It’s Your Boat Too:
A Woman’s Guide to Greater Enjoyment on the Water
by Suzanne Giesemann

A Book Review by Andrea LeeAt the recent boat show in Minneapolis, I noticed a seminar by Suzanne Giesemann titled, “It’s Your Boat Too.” I looked at the sign and said to my husband, “I should go to that.”He responded, “I’ll go with you.” And we did.

I am new to sailing and getting a woman’s perspective was very appealing to me. I love the water. We have a runabout, jet skis and the usual lake toys…on a small 1,000 acre lake…with land in sight everywhere and nary a current or tide. I come from the “Jaws” and “Poseidon Adventure” era that has probably ruined the ocean experience for many Midwesterners of my generation. And yet, I love the ocean. It is beautiful…to look at. I love to scuba dive…on a clear and calm day. So with all of this water experience, why am I so intimidated by sailing and why does my husband live, eat, and breathe sailing? Suzanne Giesemann has the answers. Her brief seminar was full of the nuts and bolts of women and boating. She regaled us with funny stories and a realistic perspective of how women and men differ when it comes to sailing. I wanted to know more and bought her book.

Ms. Giesemann states that sailing is about freedom and should be a source of stress relief from our daily lives. Sailing is fun, but it is also challenging. Women are worriers, we are caretakers, and she states that preparation is key to our comfort and confidence level. She asks women to identify the source of our concerns in order to set ourselves up for success. She advises us to get as much experience and education as possible. After all, she counsels us that there is increased safety by our participation. And she goes on to tell of women that were mere passengers on their own boats and hence helpless to act when something happened. Ms. Giesemann’s book gives us the psychological tools and the basic tangible tools for success. She has a chapter on attitude…do we view sailing as an ordeal or an adventure? Are we passive or active? Are we ninnies or self-confident? She urges us to practice “what if” scenarios and prepare a risk analysis We have to realize that things go wrong, it is the nature of boats, but we also have the ability to be proactive to control our environment. Besides the many psychological tools, there are chapters on terminology, rules of the road, navigation, VHF radios, lines, knots, boat handling, docking, advice on communicating with our spouse, and so on. It can seem overwhelming, but Ms. Giesemann stresses practice and application. She readily admits that there is a lot to learn, but this book is truly about “A Woman’s Guide to Greater Enjoyment on the Water.” Her book has checklists and additional recommended reading.

“It’s Your Boat Too,” is a must read for all women out there that are reticent about sailing and want to become more confident. Ms. Giesemann’s credentials and experiences are impressive. She wants women to become competent, comfortable and happy sailors. After all, she says, “why should men have all the fun?”

Publisher: Paradise Cay
Publications, Inc.
Arcata, California
Copyright 2006

Andrea Lee has recently taken up sailing after being a lifelong powerboat fanatic. She is ASA certified through the Northern Breezes Sailing School on Basic Keelboat, Bareboat Chartering and Coastal Cruising...with more classes to come.