I am very excited to announce that I am collaborating with an awesome group of female mariners to organize a one-day boating seminar in Victoria, BC in the spring of 2013. We believe that women who enjoy cruising will be more confident, independent and safer through knowledge and learning.
WOW! is intended to create a safe and respectful learning environment, and to build a community of women boaters. WOW! will offer a range of learning to address different levels of experience from novice to more advanced boaters.
To help us deliver a workshop that is meaningful and current to the needs of women boaters, we respectfully request your assistance in completing this short survey by June 30, 2012 – you might even win a $50 West Marine gift certificate. Please click this link for the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KZB3SCY
We’d like as much input as possible so please pass the link on to the women boaters in your life.
I was massaging a man who had just got back from a week-long sailboat charter with his wife. It was a massage for two in a beach hut overlooking the Strait of Georgia on a beautiful summer’s day.
There was palpable tension between the couple as they lay on their respective massage tables. I attributed it to them being nervous at the beginning of the massage and fully expected them to relax into the treatment. As I massaged the man, I noticed multiple bruises on his legs and arms. When I inquired, he replied that he got the bruises from his sailing trip.
Back to quiet, my mind was trying to connect the dots between this man’s experience sailing and my own. I have to admit that I have had my fair share of bruises, but this man looked like he had been in a NHL hockey game and his team lost!
As we continued the massage, his wife would not relax – her eyes open watching her husband as he finally succumbed to relaxation. There were some deep threads of conflict tethering these two together. We have witnessed this conflict between couples while out cruising. It is often one person trying to exert control over another or trying to mask their own lack of knowledge by asserting themselves over the other person. In our experience, this is not only uncomfortable for both parties, but also unsafe.
Clear communication between couples on boats is essential for your enjoyment and safety on the water. Both parties are responsible for becoming knowledgeable in navigation, boat handling and boat maintenance. Acknowledging and respecting each other as equal partners in your adventures will heighten your experiences on the water.
Some sailors try to force an itinerary without regard to weather, tides or the crew’s comfort. Mother Nature is a fickle Madam and it is she who dictates our movements when on the water. A sailor is always watching the weather, adjusting the sails and perhaps even changing course completely. No fighting the conditions; no bruises.
Sail plans guide us, but do not dictate our actions. As the wind changes so must we by adjusting our sails. This is life.
Truly, if you told me nine years ago that I would be living on a sailboat, I would have thought you were out of your tree. Not intending to slight my gender, but the notion of living on a sailboat does seem to originate with men more than women. This sexist statement is based on my own research when I am introduced to somebody new. Eighty percent of the time, it is a man who says, “I have always wanted to do that!”. This is quickly followed by a question directed to my husband, “How did you get your wife to agree to live on a boat?”
Perhaps, it is a result of reading Robin Lee Graham’s classic, Dove during impressionable teenage years? Maybe there is a plethora of reincarnated sailors’ souls from previous centuries clamouring for expression in men? I don’t know the answer, but the romantic dream to sail the oceans does seem to be male-oriented. I say this in spite of knowing many competent female sailors.
I must confess that I was a reluctant sailor initially. I didn’t hear the siren’s song calling me to the sea. I was called to the white-picket-fenced house with baking in the oven and a dog in the yard. My only frame of reference to my husband’s dream was a shared passion for nature and adventure – however, we were to discover later that my definition of adventure was considerably different than my husband’s.
It would have been a mistake to make my husband’s dream, my dream. I had to find my own passion for living on a boat. The first winter was tough, but a sense of humour, investing in warmer clothes and a caring, marina community helped me through. Initially, my fears played themselves out in my dreams at night adding to my discomfort. Learning everything that I could about the boat reduced the number of things that I was afraid of. Having a patient partner who was willing to help me learn, made it easier.
Fast forward to today when we have to be realistic about aging and continuing to live on a sailboat and I can’t imagine leaving our floating home. This lifestyle is simple, challenging and rewarding in ways that are difficult to articulate.