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Old 05-02-2014, 11:19   #1
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Newbie - Is 57 too Old to Learn how to Sail?

My work and family always had me far in-land from the sea so I am a real rookie and do not know anything about the sea, sailing or living on a boat.

We just retired so we have the time to learn - but we will be starting at ground zero. How many years does it take to learn to sail?

So - should we just forget about it and stay on land or go for it?
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:34   #2
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pirate Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

No.. your not to old.. just take it easy and walk before you run.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:39   #3
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

Definitely go for it. You can start small while you're learning and then move up to the size you want. There are many books on sailing available as well as many sailing schools. I would highly recommend a school to get you started. As long as you are in reasonably good physical condition, there's no reason why you can't start sailing.

Good luck and happy sailing!
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:41   #4
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

I hope not, because if it is, I'm screwed
I believe you can teach an old dog new tricks, just often old dogs don't want to learn
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:41   #5
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

Certainly you are not too old. I remember when I was only 57!

Before you and/or you wife decided its best to go to a couple major boat shows and/or areas to compare and go on boats in general. power and sail. To be a live aboard general requires bigger more capable boat, so you might want to start now taking courses, get out on the local water to gain experience and knowledge. Best to take a step at a time, and go from there.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:48   #6
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

Hopefully you are reasonably fit then you will be fine if you are not in shape it will be harder. We have guys on our race boat (Farr 40) who are well into their 60's when they started, they can be a bit slow but still useful. Some guys at the club are in their 80's and still active including Bob Oately owner of Wild Oats (up until recently).

A lot of the guys I cruise with are in there mid to late 60's.

Two years could be enough time to get the basics if you work consistently at it, everything seems to take time to experience, more experience is more confidence, crew on someone else's boat first, it is cheaper and they can teach you. Of course I always recommend racing as the best way to learn.

Plenty of time at 57, enjoy.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:52   #7
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

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Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
My work and family always had me far in-land from the sea so I am a real rookie and do not know anything about the sea, sailing or living on a boat.

We just retired so we have the time to learn - but we will be starting at ground zero. How many years does it take to learn to sail?

So - should we just forget about it and stay on land or go for it?
Yes, it is a bit too old to learn snow boarding. But for sailing and other activities, we have Viagra to assist you .
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:21   #8
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

I'm 57 and I still snowboard

Learning to sail isn't rocket science, in fact it is pretty relaxing compared to many hobbies.

Aerobatics: age 46
Motorcycle racing: age 48
Car racing: age 52 (yes gf was a little younger)
First largish sailboat: age 55.

Go for it!
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Old 05-02-2014, 13:14   #9
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

And yet once again, the answer is very simple. If you THINK you are too old, then you are.

How long do you expect it to take to learn to sail, anyhow? 20 years!?!
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Old 05-02-2014, 13:26   #10
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

Bought my first sailboat at 60 and now have a 38 footer in the Med for summer cruising. Cruising is not rocket science. Do not confuse it with racing or water sailing">blue water sailing which is what you will mostly read about. Make sure you know about weather in your patch and stay in port when it blows.

I wonder about the starting small idea. It's what I did and it cost me thousands in depreciation etc. It's mostly about learning the ropes, trimming the sails and mooring. the older the boat the more mechanically minded you might need to be because problems will arise.

Crewing on a race boat is often a waste of time; often all you learn is how to crawl across the coachroof as you move from side to side tacking and how to flake sails.

Chartering a boat and skipper for a week might give you an idea of what sailing is like. I shuddered at the cost however.


Have a think about buying the boat you want to end up with and organising a skipper to teach you the ropes for a season. Some people will do this for the pleasure of sailing, others will want to be paid.
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Old 05-02-2014, 13:51   #11
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

No way you are too old... I'm 59 and bought my current 36' sailboat about 3 years ago. About 6 years ago I bought a share of my friend's boat, good because he and I got built-in crew. A lot of my learning has occurred in these years. Before that, I was only sailing a few charter days a year.

You can fast track by getting lessons, crewing on someone's PHRF or club racing boat, or join a sailing club.

Good luck! I can't express how much I've enjoyed the last few years of my life in large part thanks to rediscovering sailing.
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Old 05-02-2014, 14:02   #12
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

I started at 62.

Not all that difficult - I think it's more about how many hours you spend on the water rather than years but I do wish I'd started 20 years earlier because of all the fun I missed.

Might help if we knew where you are located....
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Old 05-02-2014, 14:05   #13
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

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I wonder about the starting small idea. It's what I did and it cost me thousands in depreciation etc.
I would guess it depends on your goals. If the OP is strongly attracted to the traveling/liveaboard aspect, then getting a suitably large boat right off the bat might make sense, and the sailing is just the skills one uses to get from place to place.

We're into sailing as well as wanting to cruise. So we have a small boat that's dirt-cheap to own and sail, and provides some unique short "cruising" experiences, while we think about our longer-term cruising goals. If the OP wants to experience sailing before relocating to the coast, a small trailerable micro-cruiser is a good first boat.

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I started at 62. Not all that difficult but I wish I'd started 20 years earlier because of all the fun I missed.
We started around age 50.We had that regret too, but now we're just happy to have found something that provides so much fun and challenge for middle age.
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Old 05-02-2014, 14:30   #14
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

You are never too old to start. We had an 80 year old show up at our free monthly sailing introduction classes and he kept coming back for more. I know he didn't go on to cruise but at least he was there and enjoying the sea and sailing our little Sunfish sailboats.
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Old 05-02-2014, 14:36   #15
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Re: Newbie - Is 57 too old to learn how to sail?

I think one can start and stop at any age.

Like anything else, learning takes time; and there is no end to learning.

We are all learning, all time.

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