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Old 11-11-2019, 03:30   #1
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Am I Too Old To Do This?

I have been watching these serious sailors on YouTube having a wonderful time sailing the world and now I want to do this! I realize its not all fun and requires a lot of work to maintain a boat and sail. But my concern is my age, I am just over 60 but in good health, I have never sailed before and want to learn. Plus believe it or not I have a wife that wants to do the same. We started looking at sailboats and we plan to take lessons in the spring from ASA. My question to this community is Am I Too Old for this? For you older folks that are sailors, what might be the best plan for me? The last thing I want to do is retire in some old folks home watching the grass grow.
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:33   #2
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

Quick answer: No, you're not too old unless you decide you are.
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:37   #3
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

It all depends. There probably be some kind of self analysis test for these kind of questions.

60 by itself is no obstacle.
What is your physical condition?
What is your background, did you live a physical life?
How big is your bank account, money fixes most things.

Even after all that, what is your cost of entry? Do you have local access?

Tons of questions about things that might stop you. But 60 by and of itself is no barrier.
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:40   #4
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, franktroy.
Your chronological age is just an abstract number. One's health and fitness are the only limitations that might concern one - in your case, probably not.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 11-11-2019, 05:16   #5
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

You aren't too old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No other words are required, but in the full time cruising world most are a lot older than the OP.
Don't ask a bunch of unknown forum people if it is OK to do something on YOUR boat. It is your boat, do what you want!
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:33   #6
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

Of course not. At your age you’re far closer to the actual average age than what is typically depicted on youtube vids. Youtube is heavily weighted to younger folks. They look good in bikinis and speedos, but they aren’t the typical world cruiser.

As others have already said, being 60 is not particularly relevant. Much more germane will be your previous life experiences, your current health and fitness status, and also your financial situation.
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:44   #7
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

If you are in good, you aren't too old.

That said, if you are looking at full time cruising, have an exit strategy. As fun as it is to say age is just a number, realistically the vast majority reach a point where it no longer is just a number.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:04   #8
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

We continue to be full time cruisers at 79 and 81,with somewhat diminished ambitions and less long passage expectations. However, I don't think I'd be happy starting out as newbies at this age... too much to learn, not enough time to enjoy the results of the learning. At your age these factors don't apply imo.

Give it a go... if it doesn't work out, you will still have learned some new skills and had a good time trying.

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II, lying Port Cygnet Tasmania once again.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:50   #9
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

As a 73 year old, I still am an active sailor. As my wife has developed some mobility problems, sailing together has become much more of a solo sail in terms of the division of labor. As an older sailor I would be far less inclined to do long passages, as I see my endurance declining a bit, but you are still a youth. I would see no problems based purely on age, but only you can judge your mobility, strength and stamina. Realistically they don't tend to improve with age, but we codgers can still really enjoy our time on the water.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:26   #10
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

We recently made a similar decision upon my retirement. We're in our 60's and had been active power boaters but hadn't sailed in decades... should we take the plunge and broaden our horizons? In our case the answer was yes as I'm not one for sedentary hobbies. Sailing (but also boating in general) is great for those of us with active minds as there's always something to think about: destinations, navigation, weather, repair projects.

I've also noticed we're in much better physical shape now than when we started a year ago. We used to walk allaround our neighborhood but it's nothing like going up and down your companionway fifty times a day. Or think of just getting groceries to the boat and garbage off... everything is more work with a boat but it's also exercise.

I won't give you any advice on boats to consider but I'll tell you what I thought about:
- my number one rule in buying a boat is to get one that will be easy to sell
- I wanted a boat nearly ready to cruise as I didn't want to spend years fixing up a project boat.
- there should be companionway steps, not a steep ladder. For us the safety and ease of steps was a big deal.
- the boat should be setup for single/short handed sailing; for us that meant a roller furling headsail and the ability to reef the main from the cockpit.
- the boat is probably going to cost much more than expected to maintain so I wanted a healthy cruising kitty after purchase. Cruising doesn't need to be expensive but it probably will be.

If you're interested, we wound up with a 2006 Catalina 42. A safe, beautiful, comfortable, easy sailing boat for coastal cruising. For the Pacific Coast and Mexico it's perfect.

So by all means, get out there and start doing it. Getting out of your comfort zone is what it's all about, right?
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:21   #11
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Am I Too Old To Do This?

Expanding one one thing heysteve said, define what type of sailing you want to do. For cruising the West Coast, Mexico, Central America, his boat is great, would I sail it around the world, no. We’re approaching 60, both just retired. 10 years ago, we bought a Caliber 40LRC with intentions of possibly puddle jumping after retirement. Now, if I puddle jump, it’ll be on an airplane. We still want to do what Steve is doing, but now we want a boat that’s more live aboard and less “Round the World” capable. I our case, we can also afford to move up to something in the 48’-52’ range for more comfort/speed.

Ask yourself:

What’s our budget.
Again, what kind of sailing do we want to do?
Are we going to cross oceans? McGregor to Valiant.
How long will we be on the boat? Weekend, week, months?
What’s our desired level of comfort? Camping to Hotel suite.

Your lack of sailing experience dictates you probably aren’t going to start out with a larger, 30’+, boat. But, as most of us know “Bigger boatitis” sets in pretty quick as your confidence builds. We went from 30’ to 40’ within 3 years, and now we want another 10’.

One last thing to consider when looking. Comfortable sleeping arrangements in the master. A walk-around berth is a must have now. 10 years ago the Pullman berth on our boat was ok, now, “climbing over” in the middle of the night sucks.
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:33   #12
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

We are all unique individuals. What some people do at 60 years old might be impossible for someone who is 40. I have several friends who never lived pass 50. On the other hand, I know of people well into their 80s who still make major blue water passages.

My wife and I recently completed and eight-and-a-half year circumnavigation and, at 65 years old, I would feel comfortable doing it again if I were so inclined (I'm not). However, even though we rate our trip as 'fabulous' it was not without its periods of discomfort. Some people are more tolerant of being uncomfortable than others.

Good luck, fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:54   #13
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

Webb Chiles is in his 70's and just finished his third? Circumnavigation. In a boat under 30 feet.
I'm 65 somewhat disabled, and sail hard here on the Straights of San Juan. Long time power boater, sailing the last four years.
A log floating by is just a log. Put two kids on it with a paddle, ah! Now we have a BOAT!
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:18   #14
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

No, it's not too old. We're 69 & 74. Only you know your limitations.
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
—Jacques Yves Costeau
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:13   #15
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Re: Am I Too Old To Do This?

Thank you all for the awesome feedback, information, and encouragement!
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