Sailing After Age 50 and Beyond
According to industry specialists, at least two-fifths of the owners of recreational boats in the United States and more than half the members of many boat clubs are over the age of 50.
There is no age limit to sailing, as many of us who have sailed since childhood know – still, aging mariners cannot deny that traits like physical strength and agility can change quickly in our later years. We may be less sure-footed on boats that are moving up, down and sideways, and if we end up going for a swim, hauling ourselves back on board may not be as easy.
Though some may be quick to focus on the calendar, specialists agree that almost-retirement age is not too late to start sailing – and in many ways, people older than 50 are better positioned for boat ownership than younger people.
Sailors over the age of 50 are more likely to be retired or have adult children than younger sailors, and as a result, have more free time. They have also had decades to save the estimated $8,000 - $40,000 typically needed to buy a used boat and can afford also to store, insure and maintain it.
The good news for older boaters who may be thinking of trimming their own sails – maybe by taking shorter trips, avoiding rough weather, or making sure not to cruise alone anymore – is that technology has provided us with many options to keep sailing. If raising and lowering sails is becoming too much, an electric winch is a reliable, easy fix. Similarly, an electric-powered windlass can bring up heavy anchors, while motorized bow and stern thrusters can help when maneuvering a vessel into port. Other fixes are less technology-heavy, like adding a small ladder to make climbing out of the water easier, or running control lines from the sails directly to the cockpit.
WindRider has taken these technologies a step further to preserve a sailing experience that is truly accessible to anyone. The option to modify WindRider trimarans with hand and foot controls makes sailing a breeze for those with limited lateral stability or mobility, and the below-the-boom, comfortable seating means sailors can focus on sailing rather than stressing themselves mentally and physically with more demanding tasks.