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Old 04-08-2011, 09:22   #1
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Too Late To Start ?

Hi, I have had the dream for many years and for one reason or another I could never get away. I'm now 60 (can't believe I said that) and retired with a budget. I have boating and some basic sailing experienced and my GF says she hasn't been on a boat for 40 years but is interested in sailing away.

A concern I have is age and starting out. I have a lower back problem but I'm still strong and a little short of breath. She has had a new hip installed and she doesn't really keepupwith me, but she can go slow all day...LOL

So, we aren't in great shape(thinking that getting off the couch might help that) but I know that being out can be stressful and taxing physically.

I know there are other old pharts out there on the water, but they know the tricks and how tos, we would be newbies. Not saying I don't have survival knowledge, but hoping I'm not just surviving, you can do that on the couch!

So what's the advice? What's the learning curve to happiness on the water in a small boat (30' or under....probably)? I'd rather motor more than I sail, but would like to sail.

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Old 04-08-2011, 09:40   #2
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Re: Too Late To Start?

GO FOR IT while you're still young.

Hiscock's and a lot of others do it, why not you?

We are 59 and62 and will be starting out next year.


Formerly Santana
The winds blow true,The skies stay blue,
Everyday is a good day for SAILING!!!!
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:44   #3
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Re: Too Late To Start?

If you don't do it now when will you do it? There's lots of folks out there sailing who are older and have more health problems than you.
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:57   #4
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Re: Too Late To Start?

If you are looking to get started, think about a catamaran. Depending on where you want to sail, there are open designs as well as closed. The lack of healing is a plus. We have taken parents, out 84 and 85 now every year for the last seven years and they go well.

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Old 04-08-2011, 10:37   #5
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Re: Too Late To Start?

Seriously, do you want to be sitting in a nursing home in 20 years saying, "I wish I had"?

A budget is no problem if you are willing to do some of your own maintenance and your boat needs don't exceed the budget you can afford.

There are PLENTY of blogs that detail different cruisers monetary needs, google "Bumfuzzle" for a look at one families.

The bigger the boat the more it will cost you to maintain. Most of the people I know spend between - $2,000 - $3,000/month for all their expenses and as with everything in this world, your milage may vary. Below is an article on the costs 5 or so years ago.

The Cost of Sailboat Cruising Today

Sail on!
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:48   #6
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Re: Too Late To Start ?

My wife and I are in our 70s and I have more health issues than she does. Everything on our boat is rigged for single handing in the event one of us becomes incapacitated. My rule of thumb is "when I'm too old to hoist the main or the anchor, it's time to sell the boat." You should be fine as long as you plan ahead and don't bite off more than you can chew.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:56   #7
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Re: Too Late To Start ?

We are in our mid sixties and continuing to cruise and live aboard as we have for many years. Those features that we have found to be most helpful as we age are roller furling sails, anchor windlass and autopilot. In addition, much ease of cruising comes without having time constraints for destinations and being patient to select the best weather.
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:01   #8
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Re: Too Late To Start ?

You don't say where you live but assuming you live in the US, there is a lot of cruising you can do without going offshore. The Great Loop or just going down the intracoastal and over to the Bahamas provides some amazing cruising opportunities. I would say the majority of cruisers you meet along the way will be close to your age.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:25   #9
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Re: Too Late To Start ?

Just start slow. Take baby steps. See how it goes.. You can learn all you need to know about boating close to home...

Cape Dory 25D Seraph
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:27   #10
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Re: Too Late To Start ?

It definitely is not too late to start. It will just take a little bit of intentionality to make sure that you are safe. Locating the hand holds and wearing vests is a great start.
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:04   #11
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Re: Too Late To Start ?

This picture comes to mind.
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Daniel - Rhapsody Blog,
“A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s.” — Bernard Moitessier
"I don't need therapy, I just need my boat"
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:14   #12
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Re: Too Late To Start ?

One of my neighbors recently lost his wife. He bought a boat, outfitted it, and is now in the Caribbean single handing. When he bought the boat, he was 74.

You are not only not too old, you are not even old. Get out there. I think you are correct getting off the couch and sailing will solve many of your health problems (based on the experiences of other retiree cruisers I have talked to).

Just make sure you are realistic about what you are getting into. Read lots of books and blogs of others (especially the ones of people whose dreams turned into nightmares - don't repeat their mistakes).

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Old 04-08-2011, 12:37   #13
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Re: Too Late To Start ?

I'm 66, my wife and I had done a lot of cruising when we were first married but kids and the demands of family took me away from sailing for a couple of decades. With the kids off on their own, got the itch to get back into sailing. Bought a Pearson 35 and got it ready for ocean voyaging commuting between home in Kona and boat in Alameda for a couple of years. Worked out well as our son and family were living a 1/2 hour from the boat so wife could play with the grandson while I played with the boat. Unfortunately, the economy got my son's job and they were forced to move to SoCal to find work.

Needed to do something about the boat. Couldn't find a slip closer than an hour from theie new home and at almost double the cost of Alameda so decided to sail the boat to our home. Sailed the boat over solo last summer and plan on sailing down to the line Islands for a mini cruise this winter and then to the PNW next summer.

I'm in reasonably good health though not nearly the man I was when cruising in my 30's. Have had a back operation, am a type 1 diabetic and the usual aches and pains of arthritus. Found the sail to be surprizingly easy and definitely good for my health. Lost 10 pounds making the final preparations and the sail over. My creaky joints got uncreaky as they were forced move to the constant motion of the boat. Rode my folding bike a lot before and after the sail and increased my stamina significantly. All in all, can't see any reason for you not to go sailing. If you had a heart problem or other acute illness, it might be another story. Even with that, if you are cruising the East Coast and Carribean you'd seldom be more than a day away from civilization. Boy sure wish I wish I was still young whipper snapper of 60
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:37   #14
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Re: Too Late To Start ?

I would go for it. You don't have to sail around the world. Get a boat small enough that you can easily handle and afford.
Dave -Sailing Vessel Exit Only
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:59   #15
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Re: Too Late To Start ?

Go for it and dont look back...good luck ,have fun while you still can.~~DVC~~

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