Sunday, February 25, 2018

Boating for a Lifetime

April 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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Does boating itself keep you mentally and physically fit, or is it your passion for the pastime that propels you forward? Two octogenarians always anticipating new boating adventures while relishing their memories on the water would say yes to both questions.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 10.40.28 AMDave Goldsmith, an 82-year-old avid sailor, has a lifelong love of recreational boating. Goldsmith says he enjoys the camaraderie of boating with friends, and the challenge of navigating the ever-changing environment of the sea. He first set sail in the late 1970s, when he joined the crew of an Etchells 22 racing vessel. Sailing gave him the pleasure of mastering the elements. “I enjoyed the sport and subsequently bought a sailing dinghy,” he says.

Sailing gives Goldsmith opportunities to utilize “all the natural weather elements that allow me to get to my destination and back again, safely and expeditiously,” while also “allowing me to see the wonderful sights afforded by water journeys.” He prefers sailboats to powerboats because they bring him a deep sense of accomplishment. “Every time I’m out on the water, circumstances are different, and I learn new skills all the time,” Goldsmith says. He considers power boating a matter of “putting the pedal to the metal,” while extolling steering a sailboat as an “art requiring constant accommodation to variable conditions.”

Morton Ray, the 85-year-old CEO of Florida-based Ray Electric Outboards, has earned his living from his passion for 35 years. A self-confessed “workaholic” whose passion is designing outboard motors, Ray stays at the company’s helm because it still needs his experience and expertise. These days, however, he is increasingly hearing the call to “get out of here and get into a boat.”Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 10.40.30 AM

Ray credits his many years of boating with keeping him alert and active, while also giving him a sense of peace and satisfaction. “Whatever you learn as a child stays with you the rest of your life,” says Ray, whose first boating adventures took place on the Ohio River, when he was young. Years later, Ray took his family (including three young sons) on a 1,000-mile journey, traversing inland waterways from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and then back again.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 10.40.29 AMThe passionate pursuit of an enjoyable hobby carries both physical and mental benefits, including the prevention of heart disease, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare, Research and Quality. For lifelong boating enthusiasts, the twilight years are a time when both memorable experiences and acumen are passed down to future generations.

The mental and spiritual benefits of pursuing an avocation such as boating are significant. A U.S. Surgeon General’s report on Mental Health revealed that the later-in-life experience (referred to in the report as the “summing up/Swan Song” stage), can be a time when seniors discover “opportunities to share one’s rich storehouse of discoveries with family and society at large.”

Goldsmith says he has reaped decades of satisfaction from helping others become more accomplished sailors, through sharing his wealth of experience in navigating the waters around Long Island. As a sailing instructor, he steered inexperienced sailors into safer waters. “I have a great sense of accomplishment seeing some of my ‘newbies’ become safe sailors,” Goldsmith says. “Some of my students have subsequently purchased their own sailboats and welcomed me aboard.”

A member of the North Shore Yacht Club in Port Washington, Goldsmith says his 15-year-long association with the Oyster Bay branch of the U.S. Power Squadrons® also led to many friendships.

Along with the social interaction that is so vital as we age, physical fitness is another benefit of navigating the waters in a boat. For Goldsmith, the physical exertion necessary for boat maintenance promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 10.40.34 AMRay agrees and adds that his years of boating have given him a peaceful, satisfied life. Perhaps that’s why he concedes that over three decades of working in the boating industry is probably long enough. “Believe it or not, I would prefer to do different things,” he says. Those include plans to write a book.

Goldsmith also recently reached a milestone. He sold his last vessel, a Pearson 30-foot sailboat in 2012, as it had become increasingly difficult to “do all the ‘do-it-yourself’ physical stuff” required to maintain and sail it. But he still looks forward to receiving invites from his boat-owning friends, and says that he plans to enjoy the sport as a passenger and crew member for “many more years to come.”

The camaraderie that comes with boating had made for a most enjoyable life, Goldsmith enthuses. “There are no regrets, only happy memories.”

By Jan Fletcher

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26' Pearson Windlass profile
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