SeaKnots

I thought I would start a discussion about how comfortable we women are on a sailboat. I take out some women first timers and some old timers on my boat and find we have our concerns, fears and handling abilities.
Concerns and fears. The biggest one is heeling. I find especially first timers is healing scares them to death. They think the boat will tip over. I explain to them how the boat won't (unless you are sailing a dingy), using the fat boy on a teeter-tatter and if I am by a boat yard, take them out and show them the keel. Secondly, most men take the boat to the edge of the envelope without regard to who's on board, screaming "The boat is fine get over it!". Of course this lead to most women never returning to sailing. Next is for us, women with short legs, bracing when the boat heels can be a challenge. If the boat has stern seats, I usually put my first timers in there. They feel secure and have a place to hang on to. For the rest of us that are used to sailing, bracing can be a challenge to say the least and we make the best of it where we can.
Abilities - What I find here is us woman sailors who's husbands/partners/boyfriends tend to delegate us to "Pink duties." When it comes to docking, helmship, or making decisions on sail plan/trim, it is usually the guy that does it all. Unless, we are assertive, we usually tend to give in and avoid the argument. This argument tends to go away with what I categorize as bluewater/racer sailors. Here we women tend to come up to par with the guys. Also the rare single hand women also will rebuke this argument as well.
This is not to start an argument but an general discussions how what you have observed or feel about this topic.
Fair Winds
Melissa Renee
Hunter 36, Rhapsody in Blue

Views: 83

Replies to This Discussion

Hahaha.
Lovely.
You know, I don't know if I know right off where everything is. Boat papers? Are you kidding?? Haha.
You forget:

The ignition switch (its amazing how many trips are foiled by misplacing this simple thing ... just a joke...) - but to cut OFF the engine would be good, no?

The sails themselves. Hahaha.

Line: spare and ready.

Portable GPS.

Safety lines/harnesses for storms.

Emergency dinghy and oars.

Knife. Stove lighter. Kerosene. Water bucket.

GASOLINE for the ENGINE (that one be NOT fun to find yourself missing).

Ahhh, I think I've drifted away into "what you need to make sure you haven't forgotten before you sail" rather than "what someone who doesn't sail doesn't understand/know where it is/can't find and should be able to."
Hmm.


For the topside tour and how I handle the intro to sailing: If it is a group of newbies, after boarding I do a small appetizer or pot luck lunch/dinner in the cockpit first. This gets everyone acquainted to the boat as well as the motion while sitting dockside. Afterward, Like Marlene I do a topside tour first before I take them below. My docklines are color coded. My two spring lines are red, bowlines gold and aft lines white. I do this so simple instructions can be conveyed when docking/undocking. I found that red spring lines everyone understands very easily. These go on first when docking and last when undocking. No confusion here what so ever.
This is an interesting conversation!
I have to say that I never really thought about being a 'woman ssailor' much before - except noticing I was the only woman living at most marinas I've stayed at.
I shared a boat with my dad, and our sailing duties were pretty well set - but oddly flexible too.
I'm not mechanically inclined, so if I had any engine problems, he was who I turned to - but I've always had control of the sails, having youth, at the least, on my dad, and I've always loved the strength of pulling sail. Taking the tiller - it depends on who is driving! My dad has always had night shift (we can't trust my eyes at night) but I often took the helm all day.
Though in a crisis my dad would make decisions, always - I like to think more because he is My Dad than The Guy.
I'm sure its a different experience between husband and wife and such.
But I've never sailed with women - is it different?
i have sailed with women and with men .
the biggest chicken i ever sailed with was a male---he had an irwin aft cockpit 37 that was a nightmare to surf downwind in following seas..wanted sooooo to broach--he was sooo scared--i didnt know how big the seas were--i just knew i was working awful hard--he would come up into cockpit from below , eyes would pop wide open and he would run right back down int o the cabin----i wanted to kill him--he could not handle his own boat in 30 foot seas---i finally turned around and looked--i asked someone later if they were 20 footers---they sed nope---was 30 foot out there--wow.....was a gooodd trip--but i did all the sailing because of this mans fear of water!!!!
i sailed with a female who owned a coronado 25--we went to catalina from lost angeles a bunch----she could not get her boat out of the slip .so i taught her how to walkit out, she did engine--i walked the boat and pivoted it and got onboard --she did the engine and learned a lot...like -she didnt NEED her hubby to go sailing....she could not do anything--her hubby did it all, so when she was getting divorced, we took out the boat-----darn near knocked her down at least one time(boat)----was tricky---but we had fun-----worked more together than not---she was smart enough , she had just not taken the boat out herself and was insecure....hail--we sailed topless and got buzzed by biplanes outside the harbor......depends on the person ya sail with.......
HI Melissa,
I appreciate your initiative with this discussion. Ttaking the fear out of sailing was the theme of a recent seminar and article that a colleague and I presented. I like the idea of showing women the keel. Another way I have eased the tension is by having new sailorettes meet me at the boat for a dockside walk about. We play a silly game of follow the leader. It starts by my showing them how to climb aboard. I insist they learn from their first attempt to get on board without the helping hand of a mate. This is for two reasons,your mate may not always be at your beck and call, but more importantly, because this simple activity leads to a feeling of confidence. I mean gee whiz if you can't even climb on board by yourself, you are left feeling like, "Oh my gosh, I could never sail a boat alone."

Other activities include, walking out to the bow, down the sides, and across the stern. Along the way I point out obstacles, such as the toe jamming cleats, hatches that are NOT to be stepped on, and on my trimaran, spaces between the tramp lines that can be either helpful or hurtful.

Then, we all sit in the cockpit for some knot tying and sail trimming drills. Yupe, without even setting the sails the ladies are shown how to load a wench, open and close the clutch, coil a line, and lift and lower the outboard.

One of the best ways for women to become independent is to learn to sail their own boat. Unfortunately, in the year 2009 I still find women who succomb to the overbearing, emotional abuse by men who have an insatiable need to dominate. I thought that had gone away way back when Gloria what's her name initiated the term Ms. --- probably before your time.

Anyway, I hope to keep this disucssion going. Thanks, the sassy one, Marlene
Uh-oh, I just read more blog entries.The one that captured my attnetion was the guy who stayed below during a bout of sailing in 30 foot swells. I have to admit 8 - 10 is about as big of a swell I ever tangled with. So, when I do get offshore I need to know how to keep my sanity. This summer I expect to do some offshore sailing on my way up to New York Harbor. Any suggestions are welcome........I'll be alone on my 28 foot tri. -- most likely off shore from POrt Canaveral to somewhere south of Hatteras, go inside north to the Chesapeake, then outside around Cape May and outside to Sandy Hook.. I expect to leave the last week in May. O.K. ladies, here's your chance to help me gain the kind of confidence I am accostomed to giving others when learning to sail in the ICW. :-)
Hi Ladies and Gents brave enough to reply,

I am gaining confidence right along..I'm glad I used the boat as a Condo to start and get familiar w inner problems and some cosmetic work, discovered Vinegar for head and all smells.among other things.
.....and now I am taking classes.

I set up the MYRTLE BEACH VACATION IN OUR GROUP, and had Ladye, Robin, and a great guy Lou of Lou and Meg. All were very helpful. See my sailing Video where I backed out of my slip...a big deal to me. Lou taught me that

There are fun things we will do when you come too...It is a 2 way deal. Lou and Meg are getting a painting of their boat..

I found I am ok in the ICW, but when past the Jetty and onto the Ocean...I began to get tired. For me I am going to pace myself...and do more and more.I also need a higher seating as I am 5 - 1

Now I have engine problems...my next lesson...right? I have found a sailor who will go with me for 3 hrs on the ICW to take the boat to a Yanmar boat service yard...if engine goes will have to anchor...I never have anchored...so my next lesson. Also there are 3 bridges...another lesson...I know how to call BOAT US Tow...had that experience...lol.

So I am making lemonade out of lemons...bottom line...I am learning...I am knowing SAFETY is most important.

The one area where I am suffering is strength....I know some of you have firmed up...I need to do the same

Be very careful of Hatteras...remember we are the GRAVEYARD of the Atlantic...NC.

I know I'm taking baby steps...you are all so advanced...but I will get there...so will share as I grow.

Next visitor will fill me in on my next need...I will continue to keep having them.

Please keep me posted of your adventures.
I'm fairly new at sailing, and I love it! I'm getting more comfortable all the time. I'm happy when the Lindenberg 28' we race heels --- after all, it means faster sailing! Still nervous heeling in my 17' mobjack but then again I haven't been out on it much and it did capsize once due to a leak, leaving me waiting in the river for rescue when the boat was too water logged to upright.

I prefer sailing with an all women's crew but will sail with select men. Being a single woman, I run into too many men who don't understand that what I'm there for is sailing. Period. And then I find that even in a teaching situation, many men, not being great communicators, resort to derogatory yelling when their verbal skills fail them. If it weren't for the women skippers like Marlene Sassaman and the few patient men at our yacht club, I absolutely would not be sailing on a regular basis. Sailing is much more fun and devoid of issues when I sail with women! Thanks, Marlene!
I am glad this discussion is moving along nicely. Please keep this going. I think it is important to everyone including the lurkers and men that read this. We can all learn by what others do especially mistakes that we make. I am proud of us all!

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