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Old 08-12-2011, 10:31   #46
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

At 67 I enjoy going up the mast. I have helped out guys 20 years younger than me while they did the winching. At 64 my late wife (61 at a time) was no longer able to operate our electric winch to hoist me up the mast so I installed folding mast steps by myself while moving up the mast. It took about a week to drill and tap 4 - 1/4 in screws in each step. My mast is 56ft high. The steps are 20 in. apart. It is amazing what one can do with enough determination and the right motivation. Age is not the limiting factor. Most of the limits we have, are set by our own minds.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:28   #47
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

Fot those in the habit of losing the halyards up the mast would it be wise to tie a mono line to the base of the halyard clip to retreve it?
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Old 08-12-2011, 16:59   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capn_billl
Fot those in the habit of losing the halyards up the mast would it be wise to tie a mono line to the base of the halyard clip to retreve it?
One certainly could. For every "what if" we can imagine comfortably in front of our computers, a contingency can be devised. That's why it's grerat to keep hashing this stuff out.

I would guess the most common halyard to be "lost" is the spin halyard. Predominantly during racing, predominantly during a chaotic bad set or douse. A friend recently sent his spin halyard up. The spin was doused, the mast man did not clip the halyard to the mast ring and the pit man, unaware, gave a mighty yank at the piano, as was his habit to secure the halyard and up it went. It unfortunately reached a height where the down rope was heavier than the up rope and gravitiy did the rest.

I lost the pole lift once but fortunately my boat is small the lift enters the mast at about 10-12 feet high and my 6,6 mast guy that day could stand on the boom and snatch it.

Your idea works, but what if the main sheeve failed at the top, what if the "aging" wire/rope halyard failed at the splice?

Actually, in a pinch, I could see using the spin halyard temporarily on the main to complete a passage. Yes it would wrap from front to back, may not hoist the sail high enough to set right, but it would be better than nothing.

The great thing about sailing is all the puzzles we get to solve.
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Old 08-12-2011, 17:07   #49
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

No pain no gain!

Watch the weather, plan your crossings , and do not be in a hurry.
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Old 08-12-2011, 17:32   #50
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Re: How old is "TOO OLD" to sail?

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It's all about health. From my Bahamas cruising I know or have known quite a few out there in their seventies, but every year one or two of them quits. Always it's health. I would say seventies seems the limit for many. However I know a lot more in their late fifties and early sixties that quit for reasons other than health.

And I know a man 72 and a man 73 who are both vigorous, active sailors. They don't have furling mainsails, they don't have windlasses. One uses a tiller and one a wheel, but they can sail circles around people 20 years younger than them. They're both in relatively good health and I believe it's their active lifestyle that allows them to.

I'm peeking 'round the corner at 66. I live on my boat (docked), and ... I have cerebral palsy. It isn't severe, but it does affect strength in my legs, and hence ... balance. I compensate with my upper body. I sail my 31' Hunter by myself as well as with others. I'm very strong and was able to pull up an anchor the other night that my 48 year old companion (female) could not.

By being so active, the effects of the CP, while they will never go away, have diminished. My legs, in short, are stronger than they were a year ago. There is a limit to how much they can improve, but I might as well be at the upper limit.

Sail on a LOT of boats. Start as soon as you can. I've also had breast cancer and a mastectomy. You never know when a refrigerator is going to fall on you! Put yourself on the fast track to learning. Sign up for all the classes you can. Use some of that boat money (there's absolutely no need to spend $150k on a boat), fly to a warm place and start learning to sail NOW. Take the ASA courses and then charter a sailboat.

Don't dawdle. Get going!
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Old 08-12-2011, 18:23   #51
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

Go for it. In a pinch, most of the time someone who can help you out will only be just around the corner (unless completing a long passage - in which case you will probably have crew with you). Plenty of cruisers will tell stories of helping out or being helped out by fellow cruisers.

Realistically you will climb the mast rarely. But if were to lose a halyard to the top of the mast whilst coastal sailing it is no big deal. All you do is secure your sails, turn the motor on and head back in to the dock. Once your in there if you can't find someone younger/dumber to wizz up there I would be very surprised. Particularly if you let them know you could reward them with a cold ale or two!!

Best of luck and remember to keep the beer cold and the wind at your back!
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Old 08-12-2011, 19:35   #52
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Many clubs have mast cranes too so depending on your plans that may be a possibility too. Personally we borrow a friends teenager. (with parental presence running the winch and consent). Barring that we have a friend who will go up. If those fail we drop it with the crane. A neighbor has fixed steps p his Westsail mast and with some safety gear that seems like a reasonable plan. SC
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Old 08-12-2011, 22:59   #53
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

How did this get off topic about loosing a hallard up the mast, I find the older I get the more time I take making sure things like loosing a hallard doesn't happen. Anyway we have a set of climbing assenders to go up a hallard if needed just never needed to actually do anything other than practice, I love our stable cat when up the mast.
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Old 08-12-2011, 23:30   #54
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

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Originally Posted by semperdog View Post
Thanks for all of the input! I've been reading more about my new found idea, and have a question based on the topic:

-Is climbing the mast a difficult chore, or is it simple (and possible for a 70 yr. old) to accomplish with the bosun's chair or other inexpensive means?

-How often would one have to climb the mast?

Thanks!!
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How did this get off topic about loosing a hallard up the mast,

Well -seeing as how semperdog started the thread and semper dog asked about mast climbing it's sorta hard to claim thread drift...

In fact you can sorta take any question ever asked on CF and add "Am I too old to..." and it would probably on be on topic

But let's don't. We really don't need a bunch of old guys whacking us with their canes!
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:00   #55
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

I am a 63 years young single-hander. I use a Mastmate, - a set of webbing steps hauled up the main track and a harness around the mast so the most I can fall is to the spreaders. Climbing at anchor or in a marina is a cinch, I once climbed at sea to re-reeve a halyard and that was less fun! You could haul yourself using a bosun's chair and a 4 purchase tackle but that requires a line 4 times longer than your mast height and I can only imagine that fouling somewhere when you're halfway up! I would be very averse to the bridge idea, imagine the anchor dragging just a few feet, - you've lost your rig. And if you're hanging on to the mast at the time. Ouch! Still, first prize IMO is mast steps if you don't mind the windage and aesthetics.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:13   #56
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

A thought on the bridge idea, - approach the bridge from downstream, tie up to a piling and adjust your distance off using your docklines. Be sure to check that it is not a tidal stream that will reverse flow.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:17   #57
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

What about raft alongside boat with mast steps.
up that mast and heel yours to work.
if your are in Cardiff, Wales, Across pond. I would assist a fellow sailor.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:16   #58
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

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In fact you can sorta take any question ever asked on CF and add "Am I too old to..." and it would probably on be on topic
Am I too old to read sailing forums?

But really what does age have to do with sailing, once old enough to drink of course? It's about your abilty to move etc and I've met lots of people who were only 40 that couldn't be on a sail boat safely.

There's there's me .............fat and out of shape, but still sailing.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:29   #59
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Roy.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:06   #60
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Re: How Old Is 'Too Old' to Sail ?

A few years ago I was anchored in Marsh Harbour in the Abacos. A really nasty squall line was approaching from the north west and at the last minute before it struck a British registered yacht anchored about forty yards off my port side. The wind came in and blew to about hurricane strength for about 30 mins. After the squall passed I jumped in the dinghy and went over to the Brit boat to see if they were OK. They were a husband and wife in their mid seventies I believe, and on their way back to the Corolinas to sell the boat after a third circumnavigation.

"Going to retire?" I asked.

"No, not at all, we have found a new sport we want to try."

"What is that?" I asked.

"High altitude rock climbing," came the response.
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