Sailing with Mom

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Sailing with Mom

Postby tomodda » Wed Jun 23, 2021 4:32 pm

Hi Folks:

Just wanted to share a story of my latest daysail and some lessons learned. I had a lovely sail last Saturday... up to 12 kt winds, 90 degrees, full sun, nice warm weather. Even better, this was my first sail with my regular crew in almost two years, so glad we were able to get together again. Was a major milestone for him as well, because he brought his Mom along, something he's been wanting to do for ages. She used to enjoy sailing very much 30+ years ago, but between living in Texas for most of her married life, then gradual dementia, and now nursing home... well, she hasn't been on the water in way too long.

I was worried, of course, about what her physical abilities would be at 85ish years old, and her mental capability to be a good (and safe!) passenger, etc. As it turned out, no problem! She visibly perked up once she was out on the water, wind in our sails, even took the helm for a bit. My other concern was where to sit her. Usually for wives and sweethearts, I ask them to sit on the thwart, facing to the lee (down), and swap sides at each tack. That would be too much for her. To my great surprise, what worked out was sitting her all the way aft, at the end of the bench on one side, inside of the swing of the tiller. She was so light that it didn't affect our trim at all (OK, I scooched myself forward a bit to counterbalance). I was also worried that she'd not like being on the lee side when we got gusts and heeled more, but no.. she enjoyed the whole experience. And yes, I made sure to keep the communications going.. "Are you OK? Having fun? Need anything? This is your day, tell us what to do. You still good?" etc. All was well, only thing she needed was a bit more padding.... my wooden benches are HARD, old bones aren't that well padded, so she was feeling it. We set her up with extra cushions to sit on and a spare lifejacket to lean back against, making a little "armchair" for her in the stern, and then she was fine, snug and happy. We also took a break.. beached the boat, went swimming, ate lunch... which helped keep things loose for her. We had to do a bit of insisting on a few points... It was a hot day, we made sure to keep her and ourselves hydrated. The sun was strong, we made sure to keep her covered, hat on head, towel covering her legs, sunscreen. But again, no problem, just had to doublecheck and make sure all was well.

So, there you go. Sailing with Mom. Was a strange combination of sailing with a child who you want to protect/keep safer and sailing with a wife/sweetheart who you want to keep happy. Not that you don't want to keep EVERYONE safe, but you trust that an adult can watch out for themselves. As always, communications was key. Keep talking, keep asking how she's doing, what she wants/needs, what she's thinking and experiencing. She says she had fun and was so happy to be out on the water again. We're all looking forward to next time.
tomodda
 
Posts: 586
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:04 am

Re: Sailing with Mom

Postby GreenLake » Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:57 pm

What a cool trip!

Having different passengers really adds something. (I've had all generations on my boat).

Glad for you that you were blessed with moderate wind conditions.

I find that I'm applying a sliding scale of expectations/trust based on how I see people react to the boat and conditions. I don't even think about that consciously any more. You never know, until you observe, what people can do.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: Sailing with Mom

Postby tomodda » Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:23 pm

Thank you for underlining that you never know till you try it, and people are more capable than you'd think. I'm just happy to see, once again, that sailing can bring joy. Makes all the blood, sweat, and tears worth it!
tomodda
 
Posts: 586
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:04 am


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