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subnate 09-07-2015 07:25

Wife Hates Sailing Help!
I'm trying to figure out the best way to reintroduce my wife to sailing, she had a horrible experience with lessons that totally shook her confidence, and convinced her she could't ever possess the skills to sail. Long story short she took lessons in Hawaii with an instructor that I guess raced and thought she should too,he screamed at her the whole time, and ended up telling her that this might not be for here. :banghead: My wife loves everything about the ocean and I know if I can find a way to show her sailing isn't whatever that guy shoved in her head, she could at least have a chance at enjoying it. But I'm just starting lessons now, so I'm not a wealth of knowledge. I have some ideas, but maybe you guys have better ones, any idea would be well appreciated.

cal40john 09-07-2015 07:45

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
I know a guy with a similar problem. His entire family hates sailing. It's his own fault. He would always go out with fun for himself in mind, not thinking that his inexperienced family might think that rail underwater heeling angles wouldn't be fun.

Find someone or a lesson program that understands the non-adrenaline junkie mindset and try to convince her that it is possible to cruise/sail in a different mode. Maybe tell her if she doesn't like it after one or two tries she can tell you she's done forever.

Steadman Uhlich 09-07-2015 07:45

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!

My Simple Suggestions:

1. Get your wife involved with a group of women who sail as an "ALL GIRL" crew (socially), but NOT on a racing boat (not as race crew on a racing boat).

Even if she only goes on the boat as a passenger, she can observe how women do it together. The key is to find a group of FEMALE sailors who sail together for pleasure and not under the pressure of a race.

After she sees how much FUN it can be (for women), then...

2. Let your wife take lessons from a FEMALE sailing instructor in a CLASS that is composed of only women.



Because some MALE sailors can be very bossy (yelling) and in their command voice (which every skipper needs at critical moments). When given a command (in a command voice by a male) it may appear they are singling out the female student (which they may need to do), but that voice and tone may be something interpreted differently (not in a friendly way).

Because most women relate better to women.

Because learning sailing can be stressful for anyone, due to the need to learn a lot, practice new skills, and to meet certain expectations. There can be pressure (self-imposed).

My Super Suggestion: Do NOT take the same class with your wife on the same boat. Let her learn and gain confidence by taking classes without you on a boat with a female skipper and crew. It makes a big difference!

What leads me to these suggestions?

I was a member of a top sailing club/school and saw the different manners of how average MALE and extraordinary (or is it average) FEMALE instructors handled their students and teaching differently. I was greatly impressed by the female instructors for not only their skill and experience, but also for how they taught newbies, and noticed how this made a difference for the female students in the small classes.

Others here may have a different opinion. My suggestions are based on seeing for myself how mixed groups of students (men and women) interacted with different certified sailing instructors (men and women).

I hope these suggestions help your wife learn in a way so that she enjoys the experience and gains confidence and skills. :)

monte 09-07-2015 07:50

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
Yes I don't think I'd like to start sailing with lessons. Better to be a passenger for a leisurely sail for a while with a competent skipper. You need to feel the energy of a gentle breeze effortlessly gliding a yacht through calm waters and become addicted to that feeling first. Afterwards the addiction will overpower the stress, seasickness, maintainance, cost,crappy weather etc etc that follows :p

SailSC 09-07-2015 07:51

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
Charter a boat in a beautiful place with a friendly captain and a cook. Make no demands on her to do anything related to sailing the boat but only to relax and have fun.

Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum

monte 09-07-2015 07:54

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
Steady makes a good point. Jen is a much better instructor for new crew then I am. In one hour she will gently explain how to tie a bowline. In the same hour I will cover everything for apparent wind to celestial navigation to understanding every possible button combination on the chart plotter :p confusing uh ...

skipmac 09-07-2015 07:54

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!

Originally Posted by SailSC (Post 1865549)
Charter a boat in a beautiful place with a friendly captain and a cook. Make no demands on her to do anything related to sailing the boat but only to relax and have fun.

Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum

This would be my suggestion. Maybe charter a cat so she gets to hang out on a boat that sits level and doesn't rock.

Maybe the BVI in January when it's cold and nasty in VA.

FSMike 09-07-2015 08:02

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
What Steady Hand (post #3) said.

That, and find a nice big crewed catamaran charter with all the bells and whistles to take her out on. Warning: that may create a multihull addiction.

Steadman Uhlich 09-07-2015 08:09

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!

Originally Posted by FSMike (Post 1865556)
What Steady Hand (post #3) said.

That, and find a nice big crewed catamaran charter with all the bells and whistles to take her out on. Warning: that may create a multihull addiction.


:danger: "Multihull Addiction!" :D

I think you are wise to advise this, as a newbie could get spoiled by the big cat and forever after that not want to get on a tiny tilting dark-inside moNO.


LNL 09-07-2015 08:20

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
I hated sailing because I would get sea sick even on calm seas. I have now been on two catamaran charters and 40 k seas and did not get sick. I fell I love with sailing. I am now ready to take the catamaran sailing courses next Feb, sell every thing I own and go sailing....on a catamaran. Oh and I am the wife!!

Ndavies 09-07-2015 08:22

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
Three suggestions:
1. I just listened to a very good podcast on 59 North (episode 110, interview with Duncan Hood). Duncan trains ASA trainers. I would be inclined to contact Duncan and ask him for a recommendation on a good instructor for your wife.
2. Get involved in a sailing club and have her sail with other women
3. If all else fails, new wife:peace:

bhill 09-07-2015 08:23

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
I love all the suggestions! As a wife of a sailing addict, I was in the same boat - literally and figuratively! DH and I tried racing together and it was a total FAIL! I wanted to muntiny and swore I would never sail with him again. But we bought a sailing catamaran and hired one of the sweetest most gentle sailing captains I have ever met to teach me the "ropes" of cruising. Bruce MacBain, out of Ft. Lauderdale taught me the basics of sailing our cat. He realized (without my having to tell him!) that if you overload me with a lot of information I will go into overload and have a melt down. Because of my experience with Bruce, who has now become a good friend, and has sailed with us countless times, Jim and I work really well as a team together. I have again fallen in love with the ocean and the cruising life. As a matter of fact, we just returned from 10 weeks in the Bahamas and plan to go again in the fall and winter! Feel free to contact me for Capt. Bruce MacBain's contact info - you won't regret it nor will your wife!

ob44 09-07-2015 08:37

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
SailSC is exactly right. Forget lessons or all girl crews and all the rest of it for now. Charter a boat from the Moorings in Tortola for a week and sail the BVIs. It's incredibly simple and beautiful. If you can drive a car you can do it. Moorings will stock the boat, right down to the beer, and you can cook on board as little as you wish. If that does not get her enthused about sailing, nothing ever will and it's a lost cause. B/t/w, I have never known a person who did not LOVE the experience

David M 09-07-2015 08:38

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
Take her out on a few of those sailing cruises for tourists where neither of you has to drive the boat. Relax and have a couple of drinks. Make it a great experience for the both of you.

mikejbuk 09-07-2015 08:38

Re: Wife Hates Sailing Help!
We had a similar problem, but we now live aboard and am half way into sailing around the world with our infant son.
My wife still dislikes anything you and I would call sailing (trimming, helming, navigating etc), but loves being onboard, loves being on the boat while sailing and frequently requests that we just cast of and go for a day sail despite having lived on board for 18 months.
What I do now is single hand the boat, she does nothing to aid me. I have setup the boat such that I can do everything. There is no shouting on board because she didn’t read my mind during a tack and release the sheets, there is no comical waving from the bow while anchoring, docking does not resemble the WW2 Normandy landings (get within 6 feet of the dock and wife performs the jump of doom with spring line between her teeth).
You need to make sailing fun for her (and you). Perhaps go for a few short sails in calm conditions, put some music on, take a bottle of wine and slowly drift around while the sun goes down. If you are not confident in achieving a stress free sail ask a couple of competent friends to come along (make that two bottles of wine) or find an older cruising couple and crew for them for a while. Most of the “more experienced” cruisers make sailing look very easy- their boats, sailing relationship and procedures have evolved over many thousands of miles under that long keel and you will soon learn the real art of sailing as a couple.
This might be a valuable purchase :-

Good luck, if essentially she loves the ocean just make being there fun. It would be a shame to leave her behind.



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