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Old 03-08-2016, 17:49   #16
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

I think the tripping point is the 300k cat.....yes sure I understand you wanting a nice cat but for half that you can get a really good fully set up mono. How long does it take to save 300k? Not earn but save.

Im on a 33ft boat and have had a great time over the last 7 years but I think if I did it again I'd go bigger, boats are much cheaper now and im assuming you have US dollars. In saying that ,there are diminishing returns regarding happiness and boat size, double the boat isn't double the happiness.

Health, ive recently pulled into a marina and have met a number of guys of similar age to me (48-50) , they are all considerably overweight. There is a 50m pool here, I'm enjoying doing laps in the morning, most are at the bar each evening. Health in your 50s and beyond can be heavily influenced by your choices, mostly, health doesn't have to be a deciding factor to whether you cruise or not.

The money you spend while cruising isnt directly proportional to your happiness (likeboat size), there are diminishing returns. If I was limited to 1000k a mth I think it would deduct from my happiness but 6-7k /month really wouldn't bring me anymore happiness than 3-4k/ mth, for me anyway. Just adapt to what you have.

Do it when you can do it, if that's 16 years from now so be it, if you can do it earlier, why not. Everyones circumstances are different. Good luck.

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Old 04-08-2016, 07:21   #17
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

I'm 58 and my wife is 57 and we just got back from our second cruise. The first was at 52. Both lasted about a year, and we are planning on doing another one next year.

It's a judgement call. Increasing finances on one hand, and decreasing physical fitness and health on the other. Only you can decide the point that is most beneficial to you.

But, I was surprised how much harder it was to full time sail a 42 foot sloop at 58 than it was at 52. I'm in decent shape but six years is six years. A lot more pulled muscles and aches the second trip.
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:09   #18
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

Many thanks all for the input, truly valued on this end.

My near terms goals will be to start now. Get something not huge, something affordable and get out there. Get the experience and find out if the lifestyle is really for us, getting that answer sooner than later will pay rewards in the long run.

Regarding financials, in hindsight perhaps I should have left those out of the original question. The gist or intention of my financial outline was just to acknowledge it's going to cost something, be honest with ourselves about it and play for it to make it a reality and remove that burden when the time comes.

Health wise we are making great progress adjusting our lifestyles now, eating habits adjustment/weightloss etc.
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:31   #19
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

Everyone's health is different. But the early + mid 50's was no problem for me. I met several couples in their 60's and some late 60/70's. Not sure how they did it, for me it would be tough.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:01   #20
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

Fantastic news.

Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
I'm 56, have quit my job, wife's last work day this Friday, working on emptying and selling the house, cruising starting in Sept, $3,000/mo budgeted (boat paid off). Been working the plan for 9 years starting from 0 sailing experience.

Hope it's all doable. Good luck to you!
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:04   #21
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

We're late 50's/early 60's and take off for a year-plus cruise of Bahamas, Northern Caribbean and Med in December, on our new (to us) 44' catamaran.

For us, it started with bareboat chartering of boats when our kids were small. That became our family's vacation almost every year. With all or some of us, we've sailed Turkey, BVI's (twice), Belize (twice), Tahiti, Amalfi coast, and Greece. A great way to visit the world. We've also done week-long sailing schools in Annapolis and Colgate Offshore Sailing. It got into our blood.

That's the main thing, let it grow on you organically. Whether it's buying a day sailer to use on weekends, or bareboating a bigger boat annually or so, let it become part of your family's culture. It will either be great for you or it won't. If it is, then when you are at the right place in life, the bluewater boat idea won't be such a stretch. And if it's not, you will have not wasted your life dreaming about something that is just not for you.

I would not have been disappointed if my wife didn't like the idea of sailing for a year. We would have found something else for both of us. But the idea grew on her over the years. Now we are almost giddy, making our plans and outfitting our boat.

Good luck!
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:06   #22
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

No, it didn't happen and you'd think that as DINKies we could have done. (Dual Income No Kids).

Sometimes life just gets in the way of the dream. Building a pension pot; paying off the mortgage; elderly and infirm parents mean you don't want to travel far from home. And so it goes.

So we had fun, bought a smaller boat, sailed in the UK and in the Med at weekends and during our holidays, even venturing to charter once in Antigua. Went skiing most years, went diving in Indonesia and tried to enjoy the now in case the future never happened.

However - there is life after 50... And possibly even after 60

New boat has been ordered. Retirements announced. No family commitments. My wife swears she is 21 and has done for as long as we've been married. And if a chap can't believe his wife who can he believe? We might not go very far but we'll live on board when the weather is good and scuttle back home for winter. Who knows, we might even head further afield and spend longer on board in sunnier climates.

Not quite there but slowly building the equipment list and choosing what we'll want to take from the old boat, what we need to buy, what can be sold, (Nice 30 ft cat for example) and putting together a shopping list before haunting eBay, the boat jumbles, and the boat shows.

It could be more fun preparing for the trip than actually setting off..... almost!
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:41   #23
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

It looks like you have some good advice - most of it I agree with. I believe it helps to hear other people's stories when making your own plan. But I should stress, this needs to be your own plan.

In our case, the Admiral and I are 54 and 55. I am still working, but planning to cut my hours to 20 very soon. We both did the ASA bareboat courses about 18 years ago and then did a number of bareboat charters. We have always had boats, but power boats until we bought a Hobie Cat about 15 years ago (still have one). We bought our "big boat" in 2012 and it was on a lake. We spent about 2 years weekend sailing on the lake, learning the boat, its systems, and making upgrades. In 2014/15 I took a sabbatical (7 months) and the Admiral retired. We made our first cruise to the Bahamas (leaving from Brunswick, GA), and ending up in Pensacola. We then decided to make Pensacola our home and I went back to work. We now make a lot of extended weekend trips and take our vacations on the boat from here.

We just did a 2 month trip to Mexico and Cuba. For us, this has been a great way to "ease into cruising". At this point, I am not sure if we will become full-time cruisers, or just keep making longer trips. We do not have plans to circumnavigate, but we do have several longer trips planned. I will be giving up work in the not too distant future and spending more time on the boat. While I do wish we had started this process earlier, I do not think we waited until it was too late. I believe buying the boat early and learning (and fixing) its systems was a very important part of our plan. I would try to figure out what boat you can buy (not finance), and buy it early so you can "learn the boat". This will pay great dividends later!

Good luck - and if you are interested, there's more info on our trips on our blog.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:51   #24
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

As a 59 year-old who also dreams of spending time sailing as a future retiree ( and perhaps even as a current workaholic!), I take comfort in the fact that my Dad continued to race his offshore sailboats well into his eighties. Indeed, his Farr 37 was fleet champion of its class in the Annapolis Wednesday Night Series when he was 84, and had not Parkinsons intervened, I believe that he would have continued to race into his nineties.
The key for him that he was a fitness fanatic. He ate properly, and did the Canadian Airforce 20 minute exercise program every day until his illness prevented it, so he was physically able to continue to do physical tasks and remained injury free. So while I would agree that the rigours of long offshore passages may be incompatible with advanced age, It seems reasonable to me that a couple who similarly take care of themselves might reasonably expect to engage in coastal cruising, as well as trips down the Caribbean Island chain, well into advanced age. So you might not get to the Gallapagos, but Martha's Vineyard and Antigua could still be in play for a long time.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:53   #25
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

Currently 62 and a half. Been long-distance cruising on my own boats more often than not since I was 16. Many aspects of voyaging and exploring were easier when I was younger. The cruising world is a very different place now, much of the angst has been removed by GPS and accurate weather reporting only to be replaced by an enormous fleet of cruisers.

The hardest aspects many 50-60-something male cruisers face is how to pry grandma away from her grandkids and how to keep her happy when life becomes necessarily harsh and unpredictable.
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:06   #26
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

First live-aboard at 62; The snowbird life for 5 years; have gone back to work but am planning on doing it one more time... Below is a book I wrote about casting off at such a late age....

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Old 04-08-2016, 11:24   #27
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

Past it at 56? - never
I am 75, my wife is 60, and we planning to kick off ocean cruising in 2020
I am still working full time and we have an old Cat38 in San Diego which is our 'learning boat' (and how!) - bigger later.
We are going to make it and it's a hell of a lot of fun on the way. And when we do cast off in four years time what do we have to lose - years rotting in assisted living ? - better to be with Davy Jones.
My advice is worry about the how not the when
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:50   #28
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

Yes, you can definitely begin in your 50s and keep going for a long time. We left Milwaukee in 1983 at ages 52-53 to go out the St. Lawrence River in our Valiant 40. Our sailing experience at that time was 13 years on Lake Michigan and Huron in Pearson Vanguard (32') , then the Valiant 40 for 3 years of prep for offshore sailing. Left Balena in MA for winter, back to work. Next year 1984 Mass. to Chesapeake, left boat Oxford, MD for winter, back to work. In 1985 we took our youngest of five to U. of Wisconsin (other 4 out of college), went down ICW to Beaufort, NC and went offshore to St. Thomas and a winter in Caribbean. Lots of learning beforehand: general ham license, medical basic training, engine maintenance, etc. etc. You never learn it all beforehand, but every little bit helps.

Our first real offshore experience was daunting with re-formed Hurricane Juan coming off Georgia and hitting us squarely with 65-70 winds for 36 hours. Not forecast! We ran off with bare poles doing hull speed much of that time. The following May 1986 did St. Thomas-Bermuda to await crew before crossing to Ireland in 20 days. Ireland-England-France by Oct. 1986 - winter in Paris at Bastille Marina.

Lots of adventures aboard Balena for next years in N. Europe and Med before selling her in Mallorca in 1992. Then landlubbers until we couldn't stand it any longer, so for our 50th anniversary we bought Hallberg Rassy 49 and named her Dakili for our 3 daughters (sons felt left out!) and went sailing again, crossing Atlantic from Little Creek to Azores and on to Gib in 2004 at ages 73-74. Not an easy trip and we hove to for first time in our sailing career before reaching Gib just to get some rest for about 14 hours. Eventually to Croatia (which we had missed in early 90s) and some senior sailing there until 2012 when our years caught up with us and a lovely German family took over Dakili and named her Carpe Diem. We heartily approve sentiment of that new name.

At present at 85-86, we have lots of stories in our memory bank (and fortunately can still recall most of them). My husband is in home hospice with a sell-by date of 6 months so we cherish (almost) every minute of our cruising years. Go for it, you youngsters, but do get a strong boat and both of you be equally prepared. In our experience, the really long time cruisers could each handle the boat equally except for some tasks requiring physical strength. Ladies, learn to drive and let the men jump to the dock!
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:56   #29
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

Welcome to the forum, usually Gord is the one to welcome, but your post was so outstanding, I hope you don't mind me doing the welcoming.
Looking forward to your other posts, a lot of us have a lot to learn.
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:15   #30
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Re: Cruising in your mid-50's stories - did it happen/didn't it happen?

Here's my vote for doing both: cruise now with the kid, for a year or 2 or 3, then later in your 50s without.

I convinced my wife we should buy a boat and go cruising when our kids were young. With zero sailing experience, we bought a Morgan 41 and did a six month sabbatical cruise to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala when our boys were five and eight. Three years later we left in 2008 for a three-year cruise, with our eight and 11-year-old boys sharing the V berth and my wife and I in the aft cabin, and because I continued part-time work our finances let the three-year cruise turned into a six-year cruise. We've been CLODs (cruisers living on dirt) for 2 1/2 years now, paying university tuition and looking forward to the day (about five years hence) when college will be paid for and we can go cruising again-in our mid to late-50s.

In our cruising experience, which was entirely US East Coast-Bahamas-Caribbean, we thought families made up about 2 to 3% of cruisers, single handers 2 to 3%, and the other 95% or so were couples, and most of those couples were in their mid-50s (or within a decade or so either side).

With only one child, any decent monohull 30 feet plus could work, but a center cockpit 41 foot or (like the Morgan) would give your child an extremely comfortable V berth and the parents a little privacy in the aft cabin.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck and enjoy it.

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