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Old 09-01-2017, 17:08   #1
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Coastal cruising and getting older

I would appreciate some feedback on getting older and choice of boat to keep cruising as long as possible.

My background is: dinghy racing since childhood, then in my early thirties a Holland 25, a Lyle Hess Serrafyn sister ship which I had for 27 years, and my present vessel a Tahitiana 32' steel double ended cutter (ten years). My cruising has been south-eastern Tasmanian coastal cruising only. I single-hand 99% of the time.

I have been experiencing failing physical stamina, arthritis in hands and back, and slight balance problems.

My question to those of similar problems and/or life stage; what vessel have you found to be the best in order to keep cruising forever (!)?

I love the sea-kindliness and and slowness of my Tahitiana and she suits our temperate climate here in the Variables (except for heavy windward work), but the gear is heavy and she is hard on the helm in anything on the beam. She is also hard to maintain (I do everything myself).

With thanks!
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Old 09-01-2017, 17:21   #2
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

Get a trawler and stick to gunkholing.

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Old 09-01-2017, 17:32   #3
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

The other fellow beat me to it. I have a good friend who downsized to a 36ft Nordic Tug when he turned 70. It's the perfect boat for him.
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Old 09-01-2017, 17:35   #4
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

Mark's answer is a great option.

Changing your diet is another way to keep going - working for me.
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Old 09-01-2017, 17:45   #5
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pirate Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

Even better get a small power cat and escape the rolling..
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Old 09-01-2017, 18:33   #6
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

Sheesh, Christian, seems that everyone wants you to give up sailing, and from your history, I bet that isn't what you had in mind. If this is correct, to me it seems that a move to a more modern boat, a lighter one, and one with at least a furling headsail if not a main as well would help relieve the physical stresses involved with local coastal cruising. I realize that you have shown a strong preference for traditional sorts of vessels, but despite their attractions, they tend to be physically demanding.

The other handicap that you are enduring is the primarily singlehanded sailing. For us older types, some extra hands make a big difference. I don't know where in Tassie you are located, but in the Hobart/DentreCasteaux realm I see a lot of us senior sailors about. Some no longer have boats and would welcome the chance to get back sailing, others are in a similar situation to you and perhaps would like to swap sailing days back and forth on each other's vessels.

As to specific recommendations of yachts, I am loathe to be that bold! Something that is easily driven, so that sailing with reduced area is still satisfying... that helps keep the interest up and the need for sudden sail reduction down. Something with decent auxiliary power for the times that you need to get upwind and don't want the effort and fatigue associated with hard beating. And for other than summer, something with good shelter and some form of heat is sure nice here.

For the record, i'm about to turn 79, Ann is about to turn 77 and we still manage our fairly light 46 footer ok. We don't drive her nearly as hard as we used to, reefing early and in fact, avoiding heavy wx as much as possible. And we collectively have our share of geriatric complaints. But we still love the life and will keep at it as long as possible.

So, if you see us about the area, make yourself known and join us for a cuppa. Currently in Cygnet, will be back in Hobart later in the month for another eye jab and some tooth cleaning... Ah yes, another good thing in an elder's boat is a computer in which to note medical appointments!

Cheers,

JIm
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Old 09-01-2017, 19:27   #7
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

You might look at multihulls, more from the comfort perspective. Plus they're pretty easily driven.
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Old 09-01-2017, 19:36   #8
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

Thanks Jim, you got it one -I'm in it for the sailing!

I should have posted this earlier, I was also at the Cygnet Folk Festival, now back on moorings in Oyster Cove. I have enjoyed your's and Anne's posts for a long time.

I will keep an eye out for Insatiable II.

Christian 'Beatrice'
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Old 10-01-2017, 01:07   #9
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

we are approaching 70 and love out 2 months a year sailing in the Ionian. A few things that do or might make life on board for a single hander of any age.
1. furlers for main and jib. In mast main furling is the way to go (yes purists, lose a knot). You can deploy and reef the sail in 30 seconds with about 10 kg force. a coach roof winch works well for this. Once you get the hang of furling, you will have few problems.
2. 2 speed or more self tailing winches.
3. autopilot is a must. Allows you to move around
4. powered anchor winch with controls forward and aft. We Med moor a lot. In calm weather, it's easy to cast off stern lines (engine idling) then lift the winch using the buttons aft. If anything goes wrong, go forward and use the buttons there. Mooring is similar in reverse. you might need help in rough weather.
5. all the safety gear
6 Tell tales with a headsail window. Read Arvel Gentry's articles.
7 I don't have it but a walk through transom might make life easy.
8. Inside, reverse cycle AC might make life very comfortable. You will need a 2-3 kva generator or shore power. We also have a small washing machine. We use it with a big inverter. Wash when you're sailing and you won't drain the batteries. Save the significant unpleasantness of the laundromat haul.
9. a bike with battery power might make moving around towns agreeable. We don't use any scooters, bikes etc. We find most ports are well serviced and we hire small cars if we want to travel further.
10 Try to find a boat with a 4 step gangway. ladders are not as safe as we would like.
11 a bow thruster might make mooring very comfortable
12 a bimini is a must and also a boom tent or other shading over the cabin.

In Corsica, I met an 84 year old and his wife who sailed a couple of thousand miles a year. They had no difficulty managing their Amel Supemaru 53 footer ketch. Life was made easier because all sail controls were electric and so required no strength. You might have to go to Europe to get one of those.
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:56   #10
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

You need to get a boat with devices to assist.... mechanical crew.... roller furling... windlass and chain... auto pilot... maybe a furling main. You'll want the control lines led aft, line stoppers... and probably an electric winch for the halyard or a Milwaukee drill with a winch bit. A lift crane (demount-able) is very handing for moving / lifting heavy things.

As you age you do fade a bit... lose strength, balance, sight, hearing.... so you need to change the way you sail.

Recently I used the Milwaukee to get my kinda heavy dinghy on to the fore deck (single handed) and remove the 4 stroke 8hp motor to a dock cart so I could get it for winter service. I got an assist to place it in the car trunk. Or a heavy 440 sf mainsail...

I get help if it's available to lift heavy things.

And I have the same boat

I pay more attention to the weather now and prefer to avoid gusty days with very strong winds. Sailing itself is no different.... or perhaps less "aggressive".

You can do it!
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:19   #11
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
You need to get a boat with devices to assist.... mechanical crew.... roller furling... windlass and chain... auto pilot... maybe a furling main. You'll want the control lines led aft, line stoppers... and probably an electric winch for the halyard or a Milwaukee drill with a winch bit. A lift crane (demount-able) is very handing for moving / lifting heavy things.

As you age you do fade a bit... lose strength, balance, sight, hearing.... so you need to change the way you sail.

Recently I used the Milwaukee to get my kinda heavy dinghy on to the fore deck (single handed) and remove the 4 stroke 8hp motor to a dock cart so I could get it for winter service. I got an assist to place it in the car trunk. Or a heavy 440 sf mainsail...

I get help if it's available to lift heavy things.

And I have the same boat

I pay more attention to the weather now and prefer to avoid gusty days with very strong winds. Sailing itself is no different.... or perhaps less "aggressive".

You can do it!
dlymn and sanders give good advice. We faced the same decision four or five years ago as we entered our 70's. We commissioned one of if not the last Sabre 426 MKII in 2012. The vessel has electric primary winches and an electric main winch that we use in conjunction with a Leisure Furl system. Everything leads back to the cockpit. The only omission was a bow thruster but we have never encountered a situation that required a thruster. We also configured the boat with a self-tacking jib but often times we switch to a 135 genoa because the self-tacking jib misbehaves when going downwind at wind speeds greater than 15 knots. We also have a code zero geneker that requires us to go onto the foredeck and becomes unmanageable above 12-15 knots. After four years I have no complaints about any of these decisions and expect to continue sailing for the next decade or more.
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Old 10-01-2017, 08:01   #12
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

I sold my Tartan 4700 and purchased a Nordic Tug 39. I'm 69 and it's a joy to own and I think I can continue to own and use it till my end. It's a wonderful boat !
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Old 10-01-2017, 08:06   #13
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

i'm 67 and with my milwaukee right angle drill and winch bit there's nothing i can't do on my hunter passage 42. even hauling the dink to the fore deck is like a walk in the park. a good windlass helps, of course. i'm more worried about getting phat from lack of exercise.
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Old 10-01-2017, 08:16   #14
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

Really very encouraging to hear from the more "seasoned" sailors out there. I'm "only" 66 and anticipating living onboard full time in a few years, but have wondered if I was being reasonable. Glad to hear of others successfully managing the lifestyle.

Thanks!!
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Old 10-01-2017, 08:16   #15
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Re: Coastal cruising and getting older

Wow, my husband, with recently diagnosed Parkinson's and I turned 69 last year and we're just getting going. Learning our J37 on Cayuga Lake in Upstate New York, and having just purchased a trailerable 2010 Precision 21 for a couple of months in The Keys this winter. The J37 is "a lot" for the two of us, we always have friends who crew with us. The Precision 21 should be completely manageable. We can't wait!
These have all been very helpful responses to Christian W's original post!! Much appreciated. Cande
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