My girlfriend and I are both giving up 6 figure careers to rebuild an old boat and take the plunge. We are lucky, but we still have to cover our student loans, etc.
The truth is, college is getting way too expensive, HS prepares you for **** and even though we have more college grads than ever in history, their degrees are costly and worth about as much as the paper they were printed on. Sailing is an expensive hobby. It's even more expensive to sustain long term as a cruiser without a retirement plan or a pension to pay the bills.
I have to say that I've found it rather troublesome how many "older" sailors poopoo the younger generation of sailors out there or even the idea of young cruisers. Many of the older cruisers on this forum put themselves in a higher class and practically discourage younger sailors with negative remarks and discouraging advice.
How often do you hear the old salts telling someone who wants to buy a boat and make a go of it - "you can't do that, you need 10 YEARS of sailing experience" or "you dont know what you're getting yourself into" or "you better reconsider..."
If people on this forum, ESPECIALLY THIS THREAD spent more time encouraging young sailors, volunteering time to teach, or shoot, even offering encouraging words of support, sailing would continue to grow.
"The ones who come before us will teach us the way forward"
Okay, in your opinion the reason that there aren't more young sailors cruising is:
1) High school doesn't teach you anything, college is so expensive, jobs don't pay sh1t and kids have college loans to pay off.
...So, isn't that an even GREATER incentive to go cruising instead of going to college? why go to school to go into debt to get a degree that won't get you a job that will pay off your debt? Go cruising, work light and cheap waiting tables or tending bar or scraping boats to cover your costs as you cruise the coast, then go back to school when the job market and the economy improves, or take some online classes one at a time as you can afford them. Or cruise a season, work a season, go to school a season, repeat. Or a combination. Yeah, it will then take 10 years to graduate instead of 3, but then you also graduate with no debt and you've had fun along the way.
2) Folks who are actually doing it aren't encouraging.
... Do you require a pat on the back and coaxing to do everything? We're talking sailing here, not eating your vegetables. If you want to do it, you do it. I am a big fan of the "go small, go now" approach, because you don't know what tomorrow brings. That's why I have a great deal of respect for jgbrown, chech, and other post-college/in college types here who buck the trend and just plain do it.
As far as the "you can't do that, you need 10 YEARS of sailing experience" or "you dont know what you're getting yourself into" or "you better reconsider..." cliches of caution that abound:
You're right, it can sometimes be a little over the top, but it's not demographic specific- it is experience specific- a novice in his/her 40s gets the same lines here as a novice in his/her 20s
I can't speak for other old salts here, but I invite every nearby, and some not so nearby, newbie to this site and the others I frequent who want to sail to come sail with us for a day or two.
Y'know who has taken me up on that offer? Folks in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.
I hope you stick around. And if you want to get some time on the water, get in touch.