A Sobering Realization - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 65 Old 10-22-2012 Thread Starter
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A Sobering Realization

I was reading a Cap'n Fatty article in Cruising World the other day. He said after 52 years of being a liveaboard, he had never actually bought a boat. He acquired them, built one, traded for one but had never actually gone out into the market and searched for one to buy.

Now, at the age of 60, after completing two circumnavigations in his 38' Olin Stephens designed sloop, and logging some 20,000+ miles on the water, he wanted a boat that would take him "from 60 to 80."

That's when it hit me. OMG, I wasn't 30 anymore!

In my quest to finally realize my dream of having my own boat and becoming a liveaboard, I realized I was recalling the bulk of my sailing days, when I was in my 20's and 30's, and the less often sailing in my 40's. I recalled how easily I got around the boat, how easily I handled sailing it, and how natural all that had been for me. Surely I can still do that, right?

But while at the boat show I was surprised to find myself a bit less than sure-footed when getting in, out and around the boats. I passed it off to the lack of sleep from the drive there, and being a little rusty. But Cap'n Fatty had just woken me up. I wasn't a kid anymore.

I now fear I may have missed that opportunity, the one where I can sail a boat like I once did. All that has got me to wondering, "What will it REALLY be like sailing off into the sunset?"
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post #2 of 65 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: A Sobering Realization

Julie - have you read "Sequitur's" blog? Google his blog - it's a great write up that covers a lot of the issues of hard-core cruising when older.

Those guys absolutely did it right in my opinion...in every way. But, in the end, they moved to a completely different kind of cruising due to the very real challenges of passage-making.

He still posts on here. Great guy.
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post #3 of 65 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: A Sobering Realization

We're all getting older. It's better than the alternative.

No, you can't sail a boat quite like you once did, but that doesn't mean that you can't sail at all. You just have to make adjustments. Keep in mind Walter Cronkite and William F. Buckley--both of whom were still sailing almost up until the day they died.
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post #4 of 65 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: A Sobering Realization

I looked into buying a boat a few years back that was on the market because the 90 Y/O owner was starting to find it difficult to singlehand the 14 ton, 1000 Sq. Ft. of sail boat. It didn't even have furling or self tailing winches.

You've still got a couple of years left.
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I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #5 of 65 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: A Sobering Realization

On the other hand, there are many other passions which cannot be pursued very reasonably into the retirement years. Skiing is my other love--I've been on skis since I could walk--but already in my 30s I feel like I'm slowing down on my skis. In my 60s I'll probably be lucky to cruise down a groomer, which is sort of depressing.

Sailing/cruising presents a much more realistic pursuit to follow for the long run. The goal for wife and I is to get the kid through high school, and then if we have enough in the bank, we're casting off. I plan to be in my sailing prime in my 50s and 60s.
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post #6 of 65 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: A Sobering Realization

Julie may I offer a suggestion? Before you visit Sequitur's blog have a good meal.
He likes to post pictures of very appetizing dishes he/she prepare on board.
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post #7 of 65 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: A Sobering Realization

The oldest couple in our Yacht Club are 76 and 77.

They still come to raft ups in there 40 foot sailboat, and judging from the way the main cover was off and the lines needed stowed I'd say they sailed the whole way (30 miles) in the 15-20 knts we had blowing.

Watching them walk around at a party I wonder how they do it, but they do.
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post #8 of 65 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: A Sobering Realization

Fact is that after 4 months cruising I am in much better shape than I was before and fell a lot more sure footed, even done some pretty crazy stuff (I only realized that later).

Regarding age I know of some pretty old guys that continue cruising and some in some very fast boats that many year here would consider not really proper for cruising and I mean over 80.

So if that picture of yours was not taken 50 years ago, just start sailing and worry about the rest later. Any boat is better than no boat, but try to get one were you can actually go sailing instead of taking ages fixing it


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post #9 of 65 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: A Sobering Realization

There are plenty of seniors in my club that can still sail. My bruther in law who is pushing 70 still ocean races. It can be done as long as your body still works. (even if it doesn't there are still ways; there is a local guy who races a Beneteau 50 in his wheelchair!)

I would chalk up your clumsiness to rust more than anything. Once you start spending more time on the water you will get your sea legs back!

Having said that, after racing yesterday I am definitely feeling more pain than I used to!
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post #10 of 65 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: A Sobering Realization

I started my cruising life at 56. Planning and realistic expectations are the key to me. One is never to old to live a dream, but you're never young enough to live a fantasy.
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