Incognito Student

I love to teach sailing, but one disadvantage is not having the time to sail with my own family. If we have a free spot on the boat and my wife is available, sometimes she will accompany me. It has always worked out well because I always appreciate having another set of experienced eyes on the boat to make sure I don’t miss anything.

One summer that I taught nearly every weekend, my wife decided she wanted to join my ASA (American Sailing Association) 104 (Bareboat Chartering) class for a refresher. She also decided she didn’t want to be “the Captain’s wife” for the weekend and didn’t want to tell the rest of the class that we were married. The other three students were male, and because it was a 104 class, all onboard had some experience sailing.

Diane introduced herself, and she got into the role of “student”. She said she and her husband were sailors. The guys wanted to know why she was taking the class by herself if her husband was a sailor too, so she said the first thing that popped into her head, “My husband is such a control freak that he has to do everything when we’re sailing.” I had to listen sympathetically while everyone commiserated with her. They all said they wished their wives were into sailing too.

Diane was quite pleased with herself when she nailed the docking exercises on the first try when it took the guys several times each, but she passed it off that she always brings the boat up to moorings, since her husband can’t steer the boat and pick up the mooring at the same time. Truth be told, I usually did all the docking before this, so maybe there is some truth to the controlling captain story.

Diane had a lot of fun joining in on the test prep and did a lot of coaching. We all had a pleasant dinner together. After, the students were to stay overnight on the boat at a mooring at Dodson’s Marina in Stonington. Diane declined to join them since she had stayed overnight many times and didn’t need that experience. I often leave my students to their own devices for the night and return home for the evening, so we both said our goodbyes and left for the night. We went opposite ways around the block and went to a nice bed and breakfast for the night.

We all met up for breakfast in town the next morning, and we never did tell the students we were married. I’ve probably blown her cover by telling the story, but we had fun while it lasted.

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