A friend recently asked me if I thought that she might be too old for sailing? It’s a recurring theme I’ve seen lately. A recent post by Broadly Reaching wondered if the Laser was still for him. Tillerman recently pronounced that he’s come full circle and traveling to regattas has lost its appeal. The post contained a comment with a copy of a recent rant on the Sailing Anarchy forum of a sailor who was tired of the entire ‘Regatta Rat Race.’
If you sail long enough, at some point, maybe several, you will likely ask yourself if you’re too old for this boat, this wind, the traveling, the regatta routine, or, worse, sailing altogether. If you’re asking the question, then the short answer is, YES, you’re too old for it. After all, you wouldn’t be asking the question if you didn’t already feel too old for it. I live with a man who is a daily reminder that asking if you’re too old for something is the wrong question.
The real question is do you want to feel too old for it? Because really, it’s a slippery slope. If you give in, before long you have a long list of things you’re too old for and life becomes boring, your body goes to hell and your mind to mush. Nobody, and I mean nobody wants to feel too old for something, unless, of course, it’s a stupid, self destructive something.
It is an undisputed fact that the weather conditions at the back of the fleet are far worse than the weather conditions at the front. It’s hotter, colder, windier, choppier, shiftier, wetter, dryer, calmer and it’s no where near as much fun. The statistics must show that the largest percentage of sailors that leave a particular class or the sport of sailing come from the back or middle of the fleet and not the front. Doug always says that being fit makes sailing a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable. I mean, really, who enjoys a good ass-kicking?
Well Doug is off traveling for various regattas. I’m at home in the hot Texas summer and the lawn had to be mowed. We cancelled our mowers last year and got a reel mower because Doug wanted the workout to keep him fit for sailing. A reel mower has no motor and is the old fashioned push mower. It’s a strength and cardio workout all in one and you have to have a little momentum to even get it to cut. We have a big corner lot with slopes. I’ve watched Doug run back and forth mowing the lawn. Heck, I’ve even talked with him on the phone while he’s mowed the entire lawn. How hard can it be, right? Well, I spent the entire day alternating between pushing that dang mower, laying in the grass panting like a dog and crawling into the house to get into the air conditioning. If it doesn’t kill me first, I know it will be good for me but if he ever tries to take away my electric weed-eater/edger, I’m calling a lawyer.
Doug is a little over a decade older than me in years. After today, I’d guess he’s at least two decades younger than me in health and fitness. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Doug ask if he’s too old for sailing. I, on the other hand … am going to have to mow that damn lawn once or twice more before Doug gets back. I might be too old to be a homeowner, but I’m definitely not too old for sailing. And if that man keeps traveling and I keep mowing, you probably won't ever hear me asking if I'm too old for something again. I bet he planned this.