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The dog lady

How old is too old?

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Hi All. Complete newcomer here so apologies in advance for any guffs!

The Man and I are in the process of buying a 47ft trad narrowboat, our first. He has previous sea sailing experience and we had a narrowboat hire holiday last year. My previous is limited to a dingy sailing course many years ago (don't ask). Anyway, as the day for handing over all our money approaches I am getting worried that we have left it too late to start as boaters. The Man is 72 and I am a few years behind.

I know there are plenty of people older than us on the cut, but they seem to have been cruising for years. So, any supportive, encouraging stories of later starters out there? Or should we just join the local bridge club? Just to complicate things we have two (biggish) dogs who will come with us. We don't want to be continuous cruisers, just a week or two at a time.

Edited by The dog lady

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My dad is in his 80s,still goes out on  narrowboating, mainly on rivers single handed. 

 

Being fit and healthy helps. 

Edited by rusty69
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I'm 69, go out for several months a year, mostly on my own. It's fine - the vast majority of us are friendly and helpful. The trick it to travel slow and relish it, and make sure you allow more time than you think you need for every trip. 

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As long as you avoid the top end of the GU - no ALL of the GU where the locks are heavy, then you'll be al right.

Better still keep to the Oxford, the upper-upper Thames where they have 'proper locks and the upper Thames where they are all electric, then you'll be fine.... 

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Plenty of people of similar ages to yourselves happily get into cars and travel at 60 or 70 m.p.h. So, boating at 3 to 4 m.p.h. should not be beyond your capabilities.

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You'll be fine, take things easy, think about the results of your actions and most of all, don't get distracted at locks.

 

Enjoy.

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In the past year I have seen a bloke in his eighties getting taken off his boat my his family because he was no longer coping, and I have also talked to another bloke in his eighties who boats full time and has done so on and off for 50 years, and runs a business from his boat making a good income. We also see a lot of younger people giving up boating because the demands of CaRTs CC'ing rules is too much.

 

...........Dave

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38 minutes ago, The dog lady said:

Hi All. Complete newcomer here so apologies in advance for any guffs!

The Man and I are in the process of buying a 47ft trad narrowboat, our first. He has previous sea sailing experience and we had a narrowboat hire holiday last year. My previous is limited to a dingy sailing course many years ago (don't ask). Anyway, as the day for handing over all our money approaches I am getting worried that we have left it too late to start as boaters. The Man is 72 and I am a few years behind.

I know there are plenty of people older than us on the cut, but they seem to have been cruising for years. So, any supportive, encouraging stories of later starters out there? Or should we just join the local bridge club? Just to complicate things we have two (biggish) dogs who will come with us. We don't want to be continuous cruisers, just a week or two at a time.

Many of us on here are in the 60 to 75 bracket. The fact that you both are "up for it" at 70-ish suggests you are the sort of people who look forward and have glasses that are half full.

 

I can see no reason at all why you should not have many years of narrowboating ahead of you.  Don't forget that your maturity will make people think you have been doing it for decades anyway! 

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To be honest most of the active canal boaters I know, and those that I meet on our travels, are over 65, I really don't think age is an issue at all.  We've been boating since the early 1980's and I don't think, for example working locks, was any easier when we were in our 30's.  As for lack of experience, we met a bloke last year who had just lost his wife and at 75 set off on a solo narrowboat trip around the network.  We met him about 9 months into his adventure, among other things he had been down the K&A and out into the Bristol Channel, up the Severn and Avon - that alone would faze a lot of experienced narrowboaters.  He did say that he limited his canal journeys to no more than four hours a day but he was single handing a 57 footer.  

  

Edited by Neil2

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58 minutes ago, The dog lady said:

Hi All. Complete newcomer here so apologies in advance for any guffs!

The Man and I are in the process of buying a 47ft trad narrowboat, our first. He has previous sea sailing experience and we had a narrowboat hire holiday last year. My previous is limited to a dingy sailing course many years ago (don't ask). Anyway, as the day for handing over all our money approaches I am getting worried that we have left it too late to start as boaters. The Man is 72 and I am a few years behind.

I know there are plenty of people older than us on the cut, but they seem to have been cruising for years. So, any supportive, encouraging stories of later starters out there? Or should we just join the local bridge club? Just to complicate things we have two (biggish) dogs who will come with us. We don't want to be continuous cruisers, just a week or two at a time.

Death is usually the right time to stop boating.

 

On a more serious note, if your in reasonable agile then that's usually the deciding factor from whether your 18 or 80.

  • Greenie 2

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Met a gent at Braunston a couple of weeks ago, 82 and single handing. Go for it.

 

Ex offshore myself. Your existing boating experience will set you off to a good start.

 

Two advantages with narrow boating: If it is hissing down with rain you can always moor up and put the kettle on. Also when you put your glass of wine on the slide (hatch) it doesn't immediately throw itself overboard. :D 

 

With the dogs introduce them to their new environment when moored up. Whilst still moored start the engine and let them get used to that before cruising off into the sunset.

Edited by Ray T
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The first owners of Whio, were seventy and living in New Zealand,  when after a couple of hirings, set out to buy their own boat. After not being able to find what they liked they commissioned a new 58ft cruiser stern, and had it built, sight unseen, until a couple of weeks before taking delivery, and then went cruising for five  months. For the next six years, each spring, they travelled halfway around the world, to go intrepid cruising for five plus months. They made 3 crossings of the Leeds and Liverpool and travelled, Barking Creek,  Standedge, Ripon, Ribble Link , Thames, East Anglia, Boston and the Pocklington Canal. It would have been eight years cruising, but a medical event curtailed their last planned year. Canal boating gave them a hugely more interesting life in their seventies then they could have originally envisaged. Time is a precious commodity.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, The dog lady said:

Hi All. Complete newcomer here so apologies in advance for any guffs!

The Man and I are in the process of buying a 47ft trad narrowboat, our first. He has previous sea sailing experience and we had a narrowboat hire holiday last year. My previous is limited to a dingy sailing course many years ago (don't ask). Anyway, as the day for handing over all our money approaches I am getting worried that we have left it too late to start as boaters. The Man is 72 and I am a few years behind.

I know there are plenty of people older than us on the cut, but they seem to have been cruising for years. So, any supportive, encouraging stories of later starters out there? Or should we just join the local bridge club? Just to complicate things we have two (biggish) dogs who will come with us. We don't want to be continuous cruisers, just a week or two at a time.

We're probably in the same age bracket, we've been pootling about 2 years next month. We're loving it! OH has bad knees, so I help compensate by carrying heavyish things. We're in no rush, we did several canals on and near the Penines last year, this year it's the Thames, Nene and Ouse. 

 

What else would we be doing? Waiting for God? When I was young an 80+ gent used to come in where I worked for a couple of days a week, just doing the odd office jobs. He said "It's the variety of life" that's keeping him going. I've never forgotten that, and it's so true. There's plenty of variety on the canal and river system.

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6 minutes ago, Jennifer McM said:

There's plenty of variety on the canal and river system.

And that’s just the boaters :)

  • Haha 1

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15 minutes ago, zenataomm said:

I think sex is to be enjoyed by all ages (over the age of consent of course)

You may have misunderstood an earlier post. The reference to "single-handing" was surely in the boating sense.

Edited by Athy

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If you don't do it now, what're you gonna do: do it next time? ;)

 

You both know how fit and healthy you are, so consider this:  narrowboating is not exactly the preserve of athletes; you had a holiday on one last year; you will get more efficient at the working aspects as you gain experience; you can always sell the boat again if/when it gets too much.  

 

Good luck with your new boat! :)

 

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  • Haha 1

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Wow thanks guys - so much encouragement. And thank you for all the tips. Of course you're right and life is short so if not now, when?

Anyway, we are committed now so too late to chicken out. I saw a T-shirt in a shop recently with the slogan 'Now is the later you talked about yesterday'. 

Will keep you posted!

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Yeah why sit dribbling in a home boring the medics about what you could have done.

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3 hours ago, Athy said:

You may have misunderstood an earlier post. The reference to "single-handing" was surely in the boating sense.

Just like George Michael, careless wrister????

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3 hours ago, zenataomm said:

I think sex is to be enjoyed by all ages (over the age of consent of course)

Sex......  Oh yeah, I remember.

To the OP, as long as you are reasonably agile,canal boating will be no problem.I know several boaters who are even older than me! and simply adjust the pace of their cruising and the number of locks to be tackled in one day,to suit their physical ability.

Personally,my daily lock limit solo is about fifteen.Any more and I start to make mistakes and get clumsy.

A gentleman doesn't reveal his age but, I remember the Romans leaving Britain as though it was last week!

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The age is not a problem but maybe consider looking into getting extra experienced crew help

from somewhere like Narrow boat Crew On Line to make the heavier locks easier.

Remember the golden boating rule to go slowly.

Ian.

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