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Old 04-01-2014, 22:48   #31
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

I am 67 and just finished my boat and nearing completion of shakedown. Plan on cruising the Carribean maybe next year. I still race cars, ride my harley and fly my plane along with restoring another boat. I don't think it is age but more like wanting to share the good times with so I will seek someone who is free to enjoy what the world will have to offer. No strings just a good time, plus it would be nice to share watches as well. Oh I just finished a 100% homebuilt from plans Flicka 20.
Single handing is what I have done most of my life even when married as I had to do it all so now I am getting where I can no longer talk to myself without knowing the answer before I say it aloud. So my answer is plan on going alone and pick up someone at the last minute to share your extra time with. Have a good one!
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Old 05-01-2014, 17:20   #32
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

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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.
Which raises a good point. Get a cutter ketch so you can sail with mizzen and staysail. Very stable and will sail reasonably well. Easy to spill wind and super simple to handle. Plenty of 30-33 foot ketches around.
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:56   #33
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

I think it should be obvious its not the age in years. We all age at different rates when it comes to physical and mental function. There is also the uncertainty of health matters such as injury or stroke or heart issues and any of these can occur out of the blue with little notice. While these things are more common at 80 years of age the 50 year old is not immune. If an older person takes off SH to cross oceans this increased risk is just part of the package and if the sailor is planning SH ocean crossing he or she must welcome and enjoy the risk and has weighed it against the rewards.
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Old 06-01-2014, 13:59   #34
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

Yeah we are all different, NOT! Most old folks(65+ me included) get more forgetful, loose control more often of arms and legs(oh i just dropped the winch handle on my toes), Increasingly get confused and addled, and in general don't function very well. Adapt we do, but sailing does require constant coordination of brain and body. A fellow old fart at the club last summer suddenly stood up in his ancient international 210 as he was doing a jib. Brain got smashed. We buried him two weeks later. We get older and dumber. So if your going to go sailing, gotta rig the boat to be as fool proof as possible; or get a suitable boat where you can do dumb things and still live.
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Old 06-01-2014, 17:41   #35
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

Agreed about rigging the boat right. I'm 75 and I figured out that boom head smashing thing a long time ago that's why I wear a helmet and don't care if others laugh.
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Old 06-01-2014, 18:36   #36
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

Ditto, but below decks, i wear a bike helmet just in case i get bounced around a bit; have knee pads(basic lowes type) for kneeling on the floor boards and always an easy opening knife on belt(opinel). Also wear closed toed shoes on board. Thinking about installing hand rails for accessing the companionway hatch. Groan.
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:27   #37
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

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Yeah we are all different, NOT! Most old folks(65+ me included) get more forgetful, loose control more often of arms and legs(oh i just dropped the winch handle on my toes), Increasingly get confused and addled, and in general don't function very well. Adapt we do, but sailing does require constant coordination of brain and body. A fellow old fart at the club last summer suddenly stood up in his ancient international 210 as he was doing a jib. Brain got smashed. We buried him two weeks later. We get older and dumber. So if your going to go sailing, gotta rig the boat to be as fool proof as possible; or get a suitable boat where you can do dumb things and still live.
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Agreed about rigging the boat right. I'm 75 and I figured out that boom head smashing thing a long time ago that's why I wear a helmet and don't care if others laugh.
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Originally Posted by reed1v View Post
Ditto, but below decks, i wear a bike helmet just in case i get bounced around a bit; have knee pads(basic lowes type) for kneeling on the floor boards and always an easy opening knife on belt(opinel). Also wear closed toed shoes on board. Thinking about installing hand rails for accessing the companionway hatch. Groan.
I will be 70 this year and unequivocally reject your premise that somehow the number of years I've lived makes me a doddering and frail old man. Maybe 20 or 30 years from now, but not this year or the next.

Stop listening to and believing the propaganda of failure. Don't just give up.

Set hard goals for your mind and body. Then bust your butt to achieve them.

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Old 07-01-2014, 04:23   #38
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

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I will be 70 this year and unequivocally reject your premise that somehow the number of years I've lived makes me a doddering and frail old man. Maybe 20 or 30 years from now, but not this year or the next.

Stop listening to and believing the propaganda of failure. Don't just give up.

Set hard goals for your mind and body. Then bust your butt to achieve them.

What he said...

The wheels will fall off one day... but until then....

I can single hand my boat but on passage I still want crew... but that is not an age issue ( I'm rising 68 ) just a watchkeeping issue.

El Ping... still ( when not afloat ) mustering cows on Campo Pinguino on foot with the help of a 14yo profoundly deaf cattle dog...
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:17   #39
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

Busting butt at 70? Did that in my 40s so i could take it easy in my 70s. Nothing about being frail, still can bench press 200 pounds, although that will do it for the day. But definitely one's reactions and judgements slow down with age. Example: on the life fire range, its the old farts who manage to mistakenly fire their semi autos, not the younger kids. We don't yell out "fire in the hole" but rather " old fart on the line".
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:53   #40
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pirate Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

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Originally Posted by reed1v View Post
Yeah we are all different, NOT! Most old folks(65+ me included) get more forgetful, loose control more often of arms and legs(oh i just dropped the winch handle on my toes), Increasingly get confused and addled, and in general don't function very well. Adapt we do, but sailing does require constant coordination of brain and body. A fellow old fart at the club last summer suddenly stood up in his ancient international 210 as he was doing a jib. Brain got smashed. We buried him two weeks later. We get older and dumber. So if your going to go sailing, gotta rig the boat to be as fool proof as possible; or get a suitable boat where you can do dumb things and still live.
I think this is dependent on your background and physical make-up.. if you've been land based in your occupation all your life and 'Hobby Sail' that could well be the case.. however if you've been a working seaman/sailor the greater part of your life a great part of your reactions are instinctive.. and ones fitness/mobility is generally at a much higher level..
There's a lot of guys I've run into that fit your scenario.. overweight, unfit and shaky on their pins with an under developed sense of balance..
Then there's the 'Old Salt/fart' who'd run rings around guys 20-30yrs younger... and out do them stamina wise..
Know your own body and your own limits... and don't assume that others are as handicapped.. or as agile as you..
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:07   #41
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

Most old tars are too beat up and worn out to do much sailing after a life at sea. Biggest problem up here are old lobstermen falling out of their boats.
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:19   #42
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Most old tars are too beat up and worn out to do much sailing after a life at sea. Biggest problem up here are old lobstermen falling out of their boats.
London its white collar workers falling off barstools...
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:21   #43
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

Drowning by different means.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:08   #44
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

A lot of wise words in this thread, mostly with encouragements to 'go for it', i.e. get a larger boat. I just don't quite understand: if you are content with your C 27 (which looks like a fine vessel to me) and know how to handle it, why not stick with it? A new boat will always mean some (or many) surprises and unexpected expenses, and a larger boat will mean greater forces and strength required (unless equipped with expensive gear), and the extra comfort and range gained by 3 more feet may not be very significant. So IMHO: 'stick with it' ;-)
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:27   #45
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Re: How Old to Sail Single Handed

I am 66 and am heading out next summer. It seems as we age we need more repetition of tasks to stay competent. I find this with cars, motorbikes and the boat. I had a C&C 26 a few years ago and it was a very rugged boat for its size. I would sail it anywhere. The boom was bigger around than the mast on some 26 footers. Get out there now. We should have 25 years ago. No more excuses. Remember also that cruising isn't everyone's cup of tea, so if it isn't fun, feel no shame in returning to familiar waters.
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