SailNet Community - View Single Post - Where are the younger people?
View Single Post
post #21 of Old 05-16-2013
Senior Member
bljones's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: South Coast Ontario
Posts: 8,484
Thanks: 35
Thanked 93 Times in 82 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Re: Where are the younger people?

Northocean, you make some great observations.

Where are the young people? Where are the small boats?
I think the two questions are inter-related.

First, though, the pool of adventurers is smaller, with a different set of role models than the role models those sailors over 40 have/had. I think that if you haven't had an exposure to sailing during your teens, the odds that you will become a sailor in your 20s or 30s are significantly reduced... and sometimes that exposure can be as simple as a book or a movie.
Growing up in the 70s, we had bell bottoms, big hair and "Dove."

"Dove" showed a whole lot of us that it could be done- the blue water life was attainable.
The 60s and early 70s were the golden age of sweat equity dream-fulfillment. Those who tuned in, turned on and dropped out often picked up a crapload of cheap ply or some chicken wire and cement and built themselves a boat to go sailing.

"Yeah!" said the average early 70s family.

When you look at how many old Piver trimarans and Samson ferro-cement ketches are still haunting marinas around the world 40 years on, it seems like every damn backyard, boatyard and junkyard on the planet must have had at least one half-completed hull during the early 70s.

During the 70s it seems like every family had a boat, or you knew somebody who had a boat- if you had a boat you sued it, and your kids invited their friends, and their friends parents weren't worried about their kids going sailing. Remember, this is back in the day when mom would throw you out of the house on a Saturday morning and tell you not to come home until the streetlights came on.

Oh, and we had video games- "pong". fun for five minutes, but not worth holing up in the rec room all summer to play. "Pong" or the marina where there are bikini-clad chicks? It was a no-brainer.
Later, in the 80s, anybody who was cool in television or film lived on a boat. The really cool lived on a sailboat.

So, those over the age of 40 have a pretty solid body of exposure to the sailing life, on a large, but possible, scale.

Flash back to the 70s, and most boats had anemic showers, cramped quarters, no tv, an icebox and a stove. Most people were okay with that, because, back in the 70s the average kitchen did not have a microwave, the average living room did not have a vcr, a BIG tv was 27", and people were cool with the idea of cruising being a way to get away from all of that technology, and getting away from the rat-race.

If your formative years were the 90s- by this time "Dove" was a quaint bit of history, largely forgotten, or largely dismissed as irrelevant and Sonny Crockett had sailed "St. Vitus Dance" into the sunset because...

Winning the rat-race was more important than getting away from it. Those who bucked the trend and stepped off the pace were viewed as suspect. Consumerism, bigger, faster, better, shinier, louder, NOW! was the order of the day, and we wanted to pack our lives with as much of the explosion of new technology as we could. TVs became bigger and flatter and the internet became faster and offered more porn and ebay and "Pong" wasn't even a memory in the world of "DOOM" a game you could, nay, had to play for hours to enjoy. NOBODY tuned in turned on and dropped out anymore because if you didn't get a degree you were gonna be left behind. You had to go to college, you had to go $100,000 into debt to get an entry level job that pays $30K a year. Every house had a microwave or two, more bathrooms, more convenience- almost every new car had power windows and locks and A/C and we had more connectivity...
...and it scared the hell out of us.
With 24 hour news and the internet and riots in LA and more crime and new crimes with new names like "carjacking" the world now seemed a whole lot scarier, and people lost their sense of perspective- the anomaly became the accepted norm, and "coccooning" became a catch-phrase. People stopped adventuring- instead they made theri homes their nests, with central air and home theatres and reclining sofas and....
...and attainableboats still had simple stoves, no AC, weak showers, (if they had showers at all) and everything required actual grunt.

"Ew," said the average 90s family.

Big fear, big debt and an attachment to luxury- three strikes against going cruising if you were born after Kurt Cobain chewed on a shotgun.

It seems like every sport that involves some risk, effort and extended periods away from home are in decline- mountainclimbing, hanggliding, hiking.

So here we are today, and I'm seeing signs that the 70s might be coming back. The Sunderland kids and Jessica Watson and Laura Dekker are the "Dove" for a new generation. I hope so.

It's 5 o'clock somewhere:

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by bljones; 05-16-2013 at 09:49 AM.
bljones is offline  
Quote Share with Facebook
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome