Fortunately, the days are long gone when women on board (as well as clergymen, by the way) were viewed with suspicion by seafarers. According to superstition, both brought bad luck in equal measure. Successful female sailors such as Isabelle Joschke show that equality has long prevailed on the water: exactly four weeks after the first racing yachts, the 44-year-old German-Frenchwoman arrived at the destination port of the Vendee Globe in January. And nevertheless it applies so some to consider on board, if “you” as inexperienced Mitseglerin on board with hand to put on – Tipps of the SeaHelp editorship for the successful charter trip.
“Woman on board – luck is gone” (unless they are “carved out of wood and attached under the jib”) or similar macho nonsense can be heard even today sporadically at the harbor snack (mostly older beery men). But contrary to this traditional superstition, women were already on board in the past, such as the pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, albeit still disguised as men. It was also common in the past on warships for women to accompany their men.
Women dressed up as men to get on board
Women having to dress up as men to get on board has long been history. Many female regatta sailors have gained notoriety for their successes in recent years. Tracy Edwards is one of them, skipper of the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race (now The Ocean Race). Isabelle Autissier became the first woman to sail a round-the-world sailing race alone.
Ellen MacArthur won the Route du Rhum transatlantic regatta in 1998; she finished second in the Vendée Globe in 2001 – as a twenty-four-year-old. Shirley Robertson is one of the most successful Olympic sailors. Samantha Davies sailed the Vendée Globe, among others, and she was most recently skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race. The list could go on and on.
What should be considered when a husband and wife want to sail together in harmony?
And yet, there are a few things to keep in mind on board if husband and wife want to go sailing together in harmony. “Basic rule number one (must) be that the on-board woman must learn and be able to do everything that the man can do,” says, for example, Professor Dr. Michael A. Stadler in his guidebook Psychology on Board (Delius Klasing). This concerns the sail technology exactly the same as the knowledge of engine and radio equipment. It is to be noted: this applies naturally also in reverse!
Stadler’s observation: “Most couples who sail together for a long time have a wonderful relationship. On board, they are a unit and almost exclusively relate to each other.” After all, on a yacht, optimal results are only achieved together. To ensure stress-free coexistence of women and men on board, he set out ten golden rules:
Ten golden rules for stress-free coexistence on board
The psychologist recommends that men should not compliment women solely on being women, as this creates inequality. Women should be treated the same as male crewmates; they should not be spared, but they should not be overburdened either. Women should also not be confined to traditional roles. The female co-sailor should learn as much as possible, especially engine, sailing maneuvers, and emergency calls. And – actually quite self-evident: man should not flirt with a fellow sailor, if the partner is on board.
His recommendation for women: female crew members had better not give advice to the skipper (man) in dicey situations. Women should also “not behave in a protective manner.” But they should also not be so (over-) emancipated that they don’t do the work in the galley sometimes. In the event of conflicts, female crew members on board should behave with restraint and not take sides too quickly. Finally: it is also true for women that they should better not flirt with strangers when their own partner is on board.
No taboo: sex on board
Also for sex on board the psychologist has a tip (for both sexes) ready: the protection of the intimate area on board is after that task of the fellow sailors, but also of the loving couple itself. Stadler: “All too publicly carried love proofs do not produce with each Mitsegler joyful feelings”. Situations in which a recreational skipper cannot quite decide between two beloved ones are downright dangerous. Jealousy is an “exceptionally strong destructive motivation,” the consequences of which are shown in the film The Skipper (1990, with Jürgen Prochnow).