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Old 10-09-2007, 07:21   #1
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Arthritis?

I'm a summer weekend sailor, have been for many years. Looking forward to relocating to the coast when I retire in 7 years, and spending a chunk of investment savings on a big cat for part-time cruising. But in the last year or so, I've developed trouble with my hands, and my doctor says it's arthritis. When I'm out on the boat in a good breeze, I notice now that holding the mainsheet and the tiller against some pressure makes my hands cramp up. It's not a big deal now, but it gets me to wondering how other folks deal with it and how I would deal with it if it continues to worsen. I joke with my wife about it, saying that what I need is to wrap my hand around a cold aluminum cylinder, but the only thing that really helps is ibuprofen (for now). I've already had to give up fly-fishing in the cold mountain streams here, because my hands turn into a couple of baseball mitts in the cold water, can't tie a fly on anymore.

Are there folks out there who've had to give up sailing because of arthritis? On a big cat, say, like a FP or Lagoon or Leopard 40-something, would an arthritis problem prevent sailing her altogether, or just make it a bad idea to single-hand?

I'm healthy as a horse otherwise, and I have every intention of staying that way for a good many years yet. The doc says there's no way to know how much worse it will get or how fast, but that regular activity will minimize the effects. How does that line up with your experience with arthritis, if you have it?

Thanks for your thoughtful replies, and friendly breezes to you all!
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:37   #2
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I too have or should I say HAD problems with arthritis in my hands for years. I have had great success with glucosemine (sp?) supplements. Get the biggest does available 500mg? It takes a few months of use to start effecting the joints.
good luck
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:27   #3
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Sailing the big cat won't require you to hang onto tiller or sheet under stress for long periods. If winching becomes painful there are always power winches.

We meet lots of folks cruising (us included) who have arthritis or other physical limitations. Most agree they do better while on the boat than on the land.

You can do this. Go for it.

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Old 10-09-2007, 09:39   #4
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I too have or should I say HAD problems with arthritis in my hands for years. I have had great success with glucosemine (sp?) supplements. Get the biggest does available 500mg? It takes a few months of use to start effecting the joints.
good luck
Works good for me as well. Helps my bad knees too.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:35   #5
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Here's a recommendation you might find strange, but I got it from an old doctor who claimed great success with it. 50% Bayrum and 50% goose grease (yes, buy and cook a goose!) used as an external rub - you'll probably get lots of pharmaceutical suggestions, but there's an "old wives cure". Best wishes . . .
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Old 10-09-2007, 15:46   #6
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Here's a recommendation you might find strange, but I got it from an old doctor who claimed great success with it. 50% Bayrum and 50% goose grease (yes, buy and cook a goose!) used as an external rub - you'll probably get lots of pharmaceutical suggestions, but there's an "old wives cure". Best wishes . . .
That was my grandmother's remedy!! The goose grease part.
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Old 10-09-2007, 20:51   #7
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I have a touch of it myself. Get an autopilot and be done! If I hand steer for extended periods over a few days - I hurt. In the cooler parts of the season I can go longer. With an autopilot all day - no problem. The autopilot is far younger than me. get a hydraulic one not a wheel one so it can do the hard duty too.
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:16   #8
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In addition to an autopilot and an electric winch, I would recommend a self-tending jib. Our boat was designed for a middle-aged couple (which we are) who are not going to yet younger or stronger. We have all of these features, and we expect to sail for many more years as a result. You also mention that cold weather is a problem for your arthritis. In that case, why don't you berth your boat in a warmer climate and do your part-time sailing where its comfortably warm for you.
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Old 13-09-2007, 13:19   #9
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For a start, consider confirming that you truly have arthritis, and not another cold related symptom complex.
However, osteoarthritis is very common as we get older. For this, glucosamine/chondroitin works almost as well as tylenol, and both are very safe, and safer than ibuprofen - just don't overdo the dosage. Alcohol use or liver disease may increase the risks from these latter drugs.
That said, do you really have to wait seven years? What is going to get that much better that it is worth the wait?
And yes, go for a cat, where you can get out of the weather, and with an autopilot and an electric winch. You don't need to climb down and up a stairway every time to need to check the nav station or want a snack. Head for the warm weather of the tropics before you damage your joints.
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Old 13-09-2007, 21:03   #10
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Dosage?

c.spots
"...glucosamine/chondroitin works almost as well as tylenol, and both are very safe, and safer than ibuprofen - just don't overdo the dosage."

As one who swallows a little glucosamine from time to time what might the maximum dose be?
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Old 13-09-2007, 22:20   #11
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I meant to say that the tylenol and ibuprofen should not be overdone.
The studies done with glucosamine/chondroitin showed that when taken every day, at large doses, the benefit in osteoarthritis was better than placebo. There would probably be no benefit (or harm) of "a little from time to time" (except perhaps the placebo effect). I think the dose they used was 1500mg/1200mg per day respectively, and think it was split into three times a day. I am not aware of toxicity of huge doses unless you have other medical problems, but these doses may not be tolerated.
Tylenol can be liver toxic at very high doses (above the dose recommended on the bottle, or less if there is high alcohol consumption), but is otherwise usually very safe and well tolerated.
Ibuprofen is also dose dependent, but some people don't even tolerate, or have problems with lower doses.
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Old 14-09-2007, 03:02   #12
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Thank You

Thanks for the advice.
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