Twice I've gone on long sailing trips, and both times I returned both fit and considerably trimmer. And both times I rapidly fell back into old habits and old shape.
But being fit is important for sailing. I realized this, again, observing Eric sailing on Fiona. When I tell people he's 81 years old, most can't believe what he's doing. Then I say he's not a normal 81 year old man, and they sigh with relief.
And he's not normal -- he's thin and fit. Fitter than most octogenarians and -- sadly -- fitter than most humans, these days.
And this is the second big impression that Eric made on me... the implications of which you might not be able to fully grasp if you are 20 or 30 or even 40: if you want to do interesting things -- like sailing to Antarctica later in life -- you'd better stay healthy and fit.
Pretty obvious, I guess. But watching Eric maneuver across a heeling deck was a clanging wake up call for me. On the verge of turning 60, I'm doing okay, but it occurred to me that if I wanted to keep sailing into Eric's age, and maybe even sail with Eric when he's 100, I'd better start doing better than okay.
Fact is, sailing is a very healthy sport. I don't know why it is... whether it's the lousy diet, or constant motion, or lack of sleep, or banged shins or occasional spurt of adrenaline, but it is. If we could all keep sailing, like Eric, we'd be thin as whippets. Alas, that's not possible, even with a wife like Helena. But knowing what life is like on a sailboat, it should be possible to stay fit, without actually living on a sailboat, shouldn't it?
And I'm not talking fit, I'm talking sailing fit!
I've got a big cruising program planned for next summer, and I don't want to wait until I'm rowing Cabin Boy out to the Blue Moon, wheezing like an old steam engine, to get fit. I'm going to spend this winter recapturing the magic formula I've experienced on boats, trying to make it work on shore.
The goal is to be sailing fit by spring.
I personally think this topic is directly related to sailing and to boatbuilding (have you ever notice that boatbuilders seem to live to a ripe old age, like orchestral conductors? Hint, hint!) However, since I plan to post nearly daily on this subject, I've started a new blog called SailingFit.com, so this one doesn't get overwhelmed with crazy fitness stuff.
So, if you noticed your boat heeling a bit more than usual when you step aboard, or want to get fit for next season, or just enjoy watching other people suffer, please join in!
Note to email subscribers: To avoid spamming anyone, I will NOT be sending out automatic email notifications of new posts to SailingFit.com, unless you specifically subscribe on the new website.
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