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Old 02-03-2012, 02:56   #1
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pirate How Old is Too Old ?

I have read many of the forums and have found a common thread. It would seem liveaboards are split into roughly two groups those who are in their twenties who boat hop as crew or are sailing with families and those more... experienced (age not necessarily ability) as I am.

I have worked all my life most of it in at least two or more jobs and always long hours. I need to change things in my life and sailing is the way to go. I am trying to put together a two year escape plan that will see me sailing my dreams for as long as I can. I will have to make a trip to the north every six months for six months to maintain my citizenship and health care but that should fit with our summer months and there are more then enough waters of interest to keep me busy for the rest of my days here.

So now for the question; given good health (we never know when something unfortunate may happen) how long is it reasonable to expect to live comfortably on board? 70? 75? 65? I am assuming at some point it will become too difficult physically to sail. One person suggested one foot of boat for every year lived... not sure I want a 70 footer at 70.... Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Old 02-03-2012, 05:36   #2
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Re: How old is too old?

given the ever increasing costs of marinas and general maintanance i would look for something in the 28-33 ft range;ie 7-9.99m with a draft of no more than 5 ft.
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:45   #3
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Re: How old is too old?

That's a good question and not a simple one to answer. We have friends in their 80's who are still sailing.They no longer cross oceans and have moved from a monohull to a catamaran but they still live aboard and take a summer cruise every year.

On a personal level we decided that once I could no longer wind the better half up to the top of the mast manually and the other half could no longer dive under the hull to clean the prop we must stop cruising offshore! Thanks goodness we are still able to do these tasks (63 and 56). Takes a bit longer than when we started though!

We started with 40 feet and intend to continue with the same length until we, maybe, need to switch to a catamaran.

We are pleased that we took the decision to set sail 12 years ago when we were fit enough to cope with our inexperience! Just wish we had left sooner.....
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:56   #4
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Re: How old is too old?

One foot per year? That sounds pretty silly to me I don't see how that could compute. You might want to get up to 45 or 50 and start going down in size...

Some here have said sailing makes you healthier, being active is a good thing, but I think it really depends on your health and abilities, But;

As you get older, if your don't concentrate of certain activities, you just are not as adgil, you lose your balance and while your mind says move this way, the body may not respond. Your coordination gets fuzzy.
I use to run along a 2" wide side of a 2x12, 24' long, not any more.

I'm not so concerned with illness, as injury. I don't bounce like I use to. Some older folks are scared of falling, I see where that comes from, sorta, but I'm not there yet.

How your boat is rigged and layed out may have something to do with your ability to keep going as you get older. Easy is as easy does, I guess.
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:58   #5
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Re: How old is too old?

The primary problem is a state of mind rather than a state of age. Genetics is another major player (how old were your parents when they died?)
However, from 65 onwards, it is also a question of what you are doing. If you are already cruising, the body is getting a work out from every day activity, whereas the average retiree becomes a couch potato.

Injury also plays an increasingly major part in whether you can continue. A major injury can cause the early onset of couch potato syndrome, which becomes increasingly difficult to overcome.
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:15   #6
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Re: How old is too old?

203 - I think this is the upper limit of age for sailing as I haven't heard of any one older doing it
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:22   #7
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Re: How old is too old?

I don't bounce like I use to.,,,,same here,,,she divorced me because of it
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:22   #8
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Re: How old is too old?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
203 - I think this is the upper limit of age for sailing as I haven't heard of any one older doing it

Well you are doing it are you not????
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:28   #9
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Re: How old is too old?

List of circumnavigations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jeanne Socrates; 2011; oldest woman (aged 68) to perform singlehanded circumnavigation (eastbound with stops) via Cape Horn.

Minoru Saito; 2011; oldest person (aged 77) to perform a singlehanded circumnavigation (westbound, past Cape Horn, with stops). He has made eight singlehanded circumnavigations; after the seventh (which was non-stop) at age 71 he was already the oldest.


just go buy a boat and go sailing,,,,you can single hand a 100 foot boat if it is set up correctly,,,,just need more money for all the mechanical stuff. people regularly sail 65 footers single handed,,,
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:32   #10
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Re: How old is too old?

This is definitely to me one of the advantages of a multihull. They can be the true motorsailer. Ours sails certainly as well as a contemporary 40' monohull with much less healing and she motors comfortably at 7 kts, low end of a modern trawler, but burns only .75 to 1 gal/hr and can be pushed to 8.5 knots if need be. So I figure the days I can and want to sail, electric winch or not - none now, I'll sail and the days I want to motor, she carries 100 gals in her tanks, I motor. When the day comes I put my crew or anyone else in danger is the day I just stay in the marina but not necessarily leave the boat.
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:38   #11
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Re: How old is too old?

A couple of issues to consider

The cascade effect from fall is one of the issue that cause a change in living conditions for many older people. Peoples ablity to balance does decline with age, but often falls are not a direct result of age. UTI,s are one of the major causes of fall in elderly people. In age care facilities they are directly associated with about 70% of falls. From what i have seen more people end up in nursing home as a result of fall than strokes. So do not take changes such as confusion and loss of balance as being age related, seek medical advice and treatment.

Some of the changes commonly associated ageing can make life very difficult for people who wish to remain cruising/ living on board. About 50% of men and 70% 0f women (who have delivered children naturaly become incontenent. This is a very distressing and dificult issue to deal with, but on a boat with limited washing facilities more so.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:11   #12
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Re: How old is too old?

I think chronological age is not terribly useful in making this decision since there are 50 year olds who are much 'older' than many 70 year olds. I think it is a case-by-case decision. Certainly one can help maintain physical abilities all the way through life by keeping mentallly and physically active, eating a reasonable diet and keeping weight under growth. Good genetics is also a big help.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:20   #13
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Re: How old is too old?

Lets be real here, aging is not just in your head (I know I've tried it!);strength ,agility energy all decrease no matter how I kid myself.I haven't crossed an ocean in decades but still take month long cruises alone (always anchoring) while adjusting to a 69 yo. body.
I'm only in reasonably good condition and like my boats simple (No windlass,laptops,bow thrusters, generators,etc,etc ,etc.
So ,yes ,I believe that many here can sail into their 70s and beyond especially if they:
1.Have lottsa money.
2 Are in good health
3. Have a handy (easily managed) boat.
4.Take on crew (esp. experienced) when going further afield.
5. Are realistic as to their capabilities and expectations.
6.Get the most sea miles under your belt now!

Number 6 above is in my opinion the one thing that so many newbies here seem to be lacking or underrate. "Sea miles can include canoeing,rowing,dingy sailing,chartering ,crewing and "simply messing about in boats".Any experience along these lines will be invaluable later when the boat shopping begins and/or they find themselves upon the briny deep.Much can be learned from reading,but there are volumes to be learned in any small vessel on some small pond when the wind pipes up.
The "learn when you go" philosophy should be changed to "learn as you get ready".
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:44   #14
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Re: How old is too old?

i am only 61 so i cant speak for the old folks,but i did read somewhere[here?] that the average size for a 75 year old cruiser is 32 feet,anything larger can be a bear in big winds and at 32 feet i can push her around like a dingy.also this size hull saves tons of money over a larger vessel,2 each his own,my 32 has put on almost3000 miles since last may,she has trimed my weight,increased my strenth gave me a great horizon and an oulook of a 40 something guy.my last job i pushed a computer for 12 years and my health detererioated even with excercise,now i sail swim,row the dingy,and hike everywhere with 2 backpacks mostly full by the time i am back to the dinghy,aint life grand
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:50   #15
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Re: How old is too old?

I think the rule of thumb is a 30 footer is about the size of boat one person can handle easily alone. Bigger is not always better. More room yes but, also more costs especially when stopping at a marinia, storage, bottom paint etc... I think some people buy a bigger boat than they need but, they do that with houses too.
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