Southwest Florida Yachts


Adventures in Retirement
y Barb Hansen
January  2007

Thanks to medical science we are living longer. Thanks to ibuprofen, we’re also functioning longer.

Retirees, especially, are beneficiaries. With time and a bottle of friendly caplets on their side they can do things earlier generations of retirees could not. Instead of sitting in a rocker and watching re-runs of Golden Girls, retirees today are sitting in a catbird seat and self-directing their lives into new and exciting adventures.

I know this because, in my job as proprietor of a yacht school and chartering enterprise, I have been privileged to talk to some of these adventurers and I am watching the first wave of boomers plan and take action for the best years of their lives.

Bruce and Margaret Ellen have chartered with us many times. When Bruce retired they cruised from Myrtle Beach on the East Coast to Fort Myers then back again. In two years they put 270 hours and 3,000 miles on their boat.

I put Richard and Suzy Koths of Michigan in this category. Though some years away from retirement, the Koths own a 42-foot motoryacht which they put into our charter fleet.  It helps pay for the boat, upgrades and upkeep. When they retire, they’ll already have their winter home in Florida adjacent to one of the great cruising destinations in the world.

Many people who attend our liveaboard yacht school are finishing up their careers and soon will have the time to do what they really want to do. Cruising is a big part of their retirement plan. More than once I have heard talk about cruising “The Great Loop.”  Sometimes called the Great Circle Route, this is the continuous waterway that takes cruisers up the Atlantic Seaboard, across the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi, and along the Gulf of Mexico. They even have their own association.

Cruising the Great Loop seems somehow appropriate for our goal-setting culture. Buried in our careers we seek to build a nest egg and to provide for the future. Once security is in our sights, we look to fulfill another basic instinct -- adventure. An ambitious plan like cruising the Great Circle Route does that.

Cruising also is a civilized way to fulfill the deep-seated desire we all have to return to the basics. I call this satisfying our “call of the wild” instinct. Instead of a closet full of clothes and shoes, we bring onboard a duffel bag’s worth of basics and boat shoes. Cruisers know that so long as their clothes suit the weather their outfit is probably perfect for every occasion.

Once upon a time Dinah Shore sang about seeing the USA in your Chevrolet. Today, she could be singing about seeing the USA in your cruising boat. Cruising is a great way to see the USA without having to pull your wheeled vehicle into a gas station every few hours and an interstate motel every night.  When you’re cruising, you don’t have to pack and unpack every night. With cruising, your castle is also your mode of transport. It’s fun. It’s scenic. It’s very economical.  It’s romantic.

Today’s new generation of retirees are redefining  “sailing into the sunset.” 

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Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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