Marty Feldman said “I’m too old to die young and too young to grow up”. He’s dead now but I don’t hold that against him. But that’s how I feel and I made a retirement decision based on the fact that some day in the future I might be too old to sail. The idea was to get the boat ready and get to the Caribbean before I get too old to do it! In Ontario they start retesting your ability to drive a car at 80 and every two years thereafter. To sail you simply have to have paid the money to get the joke boaters license they sell in Canada. My Australian Shepherd could get an Ontario boaters license if she had a valid credit card. So I will have a valid boaters license until I die. So losing my license will not stop me from sailing.
Robert Redford’s latest movie ‘All is Lost’ is supposed to be a representation of a solo sailor’s troubles at sea after striking a container full of shoes. What a crock this movie is. The boat seems to have a force field inside that miraculously holds the water out, even when the boat flips with open hatch boards… The movie is full of sailing bullshit. I believe the boat is a Cal 39 so if you want a boat that won’t sink…consider them. The reality is it took three Cal 39’s to make this film.
It is however the best movie about solo sailing I have seen…although I can’t remember seeing any other. The movie might be pretty to look at and Robert Redford is a great silent movie star… Oh ya, the point…Robert Redford is 78 years old. Of course he looks a little younger with all the make up, west system epoxy and bungee cords used to smooth him out and pull him tighter. So according to Hollywood it is appropriate to blue water sail solo at least until 78 years of age. Or be glued together to look younger. Lets have a contest…how old did Redford look in the movie? _______
Your boat is a big factor in how long you can continue to sail. You can add; power winches, furling sails, smaller sail plan, self tacking sails and bring running rigging into the cockpit. All of these amendments are just a few boat bucks each and will help address loss of strength and flexibility. But what if your eyes go? You might become a hazard if you sail by sound…just sayin’. Hearing loss to a lesser extent and perhaps a mixed blessing. If you become confused…sailing might become more fun but you might forget to come back.
I retired at 59 in order to get the boat ready and when Mary Lynn retires this summer we will begin the trek south while I am still able. We need to get to the Caribbean before I begin to lose faculties. The bonus is I might get too old to come back. We will spend a few seasons cruising the islands, find a place we like and spend more time there.
As we age we begin to choose and restrict the length of voyage we will undertake, we watch the weather closely, we put extra crew on board and then we ultimately never leave the dock or mooring… Even on a dock or mooring we are still sailing and still sailors. Eventually they will have to drag or lift me off the boat kicking and screaming and put me in the old sailor’s home.
Being an ‘old sailor’ doesn’t sound all that good. Imagine if the famous poem ‘the ‘rime’ of the Ancient Mariner’ was called ‘the old sailor’. Doesn’t make it does it.
Another factor related to your health is fitness. I religiously did my Rum curls to strengthen my arms and played Euchre to sharpen my wits (although my euchre partner Rick and the women might question that). I have started snowshoeing 40 minutes a day at a 20 minute mile pace. They (not sure who they are or is) say that exercise is the single most important thing you can do to prevent dementia. What was I saying? Oh ya, I am also dieting by calorie intake of about 1700 per day. I drank that many calories in rum alone while in the Caribbean.
I will have to deal with my addiction…yes Aspartame. I don’t think Aspartame has affected me, but I do find myself staring into the empty microwave from time to time… Switching from diet Pepsi to regular Pepsi might add 1000 calories. That only leaves 700 for food…but I forgot the rum! Damn now I have to snowshoe 2 hours to make room for food… There is a new Pepsi PEPSI NEXT that apparently has less in it that will kill you (other than the sugar) JEEZUZ