Teaching on Mahina Tiare, our Hallberg-Rassy 46, has shown me that men and women learn tasks very differently. For instance, if I show a man how to reef, he'll go off and do it-perhaps making mistakes along the way, but exhibiting the confidence that he'll figure everything out. On the other hand, shown the same technique, women tend to take a step back, study the situation, and ask a lot of questions. Then, once they feel they have all the information, they'll do it. These ways of tackling a task can clash on a cruising boat, a place where many women discover that their husbands aren't the best teachers. Learning in a well-organized supportive environment with books, diagrams, and testing can often fast-track your learning and keep you focused. It worked for Elaine Zameruk on Goolka, a 36-foot Fraser. "I got into sailing after meeting people who sailed," she says. "After doing some trips to the Bahamas and the United States, I took courses on Glenmore Reservoir, in Calgary, Alberta, with the Calgary Yacht Club. When I met my partner, I started learning all over again with courses at the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron. I've now been cruising for two years, and I still have so much to learn. I often go back to books to brush up."