Sailing May Not Be a “Full Family” Activity After All

June 26, 2011


Actually, my wife suggested that we go out, and I thought — if she’s asking, I should take advantage of it and go out.  I decided to make it a family activity, and the kids though a little reluctantly, went along.  We got to the marina, and promptly had the same problem with the engine tilt I had the day before.  We spent about 15 minutes, with my son lifting it while I was on the dock looking.  Finally, my wife twisted the engine just a little bit and it went down.  Her theory is that it needs to be perfectly straight or else it won’t go down.  I’ll keep that in mind for later.


Getting out of the slip was actually very easy.  I went forward to release the bow lines and must have pulled ever so slightly, because the boat began moving forward.  I went aft to the engine and tiller and when we were almost clear of the slip, I turned us into the fairway and toward the canal.  It was textbook.


Sailing wasn’t so great.  My son took the opportunity to be 16 years old today, sullen and completely uninterested in anything going on.  My daughter was a little better, but still wasn’t much engaged.  We had some of the same problems we always have — not moving smoothly or quickly enough through tacks to avoid being in irons, which happened a few times today.  We did get going on a couple of occasions then we saw the little sailboats from the sail club beating us.  I kept telling my wife we have a larger boat, as much or more weight in it, and an engine that drags.  I don’t think we were any worse than they were, it’s just a pride and ego thing.


I finally lost it when my wife kept undoing her pfd because it’s “hot.”  One thing I just don’t want is for someone to fall off the boat.  And given the lack of wind, and the surly attitude of my son, I just called it a day and lowered/ furled the sails.  Of course, on the way in, the wind started again, and I was tempted to keep sailing, but we had been out for a couple of hours, and we were getting hot.  My daughter became her usual charming self (no — really charming) and motored us almost to the breakwater.  Getting into the slip was painless.  I seem to be getting the hang of it.  My son went forward to keep us from hitting the pilings, and I don’t know if it was somewhat better driving on my part, but in any case, we got in beautifully, and were able to get out of the marina quickly and easily.


Now, I may be the problem which I acknowledge.  Having said that, I’ve had great sails with my wife, with my son and with my daughter.  And I’ve had a couple of crappy sails with the entire family.  The point is, when we go out with all four of us, all the buttons that cause issues at home just get transferred to the boat.  Let’s take my son:  he was a royal pain today, yet when we were out together, it was like a breath of fresh air.  And today’s foray won’t make anyone more likely to want to go out sailing, but if I go out with any person individually, we have a great time and great conversation.  So, I may just keep sailing to two people at a time (or singlehanded for me) just to let people enjoy sailing at their own pace.  Only when two or more people ask about all of us going out will I broach the subject.  So, my wife suggesting it would be a good thing for all of us to do wouldn’t be enough.  It has to be her and my son saying it, or her and my daughter saying, or both of the kids suggesting it that we all go out.  Perhaps a little manipulative, but why shouldn’t we make it fun for all of us, which may have to be not as a group but in a series of couples.




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