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#32462 - 04/18/04 03:56 AM (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ?  
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Skipper Offline
stranger
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Mary's mention of the Kennedy's in another thread Celeb sailors reminded me that I found it remarkable that not only the Kennedy men but also the Kennedy women are/were passionate sailors.

Why remarkable? Because in my experience there are lots of more male sailors than female? Is this true? And if so, why is it apparently such a stag thing? Or is it all just in my perception, with perhaps in the back of my mind the stereotype sailor, bearded, rugged, rough men who dare to face Nature's most extreme conditions. You know, crossing the Arctic, climbing the Himalaya and all that other macho stuff???

Perhaps any of you ladies might wanna reflect on this? I, as a male simply do not understand why there aren't more lady sailors.


Fare (sail) well, greets from Skipper
-- Have You Seen This? --
#32463 - 04/18/04 04:16 AM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Skipper]  
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vicatman Offline
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I dont know about the rest of the world,but here in the Caribbean there are quite a few very good female sailors.

#32464 - 04/18/04 06:31 AM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Skipper]  
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Mary Offline
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In the United States sailing is definitely not a stag thing. There are large numbers of women sailing, but their participation is not across the board. Numbers vary according to the type of sailing being done -- racing or cruising; the type of racing being done -- long-distance or around-the-buoys; and the type of boat.

In monohull racing, for instance, you will see many women participating on boats like the Flying Scot, Thistle, Lightning, Snipe, etc. And you will almost always see women among the crews on the larger monohulls.

There are huge numbers of women who race Sunfish (and that is the largest class in the world as far as numbers of boats). In Florida alone there are a lot of women-only fleets of Sunfish that race regularly.

On the other hand, you will see few women competing on the Laser because most women do not have the weight and strength to handle the boat. Same goes for other very athletic boats like the 49'er and the International 14.

In the beach-cat category, you will see a high participation by women on the Hobie 16, which was designed as a couples boat. And there are a number of excellent two-woman teams that race the Hobie 16. The Formula 18 class is also attracting male-female teams.

However, there are few women participating on the 20-foot beach cats, partly because those boats are so powerful and have such large spinnakers. And you will see very few women participating in long-distance races like the Around Texel and the Worrell 1000.

We always have a large contingent of women at our Hobie Wave Nationals, because it is a small, easy-to-handle, one-person boat.

The A-Class, on the other hand, like the Laser in the monohulls, can be a bit of a handful, even for the men.

There are many women now who have raced around the world, usually as all-female teams or skippering a team or singlehanding, both on monohulls and multihulls.

As far as long-distance cruisers and liveaboards, those are mostly couples or whole families.

There are several very popular and successful women-only sailing schools.

Four of the Olympic sailing events are women-only.

I think that percentagewise in the competitive aspect, probably more women compete in sailing than in most other sports (excluding golf and bowling).

And for all sports, usually you see fewer women than men just because, in general, men have a higher competitive drive than women. It's that testosterone thing.

Interestingly, I am told that at one large junior sailing school in Florida, which has about equal numbers of boys and girls, a lot of the boys drop out when they get old enough to start participating in team sports like football, baseball, basketball, etc., while the girls tend to stay with the sailing.

Unfortunately for the girls, the singlehander boat of choice when kids outgrow the Opti dinghies is the Laser. Works for the boys, who are getting up to about 150-160 lbs. But there does not seem to be a single-hander option for the girls on the racing circuit, so they have to go to a team boat. I imagine they lose a lot of girls, as a result.

Sorry to go on so long about this. That's what happens when a woman answers a question.

#32465 - 04/18/04 08:22 AM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Mary]  
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Quote
Sorry to go on so long about this. That's what happens when a woman answers a question


First of all, why apologize for going on so long? Ain't a forum for'em?(for them questions, answers, comments, points of few )

As to the weight factor, point taken. I can see why certain types of boats are too powerful or too light/small.

As to
Quote
As far as long-distance cruisers and liveaboards, those are mostly couples or whole families.

This is probably where I got my perception. Nine out of ten times when moored alongside some new temp neighbours, whether it is in a harbour or waiting for the bridge to open .. Nine out of ten times, the man is the skipper and the woman just wants to get a tan or has her hands full on the kids.

And I do agree, there are plenty of good female sailors too. Such as for instance Ellen MacArthur who's a lot smaller than me, but a far more experienced sailor. Having sailed larger boats and under worse conditions, than I have up till now and probably for quite some time.

And yes, indeed there are plenty of 'coed' sailing teams, but if there's a women only boat, we (men in general or for instance the European Sports Press) do not expect them to win. Such as in the Volvo Ocean Race, where the 'women-only-boat' kinda hung behind the others all the time and had more of their fair share of (technical) bad luck.

So why is it that we (men) are not surprised when this happens?


Fare (sail) well, greets from Skipper
#32466 - 04/18/04 10:28 AM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Skipper]  
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Mary Offline
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Well, maybe the European sports press is sexist. In these around-the-world races, only one boat is in the lead, and all the others are "behind." So why should an all-woman boat be judged any more critically for being behind than an all-male boat?

And as far as cruising couples/families, the woman on the boat normally is perfectly capable of helming, as, indeed, are the children. That is a different thing entirely from being the "skipper" or "captain." Every boat needs one person designated as the person in command for making decisions, but that has nothing to do with the sailing abilities and tasks of the other people on the boat. Even in racing situations, oftentimes the "skipper" is not on the helm.

My husband and I have done a lot of cruising and done a number of boat deliveries, and we have always alternated watches and time on the helm. But he was always considered the skipper as far as decisionmaking. And that is as it should be -- why should I take the blame if we run aground? Let him take the responsibility.

#32467 - 04/18/04 03:49 PM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Mary]  
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As to the Europese Press being sexist, you're probably right to some degree. On being behind, the tone of voice often is that they (the all women boat) ain't all that bad, considering they are women, and there's still one or two (male) boats that are even slower. Especially during the last Volvo Ocean race this struck me as kinda funny, considering there are still plenty good women sailors out there. Heck, even a whole lot who could kick my.

As to who's the skipper aboard, no argument on whether the woman (or children) are capable of taking the helm. What I meant to say was that it often seems the boat is the guy's toy, while the women 'tag along' for the ride. Women who, if they hadn't been with a sailor-boy wouldn't be on a boat anyway. Women who after an unexpected storm come screaming of off the boat, screaming 'Never ever again'. Women who like sailing for the chance to sunbathe upon deck, except it's so hard to read and hold your glass of chilled wine at the same time when the deck isn't straight.

Agreed, this must be an entirely different sailing crowd than all yee funlovin hardworkin catsailors out here. But you must see these couples/families too. Perhaps I seee them more often, as I'm usually moored in a harbour or a bit off the shore and not at the beach where there's only catsailors, surfers and kiters; the active crowd.

So why is it always the girl who tags along, not the other way round?


Fare (sail) well, greets from Skipper
#32468 - 04/19/04 02:07 AM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Skipper]  
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Mary Offline
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I think you have it backwards. Actually, the girl bought the toy for the guy, and she's just along to protect her investment and make sure he doesn't share his toy with somebody else.

#32469 - 04/19/04 02:53 AM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Mary]  
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LOL


Fare (sail) well, greets from Skipper
#32470 - 04/20/04 02:35 PM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Mary]  
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Michigan
Mary,
I completely agree with you, however when I bought the boat, it was under the agreement that I'd be the only one driving.

#32471 - 04/20/04 04:02 PM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Formula18]  
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Mary Offline
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I've heard that women drivers get lower insurance rates. But I s'pose that's just for cars.

#32472 - 04/22/04 07:01 PM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Mary]  
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Well that's a Catch 22, women's insurance rates are lower because they do less actual driving!


G-Cat 5.7M #583 (sail # currently 100) in Bradenton, FL Hobie 14T
#32473 - 04/22/04 07:11 PM Re: (Why) Is sailing a stag thing ? [Re: Sycho15]  
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Great name for a 22ft-er though. Catch 22.

Sorry I have no other valuable comments. Just wanted to get that off my chest.


Fare (sail) well, greets from Skipper
#32474 - 04/22/04 07:23 PM Women are usually better at the helm [Re: Sycho15]  
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Key Largo, FL and Put-in-Bay, ...
Sorry to say, but women have a much more sensitive feel to the helm. Men seem to want to muscle the boat around while the women sense the boat -- Zen maybe.

But most of us put them in a lesser role, unfortunately.

Trying to make Point with Mary.


Rick

Last edited by RickWhite; 04/22/04 07:24 PM.

Rick White
Catsailor Magazine & OnLineMarineStore.com
www.onlinemarinestore.com
#32475 - 04/23/04 04:18 AM Re: Women are usually better at the helm [Re: RickWhite]  
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Mary Offline
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What do you mean, "Sorry to say"?
No points awarded.

#32476 - 04/23/04 07:52 AM Re: Women are usually better at the helm [Re: Mary]  
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As an unbiased observer....
I think he was trying to say men muscle it too much, and should try to be more like women sometimes, and "feel" the boat more. Which is something good about women.
(I think its a good point and that you should award the point).


G-Cat 5.0 #105 G-Cat 5.0 #4
#32477 - 04/23/04 09:15 AM Re: Women are usually better at the helm [Re: oo7jeep]  
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I must agree with Rick, women indeed 'feel' the boat better.

In order to better feel the boat, there's this one thing regularly do. Okay, it's on a monohull, going considerably slower and surely with lots of the boat IN instead of on the water.

Here's what I do, set a course, keep her steady, trim the sails so they're just perfect and then close my eyes. The trick is of course to be able to sense all the little changes without using your eyes. Listening very carefully to know which ropes tick against what and when you can expect the next wave.

I feel I have gotten a better relationship with my boat, so as to say I understand her better. It may sound weird to some, but I honestly feel I can listen better to her ... perhaps even knowing instantly which rope needs just another nodge even before my the conclusion from my other senses reaches my brains .... phew! hope you know what I mean.

'Sailing blind', I regularly do this for just a few minutes. Again, I can do this cause I'm on a slower monohull and IN not ON the water. Of course, trying to do so on a cat will probably get you in 'hot' water ... just one slip, one split-second and some wave'll tumble you over.

Nevertheless, I feel I have gained a better relationship with my boat, cause of the "blind sailing" exercise. I listen more carefully and she can tell me with just a sigh, a moan or the smallest peep which sail to trim, which rope needs just another nodge.

Now to get to the point of all of this. Of course, if I were a woman, I needn't have to train myself like this. I'd already be able to 'feel' her better.


Fare (sail) well, greets from Skipper
#32478 - 04/23/04 11:17 AM Re: Women are usually better at the helm [Re: Skipper]  
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Want to get a feel for the boat quickly? Race at night. All you have is the wind on your cheek and the hull beneath your tail and a small visible range of ripples on the water. When I was pretty new to all this, I learned more in one night of racing then I had in a whole year.


Jake Kohl
#32479 - 04/23/04 11:48 AM Re: Women are usually better at the helm [Re: Jake]  
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I'm all for night-sailing. Whether it's a clear night, put the autohelm on, just lay upon deck gazing at the stars ... or whether you wanna watch the sunrise, illuminating the sails to colors richer than any emerald or gold, oh what a way to start the day! .... or whether you're out for a rough ride, dark clouds leaving you very little moonlight, maybe some rain or even sleet and snow if you're into that.

Oh, I'm defntly into night sailing. Couldn't agree with you more. It is indeed the very best, either alone, just you and the boat or with close friends, forever after bonded more by this shared experience ....

Or as a quote from Albert Einstein goes
- The sailing ship, the distant view, the lonely walks in autumn, the relative silence, it is paradise.

Well, not really appropriate to night sailing, but the sentiment described is very much the same. Any sentence with sailing ship, relative silence and the words "it is paradise" can carry my approval.


Fare (sail) well, greets from Skipper
#32480 - 04/23/04 01:31 PM Re: Women are usually better at the helm [Re: oo7jeep]  
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Mary Offline
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Quote
As an unbiased observer....
I think he was trying to say men muscle it too much, and should try to be more like women sometimes, and "feel" the boat more. Which is something good about women.
(I think its a good point and that you should award the point).


Of course, it is a good point. But the point is that he was making that point in order to score points with me, and he gets no points for his point because of the way in which he prefaced his point by saying he was sorry to have to say it. Since I am his wife, it is my hard-earned right to deny him points whenever I wish.

And considering how beat up I got doing on-water drills all week in his catamaran seminar, it's going to take him a long time to get ahead on points. However, I DID improve my sensitive, zen-like feel for the boat -- I think it has something to do with bleeding knees and aching muscles.

#32481 - 04/23/04 05:59 PM Re: Sailing with eyes closed [Re: Mary]  
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Mary Offline
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Eyes-closed sailing is a standard drill in all our seminars. Rick thinks it is extremely important for getting a true feel of the boat. He does it himself on the way out the race course at every regatta.

An interesting thing about the eyes-closed drill is that it shows each helmsperson what their natural inclination is -- to pinch or to foot. Once you know what your natural inclination is, you can work to correct it and find the groove when your eyes are open.

When you cannot see where you are going, you have to go by the feel and angle of the wind on your cheek, the sound of the telltales fluttering against the sails, the sound and feel of the waves. If you are on the trapeze, you feel more pressure on the bottoms of your feet as the hull rises.

My only problem with sailing in the eyes-closed drill this week was that it was so relaxing I was afraid I was going to fall asleep.

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