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Old 13-08-2018, 10:09   #1
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Cruising and the aging sailor

My previous sailing experience has been limited to lakes and protected inlets on small sailboats. My biggest adventure so far was a few years ago when I bought Renacer (rebirth in Spanish) a 1979 Cape Dory 28 in Jacksonville and brought her down the ICW to Fort Lauderdale, where I now live. Her renovations are almost complete. In two days I turn 63. I have a dream to sail the Keys, Bahamas, and Caribbean in retirement two years from now. My encouragement has come from Reese Pawley, sailor and author who advocates sailing as a life extending activity for old people. A work acquaintance of mine of similar age and interests has just sold his Cape Dory 36 in order to buy a Ranger 29 Tug to use in retirement. So my question to you good people is how do you feel about sailing in your golden years? Keep at it as a safe and healthy activity or ditch it for the comfort of power boating? There is no right answer for everybody of course, just that I’m having the occasional doubt.
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Old 13-08-2018, 10:26   #2
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

I'm not old by any means but I remember reading through this thread not long ago :

Sailing and Aging

Might be an interesting read.
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Old 13-08-2018, 10:54   #3
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

As people, especially Westerners, are living longer and enjoying more active lives, age is becoming more of a non-specific issue. It's largely a very personal decision based on each individual's capabilities, desires and resources. Anecdotally, I know of sailors in their late 70s that are still going strong and have no intention of swallowing the hook. I know of other sailors in their 50s and 60s who are no longer cruising because they're now dead.

All the glamorous adjectives notwithstanding, blue water cruising does require some tolerance to discomfort and some might argue that the challenges that are faced are not discomforts at all but rather parts that are to be savored. I think that Alfred Lord Tennyson's quote, "It is better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all", could be applied here with substituting 'love' for 'sailed'. Go for it! Most of us who haunt these websites treasure with passion our time spent on the high seas.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 13-08-2018, 12:05   #4
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

I am not yet "old" (nor are you) and this is such a personal question related to health and perception, but the more time I spend on my boat and the bigger adventures I take, the more fit and capable I feel I have become. Yes, there will be a time when that is probably no longer the case, but why presuppose it? Go for it. Only you will know if it's time to buy a Ranger tug...which is not a bad option either, by the way
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Old 13-08-2018, 12:42   #5
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

Can you do it? Yep, absolutely! Do you want the discomfort of effort required? Thats a personal choice.

In regards to can you do it? Theres a guy here that i met a couple of years back that has single handed from Hawaii to here, Madagascar. Now hes not old, hes only 40 BUT what makes him special is he has one arm missing and one leg missing! Hes attempting to be the first double amputee to solo sail around the world, and I assure you he will succeed. My point is desire and the stuff you have inside determines alot of the outcome.

Personally I'd be hsppy with either the ssilboat or the tug, im lucky, i like most boats.

BTW the guy i mentioned above taught himself via utube.
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Old 13-08-2018, 14:58   #6
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

Hi, Don55,

Life's an experiment. My suggestion to you is to follow through with your present plan, and see how you like it. If you like it, keep on, till it quits being fun. If you don't like it, then consider the motor yacht, which will at least allow you to be out on the water. The decision is all about what is fulfilling to you, at the time.

Imho, it is a waste of your precious time to worry about the numbers attached to your age. You either feel up to it, or not, and it's okay to push yourself a little, just be mindful of it. I'm lots older than you are now, and Jim and I are still sailing. However, it is a big, dry boat, and it doesn't hobbyhorse. The smaller boats are livelier. If you already are using the smaller boat every day, you'll keep up the speed of your reactions, it is a use it or lose it sort of situation. If you will be singlehanding, evaluate your balance issues, if any, with great care.

Why should you not follow through with your plan?

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Old 14-08-2018, 01:48   #7
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

Gosh I have no idea what you are talking about with old at 63-65. We took our first sailing lesson Dec 2000 bought our first and only boat in 2003 - a new Jeanneau DS40 - and at age 63 set sail -- that was 11 years ago and we have not stopped since - all the USA coast - both sides of the Carib and in 2013 at age 68 did a 2 handed crossing of the Atlantic with admiral age 66 - since then most of the Med and in 2016 at age 71 did a circum nav of the Black Sea - first to do it in a long time -


Suck it up and just go - good grief - go or dream -


does it get harder yea it does and now at age 73 we find it just a tad more difficult - when people ask we just tell them gee wish we were 65 again - today we set off at 0300 for a 100+ sail to Cyprus


what have you done lately???
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Old 14-08-2018, 03:18   #8
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

God's Gift to the Ancient Mariner = Panadol Osteo.....

And I only started taking that a few months ago..... rising 73.....
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Old 14-08-2018, 04:34   #9
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

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Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
Gosh I have no idea what you are talking about with old at 63-65. We took our first sailing lesson Dec 2000 bought our first and only boat in 2003 - a new Jeanneau DS40 - and at age 63 set sail... Suck it up and just go - good grief - go or dream... what have you done lately???
Wow, luvvit -- as an over 70 sailor (who is still working 50-hours weeks and never manages to go anywhere), this is encouraging...

THANKS !!
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Old 14-08-2018, 06:52   #10
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

We know some people who quit sailing alone in their mid 80s. Now they have at least one younger crew member to handle the heavy stuff. Their reaction times aren't as good.

I am 63 and plan to keep sailing until health prevents it. My wife agrees! And we mostly sail, mostly hand steering. Our sailing area means we can effectively day sail whereever we want to go.
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Old 14-08-2018, 08:01   #11
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don55 View Post
In two days I turn 63. I have a dream to sail the Keys, Bahamas, and Caribbean in retirement two years from now.
At 63 you will be among the "kids"of the cruising community out there!
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Old 14-08-2018, 10:01   #12
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

I solo circumnavigated in a 29 foot sailboat at 65, am still cruising. I will be 84 next week.
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Old 14-08-2018, 10:06   #13
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

I am 66, and find cruising in the Caribbean a wonderful experience. We have good friends well into their 70's that feel the same way. I can't think of any lifestyle better to keep you fit and active than cruising.
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Old 14-08-2018, 10:09   #14
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

If you are not on a sailing adventure, or planning your next sailing adventure...then you are already dead.
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Old 14-08-2018, 10:17   #15
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Re: Cruising and the aging sailor

Sir Francis Chicester sailed aboard his ketch "Lively Lady" from England to Australia non-stop and then back again, non-stop when he was seventy years old. I'm 63 and am heading from NYC to Maine in two weeks on my C&C 34+ 'Savage', all offshore. Really there is no limit but you need to avoid changing a head sail at night in 25 knots of wind. Otherwise you will be OK.
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