Sailing Jobs
By Trish Lambert

Sailing jobs ... Blue ... Pink ...Purple!

"Your propane tank is empty," I said. "Do you have a second tank we can switch over to?"

"Yes, we do," said Elaine, "but I don't know how to switch. That's a blue job."

"Blue job?"

I was staying overnight with Elaine aboard Blue Moon, anchored in Puerto Escondido (Baja California).

I was going to be taking my ham radio license upgrade test the next day, and had gotten a ride up to Puerto Escondido after Elaine had kindly offered to put me up.

Her husband Tom was off delivering a boat for the Moorings charter outfit in La Paz, and she said she'd welcome the company. We had been in the middle of cooking dinner when the stove burners sputtered out.

Sailing Jobs - Pink & Blue:

I raised my eyebrows in questioning response!

Elaine explained that she and Tom had defined "blue jobs" and "pink jobs" - and, predictably, she did only the pink sailing jobs. Also predictably, those jobs matched up pretty well with stereotypic "women's work".

Cooking, provisioning, keeping the boat clean (including taking care of mould and mildew when it showed up), taking care of finances, and handling written and radio communications were some of the tasks that Elaine enumerated for me.

Among other things, blue areas encompassed anything mechanical and metal with moving parts-putting such things as propane connections firmly in Tom's camp.

"It works for us," she said. "We are very clear about who is responsible for what."

Is this sexist?

At first I thought this division of labour ridiculous!

Blue and pink? How sexist!

Over time, though, as I thought about that conversation, I saw method in the surface madness. Thinking about my own experience, I realized that my cruising partner and I had implicitly divided our sailing jobs along similar lines.

I was responsible for basic homemaking stuff - like cooking, cleaning, laundry, keeping water tanks filled - as well as being the primary radio operator, family communicator, and business manager.

He took care of the engine, the sailing systems, the outboard, the electrical system, and he made sure all of our electronics stayed in working order.

We just hadn't acknowledged our division of labour like Tom and Elaine had.

Cruising Couples Divide Jobs: 

Looking back over my years as a first mate, I do see a pattern among the folks I got to know on my travels. To be sure, there is no hard and fast pattern-but it seems to me that cruising couples, especially those who are in their first couple of years in the lifestyle, do tend to divide chores along pink and blue lines, as much as I want to think otherwise.

Purple Jobs:

But I don't think it can stop there. I believe that on a cruising boat there have "purple jobs," tasks that both partners do.

For example, when it came to being underway, my cruising partner and I shared the duties. We both knew how to read the weather, set the sails, and navigate along the coast and in blue water.



We rotated four-hour watches when at sea, and had equal responsibility for getting safely to port.

From a safety standpoint, PURPLE is the colour that ensures a successful cruising life, but I don't think the sailing community will ever leave pink and blue behind!


Trish Lambert's shortest bio is on Twitter, where she is billed as "Fervent champion of solo biz owners who want to stay solo and successful, woman of high, unmodulated energy, sometime couch potato."

Trish started 4R Marketing  a home-base marketing and copy writing consultancy, in 2005 and built it into a 6-figure business in less than two years.

In addition to running 4R Marketing, Trish now works with other at-home service professionals through Success in Sweatpants, her coaching practice whose tagline is "It's all about freedom-no excuses!"

Article Source: Ezine Articles by Trish Lambert





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