When author Jim Trefethen wrote Sailing Into Retirement, he combined some information from his previous book, The Cruising Life, first published in 1999, with a second, updated edition in 2015. But, in the author’s own words, “I have tried not to duplicate material…but to build on it, especially where specific subjects pertaining to elderly sailors are involved.” In the past 40 years he’s owned and sailed several boats on several oceans, so he knows whereof he speaks. He’s also in his 70s, which adds to his credibility, so being that I’m in my mid-60s myself, I felt it was worth a look.
When I first started reading I thought it would be like several other books I’ve read, with advice on how to buy and set up a cruising boat, along with the same old what-to-do and what-not-to-do information that we’ve all seen before. Obviously there is some of that, but there are also chapters on how to set up your boat, on deck and below, for safe-senior cruising, some prime cruising grounds that appeal to the aging sailor, and information on health-care issues pertaining to seniors who want to take off for horizons unknown. He finishes by profiling four cruising couples, well into their 60s and beyond, who have been out there for quite a while and are continuing their travels, which many of us will probably find refreshing.
Indeed, there is a lot of redundant information many of us have probably come across before, but reading a book by someone who has done it and continues to do it, while growing old gracefully on a small boat, can be encouraging. As we grow older we’ll naturally keep asking ourselves how long we’ll be able to continue to do what we do, which is a decision we’ll all have to reach on our own. But reading a book like Trefethen’s can provide some motivation, as well as some practical steps to help us keep on keeping on.
Sailing Into Retirement; 7 ways to retire on a boat at 50 with 10 steps that will keep you there until 80 by Jim Trefethen ( International Marine, 2016; 244 pages)