On a more somber note . . . . .

Started by Charles Brennan, Oct 20, 2023, 10:40 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Doug SC

So, at 72 I am still able to sail and set up my potter 19. I also have a wayfarer 16, which is lightweight at 350 pounds and the mast is really easy to raise. I also have a boom tent for it. I thought this would be my old fogy boat. That is until I bought a wooden Scamp for $1,500 and threw in an old Folbot Super folding kayak with the deal and a nesting dingy I picked up for $150 that needed some wood replaced. I have had to do a bit of repair on the Scamp as it sat and collected rainwater for a number of years. It is perhaps my favorite of the 3 not as light and easy as the wayfarer, but a whole lot more stable requiring less gymnastics while sailing the boat. Racing as crew on a Flying Scot requires the same agility as the wayfarer. I highly recommend a Scamp! I really like sailing it. If I had the money, I would love a Gig Habor fiberglass Scamp and Bimini tent. I hope to make something for my Scamp to sleep under at some point.

Two other boats that have been mentioned are a Potter 15 and a Neptune 16. One more to consider is a Montgomery 15. I think each of them would serve as good Old Fogy sailboats.

The Scamp, I can attest to its ability to stay afloat. There was a rotten area of hull in the bow of the boat where rainwater had found a way into the wood. A lack of epoxy in the area made that possible. Anyway, the rough water sailing that day caused it to crack open at that point and considerable water came into the starboard bow floatation tank. I sailed happily along only noticing it would heel on a port tack and stay level on the starboard tack. It wasn't until I pulled out at the ramp and saw an impressive stream of water poor out the bottom at the bow that I realized why. There is a ton of storage and flotation built into the small craft. It also has a water ballast tank.

The one thing you may find a fault with is the cockpit bench seat/flotation tanks are a bit low for long legs. I thought it might be a problem for me but with a thick cushion to sit on and even without it hasn't seemed to be the problem I thought it might be. There is a mod where you turn one flotation tank into a foot well that some folks do. I haven't felt the need to do so at this point.

Oh yes, Hi Steve! you are one I have miss as is Westy.

Charles Brennan

Thank you all, for your responses thus far. 
Got a lot of good insights and ideas from this group, which after all, is the main reason for the TSBB.

Your statements were very much on point, but the one that really got to me was:
"With the hatch board in and cabin hatch open, I could dress standing up, with privacy."
DOHHH!! Why have I NEVER thought of that?!?   :o  I have a canvas that I use at night in lieu of a hatch board for ventilation and keeping light rains off, that attaches to the companionway hatch.
You cannot view this attachment.
It would be trivial to put in the hatch board and flip the canvas on top of the companion way hatch.
My back thanks you.

And a suggestion of my own:
You cannot view this attachment.
There is a buckle/strap to hold it in place, seen at the upper left.  Makes strapping down the kayaks (or anything else, really) a breeze.  I was surprised at how much I use it.


I saw some references to dinghy furling. Still not clear what that entails. I've asked about roller furling before and abandoned the idea when told you can't just pull out foresail as required i.e. pulling out a jib's worth, then a genoa's worth, then a drifter/reacher's worth, etc.

Norm L. reminded me again of Vigor's Black Box, as well as a sobering statement:
"I love my family and don't want them to live through a CG search for me."
Already had that discussion, when my wife learned that insurance companies can hold off pay-outs for as much as 7 years for lost-at-sea scenarios.  To that end, she got me this:
You cannot view this attachment.
Apparently, if I ever have the Big One out sailing, instead of clutching my chest a la Redd Foxx, I'm supposed to flip the cover and push the button, so the Authorities can come recover my body.
Makes me feel a little like a belled cat.
Besides, I've had so many near-misses over the years, that my eventual demise will surprise no one.

Jim B.'s suggestion of a ComPac SunCat was intriguing and a good suggestion.  When I checked into it, I discovered that the price range for SunCats, was exactly equivalent to the price range for wooden/fiberglass SCAMPs. That sounds like nearly a wash, except for the lighter weight of the SCAMP.  Still, something to keep in mind, plus there's a lot more of them around, than SCAMPs.

Captain Kidd had a good suggestion:
"I've seen already-built wooden Scamps for sale. There are enough in circulation that they do come up occasionally."
Which doesn't really work for me.  Have almost always done my own car repairs, my own house wiring, plumbing, carpentry, remodeling, etc. because at my root core, I just don't trust anybody else to try as hard as me to do a good job.
I would never buy a used wooden boat especially, if I couldn't check out the guts of it and how it had been fabricated. Nope.  I would happily build my own SCAMP, first.  Then at least, any fatal screw-ups are my own fault, and not some indifferent hobbyist.

Frank B. reiterated what several of you had to say: Roller furling, tiller pilot is a must, and stay off the foredeck, but the thing that sparked an idea in me, was the statement:
" And if she sees the wind is up she will say, you know the heavier one that has that ring for the safety line."
ANOTHER DOHHH!! When I used to sail/fish offshore a lot (and by myself, mind you) I would never go forward without a jack line and a safety harness rigged.  I still have all that stuff, I just rarely used it after I figured out how to deploy and retrieve anchors from the cockpit. That gear would definitely make head sail changes in challenging conditions, far more doable.

Wayne Howard made me grateful for the relative simplicity of Urchin's systems.  I was grousing to myself just prior to the CDCR, at having to change out the spark plugs (I change them every 12-15 years, whether they need it, or not) and the sacrificial zincs.  Wayne, thanks for the reminder that it could always be worse! :D 

There were also 2 suggestions about mid-boom mainsheeting. (Frank and Kruse'n.)  Apparently, none of you have seen how small Urchin's cockpit is!  The difference is closer to reaching behind me, instead of reaching in front of me; either way, I wouldn't even have to move!

Steve H.  Glad to hear from you again!  I would have expected an enthusiastic endorsement of a SCAMP, but I also wonder if you have any sailors-of-a-certain-age insights you could offer, that are unique to the SCAMP, as opposed to say, a SunCat?

Noemi, querida, Hadn't even thought about tai chi.  Sounds wayyyy better than the boat fender and a 2X4 that I'm trying now.  (Cue Mary in the background: "Yer gonna break a HIP!")

Possibly the best thing of all in this thread, is knowing that I'm clearly not alone in facing this.
I'm also just the least bit resentful at the inherent unfairness of a Universe that thinks I'm too old to go sailing safely alone, but NOT too old to mow the yard and rake the leaves!!  >:(

Thanks for all the thoughts,
Charles Brennan


I have no answers for what to do to help others continue to sail in old age, or how to know when to stop, but I can tell you about my experience. I have always been just a single-handed fair weather inland lake daysailer, 90 years old now and stopped sailing my Flying Scot 3 years ago. I miss all the times I left my dock, sailed about 8 miles down Lake Norman under full sail and many was the time I reefed the main or dropped the jib if the wind picked up too much for me to enjoy sailing with full sails.The Scot was a joy to sail in all those conditions. Carried a small motor on board that I could mount if the wind died, never used it otherwise. I sailed about 50-70 times a year and here in North Carolina I could sail at least once a month every month of the year with temps at least 50 degrees.
The boat was on a lift with the main furled on the boom, the jib dropped on the deck the boat fully covered when I left her. I marked the days I sailed on my calendar, and three years ago I noticed I was only going out about 20 times in the whole year. After some thought I realized that if the winds were too light I didn't go out, if too strong I didn't go out and the weather had to be nearly perfect for me to want to go. I took that as an omen for me to realize that my strength and balance were not as good as they used to be, and even on an inland lake there are times when you need both. I couldn't sell my 16 year old Scot for what I thought she was worth so I donated her to our local community sailing club and now have only fond memories of sailing.


Hi, Monroe, I have been missing you, the oldest sailor that I know here, I am just a year behind you.  Lets keep it that way!  :)

Charles, the tailgate ladder is a year too late,  Last year, I did not quite need it, but this year, I am selling the truck. Nothing to tow.  Just need it for a few trips to the scrap yard. I do drive it once a week to keep the battery up, 10 miles or so.  2000 GMC Sierra cab and a half long bed, less than 100,000  miles, always in our family.

Life is changing.

A supply of good sailing books, check the adds, I am about to post them.

Timm R Oday25

Charles ,at 60 you may think I'm very far behind you .Multiple orthopedic sugeries and a life time of spinning wrenches
for a living has accelerated the ageing process .
The mast for our Oday 25 was carved from solid granite ..or so I've chosen to believe . It's always been a heavy and cumbersome part of launching our boat for the season .
I also have thought seriously of going smaller .
 Replacing the Oday with a SunCat would make the most sense .
Going bigger and actually getting a slip would also be a viable option.
Bobbie would much rather use the yacht clubs facilities than a boat head .
I've also contemplated buying a 30-32'  pilothouse, diesel powered of course .
 With retirement in sight ,I've asked myself if I would honestly ever" MAKE" the time
 to actually finish a wooden boat . I probably wouldn't . I have too many other interests and not enough room .
 What I'll probably end up doing is buying a vintage powerboat in the 16-18 foot range and power it with a brand new yamaha 40 horse . Lot's of places a boat like that can go . Easy to launch , low fuel usage ,
 easy to tow ,easy to store and lot's of character

Noemi - Ensenada 20

Charles, I bet Mary would join you at tai chi, especially if it got you to GO.  It would be great for both of you! 


Charles made me think. Necessity has not been in the water since 2018 she had been sitting on a trailer outside the house my health is well actually my health is okay my physical well being is deteriorated rapidly I have not dared get up on the deck of the boat and check things out in at least two years so I don't know what I'm going to do but I have to agree with a lot of what you said I'm not ready to give up saline but I'm thinking hard now about giving up necessity.  Remembering Then I'm now 82 years old 83 than 82 and I have needs children or surgery shoulder surgery shoulder surgery where did the word children come from anyway you made me think thanks

Captain Kidd

Quote from: Tom--Pensacola on Oct 23, 2023, 09:10 AMReally interesting message thread...

Yep. And I'm saving it for future reference (might not be too far into the future  ::)  )

Steve H

Charles, SCAMP is an extremely capable open dinghy; for 11'11", it's a big boat. It's fun, too. SCAMP will forgive
mistakes, but it may rap your knuckles. When it's time to move your ballast, you've got to move. If your a fat-ballast, that will slow you, as will a bum knee. In my case, nine years ago, SCAMP was a blast. Two years ago, old #6, B. Frank, went home with it's builder, Dan Phy.

I wanted to tell you that B. Frank survived Michael on the trailer thanks in no small part to your advice- spars and sails indoors, wheels off, trailer lowered, extra straps, and the cockpit drain plugged to gain the weight of the rain. The trailer ended up in the same spot, but rotated 90 degrees. It got some paint dings, that's it. This was about 30 feet from the spot where a broken asphalt shingle embedded in my home.

The SunCat makes me think of SCAMP grown up, with a good job, a mortgage, and two kids-solid, dependable, and comfortable. At the class reunion, someone said, "Is that SCAMP? He's gotten a little beamy, but he's still got his looks- and he can still cut a rug."

If I had gotten younger, I'd still have B. Frank.

Jim B., CD-25

Quote from: Steve H on Oct 24, 2023, 06:15 PM...

If I had gotten younger, I'd still have B. Frank.

Hey, Steve - if you figure out how to get younger, please pass that info along.  I'm working with an adolescent mind in a creaky old body.

Did you find that Florida Fountain of Youth?  ;)

Charles Brennan

Charlie Jones, Pain is Nature's Way of telling you, you're doing it wrong.
As a long-time friend, I'm calling you out, Dude.
You've gotten some idea in your head, of the order in which you wish to address your medical/health issues.
I think your body is telling you that you're doing it wrong.
1) You rarely post any more on TSBB.
2) You rely on speech-to-text for chats.
3) You rarely make it through an entire chat session.
4) You haven't been on your boat in over 5 years.

I've seen my own family members on both sides of health-related surgeries, the before and after results.
(Spoiler alert: After is better.)
I've also seen the devastation from delayed or omitted surgeries.
As a sailor-of-a-certain-age, you've got enough Medicare and VA resources, that you should not be living like this.
Chronic pain can really diminish a lifestyle.
Whatever hurts the most right now, GET IT FIXED.
Then get the next thing that hurts, fixed.
In THAT order; not the order you've logically concluded you need.
Your body is disagreeing with you and you're not listening.

Want more memories like this one?
You cannot view this attachment.
Get going, man.

Even memories like this:
You cannot view this attachment.
Are better than the memories you're making lately, My Man.

I once made a TSBB post called One Less January, where I pointed out that sailors in year-round climates tend to procrastinate on things for our boats, since we don't have to deal with winter delays.
You credited my post with lighting a fire under you, to get Tehani finished.
I'm wondering: How many more January's do you have left?
Do you really want to spend all those remaining January's, in pain?

I hope this post does the same thing for your physical well-being.
Pain is Nature's Way of telling you, you're doing it wrong.

Charles Brennan

Norm L.

Well said, Charles. It will go away or walk it off may have worked in the past.
In the last year it hasn't. Laying 5 days in hospital with pneumonia then 10 days at home on 02 changed my view.

I'm trying to stay ahead of health problems, for if they get ahead of you, it might not be possible to catch up.
Pain is talking to you. By the time its shouting at you the repair job might be extensive.

I'm going out to buy a lottery ticket. The Australian America's Cup 12-meter AUSTRALIA is for sale in Sydney. No. I won't be able to sail it but DANG, I'll have the coolest boat in the marina upon which to drink beer.

(It's been a long time since I've heard "He who dies with the most toys wins") ;D

Steve H

 Charles, two points:

 A SCAMP may be built by an indifferent hobbyist, but most are built by the intended user; those I'm familiar with were built with care and caution. Some were built as part of a "camp", guided through the tough bits by experienced hands. Mine was the first kit boat, and was epoxied before and after assembly with bronze fasteners- at the Port Townsend Maritime Center, under the eyes of Kees Prinz, a real master. Just something to bear in mind.

 About SunCats- Clark Mills, designer of SunCat, built the originals under (I think) the name of Florida Bay Boats.
These are still around, some with cabins, some as daysailers. These were stayed Bermudan rigs, without a tabernacle, but I'll bet a rig could be supplied by Com-Pac. They are also bilge-boarders, and lack a ballast keel. With less weight and wetted surface, they are quicker than the newer boats. Mine, Repo Rodent, had saplings growing in it after Michael, and is being converted to an electric launch. It's a daysailer.

Just some thoughts. I have fewer these days.

Jeff G.

We are all getting older.  You could get a Compac Suncat.. fits the bill without going quite as small.  Still has cabin, short light mast, no rigging.

For yourself, look up "chair yoga" and see if there is a "Stretch Lab" in your area. The lab will really get you limber..not fun. I had a sciatic issue (due to a bad chair at work).  A short membership to Stretch Lab pretty much took care of the issue.