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Old 09-02-2013, 13:27   #16
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Re: how old to sail single handed

First are light boats. A 30' should be well within your comfort zone now and in the foreseeable future.

I would go for it.

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Old 09-02-2013, 13:53   #17
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Re: how old to sail single handed

I thought DOJ made good points among other posters

I recently helped a friend deliver to a different part of NZ his "new" 31ft yacht, which he'd taken over from his Dad.

His Dad was still physically well capable of single handing it, at age 87, but was starting to find the surprises a bit str*ssful.

He was referring to the surprises you get when sail handling in a windy part of the world.

He's a truly exceptional guy, and he'd raised his family on a sailboat, so it's hard to generalise from how things panned out for him. He bought a big launch (ie power boat) to console him and keep him active.

His sailboat had in-boom reefing, which would not be my choice for singlehanding. When it works it's great, but the potential failure modes are worryingly difficult to cope with on your own, in comparison with plain vanilla slab reefing, or (provided they're well engineered and the sail is well designed and built) vertical mandrel mainsail rollers.

I mention it because think that has a bit to do with the stress in this case: he was mindful of this issue.
The achilles' heel of boomfurlers is when conditions change so suddenly that you are forced to run off, before you have had time to reef.

Reefing downwind while carrying too much sail is difficult with slab reefing, but possible if you have methods and gear well sorted. With a good vertical roller, it can be quite straightforward.
In my experience it's next to impossible with an in-boom furler, especially alone.
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Old 09-02-2013, 14:12   #18
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Re: how old to sail single handed

Sir Francis Charles Chichester circumnavigated the globe (with one stop in Australia) when he was 66 (9 years after he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer). "Old sailors never die, they just get a little dinghy".
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:36   #19
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Re: how old to sail single handed

This is no different than any other "how old is too old?" question. The answer is very simple:

If you THINK you are too old, then you are. If you don't, then you aren't.
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:41   #20
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Re: how old to sail single handed

I'm 56 and recently single handed 2500 miles. No great feat by any means but I never missed having crew or even company.

A friend is 82 and single hands in PS Dana for weeks on end - much to the horror of his wife.

Another friend is 65 and currently single handing his CSY 44 down to Trinidad.

As long as you are reasonably physically and mentally fit, healthy and skilled, there is no age limit.
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:54   #21
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

Posted by DOJ:
Quote:
I dunno about OP's specific upgrade but I would be thinking ahead 15 years to "what if I am a bit doddery on the the pins?", and therefore how are the sidedecks and simply getting onboard (and off!).
At that age very few of us have 15 yrs. left. Shocking but true. I try to live in the day, not worry about 15 yrs. from now. Funny thing is many here urge the young newcomer to just go for it and suggest for us seniors to think about 15 yrs. plus. What an irony. For the OP, go for it...
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:09   #22
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

I'll be 70 this year and I single hand my 53 Islander. I have auto reefing main and furling jib all handled from the center cockpit. heading to the Carib in October of 2013 and on to the Med in 2014. Go for the larger boat, better parties.
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:18   #23
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Posted by DOJ:

At that age very few of us have 15 yrs. left. Shocking but true. I try to live in the day, not worry about 15 yrs. from now. Funny thing is many here urge the young newcomer to just go for it and suggest for us seniors to think about 15 yrs. plus. What an irony. For the OP, go for it...
With the 15 year timescale I was being polite .

But nonetheless I stand by my comment. If I was buying at 66 I would be thinking ahead to a time when (not if!) I was less able on my pins (strength / balance / endurance / nimbility(?!)). Could be in 15 years, could be 5 (or less!)...........not to rule out buying a boat!, but to make sure I did not buy something that would be an absolute PITA for me later - when instead I could easily have bought something else instead now (and grown into her over the next years ), another few inches on the sidedecks?, a higher coachroof? a fixed boarding ladder? and likely a few other things as well to at least consider.....including no trapeze required .
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:24   #24
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Re: how old to sail single handed

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Originally Posted by wolfenzee View Post
Sir Francis Charles Chichester circumnavigated the globe (with one stop in Australia) when he was 66 (9 years after he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer). "Old sailors never die, they just get a little dinghy".
You'd think at that age he'd have had more sense........ .

Whilst I am sure some folks will turn out to be in the Chichester bracket (in physical capabilities at least), nonetheless IMO perhaps not prudent to bet on that with choice of boat (and intended voyages?!). IIRC even Chichester later said he wished he'd had a different boat!
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:09   #25
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

Go for the 30. It will be more comfortable and not significantly more demanding to handle.

If you find your physical strength falling off, you might want to upgrade your winches, maybe for a good two speed model. Easier cranking. Re-think your running rigging. Maybe there is something else that you can rig for easy access from the cockpit.

As for sleep while single-handed, the egg timer set on 10 to 20 minutes, depending on traffic conditions and visibility, works for me. I power-nap in the cockpit, usually. If need be, I put up red over red and heave to and catch an hour or two.

If I am near the coast I might anchor in close to the beach, 20 to 30' of water, when I am not expecting a sea breeze. Early evening works well for this, as the local breeze is more likely to come from land until daylight. There are iphone apps that work well as an anchor drag alarm. Droid apps, too. Better than your GPS because you can set your own alarm sound. Then I hit the sheets with the anchor light on, and sleep til dawn. Works great if there is no swell to speak of. If you can afford the amps, turn spreader deck floods on, too, for better visibility.

It is a lot easier and safer to have crew, but I enjoy the solitude. The punishment of cockpit powernapping is preferable, to me, to mindless prattling by some blithering idiot while I am trying to think about the nature of things or enjoy my nightly glass of port.
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:11   #26
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

The size of the boat does not determine the difficulty in handling the boat. If you equip a boat to be senior friendly as mine is, you can go to any size. I single handed my 44ft motor sailer after my wife passed away for 3 years. (after 65 and 2000+ nm/yr). I have company again now but they are basically just passengers so far. Things like furling main and jib, self tacking jibs, bow thrusters, twin engines and a variety of other helpful items can make a boat very easy to handle. As I get older I add systems which will help counteract any physical limitations. However I still do all my own maintenance.
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:47   #27
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Re: how old to sail single handed

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
You'd think at that age he'd have had more sense........ .

Whilst I am sure some folks will turn out to be in the Chichester bracket (in physical capabilities at least), nonetheless IMO perhaps not prudent to bet on that with choice of boat (and intended voyages?!). IIRC even Chichester later said he wished he'd had a different boat!
AS far as how old you can single hand it's a matter of how old you are when you learn the advantages of having a crew. I am seeking a crew not just for the safety issue, that it will make life over all easier and company...but to "share the experience". Single handing (like anything else on a boat) is a personal decision. Single handing doesn't really impress anyone else but if you have to prove something to your self and/or just don't get along with other people (or can't find someone who can get along with you) then go for it...it's alot of work to be alone.
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:26   #28
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

my granddad solo sailed into his 90s then fell over board and drowned while at his mooring in the harbor. he mostly sailed along the eastern seaboard for one or two weeks at a time. gaffed rigged cat boat of 26 feet on deck. always rigged the boat like a coffin so he was tied into bunks, settee, and even the head(bucket on the stern). he literally figured he would go where the boat went, and did say many times he wanted to die on the boat and not on land.
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Old 04-01-2014, 21:14   #29
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

An 82 year old just did his 12th Singlehanded Transpac in a 33 footer. Or was it his 13th?

Keep all the running rigging free running. Keep the sheaves and winches lubricated. Don't cross halyards inside the mast or reef lines/out hauls in the boom. If you're dreading hauling up the main, put a 2:1 halyard on it. It's easier to reach the lines when you have a tiller. Good food and a reliable autopilot will keep your spirits up.

Hit the gym a few times a week. Best investment you will make in anything.

You'll be fine in a 30 footer. You can always put just one sail up, or just keep a reef in.
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Old 04-01-2014, 22:18   #30
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

This is a timely conversation. My wife just passed away, unexpectedly, in her sleep on January 2. She had mobility issues, but could be on the bow to pass a line over or to pick up a mooring pendant, and I would then go forward to take it. Close quarters was exciting, because I was basically single handing, but just another set of eyes were helpful. I am weighing my options about keeping or not keeping the boat, and for now, my decision is to do nothing different. I have in boom furling, which makes it very easy to raise, reef or drop the main. I have total confidence in the system. For the OP, there is not a big difference between 27 and 30 feet,and that difference will diminish after a few sails. I have sailed most of my life, cruised for 10 years, but still have concerns about single handing a 41 foot boat coastal cruising. Probably will just have to pay more attention to wind, current and obstacles while manuvering in close quarters, and make sure I make spring lines my friend.
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