Single-handing and relationships
17 February 2013 | HHN
Ko Barrett: swells
I've been reading blogs by single-handers that were collected by RunningRabbit on the Cruiser's Forum. She was kind enough to include a post of mine. It's got me thinking about intention, growth and fulfillment in sailing and in relationships.
Single-handing is wonderful: it allows for an undistracted relationship with the natural world, deepens self-reliance in profoundly fulfilling ways, and builds a comfort with being alone that helps one to better know what is important and keeps one from settling for the constraints that many others assume to be a given. Some say they love not having to instruct another to do something while they tend to everything themselves.
On the other hand, sailing with another means being able to share the wonder of all that is discovered along the way and having someone to rely on when things are overwhelming. It means confronting your own inadequacies in full view of your mate. A downside can be that roles tend to get set and often the woman becomes first mate, doing the ancillary tasks that help but not leading.
Then there is the social sailing scene where folks tend to be coupled. Single-handing men are often stereotyped in none-too-flattering terms and single-handing women...well, there aren't that many. In my short experience as the latter, I find it hard to negotiate. The wives sometimes can't relate to my competence and independence and the men are often too taken by both. I bend over backwards downplaying my skill set and looking for ways to connect with the wives. But sometimes, it is the husband I have more in common with. But I digress...
Reading this, I see that sailing is a metaphor for a spiritual practice where solitary and partnered paths provide complementary opportunities for growth. John Welwood writes eloquently about this. I want the advantages of both without having to relinquish either.
Interesting reading on this topic here: