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Old 14-01-2008, 04:41   #31
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I knew Reese from the boardwalk in Atlantic City, quite a character. He was sailing into his eighties. His book, The Ancient Mariner, is an inspiring true account and will give anyone the guts to get out there and give it a shot at ANY age. by the way, the woman in the picture is his WIFE. ReesePalley.com
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Old 14-01-2008, 06:27   #32
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As you get older you lose strength and agility and you will have to rely on mechanical assists to do things... like raising the sail or the anchor etc... even cranking winches.

Bigger boats are typically more "mechanically" assisted than smaller ones and so the transition may not be as difficult since these boats are usually already fitted out with windlasses, powerful wiches and perhaps and an electric one for the main hoist or a furling mainsail.

It's the smaller and mid size boats that become a challenge to older sailors who managed to do things manually when they were more vigorous... raising anchors, sails, trimming and so forth.

It's the things you can't automate to mechanical assist which are the problem... drogues and setting storm canvas etc. and this makes for more fair weather sailing as you age. No?
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Old 14-01-2008, 06:34   #33
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<I was pushing 250 lbs…>

Yeah, as one gets a few miles on `em some of us seem to accumulate more stored energy than we’ll ever use… I’m trying to climb down from a slightly higher weight, and was pleased to read your success… I’d like to see the underside of 200# again for health reasons…

The allure of larger boats left me some years ago even -- back when handling them didn’t strain me a whole lot -- but even though I’ve been in AARP-land for well over a decade I do hope to sail for quite awhile longer – especially since my bride has just started to show respectable curiosity in the pastime… she’s even wondered out loud whether our diminutive vessel might be made reliable for a crossing to Bermuda – hmmmm, that’s the right question…

I’ve been “watching” the more experienced sailors on this and other threads and wondering what I can glean to keep sailing reliable and not too taxing as the physical strength fades a tad… Formerly of pretty good physical strength and stamina, I’ve always had hank-on headsails (the early furlers I remember weren’t too good and I guess my bias against `em also stems from watching those contraptions malfunction…) and rather enjoyed scrambling around in the wet up forward, but our recent sail down the Bay quickly confirmed that I couldn’t stay as alert for long periods as I once could and the former agility isn’t there either -- and that there might be a smarter way to rig some things – halyards and jiffy-reefing led to the cockpit, etc…

Hopefully a weight reduction and the modest strength and cardio regimen my bride has encouraged be on will optimize the ol’ physical assets to persuade a bit more performance out them… and along with a bit of rerigging, I should be over-crowding the waterways for a several decades to come…
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Old 14-01-2008, 08:23   #34
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nice thread

I am approaching birthday 71. My wife (70) and I spend 2-3 months each year cruising different Islands in the Bahammas on our 30 ft sailboat. Outside of being cautious about the weather, we just get on and cast off. By the way, I'm not an ols salt and didn't get into sailing until my son bought a boat about 10 years ago. The bottom l;ine here is just do it and stop talking about it!!
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Old 08-02-2008, 14:24   #35
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I am approaching birthday 71. My wife (70) and I spend 2-3 months each year cruising different Islands in the Bahammas on our 30 ft sailboat. Outside of being cautious about the weather, we just get on and cast off. By the way, I'm not an ols salt and didn't get into sailing until my son bought a boat about 10 years ago. The bottom l;ine here is just do it and stop talking about it!!
dockgoody it is good to hear you saying that. Recently I was in Solomons slipped beside a small trawler, with a man and woman who were well into their 70's.
I embarrassed myself as I began to leave the dock and (bet no one else ever did this) still had a spring line on a piling. The lady jumped off their boat freed us from the piling, tossed the line to me. As I gathered my dock lines, I thanked her but felt like a novice. As we departed, I got a new appreciation for the two of them. They weren't sitting behind a TV in a ghetto apartment, they were doing what they damn well felt like. I was jealous, having to return to work on Monday morning.

PS leaving, on the tides this spring. (I am retiring next Monday.)

Pogo
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Old 08-02-2008, 15:08   #36
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Reading about getting older--it is happening to me as I write--it occurs to me that many cruisers and sailors could keep their present larger vessels if they simply made them more elderly-friendly.

For instance--fitting a hydraulic anchor windlass instead of the electric one requiring a pony battery which has to be lugged out for maintenance--or hauled in a cradle up through an open hatchway.

My trimaran has a lower mast than some, because a previous owner sailed her in the seas off Tasmania. Tall masts mean larger and heavier sails which increase the danger of tipping. Not only that--it is pointless to sail most of the time with large heavy sails reefed--when smaller sails can be fitted to begin with--and these are more easily handled by older folk and can be easily reefed further if needed.

Sometimes converting an existing rig might make sail handling easier. If the time has come to replace or do serious maintenance to masts or standing rigging--one could easily convert the vessel to more and smaller sails.

If not--then fit lighter wingsails to the existing masts--or perhaps alter their geometry to rig the vessel as a staysail schooner or ketch--with loose-footed sails flying from the mast stays. Certainly not as efficient--but self-tacking for the most part and far more easily handled.

It does not take much of a spread of sail to equate to the power of a twenty horsepower diesel engine. A small set of sail equates to enough power to make three ior four knots--maybe more. Multiply that by two or more masts and one can cruise the vessel effectively.

Certainly one can sell one's larger vessel and go to a smaller one--but this means a smaller less secure and more unstable deck area and more cramped living quarters.

As long as one has a diesel engine of sufficient power to pull one away from a dangerous lee shore (large hulls do have more windage abeam) then powering down a vesel by using smaller more easily handled sails and rig makes some sort of sense, since the alternative to sailing anything is a powered vessel.

Then there is the compromise of a motorsailer--where one motors much of the time and uses the sail to steady the ship and save a little fuel--and almost everything aboard can be power operated--.

I think sail boats have a more comfortable motion than power vessels. They do not roll as much or as quickly because of the steadying effect of the sails. While this effect might be lessened with a lower aspect smaller rig--it would still be a factor to consider on deck with wind and water battering one, especially as one gets less steady on the legs. Keep the harness fastened at all times--

As soon as the wind rises a bit one reefs down one's sails--so running a smaller rig is a bit like sailing reefed down in fine weather. One will lose some performance--but maybe not as much as one might expect. Once one approaches hull speed a lot of extra sail and power is required to make any noticeable difference to performance.

Turning a sloop to a ketch or a schooner will make for smaller sails set on additional mast/s. A sixty foot vessel could become a three masted staysail schooner with five small sails set, and a possible loss in power of about thrirty to forty percent--but since the best most sailboats can make is hull speed--a loss of this amount of power might only be noticeable in light conditions. Then one can comfortably motor--since motoring in rough weather is not as much fun as even a modest spread of reefed canvas.

One can use power winches--but with a smaller sails on shorter masts one might not need them. Ordinary lightweight manual winches should be adequate.

So--you can keep your old vessel easy to sail if you wish--provided it has a good engine and you use reliable powered mechanical aids to do the heavy stuff like anchor retrieval and davit lifting of cargo, stores, tenders etc.

Or you could buy a trimaran--or a cat--which need less power from the sails to shove 'em along--and if you have to motor will use a heap less fuel than a displacement hull travelling as fast.
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Old 12-02-2008, 13:23   #37
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Or you could buy a trimaran--or a cat--which need less power from the sails to shove 'em along--and if you have to motor will use a heap less fuel than a displacement hull travelling as fast.
Hi Mike Banks,

All good points, but for me I'm looking at a 50' Harryproa with an Easyrig and twin engines for "single / double-handed cruising in the fast lane" Also to mention here are reduction / minimalizing the maintenance aspects on the boats as far as possible.

Regards
Roger
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Old 12-02-2008, 20:53   #38
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Smile About being at sea and aging

Capt. Fatty Goodlander wrote about aging and "what do you do?" He'd talked to lots of people and encountered many who felt as he does: "I will never move ashore. This is the best possible place to be until we die", literally, was how the opinion ran.

I must agree with him. There is no place better than the open sea. The Sahara does not have the tanquility of the horse latitudes. Running to a "second wind" falls short of besting a gale, or merely sailing an ordinary air, and doing it well so the boat is singing and yourself with it.

Years and years ago a young woman who'd never been to sea came on deck after a terrible few days of sea sickness and there was a lovely breeze, all the sails were set airfoil clean, and the sea was singing along the hull. She stood there, looking up at the sails and listening and then exclaimed: "God's breath!"

Twenty years later she told me it was a tipping point in her life.

Being alive helps one stay alive. These days, the scientists are saying that for every year we live we can add a year to our life expectancy - due to science of course.

Builds a case for sailing an aluminium hull!
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Old 12-02-2008, 22:22   #39
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The posts on this thread are longer than average. Do us old folks wax on or what?

My dad made his last sail on a Hinckley 33 in his early 80s. It was mostly a photo op and I thank him for is patience, but I don't think he enjoyed himself too much.

Last summer, I watched a man of similar age skulling a large wooden gaff-rigged sloop towing a masted dinghy. It looked like a lot of work and, no, I don't think he was having much fun, either.

I used to drive an elderly friend from her nursing home to church on Sundays. After service, we'd have lunch with her friends at the home.

There are many forms of pain as we age. I'd rather be pushing an oar on an old heavy ship than complaining about my back somewhere on shore.
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Old 12-02-2008, 23:09   #40
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I could not agree more.

The good thing about yanking on oars or heaving at a yuloh is that eventually one arrives and can stop. Then--with the blood still whizzing around the comparatively clean arteries for a few seconds while the skinny ancient but wiry frame is finally seated looking at the view across a beckoning ocean or towards a provisioning shore, one can contemplate the lives of those of similar age taking it more easily ashore in their battery powered tricycles with their little flags, and their ticking pacemakers.

No thanks!!

I remember once my father asking a bunch of fisherman on a dhow out of Maala, how old was a wizened man sitting at the stern holding a basket of flat round unleavened bread he had just baked on the inside of an oven made from a twelve gallon drum and some bricks.

It seemed he was in his nineties, but no one knew his exact age. My father remarked that he should be allowed to retire--but they told him that he loved to work aboard although almost blind--and besides--he told stories and he brought them luck with their fishing.

"Allah is merciful"--he called, waving a scrawny arm to us as the multi-patched sail filled and they slowly drew away.

Perhaps at ninety-something we might be welcomed aboard a sailing ship as a lucky storyteller--if Allah, God or whichever deity one's religion espouses--is truly merciful.
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Old 13-02-2008, 16:11   #41
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Mike banks,
THanks for the really neat post/story
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Old 13-02-2008, 19:35   #42
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aging and sailing

My husband and I just ordered a Hunter 49--he is 76 and I am almost 69. We thought about it but decided to get it since we cannot predict the future. Right now we are in very good condition and hopefully we`ll stay this way for quite awhile. We will have 2 electric winches and lots of other good equipment--we love to sail and traded in our 4 year old 43ft. boat. We don`t plan on having to singlehand since we are both equally addicted to being on the boat. Wish us luck!!!
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Old 13-02-2008, 21:30   #43
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Cool

Congratuations and all the Best!
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Old 13-02-2008, 22:23   #44
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My father, who turned 86 last October, sails his 30' Contest regularly, singlehanded usually. He doesn't go far anymore, mostly just back and forth across the river, but it's what he loves and I hope he never stops as long as he is physically able and still having fun. He's having the boat repowered this winter, apparently he is figuring on several more years of sailing ahead of him. I hope he does, and I hope I'm lucky enough to be doing the same thing at his age. My wife and I just bought, and are refitting, a 40' pilothouse cutter that we plan to spend 3-5 months a year on, maybe more (I'm 57).

jayncee- go for it!

John
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Old 18-02-2008, 09:05   #45
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Life is a challenge from day one, and it is going to continue that way for most of us. I personally am rejuvenated every time we leave the dock. I am 56, and will turn 57 in April.

I have not been much of a planner for long term. I have been successful, and unsuccessful. At 42 I left on a 30 footer from S.F. to Mexico, and back. I was broke, but had a great time. Loss of a business, and a wife gave me the boost to go. It gave me 5 months of pure bliss. This includes being tossed from the boat, and next splitting my head open.

I came back to S.F a new man with a goal in mind for the first time in my life. At 46 I opened a new business, and within 5 years I was sitting in St. Maarten on my 3 yr old cat paid for. I took 4 years of my life, and did exactly as I pleased while I was healthy. I have seen too many that choose to wait too long, and then can't go. Friends would ask "aren't you afraid?" My answer was "I feared not leaving even more!"

I have been back to work now for 18 months. I figure 3 - 4years, and I am retired for good with a substantial income. We all have to go about life differently, and I always disappointed my mother with the way I lived. My life has been eventful, and when I am old, and sitting on the porch in my rocker. I will not have any WHAT IF's. Everybody has to live life as they see fit...............
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