Finding a Sailing Mate – SailNet Community

15 Jul

Still single-handing after all these years? Ever wonder why you’re single-handing? Whether your goal is a traveling companion or a crew to help split up the watch system, now is the time to stop your solitary existence.

Finding a companion isn’t that difficult. Many people opt out of sailing for insanely silly reasons. They think it’s too dangerous. They think it’s uncivilized. They think it’s boring.

As a sailor, you’re probably laughing right now. Dangerous? (OK, maybe a little bit—but that’s a situational assessment.) But cruising is never uncivilized or boring. And with the right crew, it’s safer than sailing alone, there’s always good conversation on hand, and all things are possible.

So why do your friends avoid your eyes when you bring up the subject of a sailing partner? For every friend who has asked me if I take showers on the boat, five other friends have asked me “Don’t you get bored out there?” or “What do you do all day?” (Hmm, maybe sail the boat?!)

So, here are some quick tips on how to entice your day-sailing companions
into a full-blown season of cruising.

Sharing the adventure is half the fun. Let’s hope this solitary figure is on his way to a cruiser potluck.

Don’t yell. Ever.    Whether you’re yelling out of excitement or yelling to be heard over the engine or the wind, there are more effective ways to communicate. Control your excitement, cut back on the engine, or motion the person you want to address to come back to the cockpit so they can hear you. Yelling is uncouth and unnecessary. You’re not going to make any friends, either.Don’t scare your pals.    If the wind picks up, don’t heel the boat over on its ear and yell “Yee-haw!” Non-sailors don’t get it. They don’t know that this is the fun of sailing. They just think the boat is off balance, so something must be wrong. Start slowly, or you’ll overwhelm your companions on their first day out.

“If the wind picks up, don’t heel the boat over on its ear and yell “Yee-haw!” Non-sailors don’t get it.”

Keep everyone comfortable    If you want to be considered a gracious host, you’ll have to check in with your crew once in a while. Make sure they’re toasty warm, dry, hydrated, and well fed. Yes, this may mean that you have to up everyone’s rations to two sea biscuits and some honey (and, may I dare add, something exotic, like hummus?) But your friends will thank you for it. After they finish thanking you for the extra jacket, the homemade lemonade, and the wonderful lunch, your buddies will be hooked on sailing.

Be hygienic    This sounds too rude to mention, but people honestly think that sailors don’t bathe more than once a week. We all know that sailors try to bathe at least twice (and sometimes thrice) weekly, but that just goes to show you what the general public knows.

Seriously, if you have a high-maintenance, needs-a-shower-every-morning, needs-to-blow-dry-the-hair kind of person on board, wean them off of their high-faluting and fuse-blowing ways gradually. Stop in at a marina or row your friend to the public showers every day for a start, then taper off slowly. If you have a shower on board, give your pal some privacy and don’t complain about the abundant water consumption. Well, not for the first month, anyway.

Give everyone a little privacy    After the first day of getting cozy with all your crew, you’ll notice people drifting away from each other. Don’t fight it. That’s just what people do. They take “time-outs” and privacy breaks from each other. They read books, practice yoga, stare at the sunset, or take naps. You haven’t done anything wrong if your mates stop talking to each other for a few hours. By dinner time, everyone will be laughing and joking excitedly as they hover around the galley and wait for another wonderful creation to appear.

Proof that married couples can sail together. Russel and Margo Zink have been sailing together for more than 20 years.

Don’t begrudge small cravings    An introductory weekend of sailing is not the time to wean people off coffee, chocolate, or cigarettes. Don’t even try.

Let everyone socialize    If you’re intent on keeping a companion for a longer cruise, make sure this friend of yours has a little time off the boat to call friends, write letters, or engage in “coffee tawlk” (gossip) with others ashore or newly found friends on other boats every couple of days. If you don’t get off the boat and have other people to aggravate, you’ll start aggravating each other.

Relax!    OK, skipper, this is supposed to be fun, right? So why does it matter if every doo-hickey on the boat is called by its “proper” name? Why does it matter if we’re sailing into the wind or off the wind?

Sure, after a few months, you might hope that your first mate could tell a dinghy from a doorstop and a sheet from a halyard, but don’t overwhelm your sailing partner with too much information right away. When the winch handle goes overboard (oops!) and the spinnaker gets keel-hauled just grit your teeth and smile. Who knows? If it’s terrible, you can always go back to single-handing.

via Finding a Sailing Mate – SailNet Community.


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