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Old 16-06-2018, 06:54   #1
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Sailing and Aging

Hi All,

Given the fact that many who have the financial wherewithal to cruise are seasoned citizens, I thought a thread about aging and cruising might be helpful. What accommodations can be made, to ourselves and our vessels, to extend the age at which we can still pursue the dream?

Please share your experiences: health considerations, availability of medical services, crime against cruisers, fitness, having a partner (or not), equipment considerations, hearing issues, safety, loneliness, finances, social opportunities, live-in marinas, friendship- all fair game. Aging is not a disease. Let's talk about our experiences related to aging and the fact that we're presently more likely to fall in than we were twenty years ago.
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Old 16-06-2018, 07:02   #2
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Re: Sailing and Aging

A friend of mine, (70 y.o.), Added boom furling to his boat to extend his time sailing. I’m very much considering doing the same in a few years.
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Old 16-06-2018, 07:43   #3
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Re: Sailing and Aging

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A friend of mine, (70 y.o.), Added boom furling to his boat to extend his time sailing. I’m very much considering doing the same in a few years.
I'm having single reefing lines added to the two slab reefs in my main to avoid having to go to the mast (and climb up on the coach roof) to reef. It seems that any way you slice it, you're going to lose some control of sail shape when you reef. Boom furling works great, I've sailed monohull sloops with it; but it's costly to retrofit, no?
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Old 16-06-2018, 07:52   #4
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Re: Sailing and Aging

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I'm having single reefing lines added to the two slab reefs in my main to avoid having to go to the mast (and climb up on the coach roof) to reef. It seems that any way you slice it, you're going to lose some control of sail shape when you reef. Boom furling works great, I've sailed monohull sloops with it; but it's costly to retrofit, no?
My friend spent close to $30K with some work done other than the main boom reefing, such as a new genoa.

I would think $20K to $25K to do a main sail boom reefing. That would be installed.
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Old 16-06-2018, 08:02   #5
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Sailing and Aging

Boom furling is not cheap, donít forget the new sail too.
Also you really need an electric winch, I get by with a Milwaukee drill, but an electric winch would be nice. Takes two fit men to hoist the main with a winch handle if doing it manually, I exaggerate a little, but it will wear you out.
If your a ďtrueĒsailor youíll not like it either, you lose a lot of adjustability in sail shape etc with boom furling.

If things go as I want them to, when it becomes more work than I can handle, I plan on a Trawler, cause itís everything from getting up and down the companionway to rough seas. Long watches, being days or weeks away from a first class Medical facility, getting off and on the boat from the dinghy etc.
I think a Trawler with a swim platform and the great loop would fit the bill for when Iím old and infirm.
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Old 16-06-2018, 08:11   #6
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Re: Sailing and Aging

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Boom furling is not cheap, donít forget the new sail too.
Also you really need an electric winch, I get by with a Milwaukee drill, but an electric winch would be nice. Takes two fit men to hoist the main with a winch handle if doing it manually, I exaggerate a little, but it will wear you out.
If your a ďtrueĒsailor youíll not like it either, you lose a lot of adjustability in sail shape etc with boom furling.
Iíve been trying to get a boom furling review from my 70 y.o. friend but he sails only short hops locally (RI) and has a knack for motoring with little wind.

Does your IP have boom or mast furling? Boom furling allows for battens.
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Old 16-06-2018, 08:36   #7
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Re: Sailing and Aging

a friend of mine sailed to the philipines and now has a much younger philipino girlfriend,she sails the boat,does all the cooking and boat maintanance....he just supplies the cash and instructions..........
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Old 16-06-2018, 09:16   #8
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Re: Sailing and Aging

Step Height. Many (most?) boats have steps that exceed the building code 7.5 inches, some times double that. These are hard on old knees and those that have been through surgery. Stepping in and out of the cockpit is a challenge and companionways are a pain.

Make new ladders with sensible spacing. Add better grips. Add cheater steps where high steps are required.

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This is rampant even on large boats that clearly have the space. Many builders just don't understand their demographic, but many are getting better.
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Old 16-06-2018, 09:31   #9
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Re: Sailing and Aging

Keep active! I spent the last winter off the boat first in 25 years or so of cruising . Put on weight and ended up with a shoulder with limited mobility. Went back to the boat for my 67th, started doing a fitness app with the help of the android. Just moving around and sailing I have lost the weight and now have near normal flexibility in the shoulder.
The boat also suffered from non usage, corrosion of electrics, battery failure etc.
Ships and sailors rot in port.
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Old 16-06-2018, 09:35   #10
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Re: Sailing and Aging

We're still enjoying a smaller boat, while looking for a more proper cruising vessel. We trailer her around quite a bit, often as part of a fleet of similar boats, and wherever we go, we often attract attention from older sailors. Some are former small-boat owners who gave up boating, others are present/former bigger boat owners who find it all too much now. They're usually a bit jealous that we are still enjoying a boat, at a very modest cost and effort.

So, given that the thread title is "sailing" and not cruising, let me suggest that a good option for the aging sailor is to downsize to a boat that's easier (and more fun) to sail, definitely more affordable to own, store and maintain, reasonable accomodation for a long weekend or a week, or you can use the money you've saved for B&Bs or small inns.

I've resolved that regardless of whether we do get the bigger boat or not, I will not sell the Sandpiper. it's paid-for, it gets us onto Ontario's bigger cottage lakes, and it's still easy & fun to sail.

Small boats were good enough for Frank & Margaret Dye... (ok maybe that's TOO small )
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Old 16-06-2018, 14:07   #11
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Re: Sailing and Aging

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Flare View Post
Iíve been trying to get a boom furling review from my 70 y.o. friend but he sails only short hops locally (RI) and has a knack for motoring with little wind.



Does your IP have boom or mast furling? Boom furling allows for battens.


I have a Pro Furl in boom furler, boom is 16Ē. Sail is full battened and has a lot of roach, both of course you canít really have with in mast.
It came with the boat, P.O. before the one I bought the boat from were an older couple that day sailed her out of Hilton Head SC. They added the boom furling and as the Genoa had almost no wear, I assume they used the staysail and main, and werenít in a hurry, cause an IP in normal conditions lives on the Genoa, but the Genoa can be a hand full, little self tacking Staysail is easy to handle, just not much power.
I assume they sold when they were too old to sail.
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Old 16-06-2018, 14:33   #12
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Re: Sailing and Aging

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I think a Trawler with a swim platform and the great loop would fit the bill for when I’m old and infirm.
My thoughts exactly. (But I will still go "old school" and the trawler will have a steadying sail!)
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Old 16-06-2018, 14:35   #13
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Re: Sailing and Aging

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a friend of mine sailed to the philipines and now has a much younger philipino girlfriend,she sails the boat,does all the cooking and boat maintanance....he just supplies the cash and instructions..........
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Old 16-06-2018, 15:07   #14
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Re: Sailing and Aging

Going in and out of the cockpit I step behind the dodger and under the bimini. Used to tie the front of the bimini down with small line (most use straps). Two years ago replaced the line with 1" SS tubing. The tubing mkes a great steady aid stepping in and out of the cockpit. Not like grabbing a rigid rail structure, but sure beats the He** out of that little line.

With the added handholds over my cowl vents (did that years ago) I can pretty well move around the deck within reach of something reasonable to grab. Cabin top grab rails are low but will work if nothing else handy.

If you have not already selected your yacht a lot to be said for bias on the smaller side when you get older. I can still raise my main without a winch, but need the mechanical advantage to really get the luff tight.

Not buying no dam* trawler. Just motor the sailboat with the staysail out if I have to. Looking for a cockpit compatable rocking chair but no luck so far.

Couldn't fault the "young honey" approach as an alternative but would probably have to drive with my feet after the Admiral got finished with me.
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Old 16-06-2018, 16:29   #15
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Re: Sailing and Aging

Well, at 80 I guess that I qualify as an older cruiser! My thoughts are that if you are going to continue doing ocean passages, larger is better than smaller in terms of boat size. The larger boat will have larger forces involved, but also will have larger machines, likely powered, to deal with them. On the other side, it will have a much better motion and greater creature comforts, both of which are appreciated by old bones. Faster speeds also help in reducing exposure times on passage, which makes planning easier.

Beyond that basic concept, we have gradually reduced the number of miles we sail annually and restricted ourselves to more benign passages, albeit crossing Bass Strait and small ventures into the Southern Ocean do still happen now and then. We pick our weather pretty carefully and avoid schedules.

The issue of medical help is, however, a serious one for many... ourselves included. As itinerant travelers (for many years) we've become used to ad hoc choice of doctors when they are needed, but as we've aged, the needs have become more frequent and at times more serious in nature. This can be daunting! Eg, when we arrived in Eden a couple of months ago (having come up from Tasmania) I felt a bit crook. There is a GP in Eden who didn't like what he saw and sent me off for some diagnostics... an hour's drive away. Fortunately we had a local friend who drove me up there, several times in all. The news wasn't good: colon cancer, and immediate surgery was indicated... in Canberra, a 4 1/2 hour bus ride away! Well, we managed the logistics, and all the follow up logistics and I've come out of it OK, but it was a PITA, and this was just an issue in rural Australia. Had the same thing occurred at sea or Vanuatu or the Solomons, I'd have been in trouble for sure. Such concerns crop up more frequently for us oldies and need to be folded into the decision about cruising and destinations. Old age ain't for sissies, and these issues are of greater concern than the details of handholds and companionway steps, all of which can be changed to suit one's needs.

All that said, we intend to carry on as long as we can, for the lifestyle is basically a very healthy one, and continued activity keeps us going.

Jim
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