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Old 22-01-2006, 11:48   #16
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Successful Paths for Cruising Couples

Thanks for your kind words. My note was written with the intent to share a perspective, not to preach the ultimate couples soultion. I must reiterate, that our boat is perfect, for us. If our friends with larger, more gadget containing boats felt ours was perfect for them they would change to a smaller, simpler vessel. It only is important that the boat is right for you.
My friends are asonished sometimes when they realize some of the things we have and don't have presserized water,(I prefer to use the foot pumps to conserve our water supply), no generater,
no electric winches. But, we have the things that are important to us, that make our time onboard pleasureable for expresso maker, guitar, my waterecolors,
a wok,sewing machine, lots of good music and a good sound system, good books, and a really fantastic boat cat, Tsu Hang, named after Beryl Smetten's boat. Life is good and so much easier when you follow your own heart rather than try to
find satisfaction in other people's solutions.
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Old 22-01-2006, 17:09   #17
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Re: Successful Paths for Cruising Couples

grace c. once whispered in the wind:
Life is good and so much easier when you follow your own heart rather than try to
find satisfaction in other people's solutions.
So you don't have all the answers for me?

You comments are well spoken. If anything, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We're all just individuals sharing our highs and lows, most or nearly all won't even help others by sharing.

One thing though: I've come to think that we should celebrate all stages of the journey, from thinking to doing to winning and losing. I still think about a response I received on another thread about how the "best sailing" one ever does may be early in one's sailing career, when the boat might be terrible but having the kids along makes the experience unlike anything that may follow.

I guess it's just enjoying the journey and not the end. Longing for a better boat or better place to sail may be rewarded, but it's what happing now that's most important.

Okay, I'm stopping before someone starts playing a violin...

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Old 04-02-2006, 09:10   #18
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Like happy sardines...

During our two-year sabattical, we ran across couples who were unhappy in 40+ yachts, and several families of four who were doing great living aboard 30 footers (I think they must have eaten in shifts).

If two people are compatible, they can cruise in a nutshell. If they arent, nothing is going to prevent a mutinous atmosphere aboard ship.
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Old 04-02-2006, 19:10   #19
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Here's #3 on racing.

swagman - I can not agree with you more!!

Julie & I met about the time I started racing. I had an old Cal T/2 (27' 1/2 tonner) in south SF and I was also crewing out of Santa Cruz on a Olson 29' ultralight machine.

The first race we tried.. "Where'd everyone go? Where are the marks? Why are they yelling starbord at us?" After a season on the ultralight and having Steve Taft of North sails set us up with a jib and some sailing pointers.. Everything changed!

The turning point was the evening when Julie and were doublehanding the Cal in a blustry Tuesday night race. We got into a fight trying to cross the finish line. We looked like a couple of cats hissing and spitting on that boat. We're still at the back of the fleet but heck, it sure wasn't helping boatspeed at all!

Got to the club, late. We'd cooled down and made up. They decided, on this race, to start using this PHRF handycapping thing. Julie & I are lookin' at one another "Huh?"

Well, out of fleet of about 25 or so boats, we corrected out to second place. "WHAT?!!?" The first thing that flashed between us was "If we can skip the fighting, we can WIN at this stuff!" We were hooked!

Then, like I read on this thread, there's the days you -really- don't want to go out. Its just too scary with it hootin' 30 or so. Its race day so.. Bleck! I'm pullin' the boat out of the marina slip so scared I'm spittin' dust. But out there, when your going and eveything is set up correctly, its not so bad. In fact, its kinda' fun.

After the season where we'd started winning, there was a shocking and plesant diffrence in our cruising. Things, like San Pablo Bay, that used to give me nightmares, sudenly became cake. We now knew just how to make that O'l Cal go to weather. We'd seen all sorts of nasty stuff and it wasn't scary monsters anymore. Cruising became MUCH more fun and relaxing.

Wow! Its coming up on 16 years this month we've been togather. (I took her sailing on our first date) I like maximum performance in a sailboat, Julie just likes boats. We both pull out what ever hair is left when the other is driving. She thinks I should attempt to relax and stop tweaking the sails so much. I think she should "Pay more attention to where the DAMN BOAT IS HEADING!!"

"Hey" She says, "Its sailing aint' it?"

She's a genetic cruiser and I'm more of a racer. She never gets seasick, I have a tough time on a passage for the first three days, so she drives. YOu can tell when I start getting better 'cause I'll be showing up on deck to "fix" the sail or windvane trim.

Where was I? Oh yeah, do the racing thing. It really helps! And, footpumps -are- the ticket! Love 'em! Simple simple simple!

-jim lee
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:40   #20
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Small boats

Grace, I have a 32 foot, well built, simple boat as well. Foot pumps, solar shower, no generator. I still have all the comforts I need without the work or expense. (By the way, I have to go through half a galon of cold water before I have any hot coming out of the tap in my sister's house - it irks me to no end).

I agree, sometimes it is a good idea for women to learn from other women, it's like learning to drive - don't get your husband to teach you or you might have a divorce on your hands.
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Old 07-02-2006, 17:32   #21
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jim lee once whispered in the wind:

After the season where we'd started winning, there was a shocking and plesant diffrence in our cruising. Things, like San Pablo Bay, that used to give me nightmares, sudenly became cake. We now knew just how to make that O'l Cal go to weather. We'd seen all sorts of nasty stuff and it wasn't scary monsters anymore. Cruising became MUCH more fun and relaxing.
First, I have to say I have never heard All Day Bay and Relaxing used in the same paragragh before
As for teaching, husbands and wives are traditionally bad student teacher combinations, but not always. When I taught my wife to sail, I simply let her do it, and when she got in a bind, I stepped in, and showed her how I corrected the problem, then stepped back out and let her do what she wanted. I am notorias for handing her the helm, and going below for a nap. It is not always easy, as the urge to jump in and just do it is allot stronger than I would like to admit, but if I just let her figure it out instead of trying to teach her, we both do allot better. She often surprises me at her natural ability to solve problems, and handle the boat. As for teaching, when I do have the helm, I will often ask her if she understands why I do things, or why the boat reacts in a certain way. If she knows the answer, I let it be. If not, I explain the mechanics behind what is going on, and drop it. If she wants to know more, she will let me know. I do not point out the things she does wrong, because she is certainly intelligent enough to know when the boat is not balanced, and when it is not going as fast as it should. She will fiddle with things until she gets it balanced, or picks up speed. In doing this, she also learns how things affect the trim of the boat. While she likes having me there as a safety net, she needs my physical strength and my company, far more than my knowledge.
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Old 08-02-2006, 03:34   #22
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Very well-put, KAI NUI.
You may not have noticed (because I am so frugal with the written word), but I can be just a little pedantic at times. I have a propensity towards the academic fundamentals (Why things are as they are, or happen as they do).
Maggie, on the other hand, is much less interested in these principles & theorems. She is an excellent intuitive sailor, and a far better helmsman than I.
Were I to indulge my propensities, her eyes would glaze over, and her mind drift to thoughts of I don’t know what (I have tested this thesis).
I think Kai Nui has developed (and described) an excellent mentoring style, that will serve them (both) very well in all aspects of their relationship.
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Old 08-02-2006, 17:04   #23
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Thanks GORD. So far, so good. I have experienced the other style of teaching, as my ex wife had to learn to drive a manual transmission with me as the teacher. At 21, I was not as patient as I am now. She finally kicked me out of the car, and drove home. I think that was my moment of truth.
It certainly makes cruising more fun when both of us are happy, and proud of what we are doing. When running, and surfing down 15 foot seas, I get a real rush from keeping the boat surfing. When she has the boat in the groove, and the boat is singing through the water, she feels that same pride. I would not consider taking that from her by pointing out that the sail trim was not perfect, or that she had too much weather helm. Besides, cruising is not about squeezing that extra tenth of a knot out of the boat. It is about going places. We may not be first, but we always get there, and we always sail onto the hook.
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Old 10-02-2006, 13:30   #24
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Our Successful Path

Almost from the day we met over 30 years ago, my wife knew that some day I wanted to cruise the Caribbean. She worked hard to help us work toward that goal and was instrumental in buying our first boat, a 30' Erickson. Over the 20 years we owned that boat she learned how to sail more by osmosis than through formal instruction. (As an aside, the racing bug bit me while sailing on my roommate's 44 foot Luders Yawl at Annapolis. Thus racing played a role in our sailing story as several other posters in this thread mentioned.)

We really enjoyed the Erickson but being very claustrophobic, she wanted a boat that didn't make her feel like she was in a coffin when below decks. Thus our decision 3 years ago to scale up to a catamaran with lots of windows and storage space. Now she can sit at the table or stand in the galley and still see what is happening outside.

My wife is not obsessed with tweaking the last tenth of a knot out of the boat when under sail nor does she have the physical strength to hoist the main sail, pull up the dinghy, or trim sails in a heavy blow. She is perfectly happy to read her cookbooks and let me do all those "blue" tasks. She does, however, drive while getting underway or mooring and with a little coaching, is able to handle the boat quite well in most conditions.

Last summer we started our trip from Seattle to the Caribbean by sailing the Inside Passage around Vancouver Island (see for the trip report). We stopped here in Scappoose, Oregon, for the winter because I thought she would need some time to let go of her life ashore, particularly our two adult sons. However, in January on our way back from our old home in Richland, WA, which our older son bought from us, she informed me that she wished we had continued south last fall instead of stopping here. I think part of that feeling was generated by one of the wettest winters in Portland history.

We are both looking forward very much toward the start of the next leg (down the coast to San Diego) in May.
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Old 10-02-2006, 16:43   #25
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Thanks for the post, and I enjoyed your web page. Especially the pic of the shark in the cage.

We'll also agree that this hasn't been the easiest Oregon winter ever, but things are looking drier for a bit!

Jim H
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Old 10-02-2006, 16:54   #26
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John, stop by Moss Landing on your way down. We'll cook you dinner, and you can let me pick your brian about the Oregon coast. I can set you up on our guest dock for a night or two at no charge, and give you some info on some anchorages south of here.
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Old 14-02-2006, 11:16   #27
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can't buy time and happiness

In my experience I've noticed a distinct pattern regarding unhappy spouses and unhappy kids.

(note: if it annoys you when people get REALLY offtopic in their posts you probably want to skip this one)

It's easy to want to make your crew as relatively comfortable as possible (or as much as you can afford). The simple fact of the matter is that a studio apartment with all the amenities of land living will be vastly more luxurious in the end than even a 56' Oyster.

I think captains need to be forthright with their crews about what they're getting themselves into -- which is a challange in most situations because the crew probably knows about as much about blue-water sailing as the captain in the beginning.

I think many cases of unhappiness of crew can be attributed to coddling. As this keeps happening the crew is never allowed to fully acclimate and accept their situation -- in the end they are living and sailing on a yacht and no matter what they're never going to have it the same way as they did on land. Considering that many cruisers have been very successful at some career, leading to all the trimmings (nice car, big house etc) the situation is only compounded.

This really applies to the situation of kids onboard, especially teenagers. We spent almost all our time across the south pacific with the 'kid boat' set (we always just wound up in the same place at same time) so I was able to do a little research everyday -- after all we've thought a lot about having a kid onboard since we started out so this was our oppurtunity to see everything in action.

Kids need to get the point early on the cruising life that they're now living on a boat and that you as the parent are calling the shots and have their best interests in mind. There are good things and bad things in this situation (more good than bad) and they need to make the best of it. We've seen so many American and Canadian yachts which try to make up for shortcomings and keep the kids from complaing (or worse, crying 'child-abuse' to their relatives -- did I metion how f*cking crazy teenagers are?) by adding more and more gear like PlayStations, laptops and playstations.

It was always obvious which boats had kids that had made ti into the 'groove' of the cruising life -- the kids were always either in the water or onshore causing trouble (as kids should be doing) somewhere. Kids are a total sponge for new experiences and can really thrive with the right approach.

The other thing to just instill in your crew's life as much as possible is that cruising is by no means an easy life -- but it is a good life.
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Old 14-02-2006, 19:49   #28
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The only unhappy vessels I have come across were very clearly a result of the crew being passengers. Wether it is a spouse, or kids, they need to be a part of the operation of the boat. They need to have real responsibilities, that have real repercussions if not handled. This does not mean be capt Bly regailing your crew to scrubbing decks, but it means short day watches for the kids, and foredeck duty for the teens. It means dinghy scouting excursions for the kids to find good bottom in the anchorage. It means, letting the ten year old plot the next course, and be responsible for making course adjustments along the way. One of the most rewarding things in the world is to successfully navigate a vessel to it's destination. These things give confidence to the crew. An involved crew is a happy crew. For those who want the Play Station, (my wife is one of them), it should be an off hours diversion, not something to keep them out of the way while the skipper sails. Letting my step son plot a course, and teaching him some basic navigation hooked him for life on sailing. He is going to school to be an architect, and the concepts of reading a chart and plotting a course fit his interests. A mechanical teen might really like being in charge of the engine. A wife that likes to rock climb and hike might realy benefit from being the one to go ashore for supplies. I could continue, but I am rambling at this point.
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Old 14-02-2006, 20:02   #29
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Oh yes, Kai.

Please continue to ramble on?

"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." - Benjamin Franklin
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Old 14-02-2006, 20:11   #30
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The weather is too ugly to go sailing or paint, so what else have I got better to do?
I think I need to take you along as my political ambassader Every boat needs an expert on current events
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