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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-06-2003 06:25 PM

To the fantasea, jbanta & kokopelli9,

Thanks to the three of you for making my day. You''ve offered a lot of encouragement right at the point where I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by the sailing books currently on my list (more focused on the technical stuff than accounts of voyages). I''ve still got a lot of reading to do, but in a month I''ll take my first dinghy sailing course and start knocking off U.S. Sailing''s sanctioned courses during vacation next year; the year, incidentally, when I''m hoping the stock market will bless me with a clear path to early retirement.

Point well taken about needing to fast-track it a bit at our age. At the same time, I want to studiously avoid getting in a hurry and feeling rushed. Very insightfully, kokopelli9 observed that discoveries about one''s self are at least as important as discoveries about sailing. After all, it''s about the voyage; not the destination.

All three of you seem to have a solid grasp on the spiritual side of sailing, and I''ll bet none of you has been, or will be, very much into racing.

The fantasea, you''re right on target with your definition of an epiphany. I would add just one more dimension: a life-changing event. Deciding on a life of sailing in my latter years has changed the direction I was heading completely, and I have no doubt for the better. Epiphany was in the lead for a name for a boat, but since I''m planning on single-handing Soliloquy has nudged ahead for now.

And I''ll sign off with a quotation from Kenneth Grahame in "The Wind in the Willows": "There is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. In or out of ‘em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do."
11-04-2003 01:21 PM


I love your quotes...and they are so very true.
I did not start singlehanding until in my late forties. As a small, female with limited sailing / boating experience it was at times intimidating to put it mildly, but my passion for sailing and the lessons I was learning about life outweighed the fear that my head sometimes felt. I am still learning...and I hope I always will be...but I''m not sure whether I''m learning more about sailing or more about myself, but either way it''s a great gift to myself. Epiphany should listen to his soul and his heart and leave the dock. He has nothing but great things to gain.

11-04-2003 01:08 PM

I couldn''t have put it better myself. The older a person is when they get into this sport the less time they have to experiment and gain the experience many say is a must. I have found my boat ok she isn''t what many would call a big boat she is a Lancer 29. She is also my first boat. I have turned her into my dream boat and she is fully capable of taking me where ever I want to go and be my home at the same time. I encourage our older brothers just getting into sailing to find thier dream boat learn her inside out. Fall in love with her yes even her problem areas. Maybe you won''t be a great Lazer sailor but you will be a happy sailor.
11-04-2003 10:26 AM

The following dictionary definitions of the word you chose for your screen name say it all.

3 a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery b : a revealing scene or moment

At age 54, never having sailed a day in my life, I was bitten by the same bug that has nailed you. I stumbled into a MacGregor 25 and, for the next four years, had the most fun ever learning what I could do. I moved up to a Catalina 30. Just five feet in length, but truly another world. After fourteen glorious years I succumbed to the need for greater creature comforts and gravitated to an Irwin 38CC. I''m truly glad that I did. I''ve never been more than fifty miles offshore, but I feel as if I have sailed around the world.

I singlehand 99% of the time and each boat has been an education. I believe that the key is to have on board all of the manual mechanical means necessary to enable you to do whatever has to be done. I stress manual because anything that depends upon electrical energy will, at some point, fail to operate; most likely when you need it most.

I came across a pearl of wisdom on one of these boards and I saved it because it seemed to me to capture the essence of, what for me, sailing has been all about.

"The Catch 22 of self reliance is that if we don''t leave the dock until we know everything we need to know, we''ll never learn everything we need to know."

Even more apropos to myself, and you, too, I think, are the words of Aldous Huxley,

"A childlike man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on
the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of
continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves
in the cocoon of middle aged habit and convention."

By all means, jump in. My sole caution has to do with the physical strength side of the equation. Many respondents have urged that you start smaller and work up. This could
consume much time and delay your goal unnecessarily. Right now, why not charter a 43 footer, with a captain, of course, for a day. As soon as the boat is under way, ask the captain to direct you through all of the actions necessary to operate the boat as if you were single-handing it. As you perform these actions, you''ll know whether you are biting off more than you can chew.

If you can manage the tasks without becoming fatigued, then keep the 43 in your sights. If it proves too strenuous, try chartering something smaller until you have reached your comfort level. Keep in mind that some tasks which are simple in a calm can become next to impossible when the wind pipes up.

10-02-2003 08:51 AM

As long as we are on the old geezer kick, here is another one. And I have lived the corp life, not a life of physical activity. However, I make up for it by having 35 years of sailing experience, from dingy''s to offshore single-handing.
The biggest advice I would offer is to get out there on the water. It is more important to get actual experience than to sit there watching your stock portfolio (I know because I have been doing the same thing recently). Chartering is helpful. Racing in PHFR or local cruising races is extremely helpful. I did a bunch of local racing in the 60''s & 70''s and it taught me a ton about sail trim, weather, currents and navigation, with more intensity than just cruising or daysailing. It didn''t help much on learning boat systems, but it was very useful nonetheless. Deliveries are great--I''ve done quite a few--mostly crew--and learned from each one.
Owning your own boat and just taking it out each Sunday afternoon in decent weather is not particularly useful (I hear people screaming at this comment). All that does is keeping repeating the same lessons. You need variety of boats, crewing for a variety of skippers. I learned as much from the less competant skippers than from the best ones. Nothing like seeing bad judgement in action to learn what not to do and the consequences of mistakes.

Personally, I would not be too quick to buy anything larger than a daysailor for the next year or two. After you have sailed, say, a half dozen different cruising boats, then consider what you want. Many folks have talked about the boat size. My current boat is a 43, but I would not advise it for a novice--its fine for us, but the forces get much higher than a smaller boat and the consequences of a mistake are greater.
I did a bunch of single handing and racing on a Yankee 30 years ago, and if I had contemplated single-handed long term cruising then, it would have been a great boat for me.

The last item shows my own personal bias. The one thing that is not adjustable is time. Sure you can sail into your 60''s or later (e.g. Hiscocks et al). But you and I have more runway behind us than in front. So consider the value of this time. The Pardey''s said (paraphrase): Go small, Go now. I have friends in the midwest who have spent half their lives talking about cruising on a sailboat, but have not taken the steps to actually get out there. So go do it!!!
And I''ll see you out there.
10-01-2003 05:04 PM

Hey, Another Old Buzzard,

I needed that! I''ve been sitting here at this keyboard, and with my head in a series of books, and while that''s a good start, I still haven''t got out on the water in a boat. I''ve been waiting for the stock in my savings plan to reach my theoretical threshold before I give my retirement notice, and I now realize that I''ve been using this as an excuse to put off getting on with it.

I was in Vietnam too, although I was a REMF (bet you know what that acronym stands for). When I was over there, I told myself that if I survived the experience I would never again be afraid of anything. But here I am, back in the world, afraid of taking the plunge and getting started on what I believe will be the most rewarding experience in my life. I like your assessment that I''m in the prime of my life, but the bottom line is that I''ve already lived well over half of it plugging away in the corporate world and not getting anywhere near rewarded for my contributions. The longer I keep doing it, the longer I put off putting my time and effort into something that will bring much greater rewards.

Thanks for this eye-opener!
09-18-2003 07:46 PM

As long as you are healthy, I don''t think age is a major concern.
My uncle sailed his Valiant 40 around the world in seven years while in his mid to late 60''s. He did part of the trip alone and other parts with family and friends and the last part with his new wife.

I noticed in a previous post that the route being considered was west to east. I am sure it is possible and people go that way, but most people I have talked to or read go east to west or follow the sun. The reason being the trade winds go that way and it is easier to sail downwind than to beat into it.
You can sail downwind in the Pacific going east by going into the high latitudes south of New Zealand or up to Alaska, but it is colder and stormier.
I know it is early days to be thinking of route planning, when you are still looking at the boats, but I thought I would toss it out there.

I know people have talked about the small boat thing and I agree, but I was going to add that once you are out there you will need a dinghy anyways, so if you got a small sailing dinghy you don''t need to sell it as long as there is a place to store it on the big boat.

Have fun in the process;
09-17-2003 01:16 PM

At last a man who understands My hats off to you and may you sail for adventure thrills and sheer fun long LONG into the future...
09-17-2003 12:29 PM


Can''t help but notice the animous directed toward Epiphany''s age. For cryin'' out loud- this guy''s in the prime of his life. Where does everyone get off thinking that a 56 year old man is infirm??

Like Epiphany, I too am 56 years old. I Spent those 56 years wrestling cattle, astride a horse 12 or more hours a day and in my "off hours"- seeking out and bringing in some hard case criminal types, far younger than I, who wouldn''t show up in court.

You think I''m "over-the-hill"? Spent two tours in Vietnam with Marine Force Recon and was wounded twice- once seriously. During my fugitive hunting days I was shot once and stabbed twice.

I would match myself up with anyone on this board. 56?? Nonsense.

I would be willing to wager that far and away, the vast majority of our fellow men- and women- who sail the world, are over 50 years old and do very well at it, thank you very much. There are very few folks under 50 that afford to sail full time.

My own father was sailing single handed into his mid-seventies. (If it weren''t for that 26 year old woman he was running with, I have no doubt he would be sailing still...not a joke.)

I say go for it Epithany- what you may lack in skills you can learn. What you lack in strength- if any at all- will be made up by your 56 years of experience on this Earth and the judgment you have acquired.

Get whatever boat your heart desires and go for it. I am.
09-17-2003 08:21 AM

After some basic cruising course, I recommend that you sign on as delivery crew and get some offshore experience, hopefully protected by a capable skipper on a seaworthy boat. IF your dream persists throiugh that experience, I further recommend that you buy a good starter boat, 25''-30'' and use it as much as possible, to build the knowledge you need to select and equip a bigger boat. That way you get to make a series of small mistakes (AKA learning experiences) rather than one BIG mistake...

Good luck and I hope the dream prospers.
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