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Old 17-05-2010, 10:28   #1
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How Long Can We Do this ?

Hi Everyone!

My husband and I are still in the planning stages, but we have recently been talking about our health and wondering how difficult the cruising lifestyle will be.
When we buy our boat we will be 59 and 62.
Are people out there now in their late 60's??
I realize you cannot anticipate health issues etc. but just wondered what kind of 'window' we might have for this lifestyle - 6 years?
I would be interested in hearing from folks in their mid to late 60's thoughts?
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Old 17-05-2010, 12:00   #2
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For as long as you want

Hey Snork,
In 67 and my wife is 63 and we expect to keep sailing for at least another 10 years. Don't know how good your health is, but it would seem to me that so long as you keep yourself fit and you don't get struck down by one of those debilitating illnesses, you can go on for another 15 or 20 years.
BTW my wife is a type-1 diabetic but it hasn't stopped her. In fact she's made a point of doing things that the doctors said she wouldn't be able to do.
Good luck to you both.
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Old 17-05-2010, 12:09   #3
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I have found that after going on short cruises (gunkholing) I come back in better health. I loose weight, eat better foods, get more sleep and have no allergies while out on the water.
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Old 17-05-2010, 14:35   #4
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I'm 68 and the Admiral is 66. We meet folks out there up to 80, not many beyond that.

As we considered the risks we decided we wanted a shore base so if either of us got seriously sick or injured, or if we lost the boat in a catastrophe that we would have a place to go. That meant a smaller house and a smaller boat than if we had chosen only one or the other. Having the house gives the Admiral a sense of security and thus enables me to live a dream.

There are a lot of variables in how long you can do it and many are unrelated to health and physical strength.

Go for it. We bought the boat 9 years ago and have never regretted it.

George
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Old 17-05-2010, 14:47   #5
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From what I have seen in SE Asia I would say that the majority of cruisers are in their 60's with many in their 70's. We are currently in Rebak where the swimming pool at happy hour looks like a casting call for the movie "Cocoon". At 50 and 52 and we are invariably the kids most places we go. I have a patient who is still cruising at 80. He sees me from time to time to have skin cancers removed and get an STD check, but is otherwise in fine healthand looks much younger. It is well known that cruising is the long-sought fountain of youth and with tools such as roller furling and electric winches the cruising life can be extende even further.

Mike
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Old 17-05-2010, 15:32   #6
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The majority of cruisers are probably in their 60's, or older. After all, these are the folks that have the time and money to pursue this kind of lifestyle.

I'm now 63 and have been living aboard off and on since 1999. For the past few years my time aboard the boat has been limited to a few weeks a year, as job and family commitments have kept me ashore. Sadly, I don't see this changing anytime soon.

The biggest challenges you are going to face aren't physical, they're mental. Unless you both are in poor physical shape, you should be able to manage the physical operation of your boat. Being away from family and friends and stuck 24/7 with just each other's company, probably cuts short more cruises than anything else. If you can get past these issues, you can happily cruise for years.

Raising sail and anchors demand the most physical ability on a sailboat, but can be minimized by the addition of electric winches and a windlass. With my arthritic knees, I find getting in and out of the dinghy to be a pain. Staying at marinas, instead of anchoring out as I prefer, would solve this problem.

My suggestion to you is to start small. Before buying a boat, sign up for a couple crewed charters. See if you BOTH enjoy being away from civilization for a week or two before making a purchase decision. My father-in-law took this approach to see if his wife could adapt to cruising. She loved it, as did his children, so he bough a sailboat.

Don't let age get in the way of your cruising dreams! Do your homework to make sure this is right for you. If it is, grab the brass ring and get ready for a great ride.
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Old 17-05-2010, 16:59   #7
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Another greybeard responds

G'Day all,

HEre's another old fart checking in: at 72 and 70, we're still going strong and enjoying our 24th year of cruising full time... and this on a fairly high performance boat without electric winches other than the windlass.

And in our experience, smaller is not necessarily easier for older folks. The greater stability and gentler motion of a larger boat easily offsets the greater loads on things.

The caveat is that we didn't start from ground zero. When we left SF all those years ago we had been sailing for many years, with a mix of racing and cruising in a variety of boats. Unfortunately, despite advertisements to the contrary, you can not substitute lessons for experience, and experience is all too often a quality that you get just after you really needed it. I don't know what sort of background the OP has, but we encounter a lot of folks who left on long cruises with little experience and great expectations but are not enjoying the life. It is better to do your homework and pay your dues before leaving, even if it means delaying your departure a few years. (I'm sure that this idea will be flamed by the "go now" advocates, but it seems to work in the real world!).

Enough pontificating... good luck with your decisions.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Towlers Bay, NSW, Oz
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Old 17-05-2010, 18:51   #8
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Wink Thanks

Thanks everyone for the responses - it is great to know that so many of you are still out there!
We have a five year plan - my husband has lots of lake sailing experience starting in his youth, but we are using these years to train and take courses etc etc. do some live-aboard training etc. I am inexperienced but willing to learn!
The last post about experience certainly rang true - we are both motorcycle instructors and I remember on one occasion when I first starting riding and I got into trouble and crashed on a dirt bike my husband said "and then you ran out of experience" LOL....so true.
Thanks again for the words of wisdom!
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Old 18-05-2010, 07:25   #9
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Thank the lord for electric winches and windlasses for us old farts.
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Old 18-05-2010, 07:44   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikereed100 View Post
the majority of cruisers are in their 60's with many in their 70's. We are currently in Rebak where the swimming pool at happy hour looks like a casting call for the movie "Cocoon". ..

Mike
Thats funny!!!

But so right!!

Nicolle is 27 and its very unusual to meet cruisers less than her grandmothers age.

She hasn't even heard of that movie Cocoon.


Lots of folks are doing it till quite advanced (in senility noting the way they anchor!!) they just buy a new electric winch each christmas

It beats being in a 'retirement village'





You've gotta be kiddin'!

Sail till ya drop
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Old 25-05-2010, 15:39   #11
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Old 25-05-2010, 17:33   #12
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I originally thought I would quit about age 70 but then I went on a boat with a friend who is 78 and planning at least 2 more years...However, he has a girlfriend 24 years younger than he is!!!
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Old 25-05-2010, 17:57   #13
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This note is from Ann from Insatiable II...

Another way to approach this is to say one will do it as long as it is fun for both of you. A reason to adopt this approach is because we all age differently, and step-changes in one's health can make it not fun anymore. If you keep doing it as long as it is fun, the only regret you may have is that circumstances didn't allow you to continue. To look only at a number to make the decision, IMO, shortchanges you and your partner.

Fair winds,

Ann & Jim Cate, ussy "Insatiable II" NSW, Australia
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Old 26-05-2010, 23:32   #14
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Coincidentally, the most recent interview on the IWAC site with Pacific Bliss says "As the saying goes, "every year spent cruising is a year you do not age," and we believe it. After 8 years at sea, we feel younger than ever! So don't let age keep you from circumnavigating!"
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Old 02-06-2010, 00:34   #15
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i race every week and one of the boats is crewed by 80 year old husband and wife and there are still having a blast
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