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Old 03-06-2016, 13:14   #211
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

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But I think then the curve dips back down as age increases... 20 year-olds want a 20 footer, 40 year-olds the 40 footer, 60 year-olds the 60 footer, but then at 70 it drops back down to a 20 footer! and then at 90 it's down to 17 feet: here's a shot of my dear old dad:About Dories | High Desert Dories

That's an interesting observation... at least on the upside of the curve. I don't it continues to rise after 50... but it would be interesting to see some data supporting the age of people purchasing 60" foot boats.

I do observe older couples day sailing in smaller boats and couples day sailing on under 30'... maybe over nighting. These couples look a bit frail frankly to be handling a 50'. But my sample is skewed based on where the sample is... LIS/ Southern NE.

++++

Back in 93 I encountered a an elederly couple... Will Rodeman and his wife in St Georges, Bermuda sailing their Hinkley SW 40 Gentle Presence. They got pretty beat up on the passage from ME and lost their cat overboard. They were finally going for their dream cruise to the Caribbean.

Will had invented air inflatable bladders to make a boat unsinkable... so he wasn't worried about sinking! I digress. I could see that the passage through the storm was too much for him. I offered to buddy sail with him on the way to Antigua.

He wanted to sail with a small 34' wood boat from ME called Owl which had a middle aged couple aboard. Owl was "low tech".

When the weather window present Will refused to leave waiting for a pump from the States... which would arrive the following day. I told him I would sail slow and wait for them to catch up. We established a radio sched. Will kept postponing his departure... and this made it impossible for him to "catch" up... so he told me to speed my way to Antigua. We had a fabulous and perfect quick sail.

By the time I arrived GP and Owl had left... and were half way to Antigua and again were hit by some rough weather. Owl began to leak... He had no HF radio, only VHF... and was closer to GP. Owl was pumping by hand... GP lost his autopilot and he and his wife took turns hand steering. When I heard this report... I call Herb at SBII who contacted the USCG and they flew out a few times dropping pumps for Owl. Several didn't work... finally he got one to work and had lots of gas for it... and ran it contiguously as he sailed to English Harbor.

Thank you Herb and the USCG.

Will and his wife arrived and looked like hell. Both of them had very swollen legs are were exhausted. Owl had her planking caulked and left to sail down Island.

This is why older people need to be prudent about what they do and the boat they sail... because when things go south it can be too much for them. Hickley SW40 is not a big boat... rather narrow... and it was probably too much for them in the conditions they found themselves in 2x in 2 weeks.

At 69 I would not buy anything larger than a mid 40 if money was no object... forces are too much for me in a blow. I cruised in my mid 40s...when I was a different guy.
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Old 03-06-2016, 13:22   #212
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

The boaters I envy are the ones who have smallish boats out cruising for many years with simple systems and simple budgets. Makes me smile every time even as I wonder how the heck they do it.

I have seen "boat envy" while out cruising but it is far less than in marinas around the world. I have also seen many cruisers who went far offshore for years, sold their boats, and then went back on larger boats, always with more complicated systems than they had before. Small and simple is definitely not a universally held "good thing". Some cruisers think they will like the small and simple and find out that they really don't. Works the other way too. Some people think it is grand to go out double-handed in a 50'er with electric everything and then decide they really should have gone smaller and more manageable. Even some rich folks.

Of course some cruisers never go back at all because the miss the simple pleasures of the modern world on land.

I'm getting social security now so I should have a 65' boat I guess by some calculations. My wife and I would never feel comfortable with anything over about 45' but we don't need that so we got another 42' which is our personal sweet spot.
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Old 03-06-2016, 13:41   #213
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

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Since there is pretty clear data to show the average cruising boat has increased in size over the decades, for your theory to be correct you would also have to show there has been a similar increase in the average age of cruisers.

Is this the case?

It's true that at 49 I'm usually one of the youngest people we meet. Hmmmm
Not my pHD thesis paper that I have to defend, just my belief from observations. But a simple blog search will show for the most part young people on smaller boats than older people, and fairly few older people on small cruising boats.

But I do believe that there has been an increase of older cruisers and I bet this has a lot to do with more affordable larger boats that can provide acceptable comfort to them. This combined with better "systems" makes cruising more attractive.

At 56 I can certainly speak for myself that if I had to cruise in an older 35' boat I wouldn't be planning a cruising life.
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Old 03-06-2016, 14:03   #214
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

I see plenty of older folks in my neighborhood cruising 40' up. Of course I have no problem with that, I'd just say a "real cruiser" is one who does not look down his/her nose at my windlassless, hank-on, non-electrified, showerless 22.5 foot waterline... or park their boat on top of my anchor.
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Old 03-06-2016, 14:08   #215
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

Maybe it's because I'm 29, but I love your Colombia 29. Beautiful boat.
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Old 03-06-2016, 14:15   #216
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

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I see plenty of older folks in my neighborhood cruising 40' up. Of course I have no problem with that, I'd just say a "real cruiser" is one who does not look down his/her nose at my windlassless, hank-on, non-electrified, showerless 22.5 foot waterline... or park their boat on top of my anchor.
Personally I don't care what boat other people chose to have and wonder why so many other people do!

Heck there's a thread running saying you aren't a real cruiser if you have GPS.

I wonder why boating forums are so meaner than boaters in person? I wonder if boaters in person will start to become meaner due to internet forums?
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Old 03-06-2016, 14:21   #217
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

My explanation for larger boats with older owners is that the 1% have more disposable income... and the systems make bigger boats less challenging to operate in normal conditions which is most of the time. Lots of fair weather sailors going bigger. Nothing wrong with that. I suspect these older couples are not taking these boats off to Tahiti though from NE.
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Old 03-06-2016, 14:22   #218
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

I think it boils back down to real life boaters actually physically being out there boating, actively helping others and being helped, rather than on the forum where a number of contributors don't even own a boat
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Old 03-06-2016, 14:31   #219
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

Let's not forget that people get emotionally attached to a boat and have invested lots of time and love... sometimes for years... and getting rid of the boat for something new and bigger is like trading in a wife for a new younger pretty thing... something else old guys seem to do as well!

Making a yacht work for the owner... customizing is a lot of work... usually....it was in my case... as well as replacing and upgrading... Starting over again for a few more feet of water line is hard to justify. Jumping to a much larger boat is a leap most don't feel comfortable with and so perhaps they increase in size after a few years working their way up??? Who knows?

I doubt anyone decides to sail around the world and "learn" to sail etc. on their first starter boat such as an Oyster 53. I meet people who in middle age ask me to teach them how to sail as if they can learn this in a few lessons!
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Old 03-06-2016, 17:36   #220
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

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...At 56 I can certainly speak for myself that if I had to cruise in an older 35' boat I wouldn't be planning a cruising life.
Well, I'll let you know how I feel in seven years. Perhaps I'll be looking for that bigger boat. Although my partner is going on 54 already, and so far she seems quite happy with our older 37-footer.

Whatever makes you happy, and gets you out there ... that's all that really matters .
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Old 04-06-2016, 00:49   #221
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

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Personally I don't care what boat other people chose to have and wonder why so many other people do!

Heck there's a thread running saying you aren't a real cruiser if you have GPS.
. . .
I agree completely!
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Old 04-06-2016, 01:00   #222
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

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. . .
I doubt anyone decides to sail around the world and "learn" to sail etc. on their first starter boat such as an Oyster 53. I meet people who in middle age ask me to teach them how to sail as if they can learn this in a few lessons!
Let's not judge even such people. Everyone has a different path in life, and all different reasons for being where they are.

I once made an offer (politely refused) on an Oyster 485 which had been bought new by a guy who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer at 50 or something. He had never sailed before in his life -- had spent it all working like hell in the City for a future which had just been abruptly -- cancelled.

So he decided he wanted to spend his last year sailing, and bought the Oyster. His wife had also never sailed before, but they took one of the RYA "zero to hero" crash courses, got some help from friends, and took off. They did a big Atlantic circuit doing the ARC to the Carib, then sailing up the East Coast of the U.S., and even getting up to Iceland on their way back to the U.K. And he made it all the way back before his health fell apart, didn't sink the boat, didn't get lost, didn't need to be rescued, although those are pretty tough waters, some of them. His widow was selling the boat together with every bit of gear which they bought for that journey.


Who knows what's the story with that middle aged guy, who asked you for some tips?
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Old 04-06-2016, 01:22   #223
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

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Let's not judge even such people. Everyone has a different path in life, and all different reasons for being where they are......

Who knows what's the story with that middle aged guy, who asked you for some tips?
I agree, and have met several people with similar situations where they jump in and buy a larger first boat.

Like I've written before, maybe it's best not to be judging others based on one's own perceived limitations, and insecurities.
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Old 04-06-2016, 01:27   #224
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

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I doubt anyone decides to sail around the world and "learn" to sail etc. on their first starter boat such as an Oyster 53. I meet people who in middle age ask me to teach them how to sail as if they can learn this in a few lessons!
Then I guess you'd be wrong again.

My wife "learned" to sail for the first time aboard our Oyster 53. Mrs. Mac never had the confidence necessary on our smaller, "more tippy" former boats.

Look's like she's doing fantastic!
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Old 04-06-2016, 03:10   #225
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Re: Monohull sailboat size for shorthanded cruising

David Mitchell sails a 48ft Bowman singlehanded, I think he was around 76 we met him around the time of this trip. Makes me think its health not age that is the barrier.

https://www.rcc.org.uk/uploadedpdfs/...vid%202013.pdf
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