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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    207

    Default Learning to share duties with my other half

    I count myself lucky in that my other half enjoys sailing as much as I do, and that she says "Nice!" when the wind picks up.

    On the sailing part we function more or less as equals.

    But when maneuvering things are different, but both of us would like them to be more the same.
    Maneuvering in this context is anywhere between having the sails up and being docked, plus busy situations when either under sail or under power.

    I take my role as skipper very seriously with regards to safety of boat and occupants but I think that safety is also a bit too much on the scratches side of things.
    I don't want my wife to make mistakes in a way that probably prevents her from learning and that nine out of ten times probably would go fine without my interaction.

    It is just that as we get in to a situation where I need to gather all the info at once but my wife has a better overview than me because she has been at the helm for some time, I still take over because that gives me a quicker feel for the situation, but that does not help in building confidence for my wife.

    I'd like my wife to gain confidence in being at the helm in the more involved work, and for that I will need to take a step back.

    Do any of you have experience in this kind of thing?
    Oh, and maybe good to know, we are a crew of three, including a 4 year old.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    37,712

    Default Re: Learning to share duties with my other half

    I encouraged my wife to get qualifications, build experience by racing with other people and become confident steering.
    I would suggest making time to build confidence. Both your wife being confident with the boat and you being confident in her handling the boat.
    We're all amateurs who don't get enough practice!

    I did buy some bigger fenders....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    12,426

    Default Re: Learning to share duties with my other half

    I assume that you were not one of those exceedingly rare individuals who was born able to park a sailing boat, so you must have learned at some point. Think back to how you did that and try to go through the same process with your wife as the student. It's the same kind of process as learning to park a car - engineer some simple situations by selecting easily accessible vacant pontoon berths and letting her manouver it in, then build up to more complex situations.

    My wife and I did the Day Skipper Practical together and in the assessment on the last day, the teacher told me that I was good on the helm, but terrible at deck work. He said that my wife was the exact opposite - her rope work and sail management was excellent, but she could not steer the boat. He passed us both on the condition that we reversed roles for a few months!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Sail on the Medway, Kent from Chatham Maritime Marina
    Posts
    1,891

    Default Re: Learning to share duties with my other half

    Last year I took a couple out for a couple of sails as they knew nothing about boat handling or sailing - but had bought a yacht. I started by showing how to berth in various berths and making sure he tried it as well, talking him through until I was happy he understood how to handle the boat. This is the approach I would suggest you do with your wife. Start with a hammerhead alongside berth and progress to wide finger pontoon without another boat on the other finger. Then making each one more difficult. It will also help you improve your skills as well.
    If my foresight was as good as my hindsight, I would be a multi-millionaire.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    156

    Default Re: Learning to share duties with my other half

    I knew that my wife is not as strong as me and is not good with ropework, so right from before we bought a yacht, I said she would have to do the marina driving. 10 years on, that is the way we do it, apart from when it is a bit of fancy reversing work, where she still does not feel over happy. She had to cope with an awkward berth, as a common wind pattern was being blown in to the berth, off the finger pontoon, with a prop kick in reverse that would take us away from the pontoon and our berthing partner was a flashy motorboat.

    Start off with more practice around mooring buoys, steering amongst them, coming alongside them and reversing up to them, (a good way of getting a line on a buoy with no pick up line). Then more practice in a quiet marina in different mooring situations. Before each attempt ask her what she thinks she will do and what you will do and then talk through precisely what the approach, or the departure will be. The aim is to avoid a situation developing where you think you will have to take over. Also do not play the macho game of doing it with as few as fenders as possible; we may look like a training school yacht when we come into a marina, but denting a boat will really put a dent in her confidence.

    To solve our berthing problem, I have a small loop of rope which I drop over the outboard end cleat of the finger pontoon. To it, one line runs to a mid cleat and is the exact length so we know we are not going to hit the main walkway with the bow (that removes one worry). Another line runs to a winch so that if she puts the yacht into reverse to slow it down, she can winch in to keep the stern swinging out and hitting the adjacent boat (removes another worry).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    12,426

    Default Re: Learning to share duties with my other half

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin&Rene View Post

    .....
    Also do not play the macho game of doing it with as few as fenders as possible; we may look like a training school yacht when we come into a marina, but denting a boat will really put a dent in her confidence.

    ....
    The correct number of fenders on a boat is easy to calculate - it's the periphery of the boat divided by the diameter of a fender.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    17,106

    Default Re: Learning to share duties with my other half

    I would do some kind of fairly advanced boat handling course with her, with the emphasis on her getting more of the handling experience where possible. This could be a day, or a week.

    You will both learn things you didnt already know, and your wife will get to do things that you might ordinarily take over from her, because you wont be allowed to
    Narrowboating From Stretford!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    West Australia
    Posts
    11,640

    Default Re: Learning to share duties with my other half

    Just be patient and let her do as much as possible or she wishes to do. The real problem is that the boat is yours as she sees it and you have to repair any damage. So you will always be captain for those reasons. So reassurance regarding any possible disaster and encouragement while showing her that you will always be responsible. might help. ol'will

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Farndon
    Posts
    3,012

    Default Re: Learning to share duties with my other half

    A good team has people with different strengths and skills.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Emsworth Hants
    Posts
    12,522

    Default Re: Learning to share duties with my other half

    Jane aaw always helmed our boat I dealt with the sails, the wind vane, anchoring and tying up n a marina.

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