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Old 27-12-2013, 17:53   #1
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How old is too old?

I've been reading these forums for a few weeks, and I know amongst the whole of the group you have seen most of what can happen in boating. The question above is more complex than it might appear, so grab some coffee and let me set the context for what I am asking.

I'm a mid-fifties guy in the Midwest, Info Technology guy from way back. Lucky enough to have a stable job and expect to retire with a decent pension in a decade or so. In reasonably good health for a non-athlete. Not currently a boat owner, but I did once have a friend and co-worker who had a Sea Ray Sundancer 270 down on Lake of the Ozarks, and I probably spent 10-12 weekends there cruising around and sleeping over. Had a great time doing it, but never had the disposable resources to dedicate to that hobby, and eventually he moved on to another job and sold his boat. I did spend some time on motorcycles doing some long-distance touring, so I know how to travel light. I have some mechanical ability but not the inclination to make a hobby of that either.

A few weeks ago, I happened across WaterWorld on cable . . . yeah, sorta stupid movie, but I always enjoy the first 10 minutes. Always liked Trimarans and at least the idea of sailing, and so I picked up my computer and started looking at boats for sale. As I was looking at this stuff, a plan began to take shape in my pointed head; when I retire, I could sell my stuff, buy a decent boat and cruise my way through retirement. I started reading stuff about sailing, watching YouTubes, and came to this forum.

Now, I don't know a thing about boats, really . . . the experience I've had is trivial, beyond the fact that I really enjoyed being on someone else's boat, and that the 2 best days in the life of a boat owner are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it. However, the idea of sailing in blue water really appeals to me, for lots of reasons . . . probably some of the same reasons that motorcycles did. Or, this may just be a short bout of temporary insanity and I'll get over it in a few months.

In any case, given the circumstances I find myself in, there's really no way I could buy a boat and really start doing something like this for 10 years. I could go into the circumstances, but no one but me might find that entertaining. There are sailing classes here, and I could get some time under sail in the summers maybe, and get some certifications before then, but to get on the ocean sailing is likely 10 years away. I have read a number of stories, here and elsewhere, about older guys and couples on boats; most of these guys, however, say they've been on boats since before they could walk, and the economy of action gained thru years of experience is not lost on me. What I am thinking of doing may be a thing that could be done, but probably shouldn't.

So, here is the real question. Given that sailing is a somewhat physically more rigorous pursuit than simply motor cruising, have you met people that have done what I am considering doing and been able to become decent sailors in time to be able to enjoy some years on the high seas before the inevitable sets in? Financially, I think I could get this done, but physically, I'm not sure I'll have enough left to do it. I am talking about a live-aboard cruising lifestyle on a sailing vessel just starting out at age 65.

Tell me if this is a crazy idea.
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Old 27-12-2013, 18:00   #2
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Re: How old is too old?

Like old boats, it depends on your condition. I'm 66 and can still free climb my mast to the spreaders. Ya, it's a short mast on a 25 footer, but still! Some 50 yo can barely walk, so it all depends. Keep or start exercising, every day.
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Old 27-12-2013, 18:05   #3
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Re: How old is too old?

I am 63 and intend to go cruising in 20 months. I have lived on my boat for 5 years and know a fair amount about life on the water. Now there is something you should understand. If you intend to cruise there is an encyclopedia if information that you need to know. It will take a long time to absorb it to the point that the answers to problems come to you quickly and calmly. You may find it easier to manage a trawler on the ICW than a sailboat off shore. Even so, there will still be lots to learn. So, if you seriously think there is a boat in your future get a copy of Chapman and read through it. If it seems like just to much info, well better take another fork in the road.
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Old 27-12-2013, 18:13   #4
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Re: How old is too old?

When I was at the newport boat show this year we met a couple that had just finished a circumnavigation. My wife and I started talking to them and come to find out they had taken their first learn fo sail class just 10 years prior. They had never been on a boat and 10 years later they are circumnavigating. So yes it is feasible
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Old 27-12-2013, 18:17   #5
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Re: How old is too old?

I bumped into a fellow down the dock from me this summer. He retired at 65, welded up a steel boat and solo cruised all over the world. Stories of being dragged off reefs, running into freighters... fascinating guy. In his eighties now, his kids are trying to drag him of his boat onto land. Over twenty years of life he wouldn't have had if he'd done the smart thing and took up lawn bowling. I'll bet he wouldn't change a damn thing.

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Old 27-12-2013, 18:25   #6
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Re: How old is too old?

Im 75 and Connies 61, and we just sold a 51 ft ketch and are now looking for a boat in the 36 to 46 ft a ketch if we can find one we like ! Would love a Tri, but can't seem to find one thats glass not ply with glass over! I don't think age is the main thing but health is !! We are lucky to be healthy !! and we will contimue to sail till we can't ! Don't know how long that will be but at least 10 to 15 more yrs !! Try a charter out and see if ya really like it !! Have fun !!
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Old 27-12-2013, 19:29   #7
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pirate Re: How old is too old?

Age is a state of mind... and a certain amount of application
At 65 I'm bouncing around boats and sailing serious mileage delivering other peoples boats..
If you don't mind.. it don't matter...
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Old 27-12-2013, 19:39   #8
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Re: How old is too old?

Im 76 and just bought a 42 world cruiser type sloop . I had sold my racy 36ft open bridgedeck catamaran year and a half ago as it was a lil wild. The new boat has electric winches and I don't plan to take it out myself as I have been doing in 40 years of boats. If I get hurt I will sell it so my wife wont worry again. Ive been hurt twice before thru falls since I got older and it takes a long time to heal. Whether or not you can do it starting at 65 depends entirely on you, however the odds say no. This is because when you hit the hard spots as you would, you will probably give up and flee. This is because you have not conquered a multitude of hard spots in past years as I and others have. SO if you want to continue you must get into some type sailing and boats NOW!
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Old 27-12-2013, 19:53   #9
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Re: How old is too old?

As others have said, there are many "seniors" out cruising. We're 61 and 60 and plan on heading out in a couple of years. Just bought the retirement boat.

Probably the best things you can do is get in shape physically and financially and get time on the water in a sail boat. Doesn't have to be a big boat, in fact you'll learn more about sailing in a small daysailer. For a couple of grand you can pick up a used boat and learn the basics.

Follow your dreams!
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Old 27-12-2013, 19:55   #10
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Re: How old is too old?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Megalodon View Post
A few weeks ago, I happened across WaterWorld on cable . . . yeah, sorta stupid movie, but I always enjoy the first 10 minutes. Always liked Trimarans and at least the idea of sailing, and so I picked up my computer and started looking at boats for sale.
Go for your dream. Buy the exact tri used in the movie!



1995 Custom Racing Trimaran Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 27-12-2013, 20:37   #11
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Re: How old is too old?

You're getting a ton of good advise. I'm 67 and sail a 33 footer, but graduated up through six or seven dock derelicts that I bought, fixed up, and sold. Its a good cheap way to learn about boats, and sailing. It sounds like you live somewhat near a lake, so buying a small sailboat would be a great (and cheap) way to start out. And the great thing about small boats is that you learn to sail by "feel" which will be very valuable to you as you move up to larger boats. The other thing is being in good physical condition. Personally, I only fell off my boat once, but there was a good reason.
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Old 27-12-2013, 23:18   #12
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Re: How old is too old?

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Go for your dream. Buy the exact tri used in the movie!



1995 Custom Racing Trimaran Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

Can't swing something like that, and I'd hate to have to live on it in any case after seeing the interior. I'm leaning toward one of the older trimaran designs like a Horstman or Jim Brown sort of design. Who knows what sorts of boats will be available in 10 years?
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Old 27-12-2013, 23:53   #13
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Re: How old is too old?

Sir Francis Chicester was the first person to sail single-handed around the world, at 65.
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Old 28-12-2013, 01:12   #14
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Re: How old is too old?

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Sir Francis Chicester was the first person to sail single-handed around the world, at 65.
Gee, I bet that Slocum, Pigeon and Dumas, among others, would be surprised to hear that!

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Old 28-12-2013, 04:29   #15
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Re: How old is too old?

While your dream of retiring may need to wait, perhaps getting a small 12-14 foot used boat can happen now. That would allow you to learn how to sail and learn some basics.

While some have jumped into the "deep end" and started with large boats, many more have learned on small boats and moved up.
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