Why is it that men predominate among sailors? Sailing a boat doesn’t take superior strength. It doesn’t demand a uniquely male skill. Having a Y chromosome is not required. Sailing isn’t about Mars and Venus. Suzanne Giesemann knows this and has become a one-woman band with the goal of bringing equality to our favorite recreational activity.
Suzanne’s new book, It’s Your Boat Too: A Woman’s Guide to Greater Enjoyment on the Water, was created in the hope of drawing more women into sailing . . . because they want to be there with their sailing partners . . . because they enjoy being outside on the water . . . because they love the lifestyle . . . because they are fully engaged and interested in the adventure of moving a sailboat from one place to another, perhaps from one country to another or one continent to another.
Call it an “Atta-Girl” book, if you will. Suzanne’s message is clear: other women do this; you can too. Here’s what you need to know. Let me talk you through this, sailor to sailor and woman to woman. Here are the skills you will need to keep yourself and your boat safe. Here are the vocabulary words and basics that will prevent you from feeling or looking out of place. Go out and practice. The rest of us will be cheering for you. Go get ’em, girl!
This book is divided into several sections. Part 1 deals with the concepts of women and boats as well as attitude and adventure. Here Suzanne invites her readers to join those of us who have already discovered the sailing lifestyle. Part 2 discusses the skills, debunks the mysteries, and prioritizes the basics. The author explains that there’s always more to learn, but here’s a good start. Part 3 focuses on handling the boat as a couple and having a full-fledged partnership in buying, owning, and managing a boat. She includes helpful information in the appendices. Perhaps best of all, this book opens with a foreword by Lin Pardey, a woman who has been actively sailing for 40 years. Lin tells of her own moment of truth: the day when she “truly realized that Seraffyn was my boat too.”
Wanting to become accomplished at anything that takes a bit of skill is 99-percent about attitude. It’s not easy for a female adult to make the inevitable mistakes that come with learning. It’s far worse to make these mistakes in a public place, such as a marina or anchorage. It’s humiliating if her husband or partner is unsympathetic. But as long as she still has a glimmer of interest in sailing, Suzanne can provide the female perspective and beginning skills the would-be sailor needs.
It wouldn’t hurt for any male sailor with a reluctant spouse to read It’s Your Boat Too: A Woman’s Guide to Greater Enjoyment on the Water. He should consider buying a copy for his wife or partner, if she doesn’t go out and get it first. After all, it’s her boat too. Helping her turn the corner from reluctant to enthusiastic will improve the time spent aboard for both members of any sailing couple.
It’s Your Boat Too: A Woman’s Guide to Greater Enjoyment on the Water by Suzanne Giesemann ( Paradise Cay, 2006; 240 pages)