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Old 09-07-2014, 12:52   #1
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Old Geezer looking for Advice...

Hi everybody!

Been cruising the site for a few days and it has really fired me up. Feel like a kid again dreaming of sailboat adventures. I'm currently an adventurer of sorts with my campervan - now in France near Nancy to watch the tour de France finish stage 7 on Friday. We live in Austin, TX but keep the camper in the UK for summer vacations touring around Europe.

Back to sailing... I use to have a 1/4 tonner (Cal T/4) back in the late 70s early 80s, lake sailor. Wasn't much of a racer - more a cruiser with the wrong boat. Life and work got in the way, sold the boat and thought I'd buy the right one someday but never did.

We were in Amsterdam last week and at a small harbor I spotted a Hans Christian 41 and it just hit me... man, wouldn't it be great to be in that than my camper! I haven't stopped thinking about the possibilities.

Here's where I'd like a reality check. I'm 65, in pretty decent shape but know I've got limited mileage left. I'm probably at least a year out from purchasing a boat (want to refresh my sailing/seamanship knowledge with ASA certifications and research boats to buy). I'm definitely not as stong and nimble as I was when I had my Cal; so, wanted to ask the old-timers (and anyone else for that matter) what they thought about an old guy like me pursuing this new dream - how hard is to work halyards and sheets, reefing, anchoring, etc?... all those things that were pretty easy when I was 30.

One other note, I mentioned the idea to my lovely wife (56) but she gave me one of those looks... the one that said 'sure, whatever'. So, if anyone can offer any advice on how to bring her on board would be appreciated.

We're Bruce (and Marie) and hope to get to know you gals and guys.

Cheers!
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Old 09-07-2014, 13:03   #2
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

Bruce, Take Marie on a bareboat chater,- maybe in the Virgin Islands,.... or for an easier first attempt to find a passion for sailing, maybe one of those bluenoose schooner trips out of Rock Harbor, Maine for a few days or a week. Once infected with a passion for sailing, the "sell" could be easy or maybe you'll find that the adventure won't work well. As for the age question, only you can judge your abilities and status. My wie and I are 67. We're slowing down compared to our cruising regimen when we first moved aboard in our twenties, but it's still working well for us.
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Old 09-07-2014, 13:15   #3
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhamham View Post

. I'm definitely not as stong and nimble as I was when I had my Cal; so, wanted to ask the old-timers (and anyone else for that matter) what they thought about an old guy like me pursuing this new dream - how hard is to work halyards and sheets, reefing, anchoring, etc?... all those things that were pretty easy when I was 30.

!
No need for being strong and nimble although it helps. Big winches and a windlass help. Lots of geezers out there cruising. Here's a bunch from a recent beach party.

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Old 09-07-2014, 13:31   #4
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

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Bruce, Take Marie on a bareboat chater,- maybe in the Virgin Islands,.... or for an easier first attempt to find a passion for sailing, maybe one of those bluenoose schooner trips out of Rock Harbor, Maine for a few days or a week. Once infected with a passion for sailing, the "sell" could be easy or maybe you'll find that the adventure won't work well. As for the age question, only you can judge your abilities and status. My wie and I are 67. We're slowing down compared to our cruising regimen when we first moved aboard in our twenties, but it's still working well for us.
I agree with this idea but since you want to refresh your sailing you should consider taking ASA sailing courses in the Caribbean, St. Martin if possible. Your wife should find the islands interesting and the sailing is good there. As for age, there are lots of ways to ease the effort needed and with care and planning you shouldn't have to do things in a hurry. I don't think I would start with a Hans Christian 43 though <g>.
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Old 09-07-2014, 14:08   #5
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

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SNIP

what they thought about an old guy like me pursuing this new dream - how hard is to work halyards and sheets, reefing, anchoring, etc?... all those things that were pretty easy when I was 30.

SNIP
I have a catamaran with a big square top. Definitely harder to raise it than if it was a pin head, especially since I am a couple of years older than you are. But I love the way the cat sails with a square top. Sheets are not a problem, think the blocks are ten to one and headsails are on winches. Never had a problem with reefing. I have a windless on the main anchor and have used the secondary without it. Once I attached the anchor line to a winch to kedge when I ran sorta aground. I was anchored North of the spit at the Dry Tortugas and the wind died and a freak current carried me ninety degrees over the sand bar to the East as the tide went down. So I put the second anchor on my paddle board and took it maybe a hundred feet to the West and kedged off. It took more effort to get the anchor on the paddle board than to winch off the sand bar.

So yea I think you could set up your boat to be easy to handle with your older weaker bones, but not sure how you are with a paddle board.
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Old 09-07-2014, 15:55   #6
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

Do it as soon as you can talk Marie into it. In five years you'll be 70 (I'm a few months shy of that now) and you'll not feel as healthy or energetic as you do now. And, guess what? If you don't start now you'll still be 70 in five years without ever having done it.

So, go for it!!

kindest regards,
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Old 09-07-2014, 17:29   #7
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

And I thought I was the only old guy thinking of getting into what I thought was a young guys sport. I too am 65 and in fair shape, which brings me to my first thought. Take a look at your life style, nutrition, sleep and exercise and consider improving your health (get in shape) to be more comfortable with continuing your adventure. Should your partner have an interest in supporting your sailing interest a + - 40' sailboat might work. I'm taking a look at single handing a + - 34' since my partner has no interest in my next adventure. Regardless of the length, at our age, it's all about how the boat is set up and staying healthy. Did I mention yoga?

Good luck, stay strong, we can do this!
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Old 09-07-2014, 17:36   #8
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

Back up. There is lots of good sailing right in your backyard. Lake Travis might not be quite as nice as it was before the drought, but Canyon Lake is as pleasant as ever. There are also opportunities on the Gulf Coast. Consider taking your lessons close to home - it makes it easier to space out the classes and get lots of practice in between. You can check out Texas Sailing on Lake Travis. Heck, there are even little dinghies on Town Lake.
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Old 09-07-2014, 17:54   #9
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

G'Day Bruce (and Marie too),

At 65 I reckon you are hardly old enough to go sailing without adult supervision!

Seriously, if you are reasonably fit, and with a previous conviction of boat ownership/sailing to help you with the basics, you should have no trouble. Modern boats (and I don't include the Hans Crustacean in that category) are much easier to sail than the ones designed and built in the time frame you were sailing in before. There are endless arguments about their seaworthyness, but the observable fact is that many such vessels (modern cruiser types) succeed in ocean passages, and they are designed to be simple and easy physically to sail. Electric winches, powered windlasses, self tacking jibs, roller furling and reefing, generally lighter displacement for a given size, which reduces sail and rig loads... all these are aimed at making the physical efforts of sailing more manageable.

BTW, I'm 76 and Ann is 74 and equipped with Titanium knees, and we still seem to manage, albeit with a less challenging itinerary than in past years. Here on CF I'm not one of the perennial "just go for it" cheerleaders, but in this case I think you should give it a go.

Good luck and good sailing in the future.

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Old 09-07-2014, 18:07   #10
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

My wife is the same but she likes fish and just spent $100 at the supermarket for some. I said she can come fishing on the boat and get free fish- that was the lure. You need a lure to catch the wife, then another lure to catch the fish.
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Old 09-07-2014, 18:41   #11
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

Welcome to the forums, and all the best with the planning.
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Old 09-07-2014, 19:08   #12
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

You seem to have an affinity for Europe and seem like you enjoy the "camper" lifestyle as does the Mrs.

I always thought investigating canal boats in Europe would be cool.

Sailboats open up a lot of coastal opportunities but you should think about where you (both) want to go and what you want to see.

Maybe you could rent a "self drive" canal boat and see if that is for you guys.

Also do a sailboat charter and see if that is for you - unless you go far afield away form the crowds, I suspect marina hopping in Europe is expensive and really only allows one to explore the areas around those marinas.

Just an out of the box idea here...
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Old 09-07-2014, 19:25   #13
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

Here in Hawaii, we meet people every day in great physical condition despite being well into their 50's and 60's.

Not everyone can be that way, but I will share with you that at 48 years old, my wife and I are the youngest in our Paddling group (hawaiian version of rowing) and that we are definitely not the strongest or most able.

With the right equipment, a bit of discretion, and a little think-aheadness you ought to be able to do a find job handling a sailboat and doing some great coastal cruising, at the least, and maybe some ocean cruising if you feel you're able.

I recommend speaking to people with experience in the Mediterranean, if that is your intended cruising ground. I have been told that it is "difficult", though I have never been able to get a good explanation as to how or why. That is my dream to spend several years cruising the Roman coast of Europe.
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Old 09-07-2014, 19:35   #14
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

The big mistake that a lot of people make is getting too large of a boat. It's happened to me and I see it all the time. In La Paz, Mx. many boats are dock queens because the trip down the coast really took it out of them. I hate to say it but one was a HC and they put it up for sail after heading back north. That said, if you just want to find a nice port in Mx. and visit the boat as a vacation spot and only sail it to close by anchorages (there are a ton in Mx.), then almost any size will do. If you want to cross Oceans, then a simple rig on a 35-40ft. boat may be the ticket...financially too.
I will add one thing that has been touched on briefly...sailing keeps you in great shape as does the lifestyle. I'm back in the US for the moment and I've gained enogh weight to go up a pant size...
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Old 09-07-2014, 19:44   #15
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Re: Old Geezer looking for Advice...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
SNIP

BTW, I'm 76 and Ann is 74 and equipped with Titanium knees, and we still seem to manage, albeit with a less challenging itinerary than in past years. Here on CF I'm not one of the perennial "just go for it" cheerleaders, but in this case I think you should give it a go.

SNIP
A lot of folks seem to make the mistake of buying a boat they view as capable of rounding the great capes when they may only be sailing from South Florida to the Bahamas.

I got my catamaran because it can easily be single handed on daylight only passages from the Keys to Bimini and then the Bahamas. It is what I call a tropics only boat with plenty of room for me and my toys and one other person, and for short periods another couple as well. It is shoal draft and has outboards in wells, lots of solar power, nice house battery bank, and meets my other needs.

I would not consider taking it in the 40s and 50s, or even across the Atlantic; though some others might.

Even older and not in the best shape folks should be able to sail a well set up boat in lots of interesting cruising areas. The key is to figure out where you want to sail and pick a boat for that area and then set it up for your capabilities.
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