The old men and women of the sea...
Two weekends ago I crewed in my first race on a friend's J-24. Didn't do so well, but it was also my first introduction to the sailing/racing set on HHI, and it was an eye-opener. The race included a half-dozen Harbor 20s, which are beautiful little one-design boats with self-tailing jibs, enormous cockpits, and battery powered motors. They also cost around $30,000. We were in the midst of some powerful spring tides, so at the end of the race, all of the H-20s had to be towed back to Windmill Harbour, as the tide was on the way out and their batteries had all expired. They all lined up, stem to stern, and all six were slowly towed behind a single Whaler. They all appeared to be crewed and skippered by people in their sixties and seventies, and as they headed home their silver heads stood over the cockpit coamings. It was an amusing sight: six sailboats being towed, a total of $180,000 dollars in pretty little watercraft. Anyway, it got my friends and myself to thinking. Ten years ago this race would have sixty boats instead of thirty, my J-24 friend explained. "You're in love with a dying sport," he said. My reply was, "I'm fine with that."
And I am -- but only to a point. I really don't care that North Americans don't want to sail, as it's my view that sailing requires that you devote a certain high level of time and energy to it, or else you end up in a world of regret. The pity in it all is that so few people actually get to experience this. Most of the people on this forum know what they'd be missing if they didn't sail, and my guess is that you'd all turn into a bunch of roaring alcoholics if you couldn't do it. I'm not evangelical about sailing, but I've had my boat for exactly a year, and I've taken just over 90 people out on my little C30 (90 different people). Most live on HHI, and it was their first sailing experience for nearly all of them. At the end of nearly every sail, they can't wait to go again. They love it. We get calls all the time to see if we're going out on the boat, and I do my best to cancel whatever I'm supposed to be doing in order to reprise the experience.
I apologize for the long thread, but this idea that we are all in love with such an all-consuming but dying way of life is incredible to me. We Americans are a stupid and lazy bunch who would rather watch Nascar, so I really shouldn't care at all... The reason I posted this is to get other views on the topic. CD touched on the subject in his thread concerning all the sh---y boats out there on the market, which, in my opinion, only confirms what we all know deep down to be the case. Thoughts?