Can The Easily Panicked Be Taught To Sail?

Jules

Super Anarchist
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Punta Gorda
I've got a friend I've taken out exactly three times.  Every time we've been out she panics at some point.  But when we get back to the dock she always says how much fun it was and how she wants me to teach her more.

Personally, I don't think she's learned anything other than I will always do whatever has to be done to stop her from freaking out.

She frequently bugs me to go out again and I always find a way not to go.  I've even told her she has to overcome panicking but all that comes from that is the promise she won't.

Is it possible for her to learn to sail without me wanting to throw her overboard?

 

Sail4beer

Usual suspect
10,366
3,673
Toms River,NJ
Maybe she needs to grasp the concept of sailing on a dinghy and then set foot on tour boat when her confidence is up and panic attacks are gone

 
Senator Seditious Maximus said:
Well, we honestly cannot offer you our hallowed opinion without you first respecting forums decorum.  You must first post of picture of her tits.  After careful analysis of the photographic evidence, we shall render our mutual mature opinions to answer your question.  Now shoo and get that evidence posted.
While you are waiting, go clean your room like your mom asked you to.

 

Snaggletooth

SA's Morrelle Compasse
34,739
5,869
Sette the condintiones upfronte, if youre frendes wantes go oute she needes modifye herre bahaiviore.  Improovemente = rewarde, no change = no chance.

:)

 

Windward

Super Anarchist
4,714
774
Is it possible to replicate the "panic" moment?

Like a flogging headsail?

Can you repeat the moment a few times after a pause in between to reflect on the fact that the panic is not justified?

rinse repeat?

 

alphafb552

Super Anarchist
2,912
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Fryslan boppe!
You need to figure out what situations cause those panic sessions. Then next time, before you go out, you explain to her what is happening on the boat at that point and what you are doing to return the boat to a non-panic inducing state. Then you can teach her to take those actions herself, which will give her a feeling of control that will counter her panic reflex.

For entertainment, sorry RESEARCH purposes, having the situation recorded on a go pro and shared here will enable us to further counsel you in this matter, how to resolve it and if she is worth the effort!

 

Parma

Super Anarchist
3,009
406
here
I've got a friend I've taken out exactly three times.  Every time we've been out she panics at some point.  But when we get back to the dock she always says how much fun it was and how she wants me to teach her more.

Personally, I don't think she's learned anything other than I will always do whatever has to be done to stop her from freaking out.

She frequently bugs me to go out again and I always find a way not to go.  I've even told her she has to overcome panicking but all that comes from that is the promise she won't.

Is it possible for her to learn to sail without me wanting to throw her overboard?
No. Some people just freak out. What I hate is when they go "wuhhhhh" like it's dangerous over 12knots of breeze or 15 degrees of heel.

The most beneficial solution is to take them out in sort of windy conditions for a 3-4 day sail so they get used to it, but don't expect their comfort level to remain high for more than a few days.

Personal experience, YMMV.

 

shaggy

Super Anarchist
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Co
Let her drive..  Not knowing anything and just sitting there doing nothing holding a beer would freak anyone out.  Dad used to give the newbies the wheel once we got out of the harbor.  "Keep her into the wind" The look of utter WTF on their faces was priceless, but after maneuvering the boat whilst all 3 sails were put up(Ketch), fear was gone.  Obviously myself, my mom or someone that could actually drive was really close by to "usher" the newbie in the right direction.  

 

Innocent Bystander

Super Anarchist
11,749
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Lower Southern MD
Some folks just don’t get past it. Took some friends out one summer day a s had a great sail but noticed a typical Chesapeake afternoon squall line coming so wrapped things up and headed toward the harbor. Turns out one of the women was deathly afraid of thunderstorms. Hide in the closet with the dog afraid.  She panicked and “had to get ashore” but refused to go below. Her husband was useless. Against my better judgement, we entered the harbor and made a crash landing in the slip in 25-30 knot gusts just as the squall hit so she could run for cover. 
 

Never took her out again. 

 

IStream

Super Anarchist
10,925
3,101
Before my now-wife ever went sailing, she was a bit afraid of it even though she swims like a fish. We were going out on a friend's small cat and I'd told her to be prepared to capsize, which kind of freaked her out. Once we got out there, we started out gently and as her confidence built, we did some capsize drills. She learned that it was very difficult to get hurt and we had no problem righting the boat even from a full turtle, so all her fears about getting injured or being unable to get back to shore subsided. She still knew that there were certain ways you could get hurt, like hitting the mast on the way into the water, but they were unlikely and avoidable to a certain extent. After this, she become completely enthusiastic. 

Extrapolating to your situation, I'd suggest sitting down with your friend and replaying all the situations that led her to panic, trying to find out what specific situations and fears drive your friend's reaction. If you can identify them and then confront them in a controlled manner (e.g. "okay, now we're going to gybe so watch out for the boom", etc) so she can turn an irrational fear into a rational one, you might be able to get past the panic reaction.

 
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TheDragon

Super Anarchist
3,125
1,075
East central Illinois
Good question! My Mom grew up in Scotland and never learned to swim. My Dad loved the water. He had a small rowboat and then a laser. My Mom hated both because she was scared.

On the other hand, sometimes it is idiosyncratic. My wife has sailed all her life on dinghies, but when we graduated to keelboats she was suddenly uncomfortable in strong conditions. I still can't get her to drive when the wind builds, seems she just doesn't want to handle a bigger boat in strong conditions.

 

Chris in Santa Cruz CA

Super Anarchist
6,447
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earths surface
First time out can really goof people up it its too intense and they have zero experience.

Beer can races are actually good first time events for folks if they can stand in the companionway and its not too windy. They can observe, grab beers, help pull in spinnakers. Additionally being around a number of folks who are totally comfortable and clearly in control of events and having fun is infectious.

Totally 2nd the driving suggestion, especially upwind when you can give them the "fly the telltales" task or even tell them to try to make the inner telltales fly up a little when its flat water and then do the same with the outer tell tales when waves have to be negotiated even if thats not the fastest for your boat but you get the picture. You also immediately learn a lot about their basic nature and ability to take in information and react to new experiences.

 
Is it possible to replicate the "panic" moment?

Like a flogging headsail?

Can you repeat the moment a few times after a pause in between to reflect on the fact that the panic is not justified?

rinse repeat?
Just set up and do an epic wipeout with her on the bow so she gets a good view. Then she will see that it is no big deal and be good to go. Or her fear will be justified

 
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RogerC

New member
41
17
Canada
With most people, systematic desensitization will work, eventually.  Turns out people cannot panic while being very bored.

Just how long it might take, and whether either of you want to wait that long, I cannot say.

 

apophenia

Anarchist
I've got a friend I've taken out exactly three times.  Every time we've been out she panics at some point.  But when we get back to the dock she always says how much fun it was and how she wants me to teach her more.

Personally, I don't think she's learned anything other than I will always do whatever has to be done to stop her from freaking out.

She frequently bugs me to go out again and I always find a way not to go.  I've even told her she has to overcome panicking but all that comes from that is the promise she won't.

Is it possible for her to learn to sail without me wanting to throw her overboard?
You've given her a safe way to have the shit scared out of her. She wants more. It could be as simple as that.

Maybe talk through sailing with her - what are her goals, and what does she enjoy about sailing? If she just wants to be scared, she can be rail meat. If she wants to learn sailing and really lean into the speed junkie thing, then teach her foredeck, send her up the mast, go sailing in big wind, etc.

 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
45,305
10,133
Eastern NC
Some folks just don’t get past it. Took some friends out one summer day a s had a great sail but noticed a typical Chesapeake afternoon squall line coming so wrapped things up and headed toward the harbor. Turns out one of the women was deathly afraid of thunderstorms. Hide in the closet with the dog afraid.  She panicked and “had to get ashore” but refused to go below. Her husband was useless. Against my better judgement, we entered the harbor and made a crash landing in the slip in 25-30 knot gusts just as the squall hit so she could run for cover. 
 

Never took her out again. 
Reminds me of an incident from my ill-spent youth... some group or another gathered for a picnic, and of course the kids all flocked together for some kind of mischief. In this case, I found a slimy pond behind the trees which had an old equally slimy and leaky rowboat. Playing around in even the sorriest boat was always better IMHO, so I started paddling it around the pond and soon was taking other kids for rides in it. After coaxing a pretty & well dressed girl into the boat, we paddle around a while and suddenly she looks down at the water in the bilge and starts shrieking about her new shoes getting RUINED!!!

So she jumps out of the boat!

Fortunately the pond was only about knee deep on a 10 year old, which none had any idea of before she jumped in. She very quickly made it ashore and disappeared in the direction of the grown-ups. I was used to being in trouble so I just shrugged it off.

Some people, don't even bother to take them out in boats. They will NEVERr fuckin' get it.

FB- Doug

 

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