The task of becoming sea-worthy

Even on a bad day…

Clouds Rolling In

…it’s a good day when you have a sail boat.  We spent both Saturday & Sunday at the boat, traveling back to town for the morning bike rides.  Again this week, our ‘sailing’ consisted of only motoring around the lake.  We decided it would be best to learn how the boat handles without sails first.  Also we have a chance to gain familiarity with lake depths.  No need rushing to learn everything at once.  I guess I bring that ‘Ride Like A Girl’ mentality into everything I do.  Many have asked what that means.  It’s quite simple really.  Women tend to be comfortable admitting what they don’t know and when they’re uncomfortable.  Also good at breaking the learning process into steps and only tackling a little at a time.  Men tend to be more ‘fly by the seat of their pants’.


Guy’s preference was to pull the boat out on day one, hoist the sails and see how it went.  Instead we’ve been reading and learning and taking it a little at a time.  Maybe women get this style from teaching our kids how to do new things, maybe it’s just fear,  I don’t know.  But it was a good way to start for us.  The 22′ Catalina is a great first boat, if you take it slow.  Just enough boat to feel like a real sailor, not so much boat that it requires prior experience.  I’m a ‘worst-case’ scenario kind of a person.  Both Guy & I are strong swimmers, so the worst thing that could happen is that we sink her.  No biggy.

Some of the things we learned motoring around is that she’s slow to back up, but can turn on a dime.  We ran some practice tacking with no sails, just to get an idea of how to work the tiller as we go.  Also gained some practice pulling in and out of the slip.  Still butting heads with Cap’n Guy. 

Cap'n Guy

It amuses me.  Am I the only wife that deals with this?  I feel like we are making progress.  Kinda like tacking & jibing.  You don’t move in a straight line, more zig-zagging back and forth.  He is able to admit that he has limited faith in my ability to know what I’m doing.  I appreciate his honesty.  After several attempts on his own, he will give the team thing a go.  Maybe at some point we can both offer up information and he will consider all of it.  He did follow my advice on pulling into the slip this weekend.  He put the engine in reverse at the opening of the slip and avoided crashing into our dock box again.

I am using our sailing adventure as a way to communicate with him and learn good submitting skills.  I am excited about his being the captain.  I want to be a good first mate.  I don’t feel the need to lead us in this and want him to be comfortable ‘taking the helm’.  We are both clueless in sailing so it certainly levels the playing field.

Far Shot of the Broken Jib Sail

I do have days where I wonder, though…    He gets a smile on his face when I try to explain to him how fast the wind can change & how quickly the ride can go from exciting to terrifying.   How different it will be when the sails are up.

He tried to raise the mainsail this weekend ‘out on the water’.  I totally let him.  He got totally frustrated.  I totally let him work through it and only offered love & support.  He totally didn’t care.  It was funny.  Back in the slip, we were able to successfully raise the mainsail.  We needed to do that in the slip so we would know if the sail goes up and if anything is broken.  Then we tried to raise the jib.  I was helping.  He told me to pull really hard, I did.  It wouldn’t go all the way up.  He told me to pull harder.  I told him that may not be a good idea.  He said to just pull it really hard, please.  I did.  Something snapped.  At the very top of the mast.  It sounded expensive.  But then again, it always does.

Learning, Learning, Learning...

He looked like he needed a little ‘guy-time’.  I went into the cabin and read up on apparent wind, cleats & winches and how to ‘get out of irons’.  There is a lot of stuff to learn.  I’m posting a lot of it here.  He admits that he really doesn’t read it.  Another difference of ours I want to learn to respect.  I read and analyse everything I do, before I do it.  Because I’m afraid of doing it wrong.  He prefers to learn as he goes.  That is totally ok, so long as it’s not dangerous.  He promised me he would not be dangerous about it so I am open to his method.  Respect, I’m learning. 

He loves me SO much he bought me these really cool sailor gloves so I can pull the ropes hard without hurting my hands.  I tried to convince him he needed some too, but, well… you know how that went.  We are excited.  Next weekend we are spending Sunday & Monday on the boat.  We’re gonna spend the night here!

Ongoing to do list:

1.  paint inside & roofs of all hatch & compartments including doors. 

Really Cool Sailor Gloves

2.  replace all seals on outside storage and hatch.

3.  paint inside and roof of all unpainted storage compartments.

4.  figure out how to install new battery – done.

5.  replace 1 hatchdog knob.

6.  replace the teak boards and trim on the companionway.

7.  sand and stain all other teak on inside and outside of boat.

8.  repair large ding in fiberglass on stern near motor.

9.  install new depth-finder.

10. paint engine.

11. tune up engine.

12. replace table top in cabin.

13.  repair jib sail.


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