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Older sailors - upsize or downsize?

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by MightyMike, Aug 10, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. MightyMike

    MightyMike

    Joined May 16, 2017
    40 posts, 16 likes
    Pearson 10 Meter
    US Westport Ma
    After being out of sailing for 15 years or so, I've recently purchased a Hunter 33. Love the boat. It sails well, has a great roomy cabin and can go anywhere I am likely to want to go.
    But I am beginning to believe it's too big for my older body. I find I am just as likely to sit on the mooring as go through the workout to go sailing.
    I am thinking i would get in more sailing in 22 to 25 footer with fewer systems to maintain and a lighter hull to move around.
    So my question to you older sailors is it better to move up to nicer accommodations or downsize for easier management.
     


  2. AlastairLC

    AlastairLC

    Joined Jan 2, 2017
    241 posts, 48 likes
    O'Day 322
    US Lake Pleasant
    Hey, Mike. I took up sailing again after a 15 year hiatus, intending to singlehand like I used to in Maine. My dear wife pointed out that I was a lot older now and that wouldn't be a good idea. So I bought a used 32 footer and hired crew. I love it. The crewman does all the heavy lifting and I have someone to talk to. Even with a smaller boat, you're going to have problems (and no one to talk to).
     


  3. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,179 posts, 739 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    @MightyMike , you can get in shape at any age.

    Unless you don't wish to do so...
     


  4. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,469 posts, 1,613 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    I'm struggling similarly. I love sailing. But dang it can be hard work. I'll be watching this thread closely.
     


  5. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,469 posts, 1,613 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    Really? Before or after knee surgery? Before or after shoulder replacement?
     


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  6. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,179 posts, 739 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    Most of these ailments are due to musculature gone atrophic, and failing to support the attendant skeleton.
    Or not.
     


  7. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    1,955 posts, 650 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Fair Haven, NY
    There are a bunch of old guys at my marina who regularly sail their ~30 boats. By old guys, I mean guys who have been on Medicare for a long time. They move slower, don't go out when its nasty and will sail with a smaller headsail, but they are out there.

    Like JSG implied, a little time at the gym makes sailing a lot more enjoyable. That's been the case for me.

    If you're going to use the words "Senior Citizen" near me, make sure the next word is "Discount." :biggrin:
     


  8. MightyMike

    MightyMike

    Joined May 16, 2017
    40 posts, 16 likes
    Pearson 10 Meter
    US Westport Ma
    So I bought a used 32 footer and hired crew. I love it. The crewman does all the heavy lifting and I have someone to talk to. Even with a smaller boat, you're going to have problems (and no one to talk to).[/QUOTE]
    I absolutely love this idea. No only do you have company, but they have agree with you or risk getting fired. Unfortunately my cruise fund would not support paid crew. It barely pays for my own beer.
     


  9. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,179 posts, 739 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    And go slow.
     


  10. LeoLambert310

    LeoLambert310

    Joined Nov 18, 2013
    171 posts, 13 likes
    Catalina 310
    CA Campbell River
    I have a buddy at 84 that sails his 37 with his wife and another on a 32 single hand but he's younger only 78. It's not your age it how you feel.
     


  11. MightyMike

    MightyMike

    Joined May 16, 2017
    40 posts, 16 likes
    Pearson 10 Meter
    US Westport Ma
    @MightyMike , you can get in shape at any age.

    Unless you don't wish to do so...[/QUOTE]

    It's not that I don't want to....who am I kidding? Of course it is.
     


  12. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,179 posts, 739 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    And you can learn to quote at any age, too. ;)
     


    jviss and MightyMike like this.
  13. dLj

    dLj

    Joined Mar 23, 2017
    176 posts, 45 likes
    Hunter 30
    US Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
    Sailing alone - go smaller.

    Sailing with help - do what you want.

    That's my 2 cents worth...

    dj
     


  14. Charlie Jones s/v Tehani

    Charlie Jones s/v Tehani

    Joined Mar 1, 2012
    1,348 posts, 303 likes
    1961 Rhodes Meridian 25
    us Texas coast
    I'm 76. and single hand a 25 footer. used to have a 35 foot tri. Glad I no longer do. It's not the sailing-it's the upkeep!
     


  15. FastOlson

    FastOlson

    Joined Apr 8, 2010
    930 posts, 81 likes
    Ericson Yachts Olson 34
    US Portland OR
    We have several boats in the 27 to 31 foot range in our YC with conversions to self tacking jibs. It is a huge reduction in effort to easily sail the boats. Our 95% composite jib with vertical battens is a great step in the right direction, but in hind sight I kind of wish I had installed a self tacker as well.

    I agree with Charlie about the upkeep! One of these years crawling backwards into the lazaretto to fix stuff is going to be a little too arduous. Not yet... but the time is getting closer.
     


  16. thinwater

    thinwater

    Joined Mar 26, 2011
    1,838 posts, 300 likes
    Corsair F-24 MK I
    US Deale, MD
    The "just get in shape" argument is half true and half not, in my experience. Atrophy contributes to some conditions, and activity and proper PT really matter as we age, but some of my injuries are the result of an active life and high impacts. It also varies with the person, and such broad statements about fitness are frankly, rude. You can't know the whole story.

    More to the point, what if the sailor simply doesn't feel like cruising anymore? What is the sense in dragging a cruising boat around on a day sail? It makes about as much sense as taking a Winnebago out for an afternoon spin. Both are arguably (obviously?) the wrong tool for the job. The Alerion 28 Express, for example, makes this point.
     


  17. Roland5048

    Roland5048

    Joined May 12, 2004
    991 posts, 270 likes
    Hunter Cherubini 30
    US New Port Richey
    MM, there is no right answer here. Go with what you are comfortable with.
     


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  18. uncledom

    uncledom

    Joined Jun 11, 2011
    966 posts, 169 likes
    Hunter 41
    US Lewes
    As you age I think you should work or sail smarter not harder. That's why they invented electric winches. :stir:
    Now they have reversing electric winches :dancing:
     


    Will Gilmore, Parsons and Kermit like this.
  19. DougM

    DougM

    Joined Jul 24, 2005
    1,465 posts, 117 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Manistee, MI
    I am grappling with the boat issue too. I can easily sail my 32 footer solo, but don't like it that much. Its more of a safety concern. Sailing on Lake Michigan can get more than a bit bumpy at times. Docking alone at a seawall tieup can get a little hairy in wind and/ or current when you are trying to parallel park a 32 foot boat in a 50 foot space.
    My able bodied crew passed away last year, and she is going to be difficult to replace. After 47 years we could manage the boat without even having to give each other directions.
    As for the maintenance, I could probably afford to pay someone, but there is a trust issue combined with the fact that my labor is cheap.
     


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  20. uncledom

    uncledom

    Joined Jun 11, 2011
    966 posts, 169 likes
    Hunter 41
    US Lewes
    One serious point I'd like to bring up is that most smaller boats are also much more tender. It takes very large waves to rock my world on my 41. I find it very stable and as I just had shoulder surgery and can't even lift a gallon of water with my predominate hand yet, I'm happy to be on such sturdy vessel. I remember my 25.5 if a 14 knot gust hit we were heeled over good and if you weren't paying attention you could get launched. If a 25 knot gust hits the 41 she simultaneously speeds up and heels over. Both happen at a much slower rate and she can hold full sails at 25 knots.
     


    RoyS and Parsons like this.
  21. Justin_NSA

    Justin_NSA

    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    4,531 posts, 668 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    Good responses here. You could argue that sailing keeps you fit and active or that it weeds out the less able. We have been required by law to make our club ADA compliant, but i have yet to see anyone wheeled over to a boat. More power to them if they still want to go out. For me, I cycle, lift weights etc to stay as strong, balanced and flexible as I can. Just turned 62. It ain't bad, I get that senior discount!
     


  22. Parsons

    Parsons

    Joined Jul 12, 2011
    516 posts, 149 likes
    Catalina 36
    US Bay City, MI
    Following up on @uncledom 's comments ... I just stepped up from a 22-foot daysailor with a tiller to a Catalina 36 with many of the bells-and-whistles, including autopilot. I could barely single-hand the little daysailor because there were many times I had to be in two places at once (mast and tiller, for example). It was getting to the point where I could not balance well on the tiny foredeck (no non-skid either) to tie off at a dock or trailer the thing. Forget about flying the spinnaker alone. All of these things happen in a more stately speed on the C36, and with a little planning it's a pleasure to single-hand. The 'weight' or 'size' of the boat is not as much an issue -- I didn't get off and push either one around! The weight of sails and equipment is more on the larger boat, but still manageable.

    I was recently chatting with a 70+ year old dockmate who stepped all the way through the Catalina line, topping out at the C44. He said that his boat is easier to single-hand than my C36 because of the added stuff - boom furler, electric winches, easier ride, etc. When I can't handle my C36 anymore, I'm really thinking that larger may be a better solution than smaller.
     



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