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Starting at age 50

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May 12, 2010
237
Macgregor 25 Southern Maryland
In another thread about the sailboats on which we learned to sail, a number of us have said that we started sailing at or after age 50. I was wondering how many of us are out there -- and how many of us insist we're going to have our hands on a tiller or wheel for decades to come!
 
Jun 4, 2004
66
Hunter 30 Union Springs, NY
I'm 63, been sailing for about 15 years and just captained my first bareboat charter in the BVI's. As long as my arthritic hands hold out I'll be at the tiller/wheel. One can choose to ignore pain.
 

Sumner

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Jan 31, 2009
5,254
Macgregor & Endeavour 26S and 37 Utah's Canyon Country
I was 65 when we bought our Mac and Ruth was a little older. Neither of us had ever sailed before that. I was brought up in and around the water and a plywood boat and canoe and later put quite a few river miles on a Grumman canoe we still have. Ruth was the opposite only having been on a boat a couple times in her life even though she spent most of her life in the Long Beach area and she didn't know how to swim.

I told her yesterday how courageous she has been in this endeavor considering her background. Last summer we bought a 4 X 16 backyard above ground pool to help her out and that did help a lot as we used it every day until it got to cold. She can now swim just a bit without floatation, but with it now gets around pretty good. She almost always has a PFD on in the cockpit, but unfortunately now that she feels less threatened by the boat/water there were times in Florida that she didn't. As soon as she or I realized it she puts one on.

As far as sailing we can now get from point A to B under sail, but we are far from considering ourselves sailors. Our biggest problem is docking or getting through the lock we had to go through in Florida recently. We anchor out always, so still have had to deal with docks very little. We need practice there.



We have spent a lot of time and money modifying a 26 foot easily trailered sailboat into an exploration vehicle that we can now stay out on for 30+ days unassisted. Hopefully we will be using it for a number of years to come.

To do that I eventually see the need for more lines run to the cockpit. We added a furler this past summer and I sure love it but still don't mind, actually enjoy, going to the mast for the main.

Some of our best moments now are on the water,

Sum

Our Trips to Lake Powell, UT - Kootenay Lake, Canada - Priest Lake, ID

Our Mac Pages

Mac-Venture Links
 
Mar 3, 2003
688
Hunter 356 Grand Rivers
I started at 50 and am now 63 - nearer to 64. I bought a new 1998 Hunter 260 with fixed keel and a 9 hp outboard. Took ASA sailing lessons and sailed that boat 5 years until we traded it in on a new 2003 Hunter 356 that we have sailed for 8 seasons. We equipped our H356 to the hilt the way we wanted it and have added a few things, but in general it has done as we expected. I have looked at other boats, but never found anything that seems to suit us as well as our current boat. I have freinds in their early 80's that still sail and many in their 70's. I expect to continue to enjoy our boat for years to come. We have spent 573 days on board in the 8 years we have had the 356.
 
Nov 9, 2008
1,338
Pearson-O'Day 290 Portland Maine
We bought our Lancer at when I was 46. First time I sailed was when I hoisted the jib. And yes, I plan to sail for decades, into my 70's.
 
Jul 13, 2010
984
Precision 23 Perry Hall,Baltimore County
My wife and I (60,56) took sailing lessons last summer to be able to check `em off the bucket list. Bought a Precision 18 we are learning on. Can`t wait for this spring to get back in Middle river/ Chesepeake bay. We both wish we had started a long time ago. An older sailing friend of ours (middle 70`s) is hinting he would like us to buy his O`Day 32. That may be more than we would ever want,too soon to tell!
 
Jul 13, 2010
984
Precision 23 Perry Hall,Baltimore County
to dscribner,"Good Old Boat" I just got in the mail featured a Lancer 25 review,I believe.
 
May 24, 2007
185
Beneteau 352 Milwaukee, WI
I'm 57. I took a sailing course at UW in Madison in 2006, bought a MacGregor 26M in 2007 and moved up to the Beneteau in 2010. My wife and I plan on spending many years cruising the Great Lakes.
 
May 24, 2004
470
Hunter 33.5 Portsmouth, RI
My wife & I started with sailing lessons when we were 57 & 54 on Solings. We now have our 1990 Hunter 33.5 that we bought in 1999 and are now 75 & 72. Plan to launch again in June for our 13th season. It's year to year now as we see how it goes. As I said in th recent past, my body is 75 but I' 25 for the 3rd time.
 

LuzSD

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Feb 21, 2009
1,009
Catalina 30 San Diego/ Dana Point, Ca.
In 1995 My 70 year old parents went on a week-long sailing trip with 2 other 70 year old couples, (one of them had won 1st place in a desert contest at a Catalina rendezvous at Catalina Island ( the winning desert was a cake that resembled a litter box...use your imagination!!) They had a ball!! Within 5 years my folks bought their own 27 Catalina, joined a yacht club, convinced my husband, my brother and me to go to sailing school and that began our love affair with sailing. We sailed the 27 as a family for a quite a few years, joined the yacht club ourselves and enjoyed the sailing scene. Over the next few years it became increasingly frustrating deciding which family was on the calendar for which week, maintenance was always delicate between us and it became something we either got out of or completely immersed ourselves........so we decided we really wanted to take it more seriously and in 2006 we purchased our own 1988 Catalina and the rest is history.
We crew on a 39 Santana in races most of the year in Dana Point, have done the Newport to Ensenada on a 37 Jeanneau with 2 other couples all 50+ and entered the first Border Run race from Newport to San Diego with our 30 Catalina and took first place. We consider ourselves still green and my only regret is that we did not fall in love with sailing much earlier......only because I would love to imagine another 50 years of sailing and learning. Without a doubt, sailing is the most satisfying, humbling, challenging sport and way of life we could ever imagine and we are forever grateful.
My father passed away a year ago and we feel him with us each time we learn something new. He was normally a very impatient man and yet, when sailing, time slowed way down and he was amazing when he had to talk me through a turn when I missed the slip and we were headed right for the cement wall... Due to his odd patience in those situations I learned to trust myself and my instincts which turned my fear and apprehension into feelings of accomplishment and challenge.
We are now 60 (JUST!!!) and 62 and every conversation about where we might live in the future begins with a discussion on which harbors are within a reasonable distance. There is no going back for us and we are just fine with that.
 

kenn

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Apr 18, 2009
1,271
CL Sandpiper 565 Toronto
Although I've sailed off and on since my teens, we were both 49 when we bought our boat. Does that count?

(As I said elsewhere, I no longer have any regrets about not starting sooner. It's great to find a new interest, something to get enthused about in middle age.)
 
Jan 3, 2011
14
Irwin Yachts 30 Citation Green Turtle Bay Marina
Begining at 55

November of 2010 on my 55th birthday we purchased a 30' Irwin Yachts Citatation. She is pretty sparse in the electronic department but a new chartplotter, GPS, depth sounder and VHF radio is a nice start for us. Now we await warmer weather to sharpen our sailing skills on Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. There is no doubt this is our dream lifestyle.
 
Dec 1, 2010
69
Catalina 1978 C-27 Nortons Marina
We are in! We are 48 years old and just bought a 1978 C-27 we will put in on March 31.
I have already gone to an outboard motor class and have someone who will teach me how to sail her. I really want to sail through the keys and Islands someday but for now we will call Newport RI home. She is in great shape and is giving us a really good head start.
 
Feb 6, 2008
7
cape dory 28 28 Annapolis md
Although I sailed as a youth many years ago I began again in 2003 at the age of 78. Took several boating classes to brush up and started with a Helms 25. In 2005 bought a Cape Dory 28 and sailed in the Chesapeake for five years. Cruised to RI and back in 2007. Am now selling the CD28 having bought a Pearson 33. You're never too old to start sailing.
 

dew

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Apr 18, 2010
16
macgregor 26x lake martin
Great to hear there are a lot of us older sailors out there. I too aim to sail for quite a few more years. As long as I can grip the wheel, or tiller I shall sail into, and back from the sunset (past 65)
 
May 12, 2010
237
Macgregor 25 Southern Maryland
My wife and I (60,56) took sailing lessons last summer to be able to check `em off the bucket list. Bought a Precision 18 we are learning on. Can`t wait for this spring to get back in Middle river/ Chesepeake bay. We both wish we had started a long time ago. An older sailing friend of ours (middle 70`s) is hinting he would like us to buy his O`Day 32. That may be more than we would ever want,too soon to tell!
I don't know if I had an official "bucket list," but just thought I'd try sailing because it looked like fun. I took my sailing class at Worton Creek near Rock Hall, and some weeks later, bought a little 17 foot racing type sailboat. After three times out, the family decided they liked it, (a surprise to me) which gave me the "permission" to purchase a larger, used MacGregor 25, which unfortunately I was only able to motor (little if any wind) from the Magothy River to Solomons in November.

I can't want for next season, either!
 
Jan 24, 2010
10
oday daysailor Buffalo
I bought my boat at 50 while very tipsy at a party for 2000$. A 23ft. 1979 O'Day. Whatta great time I have had. I bought a trailer for it, trailed it to Fla...twice, and sailed the Bahamas solo for a month. I think I appreciate the solo time on the boat the best as I am totally reliant on myself. It reinvigorates a zest for life and encourages more adventures.
Sailing solo makes you more outgoing to meet new friends and always get important tips.
The boat is too small for my wife who has done her days camping and will only settle for a Hyatt.
Kids are grown and gone which frees up more time for the sailboat.
50 is primetime to take on a sailing odyssey of your own.
 
Jan 10, 2011
2
cape dory 25 ft fairport harbor yacht club
Great to hear there are a lot of us older sailors out there. I too aim to sail for quite a few more years. As long as I can grip the wheel, or tiller I shall sail into, and back from the sunset (past 65)
Age is just a number. Stay active have all the fun you can..I have a 25 cape dory and a 16 ft boston whaler and go to the yacht club every day.Plus go to the beach and sit and watch the ladys with my pot belly friends. Plus I am the dockmaster at my club so I get to meet all kind of great sailors from all over the great lakes. They say move it or lose it. Keep on moving as long as you can. 70 is the new 50
 
Oct 2, 2006
1,517
Jboat J24 commack


Uncle Joe at 93 is most likely the record holder in both age as and active sailor and amount of time spent actively sailing :)

While he has slowed a bit in the last year he still trims mainsail on and acive raceboat and has the most postive attuide i have ever seen

It is rumored he once called somebody a dam fool :)
 

Ross

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Jun 15, 2004
14,693
Islander/Wayfairer 30 sail number 25 Perryville,Md.
I bought my Islander 30 in 1989 when I was 51, I spent ten years rebuilding it and last summer was the first time I haven't taken it out of the slip. I just needed a little rebuilding so next year we will go sailing again.
 
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