Originally Posted by Sailormann
I don't think it's the boats - I think it's a case of "Fred and Betty" retiring and fulfilling their lifelong dream of sailing around the world, after taking a two-week cruising course.
I also think the Internet has something to do with it.
I am one of those people who has a dream of cruising and not enough experience to do it safely yet. I have done a fair amount of small boat inland sailing and I can make a boat go where I want when the elements cooperate. If I get a small cruiser and go out a few times in good conditions and then have a minor squall blow up and handle it OK, it will be really easy to convince myself that I am ready to handle the big stuff.
So where does the net come in? Well, up until a few years ago, I made some common assumptions about cruising that don't seem to be completely correct. I did not have ready access to the stories of plenty of "regular folks" that went out and got a boat for not too much money and then sailed it all over the place on a low budget. Also, route planning and regulations are right at your fingertips. In an evening or two, I could probably put together a plan for a blue water cruise that included alternate routes, check points and a list of things to bring that included the right amount of food, water, safety equipment and documents. Could I execute this plan? If everything went right I probably could. Will everything go right? Hell no! I have to keep reminding myself of this.
The Internet allows you to find out a lot of things quickly, but it's really easy to fall into the trap of substituting research for experience.