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Old 17-09-2011, 11:49   #1
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Am I Too Old ?

Hi All,
I am in the process of deciding whether to embark on cruising adventure in a catamaran. I am a 60 yr. old woman who has arthritis and has limited strength in my arms and shoulders. How hard is it to pull lines and raise and lower sails?

I want to sail from florida into the Caribbean for lengthily explorations of beaches, shells and pirate treasure, lol. I don't know much about the various brands of catamarans but am doing my best to research this. The Ft. Lauderdale boat show is coming up in Oct. and I plan to attend that so I am sure that will help me.

Can you please advise on the largest cat I could handle by myself? I want a reliable, easy rider that has a low center of gravity as I am prove to sea sickness. So far, the top brands that I have learned about that might fit my demands are the Leopard, Maine Cat and Gemini.

Ohh, and one other thing. I have an Australia Shepherd and wonder where he will go to the toilet while on board. Do I train him to use those blue pads and then dispose of them much like one would with a diaper?

Thank you for any suggestions.
Paula
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Old 17-09-2011, 11:55   #2
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Re: Am I too old?

If you are too old then the rest of us are doomed. Can you sail?
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Old 17-09-2011, 12:01   #3
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Re: Am I too old?

Are you dead yet? No? Then you aren't too old. I don't sail a catamaran so I am no help there. I am excited to see yet another chick sailor. Chick sailors rule. Oh and on days when I feel that there are reasons i can't acheive my goals (too old, too busy, whatever) I think about Keiko Fukuda and realize I am just a whiner!

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Old 17-09-2011, 12:07   #4
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Re: Am I too old?

Paula, it all depends on what you are up to. A certain amount of physical strength and stamina will be required. To some extent you can accomodate them with larger winches or powered ones but it really sounds like you haven't sailed anything in the size range you'd be looking at, and the only way to find out if this is going to be too much for you, is to go out and do it. Take some lessons, or take a crewed charter for a day and tell them you want to try a hand at it.

The dog? You'll find threads online. Some can adapt, some can't. Either way, taking a dog across national borders may require 90 day quarantines and restricted travels. Check out noonsite.com for regulations on animals.
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Old 17-09-2011, 12:14   #5
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Re: Am I too old?

60 is not old. My Dad still single hands at 83, and whines if someone goes up the mast instead of him. He was over 60 when he started sailing and has managed to have a lifetime's worth of adventures since he started. He's on his third boat, too.

You will get a lot stronger fast if you get out on the water and start working your muscles. And you will live a lot longer.

You would prefer to have such an adventure with one or two other people, rather than alone. Sailing any boat alone is much more difficult and more dangerous. I would recommend that you try to find some friend or companion to go along, help out, keep you company, and share expenses.
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Old 17-09-2011, 12:16   #6
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Re: Am I too old?

Welcome Aboard Cruisers Forum

NO, You are not to old. Plenty out here that surpass your age...
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Old 17-09-2011, 12:23   #7
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Re: Am I too old?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
60 is not old. My Dad still single hands at 83, and whines if someone goes up the mast instead of him. He was over 60 when he started sailing and has managed to have a lifetime's worth of adventures since he started. He's on his third boat, too.
Nice!!

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You will get a lot stronger fast if you get out on the water and start working your muscles. And you will live a lot longer.
It certainly does improve your upper body strength though I believe it's important to balance it with some good cardio to avoid increased risk of heart attack.

Size is a factor in how much strength it takes. I usually use my 150 genoa and if I'm tacking in channels an 8 hour day is exhausting. Throw the jib on and it's another story, however it's not as much fun!

Quote:
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You would prefer to have such an adventure with one or two other people, rather than alone. Sailing any boat alone is much more difficult and more dangerous. I would recommend that you try to find some friend or companion to go along, help out, keep you company, and share expenses.
Although I usually singlehand I agree that the right crew is nice and makes it safer and makes the money go a lot farther.
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Old 17-09-2011, 12:34   #8
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Re: Am I too old?

ye aint old til yer dead.
sailing keeps ye young.
geaux, gurl!!!


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Old 17-09-2011, 12:42   #9
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Re: Am I too old?

iamsteelrose, welcome to C.F....

and remember... you are not too old.. you just have more experience with life..

Best of luck
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Old 17-09-2011, 13:13   #10
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Re: Am I too old?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamsteelrose View Post
Hi All,
I am in the process of deciding whether to embark on cruising adventure in a catamaran. I am a 60 yr. old woman who has arthritis and has limited strength in my arms and shoulders. How hard is it to pull lines and raise and lower sails?

I want to sail from florida into the Caribbean for lengthily explorations of beaches, shells and pirate treasure, lol. I don't know much about the various brands of catamarans but am doing my best to research this. The Ft. Lauderdale boat show is coming up in Oct. and I plan to attend that so I am sure that will help me.

Can you please advise on the largest cat I could handle by myself? I want a reliable, easy rider that has a low center of gravity as I am prove to sea sickness. So far, the top brands that I have learned about that might fit my demands are the Leopard, Maine Cat and Gemini.

Ohh, and one other thing. I have an Australia Shepherd and wonder where he will go to the toilet while on board. Do I train him to use those blue pads and then dispose of them much like one would with a diaper?

Thank you for any suggestions.
Paula
Paula, if your arthritis is mild, it may not be a problem at all.

If it's more severe, you might talk to an occupational therapist. You'd have to take him or her on board and show the things you have to do. They're really good at figuring out alternative ways to get things done.

I've seen boats rigged for paraplegics. Seems as if, if they can do it, you can.
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Old 17-09-2011, 13:26   #11
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Re: Am I too old?

there is a tea made in mexico from elephant trees that is awesome good and really works against arthritis....copol, i believe is the name.. but is from elephant tree, and really works. friend of mine used it and is recovered, worked for me for 4 1/2 months...
his form was traumatic, mine is secondary to reynauds disease..
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Old 17-09-2011, 13:46   #12
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Re: Am I too old?

Quote:
I don't know much about the various brands of catamarans but am doing my best to research this. The Ft. Lauderdale boat show is coming up in Oct. and I plan to attend that so I am sure that will help me.
The Miami Show in February is a better catamaran show than Fort Lauderdale if you want to see all the various brands. I'd double check which vendors and models will be at FLIBS because the cat selection has been limited in the past.
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Old 17-09-2011, 14:33   #13
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Re: Am I Too Old ?

Hi SteelRose, First, age is just a number and the numbers affect people in different ways, I'll be 69 next week and later this year, or early next, I'll be crossing the Atlantic yet again either solo, or, with one or two crew in a new boat that I'm in process of trading mine in for. And I assure you that I plan to solo the pond a few more times after that or I would not be buying a new boat!!!. But I'm lucky, I'm fit and healthy and still think of myself as being a "Youngster".
The real issue for you is physical capability and you need an understanding of the sometimes never ending physical demands faced in bad weather along with a professional assessment of whether or not it would be wise for you to do it.
It may be that fair weather coastal hopping might work for you if offshore does not, or, it may be that inland live aboard cruising might be better yet. Just bear in mind that those who cruise the world's oceans treat them with both respect and fear, and that's because it can, and does, get quite hairy out there at times.
Bottom line; Learn what your limitations are likely to be, then plan your sailing career around that understanding.
Good luck, and above all else, safe sailing to you.
James
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Old 17-09-2011, 14:37   #14
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Re: Am I Too Old ?

PS: I'm sure you don't want to hear this but frankly, with the challenges you already face, taking a pooch with you is probably just going to add to the complexity and create problems you just don't need. Leave the pooch with a friend and send it a postcard from the places you visit...James
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Old 17-09-2011, 14:55   #15
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Re: Am I Too Old ?

Why a Catamaran??? The quality built ones are damned expensive and very costly to berth if you are stuck in a marina. With the windage and stability, they can require way more physical strength to anchor and sail. I know!!! Cats don't heal much and they are supposedly fast but that doesn't make up for dollars required to purchase. Also, the smaller cats are severely effected by the weight of the detritus that a cruising boat picks up. You have to be anal about weight on a smaller multihull and just an a**hole about it on larger ones.

You can get a mono hull in the 30' plus range for way cheaper and as long as you don't try and go too much larger, they are relatively forgiving of physical strength.

As far as arthritis, the constant motion of the boat and the effort to combat it have been very good for mine. The exercise of just being on a cruising boat at sea loosens up my otherwise stiff and sore joints. Seems living on land is what's bad for my arthritis.

The dog needs to be trained to do it's thing on deck. Just take a scooper and toss it overboard and then wash the deck down with a bucket of seawater. Super easy and no consumables to mess with. We tried all sorts of things to get our dog to go on the boat without success. Finally just went out cruising for a week and anchored out. The dog held it for 3 days and then finally let go. We praised her and took care of the mess and she had no problem thereafter.
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