More Dream, Less Drama

The notion of a “cruising couple” conjures up a pair of stereotypes. In one, a pair of kindred souls broad-reaches off into a sunset of wedded bliss. In another, a thunderhead pours down as two people butt heads, break boats and abandon ship.Jeff Grossman and Jean Levine, founders of Two Can Sail, have seen both extremes during the more than 20 years they’ve been coaching cruising couples
Author:
Updated:
Original:
dream_int1

The notion of a “cruising couple” conjures up a pair of stereotypes. In one, a pair of kindred souls broad-reaches off into a sunset of wedded bliss. In another, a thunderhead pours down as two people butt heads, break boats and abandon ship.

Jeff Grossman and Jean Levine, founders of Two Can Sail, have seen both extremes during the more than 20 years they’ve been coaching cruising couples through seminars and onboard instruction. In 2010, the Florida-based team joined up with the American Sailing Association (ASA) to bring their message to a number of boat shows. SAIL caught up with Jeff and Jean during a sold-out seminar in Annapolis to find out how they “take the drama out of the dream.”

Could you explain what your motto, “Take the drama out of the dream,” means?

We have seen so many voyages on parallel, often identical boats, end with opposite outcomes: one filled with drama, the other a dream trip. The former often ends with one person fleeing for the hills and dashing the dreams of cruising. Our goal is to help identify the sources of the drama and offer ways to avoid them.

What’s your take on a “pink and blue” separation of tasks on board?
We don’t allocate tasks based on gender, but rather by who has more of an inclination to take them on. We show couples how to parse out chores in a way that best suits their skills and interest. On our boat, for instance, Jean is more concerned with the head, so she’s the ship’s plumber. Jeff doesn’t cook, but he handles the dishes and the diesel—usually not at the same time.

What’s unique about a couple, as opposed to a family, cruising together?
With only two people aboard, it’s shorthanded sailing. Both people need to be competent in every aspect of the boat and capable of dealing with emergencies. At the same time, they aren’t just crewmates, they’re life-mates, so relationship issues need to be managed in a way that keeps everyone safe.

What is the most important bit of advice for a couple embarking on a long cruise together?
Patience. Many of our couples are fresh out of hectic careers where they are accustomed to having every minute planned. Cruising is quite the opposite. Rushing to buy a boat and take off without learning how to sail and maintain it leads to all sorts of drama. You need patience to wait for proper weather windows, patience to deal with customs officials, patience to handle inevitable boat projects and, of course, patience to cruise with each other.

What’s the inspiration behind your couples seminars?
While cruising on our boat we met couples that knew how to sail, but had limited navigation skills, no night sailing or no passage-making experience. They didn’t know what skills they needed to cruise safely, and it led them to make decisions that were often dangerous.

What do your seminars cover?
We like to bring the seminar alive. During the couples panel, three or four cruising couples talk about their experiences, how they began sailing together, and how they share the challenges and joys of cruising. We play audience participation games that highlight couples’ communications. Also, at least four times a day, we challenge each couple to sit somewhere different. This simulates the cruising effect of constantly getting used to new surroundings, and meeting new cruising couples along the way.

Who do you target with your seminars?
We target the gap between beginner and seasoned salt. There is an infinite amount of sailing knowledge, so there’s always more to learn, regardless of skill level. We teach beginners what it takes to pursue the cruising lifestyle, those with basic experience how to improve their cruising, and those who own their boat how to transition to full-time cruising.

Related

SF3300-Jean-Marie_LIOT

Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300

Though best known for its cruising boats, Jeanneau has long kept a hand in competitive racing with its Sun Fast line. The newest of these French-built speedsters is the Sun Fast 3300, which takes the place of the long-lived 3200. Design & Construction A collaboration between ...read more

03-200123_PM_MIAMI_31326_3065

U.S. Team Strikes Miami Gold

If there was ever a time for the U.S. Sailing Team, which has been experiencing a serious medal drought of late, to start peaking it would be now, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics set to begin in July. Luckily, it appears the team, which has won only three Olympic medals since 2004, ...read more

shutterstock_1466239997

Charter: the Greek Isles

If there’s one charter destination that’s impossible to tire of, it’s Greece. This Mediterranean jewel is simply so large, so varied and so special it’s impossible to relegate it to just a single checkbox on a list. This past year a group of friends and I chartered from Navigare ...read more

IDECsport_180919_106-2048

IDEC Tri Breaks Tea Route Record

Francis Joyon and his crew aboard the maxi-tri IDEC Sport have set a new record for the “tea route” from Hong Kong to London of just 31 days, 23 hours, 36 minutes. In doing so they bested the previous record set by Italian skipper, Giovanni Soldini aboard the trimaran Maserati ...read more

DawnRileyforSAILmagazine

An Interview with Sailor Dawn Riley

The 2019 sailing documentary Maiden received rave reviews as a human-interest story that featured excellent racing footage and the heartfelt recollections of an all-female team led by then 25-year-old Briton Tracy Edwards. During the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World race, ...read more

IMG_9978

Charter: More for Your Money

Though summer may not be when you typically think of escaping to a tropical island, it could, in fact, be the perfect time for a charter holiday. Despite popular perception, the Caribbean isn’t hot as Hades during summer. In fact, the highs vary by only about 8 degrees F ...read more

Riley-and-Elayna,-Sailing-La-Vagabonde

Sailing in the YouTube Era

At the risk of both dating myself and being accused of gross hyperbole, I will say this: it was a bit like 1964 when the Beatles first landed in New York. What I’m referring to is last fall’s U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis. Playing the role of the Beatles were not one, but two ...read more

Bill-Hatfield-copy-1024x665

Cruising: Solo Circumnavigators

There seems to be no age limit for solo-circumnavigators. Not so long ago we had Californian Jeff Hartjoy set a record for the oldest American to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted, at the age of 70. A few months ago, 77-year-old Briton Jeanne Socrates became the ...read more