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Old 15-03-2019, 07:31   #1
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Too old for sailing?

I am 68 yrs old and getting close to thinking about retirement in the next year or two. I am a longtime sailor and owner of the 38 foot Shannon thinking about casting off the dock lines and heading out to blue water from the Great Lakes. Lots of blue water experience as a deck officer in the service of the government and IOR sailing/racing since grade school days.
However, I am finding that I am getting a bit slower, a bit stiff and a little more unsteady underfoot. I am in reasonably good shape (with the exception of this year when I took major dive on the ski hill and banged up my hip), but I am curious if anyone has gone through the same sort of decision of if/when to fold up the sails and head off to a new adventure. Real experience comments and sound advice are welcomed. Thanks.
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Old 15-03-2019, 07:50   #2
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Re: Too old for sailing?

Just one advice: Don't wait a year or two, do it now. Also, everyone is a bit slower at 68, but as long as it's only "a bit" don't worry about it. You're going to be a bit slower yet at 70 so go now.

BTW we spend our summers in Lake Linden on Torch Lake. Maybe run into this summer.
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Old 15-03-2019, 07:54   #3
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Re: Too old for sailing?

We left at 62 - 12 years ago - I guess that now make me 74 and the admiral 73. When something proves difficult due to getting into a tight space I joke that I am not as limber as I was when I was 65. Our plan this year is a pond crossing plus.


I guess it depends on your health and keeping active. We walk a ton but God gave us both great bodies and we are lucky.
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Old 15-03-2019, 14:08   #4
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Re: Too old for sailing?

It really all depends on you. Personally, I think it would be pretty hard to singlehand at my age, but then, look at Jeanne Socrates! I am 79.

You are already a sailor, your body knows how to deal with your boat; I think I'd be really tempted to give it a go, and see how it works for you. Your body will let you know if it's not up to the job. However, if you work out a plan B, you'll have it to fall back on...

I'm thinking some people leave it too late, to the point where they really don't want to work on the boat any more, and leave it to decay. Pretty hard to find the sweet spot, I guess.

Ann
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Old 16-03-2019, 08:20   #5
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Re: Too old for sailing?

Jean-Luc Van Den Heed 73 has just completed a solo world tour.
https://www.facebook.com/ThalassaOff...Kfc&__tn__=K-R
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Old 16-03-2019, 08:20   #6
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Re: Too old for sailing?

I agree with Dennis G. Who said "Do it now". In 2017 I left for a one year circumnavigation of the North Pacific that included returning from Japan via the Bering Sea and Alaska. Enroute I lost 40 pounds and felt fifty. I am turning 71.
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Old 16-03-2019, 08:32   #7
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Re: Too old for sailing?

Currently 75 and single handing in the Caribbean.

Sleep is the main dis-tractor offshore, ie. Chesapeake to Virgin Gorda, about 1400+ Km and 10-14 days. Accordingly crew for longer passages and single handing for shorter passages.

It is essential to have your equipment maintained, loosing an engine, loosing autopilot, loosing VHF or SSB, etc. greatly complicates life offshore. Will you be solo?
My currently vessel is a 41' full keel Lord Nelson.
Your Shannon is a beautiful boat.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Flightdeck View Post
I am 68 yrs old and getting close to thinking about retirement in the next year or two. I am a longtime sailor and owner of the 38 foot Shannon thinking about casting off the dock lines and heading out to blue water from the Great Lakes. Lots of blue water experience as a deck officer in the service of the government and IOR sailing/racing since grade school days.
However, I am finding that I am getting a bit slower, a bit stiff and a little more unsteady underfoot. I am in reasonably good shape (with the exception of this year when I took major dive on the ski hill and banged up my hip), but I am curious if anyone has gone through the same sort of decision of if/when to fold up the sails and head off to a new adventure. Real experience comments and sound advice are welcomed. Thanks.
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Old 16-03-2019, 08:36   #8
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Re: Too old for sailing?

If you want to go sailing, don't delay. You can't buy your time back and just one more year is a significant portion of the time you will have to go sailing. I'm 67 and hope to get at least another five years and with a bit of luck ten years - but who knows??????
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Old 16-03-2019, 08:37   #9
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Re: Too old for sailing?

I'm a couple of years younger, but will be leaving the solid ground in the next couple of months. I have a couple of suggestions, based on personal experience and education, dealing with the "getting old" feeling.

1) Diet - really limit sugars. Sugars increase inflammation which causes stiffness, pain and a host of other issues. A Mediterranean diet is excellent. Also maintain your protein intake, 60% of your weight in grams. Maintaining lean body mass will keep you performing longer.

2) Exercise - resistance bands are inexpensive, easy to use and importantly on a boat, easy to store. Research has shown that regular use of resistance exercise maintains muscle strength, and even increases lean body mass in elderly. Muscle strength also adds to the ability to maintain balance and movement on a boat. Another positive is that resistance helps maintain bone density.

3) Mental - challenge your thinking, reading, charting courses, meditation.

Live long and prosper in your trekking beneath the stars.
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Old 16-03-2019, 08:58   #10
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Re: Too old for sailing?

67 yo sailor here. As we get older we have balance issues. Every year, on Long Island Sound, we lose at least one old salt to falling off his boat. I would highly recommend that you incorporate balance exercise into your fitness routine. Your balance can be improved with practice. Just be extra careful going forward when underway. I take things much slower than I used to.
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Old 16-03-2019, 09:22   #11
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Re: Too old for sailing?

I am turning 75 here in a few months and have been playing with boats for at least 50 years. 12 years ago I got my present boat which is the biggest boat I have owned. One of the things I was looking for was a boat that had features that made life easier like electric winch, furling Main and Genoa. Power lifts for getting the outboard on and off the dinghy, water maker, generator, twin engines etc. It was also purchased for the stability. I call it a senior friendly boat. Last year I soloed to Prince Rupert exploring and fishing. A little stiffer getting up in the mornings, but still do all my own maintenance.
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Old 16-03-2019, 09:30   #12
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Re: Too old for sailing?

Pushing 80. No problem. You just need to be aware that balance, reaction time and physical strength are all worse than they used to be. That makes work on deck more dangerous than it was when you were younger. So apply the usual remedies against decreased "performance" a fortiori. Give yourself more time to perform a given task (e.g. reef earlier), never leave the cockpit even in benign weather without your safety harness hooked on. Scupper any residual "it'll be alright just this time" attitude that may be left over from your youth. You won't be able to retrieve a MOB as decisively as you could when you were young, so the "rules" you apply to yourself must apply equally to your crew. In short: Think about what you are going to do, BEFORE you do it.

If Mr. Armstrong isn't what he usta be, there are all manner of mechanical contrivances available for reducing the physical effort required. On the other hand, the exercise an old bod needs is not usually available while cruising. I compensate for missing out on my daily three mile walk by handling my ground tackle without mechanical assist.

In other words: Sailing into your dotage is good for you!

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Old 16-03-2019, 09:40   #13
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Re: Too old for sailing?

I am 78. Purchased a catamaran four years ago in the BVI. Sailed it to San Felipe (Sea of Cortez) with my son and friends. We now sail it around the Sea of Cortez. I found that I lost weight and became more limber as the days have past. I was 14 years old the last time I saw a doctor (my horse bucked me off and broke my wrist). I am semi-retired (oversee ranches and businesses), ride horses, sail, and married a 60 year old lady four months ago! Age is just a number. Be active and stay away from doctors and medication . Get out there and do physical work. Mow the lawn, dig ditches, any and all kinds of maintenance. Keep mentely and physically active. Quit thinking about how old you are in years and reading about all the things that supposedly you can not do. Just go out and do as much as you can every day. You will be surprised at all the things you can do and how much more you will improve each day. You will find that the aches and pains are from doing all the things you were supposedly not be able to do. It becomes a good thing! Have a nice day.
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Old 16-03-2019, 09:52   #14
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Re: Too old for sailing?

I'll be 71 next month, not quitting, sure my knees are a pain but they are a pain on land also, so I rather be sailing
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Old 16-03-2019, 09:56   #15
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Re: Too old for sailing?

I am only 75 and expect (hope) at least another 10 years of sailing.

One of the first persons I crewed for on a keel boat 55 years ago was in his 90's. He stressed on keeping things simple and not using strength. For instance, to tighten the jib he would luff up and when the jib flapped he tighten as much as he could, bore away and once he had speed, repeated the process.

He also prepared early for all maneuvers. reefed early and was never in a hurry.

I have a 36ft Magellan ketch and minimize electric aides. I have installed a mainsail and mizzen track on the masts that lets the sails drop into lazyjacks once the halyard is released. They are also easy to hoist just using my weight and not arm strength (though I have it).

The deck is comfortable to walk around and the jib or genoa are sheeted outside the lifelines.

I recently installed an autopilot which is a real help.

You are as old as you behave.

Best wishes
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