IMHO, there really can only be one Captain, with a capital C, of a boat. A good captain realizes he/she IS responsible for everything that happens on the boat and approaches the crew like a coach deals with team members. Good crew accept the authority of the captain. Even when I was on watch at the helm, I wasn't the Captain.

If the captain can explain a plan for a given situation before hand, I think it builds the trust of the crew and when orders are barked, it's easier to see that it isn't just a randomly barked command. It's about trust. If he yelled something to me, I accepted that tone as urgency, not personal attack. Having said that, he never yelled AT me, just to me.

We've been boatless for about 8 years and miss it so much! So, everybody just chill out and get out there and have fun!
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Old 14-09-2008, 14:46   #103
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Lori & Jon:
Welcome aboard to a very cogent thinker, and eloquent writer.
This, and your introductory post are two of the more thoughtful & elegant contributions on the Admiral-Captain partnership aboard a cruising boat.
I look forward to you continued input, and wish you the best of luck in determining and implementing the next stage in your lives.
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Old 14-09-2008, 15:05   #104
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Don't yell at me

I have seen and actually participated in the sport of yelling. What I have observed is that it usually occurs while trying to dock or anchor or pick up a mooring. For a funny take on this phenomenon you might like to read an article I wrote about it called the Fender/Dockline Shuffle at A First Mate's Rules of The Road If anybody would like to share their docking foibles or any boating screw-ups. I would love to hear them, it makes me feel better about myself. As for yelling, in my case it only makes me less capable of doing what I'm supposed to do.

First Mate Mary
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Old 14-09-2008, 16:52   #105
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Originally Posted by Piper'sGirl View Post
I have been known to "yell" and maybe even refuse to cooperate in response.
Originally Posted by Piper'sGirl View Post
I am looking for a real solution to these problems, not a quick fix that will temporarily appease either of us.

I am looking for positive advice
My advice is short and abrupt: Stop the refusing to cooperate! You are endangering the vessel and maybe even lives of the crew and those on other boats or the dock.

Learn that YOU need to change to accept instructions when the skipper is giving orders in his task oriented manner.

Can you imagine what would happen on any commercial vessel (or naval vessel) if the captains orders were greeted with a "refuse to cooperate in response"?

Seamanship is pivotal to our lives at sea, the safety of ourselves and others. No matter what we consider the modern interpretation of 'seamanship', it definitely does not allow a refusal of cooperation.


Notes on a Circumnavigation.

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