From a dry land sailor - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 23 Old 09-05-2007 Thread Starter
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From a dry land sailor

As a first post, and a new member on this forum, I thought I would seek some wisdom from those who may be or have been in a similar point in their lives.
I'm approaching 60, have nourished the idea of sailing for many years yet have only managed to actually do so three times for short bursts of ten days at a time in very tame conditions (luckily) and with minimal instruction. A first cruise with skipper on a sail and learn type charter, a second with skipper for half of the period followed by my taking charge for the rest and ditto for the third time. That was more than fifteen years ago. Since then I've taken a basic keelboat course. That was four years ago. I feel nowhere near competency and think I was foolhardy to have actually twice taken charge way back then.
Since I may be free of job responsabilities in the next two years and since I still feel good when I think of sailing I've come to the conclusion that it's now or never as the song says.
My plan is to first of all test the reality of sailing at this age against my recollection of it then and bring myself to feel secure in actually being in charge of a boat with people on it. Maybe I've idealized it all, maybe I'm too old to learn properly (and safely). I plan to get RYA certification, charter next summer for two weeks (with friends who have no sailing experience but who we get along very well with), repeat the process (course and charter) the summer after and if the dream has survived, look into buying a boat once I have the time to actually sail it for a good three or four months at a time.
My hope is that those of you still reading this somewhat lengthy post might supply me with your thoughts on what I might look out for on the road to actually going from wannabe sailor to just sailor.
Thanks in advance and sorry if this isn't the type of post for this forum.
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post #2 of 23 Old 09-05-2007
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Z- Welcome aboard! If you are in good health and reasonably active there is no reason to let the big SIX-OH limit your dreams. We met lots of cruising couples in their 70's doing perfectly well.
Your flag says Belgium...but are you thinking about extended cruising or simply owning a boat nd becoming a competent sailor on your home grounds? Will you be single handing or will others be involved?
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post #3 of 23 Old 09-05-2007
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I'm currently taking the ASA 101 and 102 I think which is Basic Keelboat and Coastal Cruising. I'm 35, but some of the other students are easily in their 60s and seem to really enjoy it and don't appear to have any difficulty or limitations.

You'll never regret trying, but you will always regret not trying and wondering if it would have added fulfillment and enjoyment to your life. Get out there and do it and if you don't enjoy it, stop immediately and go spend your time on something you do enjoy. I'm guessing you'll enjoy it...
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post #4 of 23 Old 09-05-2007 Thread Starter
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Thanks to both of you for the encouragement.
Canmaraderie, I presently live in Brussels but will be moving back to Canada at some point. My preferred sailing grounds would be Greece and although my wife would be on board I would be looking at singlehandling with some help at the helm. I know that it will be important for both of us to feel comfortable so I'm not getting too settled on the idea until I see how she feels on the water as well.
I see owning a boat not as a liveaboard proposition but more of a permanently available option for variable length trips.
It's encouraging to hear of couples in their seventies still sailing and, Punjabi, of others in my age group learning the ropes. Thanks.
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post #5 of 23 Old 09-05-2007
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get your wife involved in actually sailing ASAP, trust me on that.
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post #6 of 23 Old 09-05-2007
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Welcome to Sailnet.

I would also recommend you get your wife involved in sailing and have her take a women-only sailing course. If the two of your are going to be cruising together, IMHO, each of you needs to be able to handle the boat single handed. This also means the size of the boat you can eventually get is going to be limited by what the largest boat either of you can handle alone is.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #7 of 23 Old 09-05-2007
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Get in there!
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post #8 of 23 Old 09-05-2007
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You might want to get in a bit more sailing in the meantime if possible. Specifically there will often be people looking for a crew for racing or casual sails, assuming you are near the water. Apart from building practical skills this makes the process more gradual and may even be pleasant in the meantime.
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post #9 of 23 Old 09-05-2007
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Another dry land sailor

Our situation is similar to yours in many ways. My wife and I are both past 60 and we just recently got serious about getting training and experience so we would be confident enough to charter a sailboat together. My wife likes sailing because it is quiet and relaxing (most of the time) and loves to sun on the deck or read a good book in a quite cove. (she is also a great navigator and just learned to use the GPS this summer)

I enjoy the challenge of getting from point A to point B without a noisey engine by just using Mother Nature, and the thrill of trying to go faster than another boat when I know he has a better (or longer) boat. Being both an engineer and a computer guy, I like all the technical aspects of sailing (and of course being in quite anchorage for the evening).

My wife and I took the Basic Keelboat course in Charleston, SC (actually we took it twice but that is a long story) and I took the Intro to Cruising Course about 3 years ago and then we chartered an Oday 28 on Lake Champlain for a week which was a really big deal since we had never anchored a boat or spent the night on a boat away from the dock. We just completed our 3rd year on Lake Champlain again this year in a 32 foot Beneteau 311. My wife is hooked now. We already have the boat reserved for next summer and think we will try the BVI in the Spring.

By the way, Lake Champlain is a great place to learn. Lots of water, moderate winds in the summer, cool in the evening (usually), lots of places to go and anchor (or dock at a Marina) and best of all, no tides or current like we had in Charleston.

Sailing after 60 is GREAT. (and I'm still working for a living)

Charlie Sasser

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post #10 of 23 Old 09-05-2007
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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
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