“There’s not any chance you would be willing to fly up from Florida to Baltimore to speak at our Baltimore Inner Harbor Boat Show in September would you?” she asked, with a little trepidation.
“Well … funny you mention it as I’m in Annapolis at the moment,” I told her, and that was it. Back in July, our plot was hatched.
I’d never heard of a “Trawlerfest” before but when Sarah with AIM Media, an affiliate of SAIL Magazine, offered this speaking opportunity to me it felt a little too serendipitous to turn down as Phillip and I knew we would be traveling to/from the new boat on the east coast and Florida throughout the summer which would likely put us within quick driving distance to attend the Baltimore Inner Harbor Boat Show, aka their “Trawlerfest,” so I agreed! Yours Truly will speaking right along some other sail-ebrities who have inspired Phillip and I time and time again over the years:
- The uproariously hilarious Nigel Calder;
- Chris Parker (whom I have talked about and heard about for years in any conversation about weather planning and the Caribbean); and
- Pat Rains who I personally consider a badass as a journalist, news reporter, freelance writer, and international cruiser [insert mind-blown emoji here]
were just some of the names I recognized. But, I’m excited to meet Rudy and Jill Sechez, Bob Arrington, Tom Trimmer, Jeff Merrill, and Steve Zimmerman as well. They all will be contributing a valuable array of topics to the show. Here is the seminar schedule!
After agreeing, however, my immediate next thought was … what the heck am I going to say? To trawler owners? Most of your offshore, hard core experience will not translate to boaters who typically don’t go on overnight passages, Annie my devil’s advocate brain was telling me. What on God’s earth will you have to share that will be relevant to them? But, this is the very reason I (proudly) have multiple personalities. There’s Video Annie, Shipyard Annie, Diesel Engine Mechannie, and also … of great importance in moments like these … I have Brave Annie who says to that voice: “Oh shut up you! I’m at least going to give it a try!”
You tell ‘em Brave Annie! I did! : )
So, I wracked my brain for some ideas that would speak (pun intended) equally to sailors as well as trawlerers (that’s a word today). And, as the Boat Show folks requested, I came up with two topics. The first is the topic I am often most inspired to speak on: getting ladies more involved in all aspects of cruising. You can blame small-but-mighty Pam Wall for that one as she energetically and emphatically encouraged both me (back at the 2015 Miami Boat Show) as well as every other budding cruiser she speaks to, to ensure all persons aboard, be it the wife, daughter, dad, whomever are full-fledged CREW. There are no passengers. Everyone is equal CREW. And, I couldn’t agree more. I have interviewed Nick O’Kelly (author of Get Her On Board) at length on this topic.
I also created my own video about it: Episode #75: How to Get Your Wife to Go Cruising.
I am committed to empowering women who want to go cruising with the truth that they are far more capable and resourceful than they let themselves believe and that becoming an equal CREW member aboard will only enhance their cruising experience. I am passionate about this topic. The second, a Bahamas Top Ten, was one the Boat Show folks requested and I am always happy to share our wonderful experiences from the Bahamas. So, for any of you who will be attending the Baltimore Boat Show, this is what you’re in for from the enthusiastic Annie Dike:
I was also asked to participate in an informal ladies tea with the other female speakers on Thursday, which I believe will just be an open forum where all the ladies (speakers and attendees alike) can just share openly on any topic. I think this one will be really beneficial as well for any female spouse who may be reluctant to go, or participate actively, in cruising for (perhaps) the wrong reasons.
Thursday, September 30, 1 pm – 2:45 pm
Informal Ladies Tea with Jill Sechez, Annie Dike, Pat Rains and Kim Russo
This seminar is for women who think they may want to go cruising or who have only recently entered into the cruising lifestyle and have a wide range of questions best answered by other women, and, alas, without any men in the room.
All told, I’m very excited! I’ll be spending the next few weeks working on my talks and gathering fun photos, videos, and other content to accompany them. As a little sneak peek to share with you all here, Phillip and I (yes, he truly is the mastermind when it comes to a great deal of our HaveWind content) have come up with a fun potential idea for my Rock the Boat seminar. In order to give my many stories, lessons, and tips a coherent central theme, we have thought about pairing each with a well-known movie snippet. One of the stories I always like to share is designed to encourage women to, when in charge, take charge like a man would. Meaning, don’t apologize, don’t cater, don’t worry about what the other people (often men) are thinking. Be selfish in that moment and cater to the needs of the boat and yourself (like men do so often!). Sorry guys, it’s not an insult as it often makes you a much more confident leader, not always better, but more confident and decisive.
The story I use when teaching this lesson was one that took me a while to learn but once I did … ahh the freedom. Here’s the scene: often, when you are attempting to dock or de-dock, there are other people around (usually other cruisers, or dock hands, or shipyard workers, 99% of the time they are males) waiting to give you a hand, or help you if you need it. And, previously, when I was just starting to take the helm, I would always feel guilty if I kept them waiting if, perhaps, I wasn’t quite ready to go, or the engine hadn’t yet warmed up, or I needed to take another lap before docking because I had misjudged the wind or current, any of those things. In typical female-style, I would aim to please and cater to them and apologizing when I felt I had not. But, after a while, I realized I was often coming into, or leaving, the dock when I wasn’t quite yet ready and confident simply because I didn’t want to impose on the men there waiting to help me. I was so worried about their time, their needs, and what they were thinking about me, that I often sacrificed my own time and needs in the process. Ladies, what man does that more often than not? Sacrifices his own time and needs simply to cater to strangers around him? Eggggsssactly. When you dial into you, your needs, and the boat’s needs, and forget about the dudes on the dock, you’ll find they’re not as concerned (or even aware of you) as you thought they were.
So, what movie did Phillip and I come up with to champion this message?
That’s right ladies. Don’t take it personally. Because you know who IS into you in that moment? Who is 100% devoted to responding to your every request and aiming to please and impress you? The boat! She is SUPER into you. She’s eagerly awaiting your every decision and instruction. She’s counting on you to take care of her, not those dudes on the dock. Who cares about them? the boat would say! Once I realized that about the guys standing around waiting to help—they’re just not that into me—I gave me all the freedom in the world to take my time. Now, I never allow myself to be rushed while warming up the engine, going through my own de-docking checklist, setting up my lines for release, double-checking everything. They can stand there for 15 solid minutes and I don’t give a flying flip. Those guys can either wait and help if and when I’m ready (and if I want and need them to) or they can mosey on down the dock, because my focus is on me and my boat.
And, I hadn’t really noticed myself learning this lesson. It wasn’t like an “aha” moment. It was something that just evolved over time. But, I became very aware of my change in mindset in an “aha moment” when we were leaving the shipyard recently on our soon-to-be-sold Niagara 35. The boat was finally splashing after her extensive Hurricane Sally repairs, in February 2021, and Annie was captain that day. As they gently placed her in the water and all the Travelift and shipyard guys (and other friends who had come to see us off – again, 99% men) were there standing around waiting, I checked the sea cocks and cranked the engine. As she was warming up, I was checking for water out the back, noting the wind speed and direction, unlocking the wheel, and getting dialed in at the helm and basically, just taking my time getting settled while our Westerbeke warmed up (this generally takes a full five minutes) not making any eye contact with the dudes on the dock. I even repeated things over and over while still totally ignoring the guys who were waiting on me. I was being very manlike about it.
Megan and her husband Chris were aboard as they were set to purchase our boat—as long as she performed beautifully that day during the sea-trial (which Phillip and I were 100% confident she would). And, Megan, as a woman would, noticing all of the guys standing around waiting for, and watching, me asked me: “Why do you keep looking over the back?” And, in that moment, I could feel her feeling what I used to feel: They’re waiting on you, Annie. They’re watching you wanting you to go. You’re holding them up. I smiled at Megan, because I knew this was going to be an awesome teaching moment for her, as I told her simply “I’m not going to let them rush me. I’ll leave when I’m ready.” Megan’s face took on a stoic look as (I believe) the lesson soaked in for her.
And, I did not allow them to push me out of the Travelift and set us out into the bayou until I was full-on ready, no matter how long it took, no matter how long they fidgeted and stared. Now (as I hadn’t piloted our boat in five months), did I put her in forward as opposed to reverse initially and try to go the wrong way at first? Of course! I’m still Annie, with all of my dumb little quirks and mistakes, but because I was settled, I was ready and calm, I could simply laugh about it, throttle back, and put her in reverse before gently gliding out.
The point being, ladies, is that you should be dialed into the boat, not the dudes on the dock. She is the one who is truly “into you” in that moment, who is listening to you, and who wants to please and impress you. Focus your time and energy on her in those moments and she will reward you in droves. Megan has since told me that was a defining moment for her in her own evolution as an equal partner aboard her boat, and I couldn’t be prouder. Phillip and I couldn’t have hand-selected better owners than Chris and Megan for our beloved former boat, and it warms my little salty heart to think I played a small role in Megan’s growth as an equal crew member. “Not a passenger,” Pam Wall would say sternly. “Crew.”
So, tell me followers, what do you think of our movie theme and my Rock the Boat seminar? Would you attend? Any topics of areas of interest that you think would be helpful to cover when trying to encourage significant others who may not be as passionate or excited about cruising to become more involved? Phillip and I are always open to input. And, if any of you are planning to attend the Baltimore show, please let us know! If you are but have not purchased tickets yet, enter promo code ANNIEDIKE for a 15% discount on all seminar tickets and thank the Baltimore Inner Harbor Boat Show folks for it. Hope to see some of you there!