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dream2sail 09-13-2012 11:09 AM

Getting Started at 50
No mid-life crisis - just had to wait for the kids to move out. My wife and I have had a dream to learn to sail and explore the Caribbean for 1-3 months at a time. Just finished some basic certifications. We are looking to find ways to start gaining some sailing experience and and get to know other sailing couples.

jackdale 09-13-2012 11:39 AM

Re: Getting Started at 50
Where are you located?

I got much of my initial experience sailing in flotilla. It really helped with my confidence and competence.

dream2sail 09-15-2012 12:57 PM

Re: Getting Started at 50
We live in Atlanta, GA. We have been looking around for some sailing clubs on some of the local lakes for some nearby opportunities to sail. We will try and plan another trip early next year back to the BVI for some more time there as well.

PBzeer 09-15-2012 02:03 PM

Re: Getting Started at 50
I was over 50 when I got back into sailing after over 35 years (and didn't do a lot of sailing back then). Bought a 21 footer, a 26 by the end of that summer, and then 4 years later, retired and bought a 32, that I've lived on for over 6 years.

Capt. Gary Randall 09-15-2012 02:09 PM

Re: Getting Started at 50
Welcome, Dream2sail, I live in Panama City Florida. If you ever get down this way look me up. captg

jomac1 09-25-2012 09:39 PM

Re: Getting Started at 50
well i maybe have you all beat im turning 66 next month and have just bought my first boat .a prout snowgoose and am getting sailing lessons on it apart from todaywhere it is bucketing down and about 40 knots but cant complain ,here in langkawi the beer is 45c a can ,just living the good life ,before hand the only sailing was in the cape to rio in 1970 really enjoyed it and now with circumstances changed have steered the rest of my life 360 degrees take care all jomac1:D:D

SailingStNick 09-29-2012 08:46 PM

Re: Getting Started at 50
I'm with you. I'm 49 and have a few more years before empty nest. I'm working on a schooner and sailing small boats and hope to buy something big enough to live on in a few years. Good luck!

svzephyr44 09-30-2012 02:49 AM

Re: Getting Started at 50
There are numerous web sites for finding crew berths on boats. I suggest that you try to crew as much as possible before investing in a boat. You will learn about what you like and don't like about the various boats that you crew on. A personal favorite of mine is

As you develop there are "seasons" and "places." Borrow Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes from the library to see what I mean. Examples - US to Europe - June/July; Europe to Caribbean - November/December. North America to Caribbean - October. There are big "rallies" of hundreds of boats that take this trip at the same time (e.g. departing Norfolk, VA for the Caribbean) and lots of other boats that don't want to pay to join the rally but are on the same schedule. With big concentrations of boats moving you have a better chance of finding a berth than you might at another time.

I know this will create controversy hence the rant warning. IMHO you will do better if you and your wife do not crew on the same boat. As a Captain I rarely take a couple on board. It is natural for one spouse to protect the other when the Captain is unhappy with something one of them has done or is trying to teach one of them some aspect of sailing. The dynamics can get very sticky and I have had a couple of bad experiences. So I suggest you try to crew on different boats - particularly in a rally you will meet in the end and can enjoy the land side together.

Further advice:
1) Don't repeat cruising grounds. If you have been to the BVI go somewhere else. The VI are very protected and beautiful cruising grounds but they are not going to give you the experience that you need to cruise the Caribbean.
2) If you only intend to cruise for 2 or 3 months per year don't buy a boat (unless you are very rich!) Dealing with the boat for the other 10 months will be a royal pain. Not to mention that recommissioning the boat after not being used for 10 months will eat into your cruising time. Boats live in a hostile environment - salt water. Lots of wear even when you are not using them.
3) Consider out of season cruising. There are lots of boats in the Caribbean just sitting around all hurricane season. You can rent them for a song. Yes, you might lose a few days to bad weather. But you can rent a boat for 30% or less of what it would cost in high season. You always have the option of coming back to the charter base and giving the responsibility for the boat to the charter company while you hang out in a hotel. Just don't pick September - the statistically worst month for hurricanes!

Hope this helps.

jkrause 09-30-2012 11:33 AM

Re: Getting Started at 50
It's NEVER too late to start and 50 is pretty young. A few things to try/consider:

Spend time sailing small boats (Lasers, Thistles, etc.). I've seen a lot of folks who went directly to learning/sailing large cruisers miss out on the basic, intuitive interaction of wind and sail.

Join the nearest sailing club/association. They are usually filled with friendly, like-minded folks.

Go to events like Strictly Sail, Annapolis Boat Show, etc. While they have exhibits, lots of boats and gear, the workshops/educational seminars are most often excellent. They are also a good way of meeting people and learning about good places to go.

It's great that you and your wife share the same passion. Now plan some trips and get sailing.

Good luck!

jump5999 09-30-2012 04:58 PM

Re: Getting Started at 50
Hey jomac1, Do they have any San Miguel there? I haven't sailed since 1978 and am planning to get back into it and get a boat of my own. And, I plan to retire in the Philippines, in about 5 years, where I want to roam the Visayas...... It has been a life long dream.

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