Mature senior man sitting on his sailboat as the wind blows his hair.

70+ Year Old Man Says Seniors Can Still Sail! Here Are His Top Tips!

We’re all a little older today than we were yesterday. You may not feel it from one day to the next, but the more trips we take around the sun, the more complicated some tasks become. Sailing is one of those physically demanding tasks that will get harder the older we get.

Many of us will hold on to our physically demanding hobbies as long as we can. We’ll make the proper adjustments before throwing in the towel.

A senior sailer recently posted a video to YouTube walking viewers through tips for seniors who want to continue sailing. Let’s dive in and see his top tips!

Mature senior man sitting on his sailboat as the wind blows his hair.

Who Is Todd Dunn? 

Todd Dunn is a retired professor and scientist. He created his YouTube channel in January 2014 to share his knowledge regarding the many things that interest him. He’s covered topics like the economics of solar electric systems, sailboat maintenance, and his adventures. 

Todd does a fantastic job of bringing viewers along for the ride in his videos. Because he shares videos about things that interest him, you can sense his passion for sharing his knowledge.

He went from imparting his knowledge and wisdom about science into the minds of college students to sharing his knowledge about various other topics with his YouTube audience.

What Type of Sailboat Does Todd Dunn Sail?

Todd has a 1972 Allied Princess 36 Seaquestor Ketch. It has a 1972 hull that was probably launched for the first time in 1973. The boat was built in Catskill, N.Y., along the Hudson River.

The boat has a 36-foot fiberglass exterior with an 11-foot beam. The boat’s hull is nearly six feet above the water, making it easy to stay dry while sailing.

Todd gives a detailed tour of his boat.

The boat has belonged to Todd since June 10, 1996. As a result of his passion for sailing, he has made many modifications to the boat to fit his and his wife’s sailing needs. The boat can easily accommodate six people. The boat is beautiful, and Todd has loved it for 26 years.

Can Older Adults Still Sail?

Sailing can be a physically demanding hobby that can become extremely challenging for older adults. Todd shares that eventually, the day will come when sailing is no longer a hobby that older adults can regularly enjoy. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all age where seniors must stop sailing.

Seniors often face issues with balance and injuries as they age. Anyone with balance issues will have a hard time enjoying time on a constantly moving boat that’s anything but stable.

This can increase the likelihood of injuries, which older adults tend to take longer to recover from compared to younger sailors. The risks of regularly sailing simply aren’t worth it for most seniors.

Can a sailboater sleep anywhere in open water?

Todd Dunn’s Tips for Sailing Seniors

Todd shares some tips for sailing seniors that can help them live out their sailing adventures for as long as possible. However, knowing when to throw in the towel when it comes to sailing is important for all sailors. Let’s look at what tips Todd shared with his viewers.

Use Your Boat on Nice Days With Good Weather Windows

If sailing is becoming challenging for you, be a fair-weather sailor. Stick to days when the winds are no more than 10 to 15 knots, and you won’t have to deal with abuse from the water conditions. There’s no shame in being a fair-weather sailor.

When the winds pick up, they can knock your boat around and toss you and objects around on your boat. You can easily become injured, sidelining you from sailing until you recover.

Go out on nice days and stay in the harbor on rougher days. Calmer weather days require less physical demands from sailors. Reducing the number of days you sail is better than stopping completely.

A senior couple with gray hair embraces while sitting on the deck of their sailboat in the sun.

Downsize Your Boat

If you’re changing the amount of time you use your boat, you may not need nearly as large of a boat anymore. A smaller boat is easier to operate and requires less effort.

However, this can be a tough option as you may or may not have grown attached to your larger boat from having many years of pleasant memories on the water.

Increase Power Systems on Your Boat

More powered systems will make it easier for you to operate your boat. Why do all the physical work when you can have a motor or powered system to do it for you?

Power systems aren’t cheap, but they’ll allow you to raise and lower sails at the press of a button.

Change Your Sail Handling

Make changes that allow you to set sails and make any adjustments all from within the cockpit. This will prevent you from running around the boat making adjustments.

The less you move around the boat, the easier it will be on your body. You’ll limit any potential slips or falls as you’ll have almost everything you need within the cockpit.

A crew of three working the lines on a sailboat to catch the wind.

One of the biggest upgrades is installing roller furling. This allows you to raise and lower your boat sail once a year. You can roll and unroll a jib in a matter of seconds.

There are also similar options for your mainsail to make it easy to raise and lower. As we said, none of these are cheap, but if it allows you to sail for longer, it’s money well spent. Todd says, “With a little money, you can buy more time on the water.”

Install a Bow Thruster

This is a costly project that you’ll likely hire out. It allows you to handle and navigate the boat when docking. Younger sailors may jump off the boat when docking, but senior sailors don’t move nearly as quickly as they did previously.

The thruster can make a huge difference in extending the amount of time you spend on the water. This reduces the number of physical demands on the sailor and helps avoid causing damage to your precious boat.

Is Sailing in Your 70s Worth It?

If you take the proper precautions and make a few modifications, you can comfortably sail in your 70s. You may not be able to do it as often as you did when you were younger, but getting out on the water as often as possible is worth it. If you can afford to invest in your boat to make it easier for you, then do it.

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