25 July, 2017

Why sailors retire from sailing

A trailer yacht, with a retractable centre board (keel) is usually stored on the front lawn at home. It does not incur any exorbitant marina (parking) charges. Its proximity allows the owner to spend lots of time making small repairs and adjustments as often as he wishes. This is a plus, compared to a keeler parked at a marina 100 km away.

Most trailer yachts are less than 25 feet long. They are small and the mast is not too heavy for one man to handle. Many older yachties stop sailing because they can no longer handle the heavy mast. Those with money, can easily move on to a larger keeler, 28 to 50 foot. They can continue sailing until the money runs out. The plus points are many: Drive to the marina, park the Mercedes, walk aboard, start engine and cast off all within 15 minutes. The mast and sometimes even the sails are permanently installed, using furlers!
The cost of yachting increases exponentially when the boat size goes over 25 feet. e.g. My Noelex 22 is worth 7.5k, the Noelex 25 has a market value of 28k, whereas a Noelex 30 is selling for not less than 65K. New 35's costs 139K! With advancing years, older yachties may become richer; but the mast seems to become heavier! It becomes too much of a bother to rig up and rig down, every time one goes sailing. 
To continue sailing, a compromise solution is to berth larger boats at a marina (boat parking). The mast is left permanently up with the main lowered or furled. The jib can also have a furler. No more hard work towing, rigging up, launching, recovering and rigging down the mast any more. The boat remains afloat always and the mast and other gears stay permanently rigged. The blue cloth is for protecting the sail against UV. The owner drives leisurely in his saloon (no more 4x4) to the marina, starts the motor and cast off; all within 5 minutes. Once clear of other boats, he removes sail covers, raise or unfurl sails, pull on the main sheet, cut the motor and away he goes, just like before; but all within 15 minutes!
Near Turangi on the shores of Lake Taupo, there is a marina at Waitetoko.  They charge $460 to $600 per year for each berth, depending on the size of your boat. Most of these were between 25 and 35 footers. I saw three Noelex 30's. ($50K to 70K) there last week. The place is run by the NZ government (DOC) and the waiting list for a berth is one year. Perhaps there is no need to buy a keeler or stop sailing at all when I grow older. I am now looking at other options for continuing this life style on the water.  

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