|I confess. I gave lip service to the notion of cruising for
years. It was easy because it was, up to a point, all talk and no boat. Then about two
years ago, Chuck built the Tennessee, and it
was time to put my actual body in the cockpit and live aboard for admittedly short periods
of time. Turned out I was a pushover. After about an hour chugging down the intracoastal,
I was sold. Not that chuck did not need a bit of training; a few notions altered.
Lately I have seen several articles by men lamenting the fact that their wives are not
interested in their boats. Here are a few ideas that might help.
1. When you take your wife out, do not expect her to learn boat
words--especially if she shows any initial resistance. Example: you say, "grab
that halyard, honey," and she say, "you mean this rope?" do not under any
circumstances try to explain why one rope is called a halyard and another a sheet.
Just say, "yes, that one," or "no, that one over there." Better
yet, color code your ropes so you can say, "grab that red one," or "pull on
that blue one."
2. Let your wife steer. If she does not steer as tightly as you
might have, let it go. If she runs aground, count to ten, remind yourself it is not the
end of the world, then tell her about the time you did exactly the same thing. She will
tire of steering more quickly than you can imagine and let you have the wheel or tiller
3. If she gets seasick, be sympathetic, and get her some motion
sickness tablets or whatever you think would be best right away. Seasickness is horrible,
and mine almost ruined our very first cruise. I was fine the first day but miserable
the second, and I was all set to hike to the bus station in Port Isabel, Texas and take
the bus home. Then we met a fellow who told me he took motion sickness medication - just
one - when he first woke up on a cruising day. I tried it and have been seasick -
free ever since.
4. Try to stay someplace with showers at least every other
night. Barring that, have some sort of fresh water rinse off system on your boat,
especially if you are cruising in salt water. On our next boat we plan to rig some sort of
shower system in the front anchor well.
5. Windshields are good. Our boat does not have one. Chuck seems
to like having his hair and his clothing plastered to his skin by salt spray. I hate that
part. That must be where the expression "old salt" comes from.