Let's put the shoe on the other foot. Please forgive me if I offend you. What the **** do you know about sailing?
We old timers have been doing it for 40 or more years. We've taken all the courses, attended all the seminars, read all the books, discussed every aspect of sailing and seamanship with all the best sailors we've ever known, and, believe me, it'll take you 40 years to learn what we know. While you're working your tail off grinding winches in a blow, we'll be tailing our winches mostly with our bare hands, because we've learned how to do it quickly and efficiently without working ourselves to death. When you young guys are sprinting around the foredeck with nary a concern for the possibility that you might fall off the boat, we're smart enough to tether ourselves securely to a jackline or a piece of hardware that is throughbolted to the deck. Which one of us is at greater risk of falling off the boat?
Sailing isn't particularly dangerous or physically demanding. If it was dangerous, you wouldn't see so many people sailing with their families, risking the lives of their spouses and children. Sailing is not a physical sport. It's a cerebral sport. It requires knowledge rather than physical strength or agility. The more you know, the better you are at it, and the safer you are.
I attended a seminar last year. The principal speaker was an older man who has raced and cruised across the Atlantic and elsewhere many times. He mentioned that he has a heart condition. He told us he was preparing for another Atlantic crossing. During a break, I asked him how he deals with the possibility that he might have a heart attack at sea. He said he has a checkup before he leaves, takes medications with him, and just doesn't worry about it. At our age, we have a choice. We can either stop sailing and retire to our family room and sit in front of a tv and wait for death to take us, or we can forget about it and do what we love doing for as long as the good Lord permits us to do it. Which choice would you make?