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This thread has alot in common with "size for singlehandling"

As we age I wonder how a bigger boat plays into the equation of calling it quits?
 

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Discussion Starter #22
This thread has alot in common with "size for singlehandling"

As we age I wonder how a bigger boat plays into the equation of calling it quits?
Smaller boats usually are not set up with powered mechanical stuff. For "able bodied" sailors smaller is easier to handle and forces are less. As you get a bigger boat you'll be needing more mechanical assists... But someone pointed out what to do when you have a mechanical failure...

There's probably a size which it makes sense to add the mechanical assists AND in a pinch when there is a failure.... a resourceful sailor will manage. And these sorts of things can be added over time. My boat came with nylon rode and no windlass. I added a hand operated SL windlass and then changed to an electric with all chain. Same boat... anchoring is easier and more secure and requires no brute strength. Same with Millie. She raises the big main. I could use the winches for more of the hoist not just the end... But the days of hauling most of the 440SF main up most of the way by hand/brute strength is now past. I sail the same boat and sail plan. Same for the roller furler... boat came with hank on sails These sorts of things allow those without lots of strength to sail what used to require more fit sailors.

I think old salt sweet spot for size is between 30' and 40'.. YMMV
 

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How many even think about the final act?
Everyone, even non-sailors

My wife and I have been full time cruising for a little over 2 years now. You know how long we have been thinking of what our next thing after cruising is? It's a little over 2 years! Cruising/sailing is like pretty much like every other part of life, failing to plan is planning to fail.
 

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How old is too old? I don't know yet but at 74 I can see it on the horizon.

One of the things that has kept me going is sailing multihulls. I've been on cats and tris for decades but it wasn't until I went out on a friend's racer/cruiser monohull that I realized how awkward I'd become.
Various injuries and surgeries have left the bottom half of my body relatively feeble, but I can still singlehand my cat.
She's for sale now,but only so I can buy a folding trimaran that I can dock on a trailer when I'm not using her.
Aside from that, roller furling, autopilot and an electric windlass are valuable crew on Mandolin.
 

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Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) strives to make sailing accessible to people with disabilities of all types. I had an elderly friend who came to his boat in a wheelchair and raced it, often winning. He sailed it in and out of it's slip, without a motor. If you have a disability, you find a "workaround" that enables you to do whatever you enjoy doing.

Some skippers don't want old folks for crew. The first time I crew on an unfamiliar boat, I know that I'll have to demonstrate that I can contribute meaningfully to the sailing of the boat in order to be invited back. That isn't really difficult to do, because younger crew often neglect some of the "fine points", such as skirting the jib after each tack. If you show that you're thinking about such things, you'll likely be invited back.

As long as you're reasonably ambulatory, and sentient, and have friends who are willing to contend with your disabilities, I see no reason why one can't continue sailing until the last day of one's life. Many have done it.
I'm certainly one of those skippers who will not take a disabled or person on lifesaving medication on an ocean crossing. Persons with cardiac problems, epilepsy or diabetes are some illnesses that I won't consider for crew positions.
There have been instances where I have denied access to a tour or passenger boat to those in a wheelchair. Most often this is when the vessel has watertight oval hatches (doors) which cannot be navigated by someone in a wheelchair alone. Most often, tourist boats do not have an extra two crew to aid the person in the wheelchair in an emergency. I'd rather be sued for denying access than for a death.
 
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I began "simply messing about in boats" at 12. I'm now 72, and after 60 years of near-continuous living aboard and working on boats and I can say, in no uncertain terms, it was a heck of a lot more fun (and easier) when I was younger!
I am considering this question almost on a daily basis, now. Will I actually have to move ashore, closer to doctors and the like, or can I physically continue until I expire aboard?
I can't for the life of me think of what I would do with my time if I resided ashore, but on those days when it seems one is taking two steps back on maintenance, I think how nice it would be not to have those worries.
Last season we had a couple in their 80's as guests aboard. They were amazingly active and able, which did give me some hope.
But I'm guessing it's a very personal thing. There's a Frenchman in the Golden Globe, a single-handed, non-stop, 'round the world sailboat race. He's 73 I believe, and he's way out front! I sure have no desire to do that!
 
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When a Nordhaven starts looking good.

It doesn't. Yet.
 

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The thought of dying scares me to death. Having a hard job making out a will, know I gotta do it, but YUCK! How can the world stand to loose so much perfection?
 

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But I'm guessing it's a very personal thing.
I think that's the crux. I discussed this subject with an officer of a major national sailing organization who had a serious heart condition, who loved ocean racing and who was looking forward, at that time, to an upcoming Bermuda race. He simply didn't consider his heart condition a factor in his decision to race. A couple years later I read that he had passed away, and I hoped he was at the helm of a fast boat during an ocean race when it happened. He'd have been OK with that.
 

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Just keep thinking of ways to sail smarter, safer, easier. Inflatable pfd, electric winch, call ahead for help on the dock,... etc.. I think a person will get too old for repairs and maintenance work long before he can't actually sail a boat.
 

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I hoped he was at the helm of a fast boat during an ocean race when it happened. He'd have been OK with that.
But would the rest of the crew and the boat, had his end come while on the helm on a spinnaker run in 25 or more knots of wind? I agree that for the person who passes it's best to be doing his favorite thing, but what of the consequences? Just like driving under the influence; it's all about the others who get drawn into the situation.
 

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Originally Posted by Sailormon6:
I hoped he was at the helm of a fast boat during an ocean race when it happened. He'd have been OK with that.
But would the rest of the crew and the boat, had his end come while on the helm on a spinnaker run in 25 or more knots of wind?
What makes you think he would have been at the helm in 25 kts under spinnaker? He was completely open about his heart condition, and his skippers would have been well aware of it. His primary assignments on the boat, based on his skills, would have been navigator, meteorologist and tactician.

The skipper assigns tasks to the crew. I race a lot, and thoughtful skippers don't assign tasks to crew who aren't physically up to the tasks. He might have been given the helm in moderate conditions, but only the skipper and the most able helmsmen are at the helm in the most challenging conditions.

If he had a heart attack during the race, medical aid would have been at least hours away, perhaps more. He accepted that risk, preferring it to living out his days on the couch in front of a tv. It wouldn't have endangered the boat and crew. It would have been a major inconvenience that the skipper and crew were willing to accept, so their friend and valued shipmate could continue racing with them.

Sooner or later it will happen to us all, whether we're doing what we love, or puttering around the house.
 

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What makes you think he would have been at the helm in 25 kts under spinnaker? He was completely open about his heart condition, and his skippers would have been well aware of it. His primary assignments on the boat, based on his skills, would have been navigator, meteorologist and tactician.

The skipper assigns tasks to the crew. I race a lot, and thoughtful skippers don't assign tasks to crew who aren't physically up to the tasks. He might have been given the helm in moderate conditions, but only the skipper and the most able helmsmen are at the helm in the most challenging conditions.

If he had a heart attack during the race, medical aid would have been at least hours away, perhaps more. He accepted that risk, preferring it to living out his days on the couch in front of a tv. It wouldn't have endangered the boat and crew. It would have been a major inconvenience that the skipper and crew were willing to accept, so their friend and valued shipmate could continue racing with them.

Sooner or later it will happen to us all, whether we're doing what we love, or puttering around the house.
Perhaps you are right, but it never occurred to me that a crew member on a small, unprofessional ocean racer wouldn't take his turn on the helm.
Just out of curiosity, have you ever had to deal with a dead crew member on a boat offshore? If you had, perhaps you would understand my attitude and not be so quick to criticize. It is rather unpleasant and not a boost to morale at all.
 

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I'm not criticizing. I'm agreeing with your thoughtful comments in post #27. The skipper has a right to decide who crews on his boat and what risks he's willing to accept. A skipper might make different choices for a 5-6 day race than for an ocean crossing. Each of us must decide what is most important to us and how we'll spend the days of our lives.
 

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To old to sail to me comes at the point where I have to pay people to do the upkeep on my boat as I’m no longer able.
 

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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.
 

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To old to sail to me comes at the point where I have to pay people to do the upkeep on my boat as I’m no longer able.
Hey, that's one of the things that's nice about being older. Having the money not to have to do all the $hit jobs on the boat.
A few years back I finally started having the yard do my bottom and it was wonderful. Now we use professionals that we feel are competent, for a few jobs, like the outboard maintenance, sail, and canvas repairs, etc.
 
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