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The goal is to sail.

Not to sail someplace grand, not to sail something big or small, not to have a boat that can break icebergs, not to have a boat that's faster than another, not to round cape horn, not to cross an ocean, not to have the best safety equipment, not to have the perfect electronics, not even to have the best anchor.

Just get yourself sailing as soon as possible by whatever means is possible. Let the experience lead you. You'll only know what you want from the experience when you do it. You will not know from hearing what I did, or anyone else did.

Don't listen to anyone else dream, have your own.

And don't wait. No matter what your age, the clock is ticking.
Very well said.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
If truly interested, your sailing 1 or 2 times a year...is bs...:)
You just dont know..yet
Might be your cuppa..might not
Buy in slow and learn how it grabs you
I do have to work, I do have to learn how to sail, covid is becoming less of an issue. The biggest issue is where I live and work. it will all work out
 

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I would have encouraged my 20 something self to have lived aboard, before being married, before having kids. I see the kids on the vids do so and wish I had at that age. On the other hand, I worked extraordinary hours and traveled all over the country at a moments notice and it would not have been conducive. Particularly not, unless at a slip, and I'm not sure if I could have afforded one then. In the end, I feel pretty fortunate with the choices I made. No clear better advice.
 

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Mine would be an extension of the message that several others have already offered. When I was young, I thought about getting the biggest boat that I could afford. You see a lot of postings on here that essentially ask that very question... "What is the biggest boat that I can afford and can handle by myself?"

That is a TOTALLY backwards way of looking at it! What I have learned is that the question to ask is, "What is the smallest and simplest boat that will satisfy all of my needs?"

Good luck.
 

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1. If sailing less than 3 or 4 times a year, charter. The best way to sail on a modern, well-equipped boat.
2. If sailing with a spouse, sail conservatively and not take risks. No reason to scare her to death, she'll never sail with you again!

After 30 years sailing, that's all I got.
 

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If this discussion is about what you did in your 20s or youth until you got into sailing... I reply as follows.

I did not have the money or the time to get into sailing... the way I eventually did at 38 yrs old. I spent my leisure time from college until I bought Shiva traveling over seas, working hard at growing an small architecture practice and a small woodworking business. Though I lived close enough to the sea to get into sailing... I just never was attracted to it... or exposed to it. I do recall one vacation I had on the Cape where I went to a Marina and admired the boats docked there... thinking... how do you make them move! hahahaha

I was introduced to sailing by my best friend (who passed in 2019) who had bought a 31' sailboat and wanted me to help with my tools and skills in Spring prep in 1984. I was invited for a sail from New Rochelle to Shelter Island... a mini cruise. I was totally enthralled by the entire experience. The following Spring he asked me to accompany him to see a boat in CT. So we drove up there and he told me we could be partners on the new boat... and I would do some needed joinery to cover two crew berths / cabins in the V to a single owner's cabin... make two... one aft and one forward. It was 48' boat and I would only consider this "deal" if I learned to sail... he would teach and I would go to sailing school... which I did.

Months went by and I was excited at this new phase of my life I was about to enter. But he and his GF at the time decided they wanted to keep their 31' boat... and so the deal was off. What to do? Now I had a sailing certificate and 20 books about sailing and so.... I looked for a boat and eventually (3 weeks later) went back to the broker of the 48 and he offered me a new 36' which I closed on in early August 1985. And so the real learning began. Five years later after fitting out the boat and sailing as much as I possibly could from LIS to ME.... I sailed to Bermuda in the company of 200 boats in the Marion-Bermuda race. I had a good crew and we weathered a gale in the Gulf stream.... something I would not wish on my worst enemy.

I returned to NY from Bermuda... and began to give all my possessions to charity save for some personal mementos, art and some tools. I get a crew and departed for Antigua in November 1991 and lived aboard for 5 continuous years wintering in the Caribbean and summer in Southern NE. I did several international deliveries including one from LIS to Brazil.

I am now in the stage of "keeping the boat" condition up and enjoying local mini cruises and mostly fair weather sailing. In the beginning it was "cleaning" and fitting out with new gear.... then it was maintenance and upgrading gear... and now it is mostly maintenance and "restoration" like replacing the teak rub rail etc. Older boats need more attention.. and so there's less time to sail. But you should enjoy the work.

It's all good!
 

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When I was young, I thought about getting the biggest boat that I could afford.
Ironically, the younger I was the smaller boat I thought I needed. I have whatever the opposite of claustrophobia is. I actually find small, confined spaces comforting. I could also sleep on anything, anywhere, back then. I slept on the commuter train, sitting up, when I worked in NYC in my 20s. Backpacking was a joy and a sleeping pad felt luxurious.

Today, any substandard sleeping quarters directly impact my quality of sleep, which impacts my entire day. Joints are stiffer and there is no way I could go through much of my day, bent over for low overheads.

As many creature comforts as we have aboard today, I still think of it as "gl-amping". Pretty luxurious camping. Just with those things that allow us to keep on keeping on.
 

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Don’t underestimate the value and wisdom of O.P.B.


(Other People’s Boats) good crew is always in demand. Establish a reputation for being prompt, willing, pleasant and generous with the food and beer you insist on catering every outing without fail.
 

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Most of the above replies are right on especially the ones that stress simplicity in a boat and smaller size. I read all the books on ocean sailing and thought I needed a full keel two Mast sailboat with a diesel engine if I wanted to go out into blue water but after getting that boat I realized it was more than I can handle solo St the age of 67. Also it is very important to have a shallow draft the large boat draws 3 ft. 8 in. which was supposedly shallow but the one I have now draws 2 ft. 4 inches and I can still run a ground!
To learn how the wind fills the sails I would recommend starting in a sailing dinghy in shallow water so you're not fearful of taking a dump and you will soon learn sail control-- no need for for lots of instruction.
To avoid spending money and time at a dock, the boat should be fairly self-sufficient by having solar panels to make electricity for the lights and refrigerator if you're going to live on it which is the only way to really enjoy the water--experiencing nature makes life real.
Best wishes and do as much as you can while you can.
 

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If I could go back in time I would give my 20 year old self a lot of good advice. Now I want my 80 year old self to give me some good advice today.

the vision
I have no/zero sailing experience to draw on, and thus anything I think I want out of sailing has no basis; but. This coming summer I will be taking classes (ASA 101 103 104 and 105). I hope to sail 1 or 2 times a year for 1 or 2 years then increase as needed with my own boat. I envision myself sailing either coast of Canada depending on the boat's home and eventually a crossing of the Pacific or Atlantic, again depending on home. My interests lead me to something in the 13 meter range with rather shallow draft less than 1.8 or 1.9. Metal boats are interesting to me but I don't know why. I think I will retire on a boat, but again???

the question
In the time you have been sailing what started out as important and turned out to be not so important?
What realizations (forehead slaps) did you have 3, 5, or 10 years into your sailing life?
Aside from "just get out there..." what would you tell me?
I am over 70 so I hear you. I sailed over the last 25 years only; lived on my 36' sailboat with my wife after I retired 10 years ago into Mexico for 7 years full time. I took the first class and then bought my first boat and sailed the west coast between Oregon and Canada 60 days after my first class finished. I do NOT recommend that; it was scary in that first storm; but I learned and have never been terrified again. Take that first class then go sailing. Go on a friends boat and learn them lines. The sailing part you can learn in 20 minutes under sail with an experienced captain; but the details and finesse need a class to learn the terms and know what he is telling you. Then sail for at least 6 months so you know what you need to learn before you take another class. Sail on a race boat or a cruiser friend boat. Look in the sailing ads for a crew position in some exotic tranquil Sea of Cortes crossing or the Caribbean after some race experience you would be welcomed. All the while learning on somebody else's expensive hobby and finding what your needs really are. If you want to live that way; it is easy to find a nice dock later and live cheap on a boat for your remaining years full time even when you can not push yourself into the next big adventure. My health forced me back onto land and I needed to sell her (my boat not the wife) to afford the house and associated life. It was a grand adventure and makes for great friends and great stories to share.
 

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If I could go back in time I would give my 20 year old self a lot of good advice. Now I want my 80 year old self to give me some good advice today.

the vision
I have no/zero sailing experience to draw on, and thus anything I think I want out of sailing has no basis; but. This coming summer I will be taking classes (ASA 101 103 104 and 105). I hope to sail 1 or 2 times a year for 1 or 2 years then increase as needed with my own boat. I envision myself sailing either coast of Canada depending on the boat's home and eventually a crossing of the Pacific or Atlantic, again depending on home. My interests lead me to something in the 13 meter range with rather shallow draft less than 1.8 or 1.9. Metal boats are interesting to me but I don't know why. I think I will retire on a boat, but again???

the question
In the time you have been sailing what started out as important and turned out to be not so important?
What realizations (forehead slaps) did you have 3, 5, or 10 years into your sailing life?
Aside from "just get out there..." what would you tell me?
The Answer - Put your foot on the Pedal and go... matters not the path you take but where it leads -- I like you started late in life with my sailing goal .. from virtually no sailing experience at age 64 to a reasonably competent sailor at age 67 .. yea it took three years and full qualification from ASA and also from US Sailing. Started the quest with buying a 44' 1972 sail boat without any sailing experience (read good deal) -- been three years and still not in the condition I prefer to sail off into the sunset safely .. although I am sure I have spent more money getting her on track, than just buying a newer better condition boat .. My conclusion has been that I have learned more about boat maintenance and care by owning a fixer upper than any courses could have ever provided. I now have concluded the course I chose was the best for me as it forced me to learn about alot (read not all) of the boat systems necessary in a functioning sail boat.

The only real surprise for me is that every time I take on a project on the boat it takes me somewhere between 3 to 5 times longer than what it should. Seems like I spend more time organizing on the boat than fixin on the boat. Oh well - hopefully after 3 years of training and boat work (replacing engine now) I can get her out for serious sailing in the Puget Sound this Summer ..

My conclusion .. you cant predict the outcome of your choices. But you can just sit on the couch thinking about what to do. Therefore as I have stated .. matters not the exact path you take .. but in fact that you put your foot on the pedal and go.
 

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I was in a similar position to you. I wanted to go sailing, in a boat big enough to be a home, and this without having sailed anything bigger than a windsurfer. Before I could execute the plan, I got married, bought a bigger house, and the boat fund dwindled away on home improvements. Anytime the fund started to build, another home expense appeared. My wife was not so enamoured with the plan, but was willing to accompany me if I got a boat. Eventually I realised that this would never happen, so I bought a 19ft sloop on a trailer to refurbish and play with. I wish I had done this a long time ago. Sailing this little boat was fun. I could raise and lower the mast by myself, and the sails were so small that there were no winches on the boat. We took the boat to various places. It was a great adventure and learning experience. There were many mistakes, but we learned. After 1 year, we sold that boat and moved up to 24ft. My wife was still not enamoured with sailing, but did like the place we could sail to. Next year we moved up to 31ft, and standing headroom!!. This boat we kept for 4 years. Then due to work commitments, there was no sailing for several years.
The moral - buy a little cheap boat now. Start sailing, start learning. In the 19ft boat, it would take 5 minutes to prepare the boat to leave the dock or mooring. Now, with a 36ft boat fully equipped to live aboard, we need at least 1 day!
 

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Reno9108, you’ve asked a very smart question and received some excellent responses. I, too, only started sailing after retirement and now at 69 I’m out there on my 42 footer, full-time, offshore, doing it and having the time of my life. To whatever level of commitment you can hold yourself to, don’t delay or you risk overwhelming desire to reach back in time to drop kick both your 20 y/o and 70 y/o ass :)
 

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I agree witht he others who call bs on sailing 1 or 2 times a year. You will never learn anything at that pace, and the boat will deteriorate. Better to rent or just ride along with someone else.

Sailing 1 or 2 times a year ( if its day sails) it would take a decade or more to get the experience that most dsailors get in one season. Its like taking batting practice 1 or 2 times a year.
 
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Discussion Starter #37
I agree witht he others who call bs on sailing 1 or 2 times a year. You will never learn anything at that pace, and the boat will deteriorate. Better to rent or just ride along with someone else.

Sailing 1 or 2 times a year ( if its day sails) it would take a decade or more to get the experience that most dsailors get in one season. Its like taking batting practice 1 or 2 times a year.
I understand that 1-2 times a year is BS, I also clarified that would be for the first 1-2 years; so give me some time to get into this.
 

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I see many great replies, but none that truly address the gravity of your age. Perhaps they are afraid of appearing "ageist." But let's be honest...Father Time is not your friend. You should've enrolled in that 1st class last week. Other than that, git er done. I had three friends pass away in 2019, all 60 or less years old, hence the viewpoint. I wish you a heartfelt GOOD LUCK!
 

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Folks, I may of misread the OP but I do not believe he is literally 80 years old.

I read it as more " I wish future me could give me advice".

He is talking about retiring in his future, balancing work and sailing and is contemplating an ocean crossing in a couple of years.
 
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