Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.
I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!
Saturday, 19 February 2011
Women at the tiller.
I wrote a post the other day, which spoke about women at the tiller and how I thought that more women should learn how to operate and manoeuvre the boat. It seems that I am not a lone in this.
I know of many lone women boater’s, who are excellent boatwomen. Infact they could teach some men a thing or two. I feel that many women are put off from taking the tiller because they are scared of the size of the boat, or that they will get shouted at if they do something wrong, or they just do not have the courage to take the tiller of something that could potentially kill someone or damage something. If you are a liveaboard, continuous cruiser, then as a woman you should be able to operate the boat.
What would you do if your partner or husband suddenly fell ill whilst at the tiller?
Would you know how to moor the boat up or get it out of a sticky situation?
For some woman they may steer away from learning to operate the boat, because their husband or partner shows no patience when teaching them anything. We all know this happens when you learn to drive a car with a husband and partner. So when learning to drive a car you take lessons with a driving instructor. It is no different when wanting to learn how to operate a boat; you can take a helmsman’s course, where you will be taught all you need to know. There are 1 day, 2 day or 3 days courses out there, depending on your knowledge or lack of knowledge on your boat and how to handle it. Come on ladies do not be scared of your boat, get out there and take the tiller.
I was a failure at driving a car. First my ex-husband tried to teach me. He is not my ex because of the driving lessons :0). That is a whole different long story. I then took lessons with an instructor, but that did not work either. I was told I would end up killing someone, when I failed to stop at a junction. In my defence I should say I was 7 months pregnant at the time, which turns out not to be a good time to learn to drive, not just because I was the size of a house, but because my hormones were totally in overdrive. I ended up getting out of the car and falling to pieces. I never tried again and I do not regret it at all, because we do not have a car since living on the canal. I am fortunate that I do have a patient teacher on the canal and he is Keith. Keith was taught by a working boatman who was born and bought up on the boats, so I feel very happy with Keith teaching me the skills to operate the boat safely. He never gets impatient with me and is a very calm person when it comes to giving instruction. This I realise is not the same in every partnership and if you do not have the same sort of partner then a helmsman’s course maybe just what you need. When I take the tiller, I feel very relaxed with being taught things by Keith. I still have many things to learn and one would say you never actually stop learning. I do now feel that if something should happen to Keith whilst we are on the move, I could take over and get us to a safe place to moor.
Everything with learning about boating should be taken a step at a time. I know some women who are scared of going through tunnels. This is not something that bothers me, but if it is one of your pet hates, then take it a step at a time. Sit at the fore-end of the boat with someone for a few minutes each time before hiding in the boat and hopefully in time you will be able to enjoy the tunnel experience. You should then be able to steer the boat through a tunnel as well without having a panic attack. There is nothing about boating I am scared off. Immediately I stepped on to the first boat I embraced everything about it. I want to learn all there is to know. I do of course realise that boating is not for every woman and some are only doing it because it is their husband or partner’s thing. But as I
liveaboard and continually cruise I feel I need to know all there is to know, this also includes how to service the engine and generator, change the stern gear packing (I took a course). It also pays to know a little about electrics and plumbing, because in the end you can save yourself a fortune.
My challenge to the ladies on the cut is if you have not done it yet, take the tiller from your husband or partner and learn how to operate your boat.