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Discussion Starter #1
I know this is a long shot but I would like to ask this community if they think I might be too old to start sailing and living on a boat as a useful crew member. I am a 67 year old woman, with no sailing experience BUT, I have lived around and been on many boats my whole life. I am healthy and live a pretty holistic lifestyle. I have mostly sailed in the SF bay and lived in and around Sausalito, Ca for the last 40 years. Presently I live in Florida. I am not a deck hand and almost always was on board as a guest. It has always been my dream -however- I never had the opportunity to live it because I got married and raised a child who passed on while in college. Presently in my life, I am a widow and thinking that this might be the time to take a look at life at sea. Of course I would have to find a boat owner that would allow an older newbie to learn the ropes. This could be wishful thinking on my part and that is where I need your community advice. It is either live my dream if I can, or just live out my life on land waiting like everyone else for the end to come. Do you think I am over the hill and perhaps should just give up this idea?
 

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Catalina 400 MKII
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Allow me to state my opinion: You Go Girl!! I'm 68, so 67 looks kind of young (just kidding). You seem to have decent health, and a great attitude. Sailing is definately a sport/lifestyle that can be addapted to a variety of ages and abilities. Your "Can do" attitude will allow you to find just the right fit for you. God Bless, and wishing you to absolute best in this New Year. Fair winds and following seas (as my Dad used to say).
 

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'The End' is coming, regardless.
I think it's sad to meet it when bored....and simply waiting.

Physical abilities will determine if you're monohull, multihull or trawler material.
Go with what you can do...comfortable doing.

I see too many people sitting around, relegating themselves to the Pearly Gates Waiting Room.

Never retire from life.

Start step 1...or it will never happen...and just be one of those dreams....don't kid yourself.....be a winner.
Losing sucks...
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Find a local sailing club and start attending the meetings. I am in Ft Myers, and there is one here. Sailors are always looking for crew, and while experience helps, it is not the only criteria. I don't suggest that you crew for a race, unless you like getting yelled at, but you should be able to tag along on a cruise. I have trained more than my share of cruisers through membership in a sailing club.

If you go out on someone else's boat as a guest, bring food, snacks and beverage for AT LEAST yourself and the skipper.

Taking either US Sailing's Basic Keel Boat, or ASA's 101 would give you a leg up, and some valuable experience.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all so much. It sounds like the sailing courses are the way to go for step number 1. I am close to the east coast of Florida in the central area near Daytona so I should be able to find some courses here. I am a very good cook and that might come in useful to someone. I will check out the local sailing clubs as well this is fantastic advice. I very much appreciate your replies.
 

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IIRC, there is an active sailing club in Daytona.
I anchored there a few nights a zillion years ago.
Biggest boat there at that time was maybe a 25
Hunter.
You need to get in some cockpit hours.
Nothing beats enthusiasm.
 

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Catalina 400 MKII
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I'd like to second the idea (or third or fourth) that a good cook has a big edge. Bring lots of finger foods to share and you should be a sought after sailing crew. Yes, take the courses and up your skill set. Good luck!
 

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Master Mariner
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There's a LOT more to being a liveaboard boat owner than just knowing how to move the boat around, be it under sail or power. If you are very well set economically, then the majority of the maintenance and repairs can be paid for. That only leaves the problem of finding reputable, capable repair and maintenance people wherever you travel, not an easy thing in itself. However, there are always things that fail underway, so you'll need some skills to deal with the most common ones.
I'm not trying to turn you off, just point out an often forgotten fact of boat ownership. There are a lot of systems that require maintenance and repair aboard boats.
The sailing is the easy part. It sure ain't rocket science. Anybody can learn to sail in about 40 hours of concentrated sailing. Another week or two for docking, anchoring, weather and navigation and you're off to the Bahamas or Hawaii, depending on which coast you live on. And all that's a lot more fun than changing the oil on the main engine and generator, just to name a couple of the less glamorous jobs that come up regularly.
So before you jump into the dream, check out the less fun aspects and see if you will be OK either learning to do these things or have the finances to have them done. I have been doing this stuff since I was 12 so I've got a pretty good handle on what's what. At 70, I've a much younger partner to help with a lot of the maintenance and repairs because, quite frankly, I don't have enough desire to do the sailing, if I had to do all the maintenance and repairs myself.
Another option for you might be to learn the sailing and seamanship stuff and then travel to places and rent a bareboat to sail there. No maintenance or repairs, just the fun part.
 
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As a fellow mid-60's year old who sails races my 38 footer single handed, and whose father sailed into his late 80's I don't see why you would not learn to sail at your age.

When my mom was single in her late 60's she would wear a necklace with a sailboat charm hoping to meet fellow sailors. She did and she married him. She and Jack had a number of sailboats almost until the end of her life.

And while I agree that sailing lessons are a good idea, reading can also be helpful, but there are also people who can never learn to sail.

Lastly sailing can be a physical sport. Exercising and such balance improving regimes like yoga can be very helpful as well.

Good luck,
Jeff
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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By all means, take some courses and/or do some crewing so you can start to learn what's entailed with using a boat. Most of all though, put in the time and effort to learn if it's what you really want to do, before you get too deep money-wise.

Then, the first thing you need to do is decide just what you want to do on a boat. Cross oceans, see foreign lands? Island hop the Caribbean? Snowbird up and down the East Coast? Those are just some of the possible choices. Before you can prepare, you have to have some idea of what you're preparing for, and what you'll need once you're ready. In thinking on this though, it has to be, what will I do, not what will I want to do. Once you have a good idea of what you'll actually do, then you can think about the best boat to use for it.
 
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OK, well it looks like its up to me to give you the clobbering.

You are not young and agile anymore and boats at sea can batter the untrained body. I have never made a passage without ooozing blood. In the first few years it ooozing every day out.

The smaller the boat the more frisky it is. From running flat to on a 45 degree angle takes about 3 seconds and being tossed about and landing on something hard enough to break bones is easy.

The people who have responded thus far have all been sailing since much younger and probably have no idea what its like for someone new that's older. (I don't know either as I've been sailing since a kid).

However, the above doesn't mean you can't do it. You can get some training and see how you go. If you enjoy it it's probably because you can handle it. It will take more than a week or two it get comfortable so give it time.

So, my recommendation would be some basic sailing lessons on as bigger boat as you can. Then go hunt up someone to whisk you off on their boat.

If you'd really prefer a gentleman with boat to have a romantic connection and sail off into the sunset then be BOLD and get your name on every singles sailing site as you can. There's plenty of men who would delight in someone that wants to share their passion.


Mark
 

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Sailing is frequently uncomfortable and somewhat physically challenging. If you think a two hours of bicycling at a moderate pace in a light rain is fun you'll likely enjoy sailing. If you'd prefer to socialize in the shade while eating potato chips you probably won't.
 

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Never too old!! Bummer you don't live in Marin anymore or I'd take you out. I'm @ OCSC Sailing Club & just bought a boat. What I like about a sailing club is that they offer lessons if you want them, or you can just have access to a "crew list" that emails people when they want crew & usually put what level they'd prefer. When I charter, I usually put out a crew list saying any level - but I'd like one person to be @ least Basic Cruising (BC) so I can relax a little. You split the cost of a charter (usually $60-$100 per person, depending on the boat).

The only thing about the Keelboat (BK) lessons & going that route is you're starting out on J-24's, which are super fun but a lot of work! I was totally battered & bruised after my weeklong certification. You don't get to the bigger boats until Bareboat Cruising (BBC). Once I got my BBC, I haven't gone back to a J-24.

I've also raced, it made me a better sailor but I'm liking a more leisurely sail now. Like anything, it's practice. Otherwise, it's finding the wind & raising two sails. The hardest part of my day yesterday was docking @ night, & it was fine. If you can hop on & off a boat, you can crew!

Happy New Year & I love your goal!! I sailed as a kid, and then stopped for 25 years raising my kids. I got back into it when I turned 50.
 

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Sorry to hear you have lost both your partner and your child. Life does go on. Though it may take a while.
Learning to sail is certainly very possible at 67. I would recommend a sailing course. to get started.
Moving to live aboard, not so sure. I would recommend the idea. Before you consider it, Get out on the water and do some sailing. Via course's and Charters. Charter a boat of a kind which interests you just to get a feel if its right for you. A smaller boat at a club may work out a better option and provide an opportunity to meet people with similar interests.

Learn to sail get familiar with some different boats and think about what you want to do when you know for yourself what is involved.
 

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Do you have the resources to invest in a week long liveaboard cruising class? If so, I suggest giving that a shot. You learn how to fair weather sail and get some experience living aboard to see if it's for you. Your aptitude and physical condition are the only limiters. You just have to see.

I doubt you're going to cross oceans, but I don't hear you saying that's the goal. Living aboard, coastal cruising, making 20 miles hops in good weather windows is completely doable.

Also, excellent advice above that living aboard is 20% sailing and 80% fixing and maintaining. Are you handy? Comfortable figuring out how things work? If so, you'll get there. If you are the type that has trouble figuring out how to set up a TV and cable box, then forget it.

Lastly, unless you die unexpectedly, you will move back ashore eventually. Be sure you have a financial plan to be able to do so. As we all get older and older, more stuff hurts, it's hard to bend and pull and lift and climb and crouch. Sailing is physical. You're going to want a comfortable boat to liveaboard.... higher overheads, creature comforts, larger bunks and showers, etc.

Go take that week long course and see what you think.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
From all the comments here it sounds like the sailing clubs are going to be the most resourceful along with taking some courses. I am also checking into meet-up groups in my area. At present I am not looking to own my own boat but to be part of a crew on a boat. I am not a mechanic and would definitely need a man around for all those things, so it is best I become part of a crew or a captains wife. I have thought about all the body bashing one would take in rough seas and this could be uncomfortable but as one person said, Yoga is a good prep and I do Yoga. I so appreciate everyone's comments here. It has given me a very good start on this plan.
 

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you can do that to which you set your mind to do.
if you can do stuff, then do it. if you are a 67 yr old quadriplegic, i would say--may be a lil far fetched, but with the right home health care it is still possible.
get a lil boat and sail it all over the place--as well as your home base. the more you sail your lil play boat the more confidence you will gain as you seek your home base boat.
have fun.
i am currently 68 and keep a formosa as home. if i can do it, anyone can.
life is to be enjoyed .
 
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