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.

Friendships Old And New

Nelson Price has found introducing his boat to strangers is a great pleasure.

Photo of Nelson Price

During my years as a corporate executive in a high-pressure New York City job, I found great respite in weekend and vacation sails. The stress and tensions of noise, traffic, and people peeled off my body when I stepped onto the deck of Wind Dancer, my 1975 Dufour 34. The goal was simple: to sail well and safely. We sailed from City Island to Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Maine.

Retirement has offered me the opportunity to introduce strangers to the joys of sailing and my good fortune in owning a sailboat. A friend with terminal cancer, who loved the water, took a last cruise with me and revealed he wanted to be buried at sea. His son and I scattered his ashes a year later. A couple living below the poverty line in a cramped studio apartment found the wonder of the open water. An elderly man with dementia found he could still understand close-hauled steering. There's been time with my son sailing in the Gulf of Mexico, and with nephews and nieces who otherwise wouldn't spend much time with their octogenarian uncle.

I find I get to know people in ways I rarely do on land. The cozy cabin of a sailboat brings people more intimately together. We share life stories over glasses of wine after a hard day's sail — the humorous and fun times, the tragic and sad times, the victories and the struggles of our lives. The awe of a sunset overwhelms us and our friendships deepen.

Sailing appeals to so many — and so many who don't have sailboats. Introducing people to the boat has opened up friendships I would not otherwise have. I welcome them, and I'm blessed.


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