Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Newport News, VA
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??
I'm a newbie, but I'll throw a few cents worth into the conversation.
I'm forty-something and just getting into sailing. Been crewing for a few years in weekly races.
1) Sailing is and needs a community. It's the kind of skill that is taught and passed down from generation to generation. I got into sailing by walking the docks one night and getting a ride on someone's boat. People need to know those opportunities exist, and those with boats need to take on fresh meat.
I think that sense of community is something our modern age has lost - maybe I'm wrong. My dad is all up in his neighbors' business, helping this one do that, having another help him. I barely know my neighbors' names. We've cocooned into our houses with giant flat-screen TVs, laptops, iPads, home theaters, etc.
Yacht clubs I'm sure provide that community to those willing to pay the price. But how do you get people to pony up the $$$ and commitment to join something they don't even know if they like?
Cruising has and needs that community spirit, too. I've read many blogs about people helping each other out with this or that problem. Again, I think the modern world does not foster that spirit.
2) Sailing is REALLY complicated. Power boating is like driving a car but on the water. Cruising is far more complicated than basic sailing. The world is filled with other, easy, less-risky entertainment. Maybe that has always been true, but I don't think so.
3) Time & money.
These days people don't have a nice union factory job with good benefits & job security. They're out there working 60 hrs a week hoping their job doesn't get off-shored or turned into two 30 hour a week employees so the company can avoid paying benefits. And the statistics on personal debt are horrendous. People don't seem to know how not to spend every dime (and then some) they get paid.
Enough rambling for now.