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Old 04-10-2021, 13:34   #1
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Older sailors and boat must-have features

Hello,

Here I am 80 years old and still going up top to raise the main, sometimes with a friend but sometimes alone, manhandling the anchor etc. I want to continue to sail as long as possible and am trying to identify what features a boat should have to accommodate my diminishing abilities.

My boat is a basic 1981 Sabre 30, sails like a dream, but not rigged to make it easy for an old guy to sail it!

To upgrade everything I would need make the boat an easier sail for me it would far exceed the value of the boat itself. Plus there are a few other basic things it needs, new head and hoses, wiring, running lights, Windex etc.

The size of my boat is a bit small for comfortable overnights for two, but perfect for day sailing and general handling.

I'm hoping to get a menu of features you all feel would comprise the perfect sailboat for someone my age into the future, hindered as it may be! I should add I cannot afford a brand new boat.

Thanks in advance for your comments!

Mike
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Old 04-10-2021, 13:51   #2
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

I would add lazy jacks, and rig the first reef so it can be set from the cockpit.
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Old 04-10-2021, 13:58   #3
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

Mike, hate to say this but perhaps time for a motor cruiser. It means you can continue on the water, but less effort needed and more space for a similar length. One former editor of Yachting Monthly did just this with a rather nice cabin rib enabling him to have another few years out and about.

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Old 04-10-2021, 14:09   #4
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Mike, hate to say this but perhaps time for a motor cruiser. It means you can continue on the water, but less effort needed and more space for a similar length. One former editor of Yachting Monthly did just this with a rather nice cabin rib enabling him to have another few years out and about.

Pete
I don't know about that, but we are all different.

I just remember the story of the son that sailed the Contessa 32 in the Fastnet 79 race when speaking of the several knockdowns they took during the race which as folks in the 20's didn't really seem to bother them because they were experienced and saw the waves and weather coming ......spoke of how later his Dad at age 85 was on the boat when it did a complete 360 roll

He had just borrowed his Dad's Contessa 32 for the race.
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Old 04-10-2021, 14:57   #5
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

I will be 71 shortly and these thoughts cross my mind as well. Ours is a different situation as we are liveaboards. Still I ponder the future.

Unfortunately much of the answer depends upon HOW we age, what parts break first. Back, knees, hips, brain? What hurts us most or puts us in danger if over stressing something? Windlass, main halyard, companionway steps? Inevitably it is a very personal situation with personal solutions.

Raising the main - Tides Sail Track can make a big difference in how much effort is needed.

Reefing - add those aluminum doghnuts, low friction rings, to the cringles. Waaay easier to tighten up adequately.

Inboard jack lines - read up on this on Morgans Cloud. I have done this, and some more, so that we can traverse the entire length of the vessel without unclipping. Helps take away the gnawing fear of falling over, increases security in face if decreased agility.

A pee bottle - reduces companionway trips

Mast head - have someone service the halyard sheaves. They can get corroded up and stick making everything harder.

Sails-new lighter weight sails. Better to blow out a sail than your back. And do you really need/expect to get 15 years from a sail?

Heat-a diesel heater for coolish nights. Surprising how much difference in comfort that made to me. Then you have more energy and a better mood.

Better slip-makes docking easier.

Probably a dozen more little things. Just look everywhere for anything that increases resistance, that binds. But also pay attention to hour body, what isnit complaining about most and approach that first.

Here is hoping this is good advice, because it is what I am giving myself.
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Old 04-10-2021, 15:06   #6
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

Thanks Pete, I anticipated your response; and appreciate it!
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Old 04-10-2021, 15:09   #7
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

Thankx Thomm, better to have read the story than lived it! Inspiring none the less.
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Old 04-10-2021, 15:16   #8
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

So I'm headed toward 70 also and decided to jump overboard yesterday after sailing a few hours then anchoring a ways off the beach.

I was still "healing" up from my Thursday workout which was a 3.5 mile run/jog/walk plus 25 pushups and 5-8 pull ups depending on how you judge them

It was one of the hardest thing I have done recently hanging on the side as the tide runs and scrubbing and scrapping the bottom.

The worst part was re-boarding without a ladder. I put my kayak in the water to help with that but after doing one side and reentering, I was exhausted and rested for a bit then did the other side then sailed for a couple more hours in 20 knot winds.

Long day today at work and my knees were bleeding yesterday so it reminds me of playing football on Sunday's as a kid.

So I now know I need more gym time with weights since I stopped that when the gyms closed Spring 2020 and I also couldn't get exhausted because I had to pass a couple computer tech exams and I'm a manager not a computer tech.

So I now plan to scrub/scrap the rest of the bottom and this time I'll use my mask, flippers, and snorkle plus hit the gym now that I have been vaccinated and the gyms are open

Point is you have to use as much of your body as you possibly can even though it hurts to do it.......
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Old 04-10-2021, 20:51   #9
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

If you are going to rig reefing one reef from the cockpit, I'd make it whatever the deepest reef you think you will ever realistically be calling on.
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Old 04-10-2021, 22:53   #10
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

If you’re not tied to that boat get a 1989 or later Catalina 30. All lines led aft, and add two clutches for reefing.
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Old 04-10-2021, 23:18   #11
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

Catamaran
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Old 05-10-2021, 00:21   #12
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

Indeed, there’s some sensible advice here. I will be 78 in April, and over the past ten years, I have converted my 45-foot schooner into the easiest-to-handle boat I have ever sailed. I couldn’t say which single improvement was the best for an aging sailor, because at our time of life so much depends upon personal health, so these are not in order of importance: -
Roller furling on all sails; all lines led back to the cockpit; a Winchrite that effectively converts all winches to electric; an electric windlass; motorized dinghy lift to the davits; air conditioning for Florida; a crane for the outboard; steps up both masts; powerful autopilot and main engine; etcetera…If I was forced to point to one single thing, it has to be the full-size bathtub, which I converted to a hot tub, and where I can have a long soak, even when we never leave the dock.
On the other hand, I think Pete7 might, unfortunately, be nearest to the mark, and there’s no disrespect for going stink-pot at our age. I’m beginning to think about that as well.
Just keep at it Mike, but be careful.
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Old 05-10-2021, 01:01   #13
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

What a question?
Grannybars!
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Old 05-10-2021, 02:48   #14
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

I really like the idea of low friction rings in the cringles.

Good gadgets, so far:

Winchrite
Low friction mainsail luff track.
Self tailers

Intend to add:
Fanny bars
Hydraulic boom strut
Roller furler
Plumbed in autopilot.
Electric windlass
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:36   #15
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Re: Older sailors and boat must-have features

Very happy with my 33’ Nonsuch. I’m 65 now, have owned her for five years, and the most encouraging part is that there’s a 30’ Nonsuch on my dock owned by two couples in their eighties! One sail, low number of variables for a sailboat, everything leads back to the cockpit, electric winch. She’s very comfortable.
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