Originally Posted by Hudson Force
Our friend Robin3 has already given you wise advise regarding your boat as he has your sistership and a strong background of knowledge and experience.
I notice the variety of posts that list caution with age and those that dismiss age with, "age is just a number"..or, "never too old". I would choose to recognize the challenges of age and use age as a risk management tool. We started liveaboard
cruising in our twenties and find ourselves now about to enter our seventies. I am hoping to adapt our boat as a true "geriatric vessel" and remain aboard for as long as we find it comfortable. The challenges will not be the same for all, but these have been some of our changes from our twenties:
Anchor windlass, roller furling, dinghy davits, block & tackle for outboard lifting, shorter step interval for boarding ladders, warmer/thicker wet suits, less tender dinghy..... In addition, we make some "lazier" choices with weather challenges, beating to weather and longer passages. Some of these changes are not necessarily related to the challenges of age, but just a more casual and less stressful motivation. I know I drive slower and make fewer lane changes on the highway too
,we have all of those highlighted except the boarding ladder step mods. In our home slip we have dock
steps to aid getting on/off but have nothing portable yet to take with us. We could reverse in and exit via the stern bathing platform but the dinghy in davits is an obstacle unless dropped out of the way. We ( read I was instructed to) Went for a boat with in-mast reefing mainsail
, the first I've ever had which is convenient, quick and easy for the ICW's bridges ,twists and turns and sailing posssible /not possible variations.
I had both hips totally replaced in the UK ( FOC thanks to the NHS) before moving here and then had a stroke so I don't dart about like I once did and nor can I or want to get into tight corners anymore so routine engine
jobs and other maintenance
is usually done by paid help whereas I used to do it all myself. That said I can project
manage the paid peeps well enough . Likewise Theresa says no more mast
climbing for her even though she was better at it than the paid monkey we had to have replace a wind
direction vane that a bird removed. OUr dinghy is a RIB
which is stable and easy to enter/exit from the swim platform and the davits and their lift tackles help hold it in place and provide solid and convenient handholds to use. FOr Docking
and undocking we have rigged dock
lines that are held in a reachable place from the side deck
in our regular slip and we have a practiced looped stern spring line system for other occasions in away slips. The Beneteau
Oceanis is remarkably manouverable in both ahead or astern and with ours and it's Yanmar 3GM30
there is not a huge amount of prop kick, just enough to help if needed for a tight right turn in and a port side preferred stop alongside. ( We were able to choose our home slip and this was a consideration as was also being generally parked facing into the wind
and/or being blown on rather than off of the finger dock.
We have a full canvas cockpit
enclosure which is good in harbour but a tad inconvenient for maximum and rapid accessibility unless the centre top section is unzipped or fully removed ( as for going along). It was designed at our instructions to fold or roll away in sections but could still be used fully erected if we so wish. So far we have just removed the centre top panel and side access panels
for visibility and quickness coming alongside and would probably stick with this to keep the sun off the helm
anyway although folding it all away like we used to in years gone by in Europe
still appeals for longer trips, but back then we didn't have to contend with the tropical Florida
sun, or for that matter the tropical downpours!
THE original owner of ours had also modified the owners stateroom to have the 'queen' bed
run athwartships rather than fore/aft and this suits me for ease of entry/exit and will also I think be better in a rolly anchorage situation than laying sideways on and allowing pitching rather than rolling back and forth in bed
. If necessary we can easily revert to fore and aft dozing mind
After our last UK sailboat, a Doug Peterson
Sun Legende 41 cruiser/racer, the Oceanis 36CC lacks the huge stowage we had but in fairness the old boat was significantly modified from standard for long distance fast cruising by two, not to sleep it's usual full race
crew of up to 10! The doorway from the galley
to the aft cabin
on the Oceanis could be a couple of inches wider for me too in an ideal world, or I could ditch some weight.
If the Op has other specific questions I will be happy to answer wherever I can but I think they will do just fine and of course wish them well with their plans, fair winds always and happy safe sailing.