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Old 08-17-2006
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Interesting Quote....

"The number of Americans who sail grew from 4.3 million in 2004 to 4.7 million last year, [roughly a 9% increase] according to SGMA. [Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, which tracks sports trends] The average sailor is 37.9 years old, and has a household income of $81,200."*

And I thought that it was just us old farts that were still sailing. On the other hand, in an absolute sense, 37.9 isn't all that young. I still worry that I don't see as many 20 year olds out there as I used to.

I was also heartened to see that the average income was not as high as I had feared. I had come to suspect that sailing was once again becoming a sport for the very rich rather than for us average folk. (For what it is worth the average income in the US was roughly $45K with roughly 26% of the population exceeding the $81.2K average income for sailors in 2005)

Jeff

*Source: "Capital Newspaper" 8/16/2006 and US census data for 2005

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Old 08-17-2006
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Hi Jeff. 86K is pretty high if you factor in the entire Country. I think kids generally are not doing as much as they used to.
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Old 08-17-2006
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You are right, $81K is a pretty big number, especially when you consider that in the U.S. nearly as many people live below the poverty level as actually make that much. Still and all, because so few smaller sailboats were being built these days, and new boats had gotten so wildly expensive, I had feared that the average income of sailors had climbed well above the $100K mark.

Jeff
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Old 08-17-2006
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Sorry, 81K. I went to the boat show this year and I just cannot figure out who is buying these boats for $500K plus that just sit in slips. I did notice that a lot of boat companies have started making smaller models again. Perhaps a sign of the slowdown in the economy?
For me, I would rather buy an old boat and restore it. Sail it for a few years and then do it again. That's just something I enjoy doing. I can't see the point of taking out a mortgage on a liability.
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Old 08-17-2006
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To a great extent I agree with you (for the second time in a day, someone call Guiness) about buying older boats. I tend to buy used boats and keep them for fairly long periods of time. Its not just a price thing (although by and large, given the 30K price tag on a ready to race new J-22 , I'm not sure that I could afford a new boat), having commisssioned new boats for a living, I look at commissioning a new boat as a lot more work than fixing up a reasonably maintained older boat. But beyond that, it takes a while for factory defects to show up in a boat, and buying used you are more likely to avoid lemons.

At some level, I really don't understand the 'must buy new' mentality, especially when it comes to boats manufactured in large numbers. I am especially baffled by the case of the new sailor who must buy new. There are so many critical decisions to make when setting up a new boat, that I find myself wondering what criteria these new sailors are using to make those decisions.

Jeff
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Old 08-17-2006
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$81k is the household income correct? So with 2 working adults each is making $40,500 to get there. In my part of the world (New England) that's not a lot of money especially if you're raising a family much less maintaining a sailboat. My statement not intended to be elitest its just expensive here.

You think gas prices have driven some former stinkpotters into sailing? That seems like a huge jump in sailors in one year.
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Old 08-17-2006
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Thats a good question. The average income in the City of Washington, DC where I live amongst employed people is over $100K (individually not household), now. So I would imagine Boston NYC, LA, San Francisco have to be similar.
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Old 08-17-2006
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Late bloomers

Maybe it's just folks like me that have always had the dream but never have had the oportunity (or will) to do anything about it. Two years ago I bought the first boat I've ever owned - a sailboat. We purchased her before my wife and I had even had our first sailing lesson! And by the way, we're quite a bit shy of that magic $81K mark ourselves....
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Old 08-17-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H
I am especially baffled by the case of the new sailor who must buy new. There are so many critical decisions to make when setting up a new boat, that I find myself wondering what criteria these new sailors are using to make those decisions.

Jeff
I can address that, at least in the case of some of the newbies who bought new Hunt-alina-teaus in our area -- they think about it similar to buying a new car and they want the handholding and warranty support that comes with buy new. "They don't know what they don't know, but they know that they don't know it." Financially I suppose it works if you're living aboard and not shelling out rent or mortgage too. Personally, we started with an old boat so cheap we could afford to screw up totally while learning.
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In our case, we read as much as we could, talked to folks to get their input and ideas, tried to come up with our "sailing vision", where we wanted to be down the road. After all of that we developed a decision matrix and went shopping for used boats that would best fit what we were looking for. Two years later I don't regret our choice but you are right, we didn't know what we didn't know and we knew we didn't know.

Chears!
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