Re: What does "too old to sail mean"?
So, today is my birthday. 70 years old now. For some time I've been considering this question of how old is too old to sail. The answer is, of course, specific to each individual. Some of us are fortunate to be healthy, some not so much. Some of us have energy and enthusiasm, some of us, well, not so much. Some just have other things to do.
I've just lost the sight in my left eye. About two months ago, it just went all fuzzy. Imagine that! So, I've been playing around with how to go about my business with only one eye. It seems that I can do pretty much everything, although my night vision seems impaired. So, now I have to ccompensate for this physical situation. The doctors tell me that it's one of those things that happen as you get ... older. I think I'll be planning my voyages with less night sailing. My friend Hugh has been sailing all his life. He went totally blind a few years back, and now enjoys sailing as a guest on other friends' boats. He's in his 90s. So, as we get older, some of us age out of sailing just because of physical limitations. Eat well, get exercise, do all those things that help keep the body going, but the bottom line is that fate deals you a hand, and you play it the best you can. Some physical situations can be accommodated, some not so much.
A lot of what keeps us going is mental/spiritual. I love sailing. I went down to the boat today even though I have a cold. I even called the kids and told them not to come by the house tonight for the pizza party (did I mention eat well?) we had planned. I didn't want to spread germs to all the grandkids. But still, I went down to the boat. We had some really strong winds last night, and I went down to check on the boat this morning. Truthfully, I just wanted to hang out on the boat for a while. I'm down there all the time. I put up Christmas lights on Saturday, and Sunday took them down because it was a great day for a sail. Went out for a couple of hours, then came back to the dock, put the boat away and then put the light back up. Like the Wind in the Willows says, "Nothing is as good as messing around with a boat" (or something like that). The point is that some of us, probably you since you're reading this, are just crazy about boats, and love being on them. If you rest, you rust. Just like a boat falls apart if you leave it sitting, we also thrive on keeping active. Some people, like us, keep going because it answers a calling from within us. As long as that calling keeps, uh, calling... we keep sailing.
So as we age, we do have to acknowledge that we can't do everything we did when we were younger. We each decide what to keep, what to let go. I've stopped surfing short boards (I'm just too slow to do it), although I do go out on my long board and catch a few smaller waves. I gave up racing my boat last year, just too much time commitment. I was asked to join a friends boat as crew for this year, but I decided it was to much time commitment at this point. I plan (and hope) do do a lot of day sailing, and a bit of short haul cruising in the comming years. The important point, for me, is that at whatever age, I do the things I am able to do, and I do the things that I want to do.
I'll indulge myself to addressing one other point. In a precious post, one skipper discussed about not taking disabled people on ocean passages, or on some tour boats. His points were well taken. I however, had additional ideas about that. My personal experience of sailing with my brother and his granddaughter have allowed me to participate in sailing with a person with profound disabilities. She loves it, and we love being with her. Yes, it takes additional effort and preparation, but there can be joy in adapting to those challenges. An ocean passage is a huge challenge, as can be a ride on a tour boat, but for some, it's a challange that is accepted, and for them, it can be appropriate. A lot of people think that all of us are crazy danger-addicts for our voyages on small boats, so I guess I can accept that some of us crazy danger-addicts are physically able, and some not so much so. I'm OK with that previous post, and I respect the safety decisions that other skippers make, but I'm also proud of the people who push that particular boundary.
Last edited by Scotty C-M; 12-06-2018 at 01:14 AM.