Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Re: Sailing as a senior
I just had some restorative knee surgery, not a full replacement, but a tear and arthritis. It has me pretty focused on what's next. Thankfully, this round has all indications it will be successful.
It's always been intuitive that I'd get weaker as I age, that comes as no surprise. What eats at me is that ten years ago, I had no way of really knowing what that would mean today, so probably have no idea what ten more years will bring.
My doc tells me that my metabolic health is excellent. Perfect blood pressure, cholesterol, and on and on. It's my musculoskeletal system that is creeping up to it's use-by date.
Mentally, I'm 100% prepared to take it on and do what I must to keep sailing. Love the geriatric setup comment above, but so be it. I'll electrify or modify whatever necessary. Even today, while I get aches and pains that keep me from wanting to do anything else, the prospect of a cruise eliminates all interference. Let's go.
On a routine basis, I'm much more careful with how I stand, pull, lift, climb, etc. In the moment of crisis, however, I see little difference. It's probably adrenaline. This summer, we had our furling main bolt rope fully pull out of the track, while underway, in 15kts of breeze and offshore seas of a few feet. I immediately sprung out on the deck to deal with it, pulled it down and lashed it to the rails, with no reservation, nor sense of pain. Later, I was pretty sore.
I think the only way I can deal with the inevitable onset is to take measures to prevent as much of it as possible. The boat is a natural environment for exercising your balance and staying active. Not much more. I think strength training, especially core muscles and those around major joints, is critical. Aerobic secondary to strength.
We also need to better protect ourselves against injury. I wear knee pads anytime I need to kneel down. I wear hearing protection, eye protections, etc, etc, with significant diligence above what I did as a younger man. Funny, I even do a much better job of flossing my teeth today. Prevention is key.
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In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.