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I don't discuss my member
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Please forgive me, as I may offend some people here. I ask that you don't get upset or defensive, but I'm having a hard time understanding why so many "elderly" boaters continue to do something that is obviously so dangerous, and physically demanding. Just in the short time I've been here on sailnet, I've counted a handful of people lost at 'sea' and they all seem to be well north of the 50 year old mark.

Now I've seen some VERY spry grandparents before, but lets be real, the majority aren't, and yet they single hand on long coastal cruising or even going across oceans. This is something I don't understand, is it like the elderly driving? You know, the blue haired wonder who can't see over the wheel anymore, but doesn't want to give up that freedom? Even if it might mean putting others in danger, like other drivers/ boaters (coast guard).

When do you think its a good idea to throw in the towel? I know it'll come for me some day. When I can't grind a winch in a blow, I guess I'll buy a flying scot then, and become a lake sailor. :p
 

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People sail because they love it. Stop doing what you love, might as well stop breathing too. I'll give up sailing when I can't walk. My Pop sails at 75. Seriously, if he takes a heart attack underway, it's far better than dying in a home.
 

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I getting ready to do Block Island Race week 2009 with a 91 year old mainsail trimmer ;)



That is in better shape than many 40 somethings
 

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Nothing to do with age and everything to do with physical ability, attitude, desire, and sadly (to some extent) affordability.......

There are 20 year olds that should be tied to the dock....:)
 

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Aquaholic
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Or the anchor.............
 

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We just bought our boat from a gentleman in his 80s. Now, we was indeed selling because he was having trouble sailing her these days. But the really interesting part is that he bought the boat at 75. I was pretty impressed, and I hope at that age that I'm sailing too.

I agree that there are some people who do stupid things or attempt what's beyond their ability, but I think they come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.
 

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Hey ZZ... I heard that when you cannot sail anymore because you are too old, you sell your boat and try to buy an RV!!! Seems like I know someone like that too!! HEHE!

In all reality, the majority of boat owners (sailboats of any real size) are probably over 50. When we lived aboard in Florida, we were by and far (maybe 20-30 years) the youngest in the marina until our best friends came up and LA'd behind us. Still, we were by far the exception and not the norm.

In fact, I have always seen that - no matter where I have sailed or cruised or gone. It is dominated by an older generation. This is due to time, money, and freedom from committments (whether it be kids now grown, job, retired, etc). Not a lot of youg sailors. Giving the cost of sailboats and the cost to maintain, it is no wonder.

Back to your question, I say die behind the wheel of your sailboat. Go down at sea. Set your sails and have your heart attack on the way to the horizon. Why not? If you are not a danger to others, it is your life. And what better way to live it, or die by it??

- CD
 

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Look at the Buffet song line on my signature.

That's WHY.

I'll quit whatever it is I'm doing when I'm dead, but I'd rather die while I'm living, than to live while I'm dead.

Hell, check your OWN signature line. You already know.

"Every man dies, not every man truly lives. "
 

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Back to your question, I say die behind the wheel of your sailboat. Go down at sea. Set your sails and have your heart attack on the way to the horizon. Why not? If you are not a danger to others, it is your life. And what better way to live it, or die by it??
Wow. Just wow. :)
 

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Colorado Sailor
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Buying my first cruising boat "north of 50" and hope to be still out there "north of 70":) Maybe I should name the boat that. Kinda catchy.
North of 50
 

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Apropos of Nothing
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I generally think that you should sail until you no longer enjoy it or your family tires of pulling your carcass out of the freezer and propping it up on the boat every weekend.

However, there does come a point where you have to think about possibly becoming a burden on those that would have to rescue you. I know this topic has been debated quite a bit on this site, so I won't start it up again. But if you're half the man you used to be, then bring someone along that can get your half ass back to the beach. :)
 

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Let's put the shoe on the other foot. Please forgive me if I offend you. What the **** do you know about sailing? ;) :D We old timers have been doing it for 40 or more years. We've taken all the courses, attended all the seminars, read all the books, discussed every aspect of sailing and seamanship with all the best sailors we've ever known, and, believe me, it'll take you 40 years to learn what we know. While you're working your tail off grinding winches in a blow, we'll be tailing our winches mostly with our bare hands, because we've learned how to do it quickly and efficiently without working ourselves to death. When you young guys are sprinting around the foredeck with nary a concern for the possibility that you might fall off the boat, we're smart enough to tether ourselves securely to a jackline or a piece of hardware that is throughbolted to the deck. Which one of us is at greater risk of falling off the boat?

Sailing isn't particularly dangerous or physically demanding. If it was dangerous, you wouldn't see so many people sailing with their families, risking the lives of their spouses and children. Sailing is not a physical sport. It's a cerebral sport. It requires knowledge rather than physical strength or agility. The more you know, the better you are at it, and the safer you are.

I attended a seminar last year. The principal speaker was an older man who has raced and cruised across the Atlantic and elsewhere many times. He mentioned that he has a heart condition. He told us he was preparing for another Atlantic crossing. During a break, I asked him how he deals with the possibility that he might have a heart attack at sea. He said he has a checkup before he leaves, takes medications with him, and just doesn't worry about it. At our age, we have a choice. We can either stop sailing and retire to our family room and sit in front of a tv and wait for death to take us, or we can forget about it and do what we love doing for as long as the good Lord permits us to do it. Which choice would you make?
 

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The issue becomes for some of these "lost at sea", is they may have gotten out in weather conditions, that they or boat could not handle, and down they went.

A few yrs back, locally a fellow had a heart attack at the top of a ski hill, dead by the time he hit the bottom of the sloop 500' down. Some say ugly way to go, myself, dig a hole, bury me, and ski off enjoying the run for me......oh yeah, take my gear to rental dept, turn it in,, take the deposit and enjoy toasting in the bar doing wrist exercises with brewski's!

Marty
 

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So having spent the last 40 years rescuing others at peril to myself you think I should "hang it up" 'cause I might be a hazard to others or need to be rescued in a SAILBOAT? How hazardous can you get at 5 knots? Personally when the time comes I hope to have just enough left to point the boat west, and I'm not making a "float plan" so don't send anyone after me.;)
 

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When my wife and I first moved aboard in 1972 we were in our early twenties and most others that we knew who were living aboard sailboats at that time were near our age. Now, there has been a huge increase in liveaboards/fulltime cruisers and they are still almost all near our age. During our 37 years of cruising most of the tragic events we've heard about have been due to poor judgment that is not age related. Any statistic that implies
that older sailors are at higher risk must be adjusted to reflex the median age of those out sailing. We're still cruising the Maine to Bahamas seasonal circuit and keeping a watch for a future assisted living marina. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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..... We're still cruising the Maine to Bahamas seasonal circuit and keeping a watch for a future assisted living marina....
I liked that last bit!
 

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Hmmm... I see a good business in my future.... /chuckles
 
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