I’m going to come right out here and say I don’t believe in pink and blue jobs. Everyone on board should be competent to do most jobs that are required on a regular basis. But competence is one thing – desire and choice are completely different. Do you want to cook? Do you want to clean the head? Repair the macerator, or service the engine?
The reason many couples stick to traditional roles on board is that they do what they know. They stay in their comfort zone. Sometimes women do more than their share of traditionally pink jobs because they are not comfortable venturing into the blue zone. Well guess what ladies? Most of those blue jobs are not as daunting as they look. And fellas, your lady may not allow you into the galley, but she just might appreciate a night off, a special breakfast, or not having to go below to make lunch.
Take replacing a pump for instance. How hard can it be? The old pump sits there mutely showing you how it’s done, where it goes, how it’s fastened and where the hoses and wiring go. Common sense tells you to turn off the water supply and flick the power off before you start. Obviously the old hoses have to come off, but what are those clips holding them on? Look closely and you’ll see they can be loosened with a screwdriver or wrench. Follow this logic and you will soon see how the job should be done. You can always Google for info, or interrupt your man while he’s cleaning the toilet and ask his opinion. Oh, but he is better with tools! Well, how did that happen…
So you don’t like doing this stuff? Your man hates cooking and is hopeless at cleaning. Fine. Boat jobs should be done by whoever is best at them, and enjoys them the most (or dislikes them the least). Many couples leave mechanical stuff to the man, domestic stuff to the lady. If this suits you, have at it. But if it leads to an imbalance, you need to change.
Former sailing school operator Ginny Gerlach put it this way: “”Both should be competent in the basic skills and practice being skipper at times when it’s not stressful. A complementary but equal balance is necessary to make a sailing relationship work. It’s important to recognize differences in physical and mental aptitude – both ways – and to help each other. It may well be the woman who excels at navigation, boat handling, weather planning or sail trim”.
“Couples need to work out a system that utilizes their unique strengths and interests and find a middle ground where they can sail together with equal confidence” Ginny said.
Ginny’s final tip for harmony aboard? “Try to separate the sailing hiccups from the relationship hiccups! When things don’t go perfectly while sailing, try to communicate clearly to sort things out and discuss it later when you’re settled and not stressed, to prevent the situation happening again”.
And hey, remember it’s supposed to be fun.