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post #11 of 75 Old 12-02-2018
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Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?

This is something I think about often as I took to sailing later in life and I want to cruise, which may often be solo. I think balance and metal health issues are the big ones. Now that I see my mother's quick decline at 87, along with her denial of this decline, I now wonder how I will make these decisions on my own. I always said I never want to grow old if it means infirm and in bed, but sailing off into the eternal sunset with my family not knowing what happened is not the end scenario that I want either....

Conversely, when I moved onto my boat a couple years ago, I noticed diminished strength in one leg trying to make it up the steep transom steps if I didn't also do a little pull from the stanchion railing. I now step up easily on either leg with no cheating. The more I sail, the more I notice that balance and overall strength are better, too. When I got back into competitive swimming back in my 40s, my doctor told me he saw no decline in my VO2max, which is expected to decline with age, and had been trending that way during my 30s. Lung capacity was clearly positively affected by strenuous exercise. More and more studies are showing that if you keep using it, you won't be losing it as fast. Chronological age is not the same as biological age: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-...al-age-2223375
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post #12 of 75 Old 12-02-2018
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Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?

Iím thinking sailing is like some other thing we love dearly: if you can still get the sail up, do it. You just might have to go slow and easy, no hot dogging. And when you canít, you just stare at those slick sailing magazines and videos, or stare at the sea and think of all the fun you were lucky to have.
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post #13 of 75 Old 12-02-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?

I have had excellent health all my life. I was only in hospital to be born and then finally in April for a major spine surgery. Recovery has been very very slow, unnoticeable at times and it is a preview of loss of mobility, motion agility and balance. If your nerves are not working correctly your legs can keep you balanced. It changes from something automatic to something that requires your attention. Strength in sailing can be overcome with electric winches and so on. I got the Millie to hoist the main 4 years ago because it was no fun hauling up 440SF w/ 4 full length battens.

What occurred to me is the there is little to not improvement when one experiences a decline. Your vision will not return, nor your hearing and so on... they only get worse. Same with your strength, range of motion and so on. You have to make mental adjustments and compensate for your physical decline. Activity is good, but it will not remove your deficits.

You can still sail but not as "aggressively"... and considering that your knocked off most of your sailing bucket list... and have nothing to prove to yourself... you can find a sweet spot for sailing. But some things... become undoable. Take climbing aboard from the dock. I used to think nothing about jumping down to the dock and pulling myself up from the dock to deck with both leg and arm strength. These now seems like things I can't do as I once did. I will order a SailStep.

It's no fun when your body stops working the way it had for your whole life. But really... Shiva mostly sails by herself... and I don't do much but set an AP course... unfurl the genny and trim it... do some easy peasy electonic navigation and enjoy. As long as she takes care of me... We can sail! And sail we will!

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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post #14 of 75 Old 12-02-2018
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Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?

For those with declining vision, please look into cataract surgery and laser correction. I had both on both my eyes and my vision is now the best it has ever been. I no longer need corrective lenses to drive and am usually the first on the boat to see marks. I only need reading glasses. Most of the cost is covered by medicare. There's no pain, very minimal discomfort, and you can be back at work the next day. There is some risk, as with any procedure, but it's minimized if you conscientiously follow the prescribed eye drop regimen afterwards.
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post #15 of 75 Old 12-02-2018
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Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?

One stated solution pointed out previously is more power gadgets, winches, furlers, etc. So what happens when you are old and weak and the giant headsail power mechanism jams in a big blow?
We feel more comfortable on our smaller craft...systems are simple and relatively easy to manage.
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post #16 of 75 Old 12-02-2018
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Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?

Eh? What's that he's saying?

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post #17 of 75 Old 12-02-2018
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Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?

Yesterday is...yesterday.
Think today and tomorrow.
How will you execute....then do. That is you...now
If depression knocks, its time to move on some task or new mission....stay ahead.
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post #18 of 75 Old 12-03-2018
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Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?

Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
We live aboard 6 months. And sail our small boat in the summer in Newfoundland.

This is a question in my mind a lot. So far so good. Just turned 68, Iíll let you know when I grow up.

More seriously I thought I knew the answer pretty clearly last week. I took a bad fall, got my feet tangled on the staysail boom on the hook. I rolled and went down flat on my back, across the hand rails, my head just missing the toe rail.

On my way down I could mentally see my head splitting like a Gallagher mellon. I just KNEW my life was done, then I heard my back cracking as it bent over the hand rails.

When I came to I went through a mental reboot and to my amazement everything came back online with only some stiffness in my back for a few days.

So maybe thatís the answer, we go on as long as we want until something stops us. What? When? Ah, now there are some questions.
Wow you were lucky. Glad you were able to get off the boat on your own. I'm certainly more cautious these days when moving about on the boat when it is on the hard than at the mooring. I imagine myself tripping, losing balance and hitting the ground which will be much worse than hitting the water. That scenario helps keep me focused.

I have not seen the eighty plus year old fellow who owns the boat next to mine in two years. Built the boat himself (took twenty years) had it on the water about five years. Came down with Parkinsons and can no longer climb ladders. The boat has now been for sale the past two seasons. Sad to see it deteriorating after watching him meticulously maintaining it over the years and also having built it.
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post #19 of 75 Old 12-03-2018
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Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?

There is too old to sail alone which is different from too old to sail. We have one gent in his 80's who needs a walker or wheel chair, has a colostomy bag and is on oxygen and while he can't do the heavy work he can still sail an E-Scow competitively with a few younger folks to crew it with him. Too old to sail alone yes but not too old to skipper his boat and direct a crew. His boat is usually one of the lead boats in a race or the winner and those that crew with him feel blessed because of what they learn.

One fellow with Parkinson's overcomes his limitations/age by crewing his boat with experienced sailors that look good in a bikini. He says he enjoys sailing now more than every before.

We are also expanding our solo handicapped sailor program that caters to paraplegics and others with mobility disorders. Just because the legs may not work as well as they used to or not at all does not mean the end of sailing just a change in how one goes about it along with the boats they sail in as long as the rest of the body and mind is up to it. The fleet of handicapped sailboats is getting larger with many who sail them elderly sailors recovering from strokes or dealing with Parkinson's.

If we are sound in mind and the list of things we can't do overwhelms us to the point that we no longer can see/accept a way to safely overcome them with what we can do then we are too infirm to continue. This could be at 25 or 95 years of age.
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post #20 of 75 Old 12-03-2018
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Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?

Maybe it means you're dead?
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