We are relatively new to this. I was born in New Zealand
, and put my first dinghy
in the water
at age 8 or thereabouts (it was a while ago ...), and have 'messed about in boats' ever since. But our first 'keeler' came into our lives when we were both 59 and realising that if we left it much longer, it was never going to happen.
Now we are both 65 and loving it (when the work
is done - but at least that is satisfying as long as we pace ourselves). We have learned over the last several years that we need to be a little kinder to ourselves - to allow time to breathe, rather than dawn to dusk work
in preparation for each season, and stripping down at the end.
So far, everything is manual except for one secondary winch
at the companionway
- the one we use for furling
lines (headsail and in-mast). I see that not changing for a very long time if ever - a modern two speed winch
is very easy to crank, and good upper body exercise.
We do all the usual work ourselves - at the moment. That includes hull
and topsides polishing each season, going up the mast
winch again …) to install/remove the wind
instrument and check things over, putting the sails
on/taking them off, lugging the outboard
out of the foc'sle each season and putting it back there at the end, lugging the tender
etc down below at the end of of each season and getting them back where they should be each new season. BUT, we fully recognise that at some stage, those are the things that we will need help with - the big bulky things are not getting any lighter, and one day, I will not feel being at the top pf our mast
is a good idea. That is the time we will just have to pay for someone to give us a hand here and there.
Downsizing does not appeal to us - we like the room and the storage
that a bigger boat
gives us, and when living on-board for months at a time, for us that is important, but dealing with that headsail at the end of each season is a task! As an interim, we are looking at converting to a cutter
rig, and reducing the 140% genoa
to something more manageable when it is a pile of canvas
on the deck
needing to be got off the boat
for proper folding and bagging.
Also, we see our sailing becoming more conservative as years advance, but that's OK too. I guess it could get to the point of just wanting to change neighbourhoods and paying a delivery skipper
to take us there, but I really hope that is never needed. Who knows what life has in store (the reason we 'jumped' when we did - with a major health
fright for my wife, that really focussed us on what we wanted to do with what was left of our lives), but I hope we are still sailing well into our eighties. It is indeed a healthy way of life, and I could easily be convinced it was a life-extending activity (does anyone know of any research
on that subject?). So as long as we still enjoy it and can afford it, we intend to keep going a while longer yet.