Tuesday, May 9, 2017

5 Tips for Training Your Less Experienced Spouse

You may dream of sailing off into the sunset with your spouse some day.  This is a wonderful goal, but it can be difficult if they don’t have the skills and confidence that are necessary.  Teaching them yourself can be very tempting, but there are some potential downsides. There’s nothing that kills a day on the water faster than yelling.  “I’m Not Yelling” is usually not the right response.  We want our partners to share our joy of the water, but they need to build experience.  Here are five tips to help them gain skills in a safe, fun way.    

Image result for couple sailing

  1. Choose Jobs Well- There’s an advantage to knowing your crew member intimately.  You should have a pretty good idea of what jobs are best (and worst) for them.  In general, if you’re the experienced boater, take the hard jobs.  On a sailboat, work the lines while your partner holds the wheel.  Be the one to step off the boat at the dock.  Too many people get stuck in a rut of doing the easy jobs themselves and trying to train people to do the physically harder jobs.    

  1. Don’t Let Yourself Get Stressed- One of the biggest mistakes that people make is trying to train someone else when they aren’t fully comfortable themselves.  Make sure that practice is done in a safe place.  Open water for driving, a soft buoy to practice pulling up to, or a wide open dock can be very helpful to someone trying to gain confidence.  Making mistakes and correcting them is one of the most important parts of learning.  Do your training somewhere that you can allow that to happen safely.  

  1. Pick Your Times- People learn best when they are fresh.  I prefer to do the bulk of my teaching early, and relax more as the day goes on.  Set aside an hour or two at the beginning of the day for teaching, and then allow people to use their new skills throughout a normal day of boating.  This helps avoid a major problem that I’ve seen.  At the end of a day, people are tired and usually dehydrated.  The first thing that a tired, dehydrated person loses is their temper.  Get the teaching out of the way early and avoid losing yours.    

  1. Set Reasonable Expectations- Some of us were lucky to learn our boating skills when we were too young to think too much.  Your spouse did not have those years to learn slowly and steadily.  They need to make up for those years now.  Make sure they can feel good about small steps of progress.  That will keep them coming back out.  Your spouse most likely won’t be sailing the Southern Ocean anytime soon, so let them feel good about the baby steps of getting comfortable on your home waters.    

  1. If All Else Fails, Have Someone Else Do It-  Most of us don’t home school our children, and there’s no need to be a boating instructor to our families either.  Learning on a boat is stressful enough for some people without adding family stress as well.  There are a lot of professionals out there who can take care of teaching for you.        

If you or anyone you know is in the market for a new or used boat, I use my expertise to help match people with the perfect boat.    

Thank you for reading,

Rob Harring

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rob,
    Just about everything listed is the way to go in getting another person out sailing with you. My wife and I spent many hours sailing in 14 foot Lidos in the beginning. But when we got our own boat, it was following similar steps for a happy sailing experience. It is not worth it to blast away on the ocean when the other person is not having any fun. Fun is the utmost thing in sailing.

    So, in order to make it fun, simple jobs have to be given and rotated until both people are satisfied with the results. My wife gets the boat ready when motoring out of the dock, gets the sails prepped and handles the jib for tacking. Once sailing, we switch our jobs from the tiller to the sail controls for a different outlook while sailing for the both of us.
    At the end of a sailing day, we both handle the chores of dropping and folding the sails, getting the lines ready to dock and finally relaxing for a day spent doing what we love to do…have fun sailing our boat.
    This formula has worked for us 17 plus years.

    Thanks, Rob, for the great tips that we have used to success.