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Old 09-10-2017, 08:49 PM   #1
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So here we are approachin' ...

the Oceanside Breakwater from the north. I ask the Sicilian to take the con while I go below to kill the A/P. Come back up to the flybridge and she does not give up the helm. Let's see...south facin' harbor entrance with 5 foot swells on our port quarter. I stand back and observe as she keeps 100 yards off the entrance, goes past it, makes a turn to port, lines up smack down the center and enters. Never sayin' a word, she backs down both throttles and gives me the wheel while she goes below to lay out the fenders and get the lines ready.
Later that evenin' over dinner at the Jolly Roger, I casually mentioned that she brought a 10 and 1/2 ton boat through the Oceanside Harbor entrance and she says, "I did didn't I."
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:58 PM   #2
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Since you are cruisers, maybe this would be in order. Be sure to have the appropriate bells and whistles when you demote her from "Admiral"

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Old 09-10-2017, 09:26 PM   #3
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Nothing quite as satisfying as being deeply proud of my wife's boating skills. For me it was the moment we were coming into Essex Island Marina in a 30 knot west wind. They put us in a transient slip on the east/river side of the island. I get in past the pilings, turn broadside to the wind, and bam, of course the stern starts swinging away from the dock. Two teenage dock guys helping us in. The wind is whipping, the marina flags are snapping, and I could see the guys look at my wife standing on the stern, then look at the line she's holding in a coil and expected her to "throw like a girl" against the wind and almost certainly plop the line in the water (and hopefully not into the props). One of them even started to run around to the opposite finger to push us off if we turned sideways in a two-boat slip. Instead my horse-wrangling, cattle roping Wisconsin farm girl wife throws the line against the wind and nails the dock guy right in the sternum with the coil, as if he had a bullseye on his t-shirt. He was so startled it was hilarious to watch. Toasted her skill at the Griswold Inn that night over dinner.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:07 PM   #4
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Nice! Kudos.
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:38 AM   #5
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I tip me hat to your Admiral sir on a job well done!

Cheers.

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Old 09-11-2017, 10:33 AM   #6
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Trying to encourage my admiral. I know she's perfectly capable of stepping up. She asked me to explain how I maneuver and dock the boat using the twins and no rudder. I say "I can't explain, you just have to do it and learn; that's what I did". Not a satisfactory answer for her. I should confess that I really don't know what I'm doing; have only two seasons experience with the boat, but seem to get us in and out of slips and narrow passageways, windy or not, w/o tagging anybody and seldom tagging a piling. I've never dared to try backing into a slip, which is just as well since we don't wish to be stern-to-the-dock anyway.

She never docked the sailboats, either.

I need help! She THINKS she needs help, too.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:57 PM   #7
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That might be a harder hill to climb. My wife is great with lines and fending off, but no matter how many times I tell her twins are like driving a skid loader, she doesn't buy it. I even tried the old "you need to know this in case I drop dead of a heart attack at the helm." Her response was that if I drop dead she'll have no use for a boat anyway, so it might as well motor into a rocky shore and she'll just climb off and walk home.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:09 PM   #8
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If you want to teach your wife how to dock with twins, borrow a zero turn lawnmower and some traffic cones. It won't make you an expert in docking, but it's a pretty simple safe way to understand the principles of maneuvering with twins.

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Old 09-11-2017, 08:21 PM   #9
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The Coast Guard Auxiliary has a "Suddenly in Command" course tailored for the non-boater distaff side.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:09 PM   #10
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DHeck..... it might help to remember that different people have different learning processes and comfort zones. Some people need the theory and lecture before grabbing the helm...and some want to grab the helm and learn as they go. Either she has to adapt to your teaching style....or you have to adapt to her learning style, and since you have more to gain......
Sometime when you are in the middle of no where, straighten the rudder, iddle both engines down, and have her take over. Maybe get her to see if she can get it between two lobster pot buoys or something with a very high chance of success....

Or...as an alternate approach....get someone else to teach her. It doesn't seem logical, but a total stranger may have better luck because there's a very different dynamic. Any mistakes she makes will be left at the lesson, and not brought home. I've had other scuba instructors ask me to teach their family members and it works out great. Not because I'm a better instructor, but just because all I am to them is an instructor...no carry over to other relationship issues to worry about.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:27 AM   #11
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Wifey B: Hard for me to understand those not jumping into it but I know they are hesitant and some not interested. First time Hubby, actually hubby to be at the time, took me on his boat on the lake, it was just a very few minutes before I smiled and asked, "Can I drive it?" I was hooked and wanted to be able to do it as well as him so it was practice and him teaching me. I love being a Captain and taking my turn. I never had a question I wanted to learn and when we moved to FLL and decided to go to school I was all in. I don't do it to prove anything, I do it because I love love love love love it.
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Old 09-12-2017, 07:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Sometime when you are in the middle of no where, straighten the rudder, iddle both engines down, and have her take over. Maybe get her to see if she can get it between two lobster pot buoys or something with a very high chance of success....
This. A weekend outing which is designed ahead of time to be nothing but maneuvering practice, over and over and over, in/around floats, throw cushions, bouys, etc. will work wonders.
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:43 AM   #13
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My wife has pulled us alongside crab trap floats in some pretty tight situations with onshore winds where there was little room for error, yet she prefers not to dock the boat. I'm confident she could pull it off if she had to, but hoping she doesn't need to!
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:24 AM   #14
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Thanks for all your kind words and encouragement!

We do, indeed, have different learning processes and comfort zones. And it's a tough issue. I try to increase her envelope a little at a time. She's perfectly competent driving the boat, sailing a sailboat, driving the RIB, seeing and finding marks, holding a course, good at map/chart reading and visualizing the real world from the charted, good at gunkholing and wayfinding (on land), good at driving amongst other boats. We've done a little of the slow operation of the boat out where there are no targets.

She did a very excellent three hours at the helm with steep Delaware Bay chop and 20+kt gusts from the port bow. Boat was rolling pretty freely, spray over the bows, furniture sliding around, lots of rattling and banging from stuff in cabinets. But not docking...
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:31 AM   #15
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I've been trying to get my wife behind the wheel more. I've gotten close to splitting time 50/50 with her this year. With the express we had for years she did not like handling the boat on plane. With the 8kt trawler she has been doing great. I'm at the helm when we drop anchor, however she is now behind the wheel 100% of the time when we pick it up.

The only thing she isn't comfortable with (won't do yet) is docking. I'm having a very hard time keeping my mouth shut and letting her find her own way. I have to be very aware that corrections and advise are perceived as criticism. I am deathly afraid of turning it into a negative experience.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:34 PM   #16
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She asked me to explain how I maneuver and dock the boat using the twins and no rudder. I say "I can't explain, you just have to do it and learn; that's what I did". .
Here's something she might relate to (and I'm not trying to be sexist). Have her stand with both hands on a shopping cart. To make a left turn she moves the right hand forward. To make a left U-turn, she moves the left hand backwards toward her body and the right hand forward.

My wife's point of taking over the helm was on a return trip from Portland, OR. We were coming out of Portland, had passed through Bonneville Lock and I found I couldn't keep my eyes open from lack of sleep.

I asked her to take over while I grabbed 40 winks on the seat behind the helm seat telling her I'd be right there if she needed anything. She did, and when I woke up 2 hours later she had brought us through an area of the Columbia River that had lots of turns, buoys to watch, other boat traffic, and she did great.


She has backed the boat into the slip twice with me standing next to her and she did well, but she lacks confidence in her ability. She knows that in a real emergency she can take over and handle the boat, and that's fine with both of us.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:51 PM   #17
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...She has backed the boat into the slip twice with me standing next to her and she did well, but she lacks confidence in her ability...
Oh heck, I've been driving my own big(ger) boats since 2011 and I'm still anxious every time I put the boat back in the slip - and probably always will be.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:35 PM   #18
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I had an utterly BRILLIANT idea! (Surely someone else has beaten me to it!)

We need a qualified and skilled computer nerd who is also a boat nut. This person should be tapped to wire up a pair of shifter-throttles with a pair of engine panels, a computer with a four huge screen display arranged around a 'cockpit', video of several docking and mooring opportunities. Soundtrack and panels could be appropriately programmed with idiot lights, tach, screeches and curses (of the other half and docklizards), crunching noises etc.

The finished product would be a simulator similar, but obviously simpler, to those readily available for amateur (and professional) airplane pilots.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:53 PM   #19
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DHeckrotte,

A boat sim should be easy to make and would certainly help a lot of us.

My admiral has the desire to operate the boat, but won't take it solo. I prefer she docks it while I do the lines. We're close to getting there. We've both taken lessons and will probably always continue that... just to keep polished and learn a few new things.

And we've both hit the dock a bit harder than we wanted to.... part of the learning thing.

She's also a pilot and dishwasher. Very skilled.
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:04 PM   #20
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Actually... There are several available when you Google for 'em:

Welcome to The Boat Docker – The Boat Docker
Games : BoatUS Foundation
Boating Safety Virtual Trainer, Virtual Driver Interactive
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/park...799348306?mt=8
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ktheboat&hl=en
Dock a boat at the pier, train harbor maneuvers: Here's an app for that. - Hafenskipper

The obvious issue with these is the realistic interface. I certainly am all too capable of mixing throttle and shifter; or revving an engine that's not in gear; happily not yet putting an engine in gear that's already revved. Mentally spazzing.
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