Sharing A Love For The Water


The Boating Retirees

Edited By Ann Dermody
Published: October/November 2013

Whether planned or by chance, these retirees have incorporated boating into their golden years in fun and unusual ways.

Optimism Can Take You Anywhere

That's been Bob Preston's mantra since his diagnosis.

Photo of Bob Preston

Selling your successful business, retiring at 52, and sailing off into the sunset might seem like a dream lifestyle to most of us, but for Rhode Island native Bob Preston, it wasn't exactly part of the plan. The insurance agency owner and married father of two had been experiencing some unusual symptoms when he went to his doctor. After being tested several times for Lyme disease, he was finally diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in July 2007. He was 48 years old.

"I was scared to death, initially," says Preston. "Everything online was all doom and gloom. And the truth is it's not all doom and gloom." Bob and his wife Becky are living proof of that. Since Bob's diagnosis, the Prestons have taken their 37-foot Back Cove 11,000 nautical miles over three years to both coasts of Florida, the Abacos and Bahamas, and all the way up to Maine. This summer they took possession of a brand new 48-foot Sabre to help them continue their travels. Along the way they've raised more than $160,000 for Parkinson's research, and Bob does a lot of motivational speaking to spread awareness and demonstrate that staying positive is key in tackling this disease.

"I take the same attitude I did running a company for 32 years. I want to walk the walk and show that optimism can take you anywhere. It's all about finding something you can embrace, and going for it. For me that's being on the boat." Their boat is named Family Ties, an irony not lost on the Prestons. Michael J. Fox from the TV show of the same name also suffers from Parkinson's disease.


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