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  #11  
Old 06-05-2009
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Well, I am 25 years old and own a Ranger 23 (as it says in my sig). I am currently doing some electrical work to her, along with rebedding chainplates, etc. I am selling it after this season and then buying a bigger (about 34ft.) bluewater boat that I will move aboard in the next two years or so. I will begin rigging it for a voyage that should take me around the world. I say should because I don't have any timetable and am doing it just to see the world. My goal is to be gone within six years and two months (the goal was seven years, ten months ago). That'll put me in the Caribbean by winter time. Big goal, but that's where I stand.
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  #12  
Old 06-05-2009
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While I am approaching twice your legal age to qualify as 'young', I do want to comment on this thread. When I was a kid (back before they discovered dirt) by and large the families that we encountered in sailing were around my parents age (meaning in their early to mid-30's) The children of these families grew up to be the sailing boomers my age.

To some degree, this reflects the giant growth in the number of people getting into sailing during the 1960's. I think this growth reflected a lot of factors:
-new boats were comparatively cheap as compared to the salaries of the day,
-fiberglass boats with dacron sails were comparatively low maintenance
-many adults of my parent's generation had grown up in the wake of the depression and WW II and had a sense of adventure and an idea that they could accomplish almost anything they tried to do,
-families tended to do 'active' activities together.

Growing up, there were boats that were readily available at comparatively cheap prices relative to the kinds of starting salaries that a young person might earn (and college tuitions were cheap as well so we all ended up with seemingly small loans when we finished school).

In my case for example, I was able to buy a series of very cheap boats, some wood, some glass, some daysailors but some were cruising boats, and all were less than $400.00. (To put this in perspective, at that time if you worked for minimum wage you would earn roughly $2.1 K a year, so these boats cost something less than fifth of a years income at minimum wage. Today, minimum wage is roughly 5 times what is was back then, and so it would be hard to imagine that you could buy a comparable boat for $2,000 today.)

But I also think that there were a whole range of cultural shifts that took place after the 1960's that began to mitigate against young people getting into sailing. In the early 1960's, when sailing really grew as a popular sport, shore lives were technologically pretty simple; comparatively few homes or cars had air conditioning, TV's were just become popular, and play was outdoors in nice weather; very basic pitch-a-tent type camping was still very popular with young families and so it was not much of a stetch to get into sailing.

But as tastes shifted, and shore life became technicalogical, there was a huge away from being out on the water and if families took up watersports the shift was towards power boating. With that shift fewer kids were exposed to sailing at a young age.

And sailing is not the easiest sport to get into if you have had no exposure to sailing when you are young in life. Sailing requires a fairly large amount of knowledge to do safely and to one degree or another it requires a certain amount of physical strength and dexterity. It sould be noted that there have been serious efforts to reduce the amount of both the mental and phyical barriers to sailing through ever increasing electronic, and mechanical complication. These days even comparatively small boats carry motor driven windlasses, and roller furling headsails and mainsails that greatly reduce the physical strength requirements, inboard engines, and electronic chart plotters and autopilots that reduce the level of skill required to find your way back home in all conditions.

Even the racing world seems to have fewer young people. I have noticed that the age of the people who crew on race boats has progressively gotten older. 20 years ago, race boats crews were generally in their teens, twenties and into their mid-30's. Now they are more likely to be gray hairs or shaved heads.

I don't know where I am going with this, except that Irwin 32.5CC is probably right that there are a lot fewer young folks out sailing. I think that he is right that he is the exception and not the rule, especially when I consider that 29 year old would be interested in that particular model boat, but that is another story. Who'd a thunk it?

Jeff
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  #13  
Old 06-05-2009
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Corey, hold on to your dream man, I really hope it does come true for you. If it does, Stay safe.

Thanks Jeff, A good analysis as always. I think you probably have hit the nail on the head. It is a shame, I am always taking friends my age and often younger out sailing and they love it, yet at our club we have seen a dramatic decrease in numbers in the racing fleet, and the cruisers are ALL retirees, not one cruising family. We would be the only couple under 50 easily.
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Old 06-05-2009
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Wow Jeff I never thought of it that way. It makes perfect sense though and it's too bad because at this rate by the time I am in my 40's there will be even less sailors!

Your post reminded me of that scene in Jaws 2 (which I know was a terrable movie) but when the teenagers were all at the bar making plans to go on a big sailing trip out to the that island the next day. Then the next day about 10 of them set out in 4 or 5 different boats and it was their way of having fun and their main activity they liked to do.

If they did a remake of that scene in todays age, the kids would either be hoping in a power boat or jet ski or talking about a full days worth of xbox!
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Old 06-05-2009
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I am 28 and just bought my first "big" boat, a Bristol 27. I have noticed that there aren't nearly as many young people sailing as well. I think it may have something to do with the outrageous cost of owning a boat these days. As was pointed out earlier, the cost of boats used to be much more managable, now you can't find anything that floats for under $10,000. Most young people would rather put that investment into a house and get their land based life started. It seems the sailors in their twenties and thirties have different priorities
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Old 06-05-2009
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I'm 29 and my wife is 26 and we just bought a 2008 Beneteau 343 in December '08. I took an intro to sailing course as a work diversion about 5 years ago and was hooked at the feeling of wind powering movement over water. When we moved down to S. Florida, we bought a house with a dock behind it...and now we have a boat to fill it.

This was our first big boat, and suffice it to say we are a bit overwhelmed by it right now. Just getting familiar with all the systems and maintenance...its very overwhelming. But eventually, we'll master it and get out there more. Hopefully, I will be able to take a couple month sabatical and just get out there soon.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BristolJonny View Post
I think it may have something to do with the outrageous cost of owning a boat these days. As was pointed out earlier, the cost of boats used to be much more managable, now you can't find anything that floats for under $10,000. Most young people would rather put that investment into a house and get their land based life started. It seems the sailors in their twenties and thirties have different priorities
Yet we all seem to find the money for 42 inch LCD TV's, Ipods and new cars

I think it is actually more priorities than cost. There are cheaper boats around, but maybe the issue is they just aren't good enough for Gen Y?
We want it all now. We want our first boats to recent model production boats with all the Gadgets and comforts?

Congrats on buying your boat though Jonny. Whereabouts are you??
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Last edited by chall03; 06-05-2009 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 06-05-2009
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My wife and I are both 33 years old with two young (4 & 6) girls. We've been "out there" on the Great Lakes for two seasons now, building our resume and reducing our debt so we can throw off the docklines indefinately and head south, and then maybe west. We're one of only a small handful of boats at our large marina that has young kids and parents in their early thirties. In fact, we're the only sailors that fit that criteria. Many of the others are powerboaters.
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Old 06-05-2009
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Well, I blow through your top age bracket by 6 years, but we are definitely on the younger side of sailors in our area. Perhaps we are just fortunate, but in our marina there are several families with younger kids. Most of the families have parents in their 30s to early 40s and there are a couple of single guys who are right around our age or a bit younger.

That being said the vast majority of boats in the marina are owned by those a good 20 years older than we are.
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Old 06-05-2009
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My wife turns 35 in two weeks. She was foredecking at the age of 5 as her father designed and sailed small boats in Lake Ontario. She's currently crewing down south and accumulating sea hours ahead of a planned circumnavigation starting in a couple of years. My son is 7 and is starting Opti sailing next month.

I'm the weakest link. Despite having a father who was a professional mariner (admittedly before I was born), I didn't regularly sail until I bought my first boat (33 footer) shortly after my 38th birthday. Ten years later, we're getting ready to leave before I turn 50.
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