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While not quite ready for inclusion in the FAQ list (soon to be updated, I promise), we do get asked the following often enough for it to be in consideration. The question comes in various forms but the gist of it is, “how can I talk my wife into going cruising with me.” To begin, I’m probably the least one qualified to answer this question as Rebecca and I were both 100% dialed in to our cruising plan from Day 1. Even our most recent plan, heading south to Patagonia, is a mutual decision, not one that she is simply following along on. So, to answer the question, how do you convince your wife, I’m not sure that you can.

Flashback! Rebecca and I casting off the lines to leave Canada, en route to points south.

We have friends, good friends, that we cruised with for quite a while who likely would be better to ask. It was no secret that the male member of that couple was the leader in the cruising quest and the female was more or less just going along for the ride. This is not to be confused with the single-handed cruising couples that we have, from time to time, crossed paths with in our travels. This very capable woman, realizing that she was a necessary part of the sailing team, learned to pull her own weight, and she did it well. It seemed to us though that in spite of her functioning so well on the boat, her heart always remained back on shore, what she considered her home.

There was another sailor that we buddy-boated with who ended up leaving his wife behind when he set off to cruise. That probably sounds worse than it is but, as it was explained to us, he had made it clear to his wife from the time that they first started dating that cruising on his boat was a significant goal of his. As she wasn’t ready to leave her career behind, when the time came, she simply gave him the freedom to pursue his dreams without her.

Of course, for each of these stories, we have met dozens of couples who appeared to be working from the same mindset, or at least it seemed that way to us. Did they begin that way, or did one of the two convince the other that leaving the security of land life behind was a sane course of action? I don’t know. This I do know though: life is too short to do something that doesn’t make you happy. This means that if you want to go sailing, go. It also means that if you don’t want to move onto a boat, don’t.

If you want to introduce your significant other to the realities of cruising, book a week on a boat to see what it’s like. I would recommend avoiding anything too stressful, such as racing or sailing around Cape Horn, because cruising needn’t be like that. We actually have several couples coming to sail with us soon who, at the end of their week with us, will have a pretty good idea of what boat life is all about. I’m confident that they’ll walk away with plenty of positive memories, but you never know until you try.

Perhaps even before that, you might consider sharing some positive books on cruising with your spouse. Rebecca and I each read An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude three times, and it definitely added fuel to the fire! Additionally, if you’re hoping to sail to the tropics, emailing or sharing some appropriate tropical imagery with your spouse on a regular basis wouldn’t hurt either. Subscribe to our Facebook Page for some good source material. Good luck!


  • Although I’ve never heard the question phrased this way, feel free to substitute the word husband everywhere that I have written wife.
  • For those who are curious, both of the couples I mentioned above are happily still together, and they both still own their boats. To my knowledge, neither are actively cruising right now, but you never know what the future will bring.


  1. The simple answer is, “Find the right spouse or significant other”. The hard part is finding that right person like you two did. Cheers.

  2. My wife and I are definitely going cruising as soon as our kids grow up and move out of the house. Can’t wait!!!

  3. I don’t think you convince a spouse and live through it. You present an idea in a positive light, you prepare to adapt the vision so that it is shared, and if it works, it works. I’m always pleasantly surprised if people want to join me; it certainly happens more often than I expect or deserve. That is how I choose to see it.

  4. Convinced husband here :). Not that he didn’t love sailing but that crusing was actually an option. My dream, but had to get him 100% bought into wanting to do it and thinking it was possible.

  5. I am looking for a wife to convince me to go cruising with her. I am perfectly willing to be the ships mate, cook, etc.


  6. When it comes to “convincing” the resistant wife to go cruising, most guys make predictable mistakes. I sure did. But I learned some lessons I’d like to pass on.

    I wrote a book aptly titled Get Her On Board. You can find it in all the usual places, or you can email me and I’ll send you a pdf.

    We are prepping for our third cruise right now, and my wife is now the one pushing for a bigger boat and a longer itinerary.

    I’ll give you one tip: it’s not about the right boat…it’s about values…shared values…

    Best to you,
    Nick O’Kelly

  7. This summer my wife and I finally sailed to Martha’s Vineyard, something we had been planning for 20 years, and we went without our kids ( now grown adults). At the outset, it was difficult and stressful (at more than one point I just gritted my teeth and remained resolute) but the magic started to happen once we entered the harbor at Vineyard Haven and it continued for the rest of the trip. We had some luck, and some amazing weather too. My point is that sometimes one person comes up with the idea ( it was mine) and then its sort of hell to get there, the other spouse ( wife) is reluctant and complaining…..and then at a certain point the adventure takes over and it’s pure magic and you both realize why you did this – because it’s like being a kid again, only better. You can’t know all this until you get to that place and risk that journey. Being perfect from the start isn’t a requirement, and it isn’t the objective. It’s a journey, but at a minimum you need to at least get on board and hope.

  8. For us it started with some sailing lessons for me in 2009 & my wife was sort of waiting for me to get that out of my system! But then we started doing some chartering – first from Vancouver, then Mexico and finally the Eastern Caribbean. We had great friends join us and it was a lot of fun. Now we’ve bought a boat and are enjoying the Easter Carib.

    So my main piece of advice would be take it easy, have fun and don’t get too carried away so your wife is scared off. Then if it’s meant to be it will be!

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