Sailing While Female

Phyllis of Morgan’s Cloud wrote a blog post called “A Reluctant Voyager?”  Please go read it – I’m going to paste my comment below, because I said some things I’ve never addressed on this blog. Phyllis addresses the elements of the sailing lifestyle that she finds difficult.  I was struck by her admission that “Giving up everything familiar and taking on this challenging lifestyle had major ramifications: it affected my self-esteem, my sense of myself as an independent and competent person, and produced feelings of insecurity…” I didn’t really address that part directly in my comment, but I will say more about it below. I’d be interested in hearing about how these anxieties play out in real life. John addresses it to some degree in the first comment by saying that Phyllis handles herself and the boat when the chips are down, but how does it feel? I’m thinking about the articles I’ve enjoyed so much, written by John, about taming the wimp within. If John has anxieties and deals with them to perform the necessaries and Phyllis has anxieties and deals with them to perform the necessaries…how are those two situations different? Do they differ only internally or is it behavioral as well? I guess refusing to dock is an example of these anxieties playing out differently. In general, though, I think a lot of wives who take the first mate role are undervaluing their contributions. There’s a t-shirt a friend had. It said, “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels!” I know that you’re unlikely to wear heels on board, but how about cooking underway in a stuffy cabin while the captain enjoys the fresh air? My husband started sailing in his teens and, in his early twenties, was first mate on a[…]

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