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The Aging Bowman Question

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  • The Aging Bowman Question

    We receive a lot of emails during the course of a year. Many of those are just nagging little missives about personal conflicts, such as my neighbor's dog always pees on our dock box, or the guy who always smokes in the marina toilet or my crew mate has really bad breath. Most of these are easily resolved and just a matter of communication.
    We recently received a letter from XXXX of XXXXXXXXXXXXXX who writes:

    "Our beloved bowman just celebrated his XXth birthday, and we were very happy for him. But in the past seasons, we noticed he has slowed down a bit, and it might be time to ease him off the pointy end duties. How can we do this humanely and with the respect he deserves?"
    Well that is a darn good question, and I'm glad you brought it up. We all age and that's a natural fact. the strength, coordination, reflexes and flexibility we all enjoyed in our youth is a fleeting thing. Accepting ones gradual breakdown of these attributes is sometimes difficult, and being supportive of members as the reach the golden years is important. Moving to the back of the bus isn't necessarily a death sentence, but a feather in ones cap. A badge of honor, as it were.
    Some signs your once nimble bowman has lost a step:

    • He forgets race days or boat call times
    • He shows up at the wrong boat
    • He goes down below for something, and then takes a nap, during a race
    • You find adult diapers in his gear bag
    • He has a dough-nut cushion sewn into his foulies
    • He asks the mast man to come forward to read the number on the sail bag during changes
    • He puts his harness on backwards or his clothing inside out
    • He has to come back to cockpit to hear instructions
    • He hooks himself onto the halyard instead of the sail head
    • Request's his rum drinks be mixed with prune juice
    • Asks for help getting off the dock
    • Starts taping bifocals to his sun glasses
    • Smells like Ben-Gay
    • Asks younger crew to "Turn down that crap" when motoring after regatta


    Now there are ways you can accommodate the geriatric bowman, in order to get a few more seasons out of him. Things like increasing the height of the life-lines, installing padded non-skid on the foredeck, bigger numbers on the sail bags, a heated seat in the head, larger fittings for easier visibility, only sailing when ambient temperature is 75 degrees , installing a loud speaker on mast et cetera, which might help, but this is impractical.

    You might instead let him play with the steering wheel /tiller on occasion. Have a special embroidered cushion with his name installed in cockpit. Surprise him with a "Mainsheet for Dummies" book. Have him tutor his younger replacement with what he remembers about his days in adventure-land. Advise him on all the benefits of life in after part of the boat, the proximity to the facilities, how much dryer it is, all those bright pretty instruments to look at, 1st dibs on snacks, stuff to hold onto and so on.

    It's sometimes difficult to accept change, and it doesn't have to happen overnight, a gradual progression will sometime help with the denial and keep the boat a happy place for all. But most of all, be gentle, no abrasives in the lubricant, so to speak.

    * please note the demonstrative use of the masculine use of "bowman" and "he" is only for simplicity, either gender could be implied in this conversation.

  • #2
    This is just wrong.....bow men and Paratroopers do not get old!!!

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    • #3
      Is somebody in need of a cialis refill around here?

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      • #4
        Need to add "easily gets cranky" and "personal hygiene begins to suffer" to that list!

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        • #5
          Old bowmen never die.

          They just smell that way.

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          • #6
            you guys are so creatively funneeeee - hold it: wot's dat smell?

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            • #7
              Our bow boys smells like diaper rash medication.

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              • #8
                Maybe there's something that comes in an aerosol to help -- sort of like the "new car smell" spray that they have at used car lots.

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                • #9
                  I propose that to alleviate all the confusion between male, female and unsure crew that occupy the pointy
                  end of the boat, that from this day, January 1st, 2013, they all be referred to as "foredekkers".

                  It has a catchy european sorta vibe to it, a non-gender attribute and rolls off the tongue in multiple languages.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by war dog View Post
                    This is just wrong.....bow men and Paratroopers do not get old!!!
                    Telle hime tou keap telling himeslef tou keap hise oune elusion.

                    Adn, bea glade he is note a hoarse.

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                    • #11
                      What happens when all those things are true and he is not even 55???? Time to retire?
                      ~~~_/) I am not your average girl (\_~~~

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                      • #12
                        Time to buy his own friggin boat and start drivin.......

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                        • #13
                          Errr..... Jerry Kirby is pushing 57, and he's still up there!

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                          • #14
                            Set the chute late, that way they will be downwind from your position.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Shaggy View Post
                              Time to buy his own friggin boat and start drivin.......
                              That's why I am afraid to drive the boat. Can't afford my own, yet. But, I voluntarily fled the bow several years ago, after rotator cuff and knee problems. Just let me trim, thank you very much!! : - )

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