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Old 01-05-2017, 14:32   #1
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Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

I am turning 70 in two months and suffered from a surgery and recovery last year that seriously limited my mobility for a while. Even before that I've spent the last two summers working on making my boat easier for me to handle as I age further in hope of extending my sailing life into the next decade. I'd like to hear what project and ideas others have done to ease the burdens of bad knees and aching back. Photos and drawings please, if you've got them.

So I'll start of with the list I've undertaken:

1. 3' high solid rails
2. Lazy jacks for main and mizzen
3. Electric anchor windlass with chain rode and big Mantus anchor
4. 12 volt hoist with remote control to hoist me up the mast
5. wide sturdy swim/boarding ladder that folds down from the deck
6. Mast pulpit
7. Additional boarding access step at davits
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Old 01-05-2017, 15:01   #2
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

My shoulders are suffering aging issues. Jim bought one of the Milwaukee right angle drills for us, with the winch drill bit, and I use it all the time, now, to get him up the mast, to furl sails, and to do the initial trim. It has made a huge difference in my comfort level. I like your winches, ours are 2 speed self-tailers, but I use the tool, mostly, now. It is a whole lot faster. In addition, it has been used to drill holes in spaces the other drills don't fit! If you're interested, there was a thread about it about 3 years ago. A CF Google Search should find it for you. I am 77, and never had exceptional upper body strength.

I also now require a boarding ladder for our RIB for snorkeling. I can use our existing ladder plus a man rope for boarding the boat.

Ann
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Old 01-05-2017, 15:33   #3
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
My shoulders are suffering aging issues. Jim bought one of the Milwaukee right angle drills for us, with the winch drill bit, and I use it all the time, now, to get him up the mast, to furl sails, and to do the initial trim. It has made a huge difference in my comfort level. I like your winches, ours are 2 speed self-tailers, but I use the tool, mostly, now. It is a whole lot faster. In addition, it has been used to drill holes in spaces the other drills don't fit! If you're interested, there was a thread about it about 3 years ago. A CF Google Search should find it for you. I am 77, and never had exceptional upper body strength.

I also now require a boarding ladder for our RIB for snorkeling. I can use our existing ladder plus a man rope for boarding the boat.

Ann
Thanks Ann;
The other problem I have is forgetfulness. I clean forgot the thing that got me started on these revisions was that my right shoulder hurt. I bought one of those milwaukee drills and a whincher bit three years ago. My shoulder has gotten better and so I kind of forgot about it. It's down below I'll revive it.
How do you get back into the RIB? Do you have a boarding ladder for the RIB? I saw a u-tube of a woman doing a backward somersault to get into the inflatable that was like a revelation. The key to her technique was to duck her head backwards under the inflatable tube while gripping the handling lines mounted on the tubes fore and aft and then she could just kind of roll pulling her knees into her chest while pulling on the lines and land in the boat. She swore that it required little strength to do. I just found the link.
watch
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Old 01-05-2017, 16:20   #4
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

sailor 1924,

That's pretty interesting, and I will give it a go. It looks like it takes a bit of practice. Her dinghy is a lot smaller than ours, which has 20" tubes. Also, ours does not have the handles at the top of the tubes, but down on the sides.

The dinghy boarding ladder Jim made for me was a 2.4, with 1" dowels poked through at comfortable step intervals. It secures to the transom with two long screws with wing nuts. He needs to make a wedge for it, so that the angle is better, but it does work, and was simple enough that he was able to basically jury rig it. We have to scoot the 15 horse motor off to the side for me to get my leg over.

Ann
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:08   #5
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

When I bought my 47 ft sailboat it was equiped with an inmast furling sail. I was thinking of replacing it by a regular main sail since my mast had also the right groove for a regular sail. Bu after my first crossing(From Montreal to the Virgin Islands, I apreciated so much my in mast furler that I scratched the idea of a new mainsail.
As I get older, I apreciate even more the simplicity and the efficiency of in mas furler: No problem, easy infinite reefing, no work on deck at night during a blow...
To go up the mast, I simply rigged blocks from mast base to my Lofran electric winlass(on the rope capstan)... Fast, powerfull, and no need of brute force...
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:10   #6
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

I have a Milwaukee for the main (on the mast winch), but if we move to a cat, we'll definitely have an elec winch. I have osteoarthritis and just had surgery to replace my left thumb joint. My right may be next as I have no cartilage. Long recovery...
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:26   #7
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

Thanks for the post. I too have been modifying Invader3 to make sailing in my aging years easier.
Love the boarding ladder - where did you source it? Our transom is so raked inward that traditional ladders won't work well and a side mount is an easier alternative.
Apart from the obvious and clever modifications posted here, I've found that comprehensive lists of where items are stored helps ( memory fails me on occasion).
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:31   #8
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

Regardless of your mods...each one of you is an inspiration to us aspiring cruisers! Good for you and thank you for the ideas!!
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:36   #9
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

My first thought was a pilot house and twin screws (trawler) :-)

That being said the work you've done to date looks great and good on ya for enjoying every minute.

The other piece of equipment to invest time in is...........the body. Something I struggle with!

All the best!
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:48   #10
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

you chose the correct rig for soloing and efficiency. ye aint racing, but you will be able to go fast with only mizzen and jib, which should satisfy any speed needs within the brain...make sure you have rowboat and a kayak for paddling and row muscles which are winch and windlass muscles. who said electric windlasses work, anyway hahaha
once ye get to sea, your age decreases considerably.
donot sweat the small stuff. you will do fine.
most of us out here cruising are actually old folks.
as for boarding ladders, my favorite of all time, which was disintigrated by a hurricane, was mahogany and bronze with WIDE steps. used it for boarding from all attitudes and loading my garafones of water for drinking and other bulky items. if you plan well and the steps are well into water, you can load self from swimming or kayak. safety line and you are good to go .
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:48   #11
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

Iím 73 and bought my Down East 45 six years ago. Since then everything Iíve added or modified has been towards ease of handling and comfort.
Here are some:

Roller furling on all four sails, including a roller furling square sail on the foremast.
All sail control lines return to the cockpit.
A powerful Maxwell windlass with a remote control, to handle 250 foot of chain and a 65 lbs anchor.
Self stowing anchor chain.
Mast steps up both masts, supplemented by a deluxe bosunís chain and hoisting by the windlass.
An electric dinghy hoist on the davits raises our heavy RIB in 20 seconds.
A crane for handling the outboard motor.
A full size bathtub in the master bathroom, fitted with a heater and Jacuzzi jets.
Two 16,000 Btu AC units, which run off a 6.5Kw generator when required.
A winchrite electric winch winder, which I found to be better than a Milwaukee drill conversion.
Twin air mattresses in the master double - a million times better than any foam.

What I havenít yet got is:
A bow thruster and a watermaker.

You can read about any of these things on my website or articles which have appeared in Good Old Boat and Cruising World magazines.
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Old 02-05-2017, 09:04   #12
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

You might do a search on articles by Cyrus Hamlin. He was a naval architect up in Main in the mid 1900s, and went into his 70s about 1975 and designed a boat for his old age sailing. I use a piece of 1.5" canvas strapping with a loop on one end for dinghy boading. Tie it on one of the handles and have the loop about 18" below the water. Step on the loop and just roll into the dinghy, then flip the strap back aboard.
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Old 02-05-2017, 09:20   #13
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

I'm 73 years old and I just traded in my Beneteau 32 for a 38.

I don't want to sound disrespectful, but the first thing that came to mind when I read this string is: has anyone considered exercise? Come on now, being in the 70's is the new 40's. Take care of your body and you wont need to go crazy with senior citizen modifications.

That gym at the marina is there for you not just the young guys, and by the way, how many young guys do you see hanging around the marina anyway?
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Old 02-05-2017, 09:28   #14
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greason View Post
Thanks for the post. I too have been modifying Invader3 to make sailing in my aging years easier.
Love the boarding ladder - where did you source it? Our transom is so raked inward that traditional ladders won't work well and a side mount is an easier alternative.
Apart from the obvious and clever modifications posted here, I've found that comprehensive lists of where items are stored helps ( memory fails me on occasion).
I made the ladder using bimini parts and trex for treads. The design is very similar to one manufacturered by:MYSTIC STAINLESS & ALUMINUM : THE FOLDAWAY
I liked their design (although not their aluminum hinges) but not the price so I made my own for about $400 in parts and about 12 hours labor not exactly a bargain but I have more time then money these days.
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Old 02-05-2017, 09:32   #15
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Re: Survey: what modifications are needed for the aging sailor

You have some good ideas ! Can you give me the specifics on your 12 v going up the mast raiser. How it works and the name brand of the equipment.

Thank you
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