2013-08-22 “It’s your boat too”

An open letter to the Woman’s Group of the Pentagon Sailing Club:

When Annette and I made the commitment to learn to sail, we also promised we would learn to do this in lock-step. Meaning our education and experience was going to be equal. As time has progressed and experience increased we have learned some jobs are better handled by one of us though we each maintain proficiency.

I have no idea how prevalent or not the following is in the “club.” Many times on the docks we see a boat getting underway or coming in where it’s the female who is handling lines while the male provides direction (sometimes loudly) from behind the helm. As the woman struggles and the man becomes frustrated it seems there must be a better way. We see this all the time and it makes me crazy. 

Something that works for us on Magnolia is that under “most” circumstances at “Sea & Anchor” my wife, Annette, handles the helm while I work the decks and lines as required. I am no giant and Annette is no weakling, but for us it plays to our individual strengths than the other way around.


Another tool in our arsenal is “Marriage Savers.” These are inexpensive, geeky-looking headset walkie-talkies that we wear during all “sea & anchor” evolutions. It gives us a way to communicate while barely speaking above a whisper. They are an excellent supplement to only hand signals. There are no “loud” voices which greatly reduces stress in an already stressful part of sailing.

As for the title of this post, I wish I could say I came up with the above on my own, but it is actually the title of a book, It’s Your Boat Too: A Woman’s Guide to Greater Enjoyment on the Water by Suzanne Giesemann.  I recommend you  read it and then have your spouse read it too because it is a very educational book for both men and women. A strange coincidence, the first sailboat Annette and I were ever on was Suzanne’s and Ty’s sailboat, Liberty. We actually hold them responsible for getting this snowball rolling and those other two on Second Sally for making us somewhat capable and less dangerous to ourselves and those around us!!!!

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