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  #681  
Old 11-08-2013
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??

Will you marry me?
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  #682  
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??

Haha no but your welcome to crew on my boat anytime, I'm always trying to find crew, its hard finding people my age who like to sail in all conditions.
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  #683  
Old 11-08-2013
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??

Awwww Here in WA we have tones of young kids with boats, at 45 I'm the crusty old guy on the dock. This summer as I cruised I was impressed with how many young ones were out. I purchased my first boat at 18 was the youngest by a good 15 years now it seems here more and more every year we see younger people leaning the advantages of living and cruising on small boats BTW if I ever make it that way I would love to cruise with you but alas I am headed to Argentina on my boat. This might be a good place to plug Lyle Hess
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  #684  
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??

I don't know. I've met some very adventurous and motivated young people. I suspect that for most of them sailing and especially cruising is just not on the radar.

In some respects sailing is probably a little like hunting. If you aren't exposed to it as a youngster, you're much less likely to pursue it as an adult.

Why aren't as many kids getting exposed to sailing today? I think there are lots of reasons including a lack of unstructured leisure time for both themselves and their parents. Further, while boats can be found for almost nothing, keeping them on the water is increasingly expensive (though I'm sure there are exceptions).

If you don't grow up close to a large body of water then you're probably not going to spend much of your youth sailing, and affordable land close to large bodies of water is hard to come by.
For kids near where I live, there are youth sailing classes but these are on small lakes that severely limit power boat access.

The lake on which grew up is overrun with power boats and personal watercraft, but no sailing school and few sailors. It's a shame. There was an active yacht club and weekly races of several different classes when I was young. Now, there's nothing.

Last edited by unimacs; 11-08-2013 at 05:15 PM.
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  #685  
Old 11-08-2013
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??

Having been paying and working my way through college, I think the 'college debt' thing is a pretty lame excuse for not sailing.

In the first few years of college I also built up a lot of debt, until I learned tricks for living frugally and learned that research labs on campus have plenty of money to hire students who work hard.

Living frugally while working in on campus labs, I paid off all of my debt and now invest most of my tiny student worker income. Eventually I bought a Catalina 22 for $800 which I restored and outfitted as a cruising boat, and have been doing week long cruises several times per year while attending school full time.
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  #686  
Old 11-08-2013
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??

duchess, you sound like me. at 42 I am not a 'young' man, by most standards, although no one guesses me to be more than 34. but I started sailing when I was 24. I don't do motors on sailboats. I have never even used one. i'm a sailor. if I can't sail to and from a dock or set and leave anchor, by sail alone, I have no right to call myself a sailor. I am just now checking into a used electric outboard, in case of emergency on the bay.

none of my friends ever sailed and most everyone I have met on the water is a generation older than me, including the newbies. I have, recently met some guys in their 20s. they were just beginning to sail and I helped them get their boat back on their trailer. I never meet women my own age or younger, that sail...unfortunately.lol

I also am an anti-tech rebel. simple and old fashioned is better. it's cleaner and more pure. it's free of the taint of the modern tech rat race we have made for ourselves. that's how sailing should be: free. to a degree, technology is a trap. it ensnares us and keeps us dependent on the system. when I drive to a strange place, I don't use GPS. I get out a map. most people you meet can't even use a map.

I also find many of the older 'sailors' I meet, who haven't been sailing since childhood, are not really that knowledgeable about actually sailing. it's funny watching them trying to sail away from the dock and funnier watching them try to return. many don't bother. they motor out before raising their sails and they strike sail a ways from the dock and motor back.

if I am in my dinghy, which I made a sprit sail for, no one even has any idea what type of sail it is. I had one guy guess it was a lateen (?) and one guy tell me he liked my gaff rig. a lot of them just ask what type of sail it is and had never heard of a sprit sail, when I tell them. during the golden age of sail, sprit sails were very popular and are one of the oldest types of sail but all they know is Bermuda rigs.

a lot of them over trim, too, wasting a lot of the wind's force on heeling. they say they do it because it feels like they are getting more force on the sails. they are surprised when I suggest they ease the sails til they luff and then sheet them in just enough to stop them from luffing.

they don't seem to be prepared, either. they usually don't carry any extra rope, for emergency use, and can't seem to handle an emergency on the water. for instance, this older guy was taking his young grand kids out for a sail in a 16' boat. he had no motor. I was sailing my dinghy. it was a bit heavy, that day. 15 kts or so, plus gusts.

I saw their main come down on top of them, suddenly. they appeared to be struggling so I sailed over to them. his halyard shackle had come apart. he had no motor. no oars. not even a paddle. with little kids in the boat! he also had no rope or a knife to cut rope with.

I sacrificed a bit of my stern line and, while sailing around in tight circles, instructed him to strike his jib. I told him to tie a roband through the cringle at the main sail's head. then, I told him to hook the jib halyard to the forward side of the roband and hoist the main with that. he couldn't sail up wind on jib alone. too much lee helm. he had been trying. anyhow, he was able to sail back to the dock that way. I followed him back, to make sure he'd be ok.

he and his wife thanked me profusely and half jokingly suggested they should get my number so they could make sure I was sailing when he went out, in the future, in case he had another emergency. the funny thing is, they used to own a 40' sloop, on the bay. really nice people but he was still totally unprepared and had no idea how to go about saving himself and his grand kids. thankfully I was sailing that day.

I think it's a generational thing. many of the baby boomers that sail are like the ones that ride motorcycles ( which I also do ). they aren't serious about it ( not hard core, as i'd usually say ). it's a hobby that money affords them. as far as the ones that own motorcycles go, they ride a little...never in bad weather...and then they sit around drinking and trying to convince the other boomers on bikes just how hard core they are, even referring to themselves as biker trash...with their big mc mansions and expensive cars. it's a game to them. i'm not saying all older ( baby boomer age )sailors are that way, of course, but I have observed that tendency a lot.



those of us who grew up as bikers actually ride. we can generally figure a way to jury rig our bikes and limp home, if a cable breaks or something, and we are not afraid to get wet or cold. there are less bikers in the younger generations, most of those generations prefer fast crotch rockets, but the ones that are starting to ride cruisers and choppers are more hardcore, like my father's generation and myself.

perhaps there is a similar trend with sailing.

if you haven't already, you should go on youtube and search for 'hold fast'. I discovered it by accident late one night. it's cool.

I can identify with those people, although I spent most of my life fighting my own nature and trying to be 'responsible' and work towards the type of life I was told I should aim for. so I haven't gotten a chance to do something like they did, yet. I have never succeeded in seeking those accepted goals, very well, though.. I just don't care that much about material crap. it's all about the experience of life, to me; the adventure. now, I find myself wondering what I have been doing trying to achieve someone else's life goals and i'm having a shift in my way of life. I am not fighting my own nature that much, an more. it never did me much good anyhow. I've always done things like ride my chopper through rain, snow, cold, and twice through flash floods ( I went 7 years without even owning a car and I don't live in California or florida, either )or sailing a 9' dinghy in 20 kt gusts, in the dead of winter, when I had to shovel snow off of the dock before setting sail (and I can't swim). I never fit into that cookie cutter society, usually being the crazy man amongst my friends and the other people I encounter. i'm the guy who never has the newest electric gadgets. i didn't get a cell phone til about 4 years ago. i'm the guy with the sailing dinghy in the back of his beat up old truck so I can sail any time I can get a free moment. i'm just not the guy with a house, two cars in the garage, a big screen TV to watch the game on ( I don't care about sports. too many things to actually do. life is not a spectator sport ) and 2.5 kids in after school activities. but I digress...
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Last edited by captain jack; 11-08-2013 at 08:57 PM.
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  #687  
Old 11-12-2013
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??

Though not a story about sailing per se (and not at all about cruising), there was an article about the lake I grew up on in the local paper yesterday. A marina wanted to double the number of slips they had and ran into a firestorm of complaints from lake property owners.

The property owners complain that there are already too many boats on the lake. It was one of the first lakes in the area to become infested with zebra muscles (an invasive species). They also say that non-resident boaters ignore no-wake zones which is dangerous, causes property damage, further erosion, and leads to diminished water quality.

I agree that the boat traffic is crazy (I wouldn't even attempt to sail there on the 4th of July for example) but it is sort of the pot calling the kettle black. A homeowner can legally have up to 6 slips on their property and many allow other people to keep boats on their property for money that's exchanged under the table.

The reason I bring it up is that while we do have a lot of lakes, access to them in the metro area is becoming constrained and expensive. Though somewhat tempered by the real-estate crash a few years ago, lake property is not attainable on a middle class income without some help.

The combination of expensive lake property, crowded boat launches, and only a small number of slips available, means sailing isn't really going to thrive there and it hasn't.

There is something else going on though because sailing has declined dramatically there even among the people for whom it would be convenient and affordable, - the property owners.

Last edited by unimacs; 11-12-2013 at 01:46 PM.
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??

when talking about lake sailing, a decline in sailing might coincide with an increase of power boats, fishing, and possibly see doo's ( if allowed ). as the complaint noted, power boaters ignore no wake zones, tend to ignore right of way, and tend to be rude as a general rule. by rude, I mean swamping smaller craft as they go by. that doesn't effect cruisers, but it can effect smaller boats. on lake Marburg, I have found that to be the case. it makes sailing a small boat frustrating, at times, even dangerous. it can really tick you off. the stress of dealing with buttholes is one thing I sail to escape. perhaps other people felt the same way and stopped sailing at those lakes because of it. it never stopped me but most leisure time sailors aren't all that dedicated. if a hobby stops providing the benefits which drew a person to it, in the first place, they tend to stop participating in that hobby.

while cruising is the topic of the thread, I think that your point is very relevant. for many people, the investment of money and effort to own a cruising sailboat are too much. for them, dinghies and daysailers are the only avenue for sailing. today's daysailer can be tomorrow's cruiser, but not if they abandon sailing before they reach that stage.
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??

one point to add to what I previously posted about our modern pop culture not introducing sailboats to kids is that, when I was a little boy, there were a lot of plastic toy boats. outside of pirates of the Caribbean toys, you just don't see toy sailboats for little kids, in the stores. it's just not in the public eye for future generations.

one other thing about the baby boom generation sailing, the introduction of relatively inexpensive fiberglass boats in the 50s took sailing out of the realm of the rich and put it in the realm of everyday people. fiberglass boats just aren't that cheap, anymore. the new fiberglass boats, instead of being aimed at the middle class, are now aimed at those with money. yes, you can find reasonable used boats but many average people who could afford them don't have the skills, time, or inclination to fix up an older boat. for them, they want a buy it today/ sail it today sort of hobby.

access to learning may be an issue, too. people are lazy. they don't want to invest time in stuff. we live in an immediate gratification society. as evidence I present to the following tale.

I was out sailing my dinghy, earlier in the summer. as I sailed, I watched this boat doing some odd things. it was about 24 foot or so. kind of a weekend cruiser. this was on the lake. I usually leave the sailor's cove and head upwind, towards the dam. that way, if the wind dies down low, I can sail back downwind to the dock, instead of beating through light airs.

in the morning, that day, the wind was variable and I realized I was doing things the hard way, so I turned her about and sailed down, heading for the other end of the lake. I saw this boat sailing out of the cove and head down, too. they were ahead of me, as I had sailed up first, before heading down. they reached their way out of the cove but, when they turned down, they never eased the main. they kept it sheeted in like they were beating. I thought that odd, but I have noticed that people aren't very glad to get pointers, no matter how badly they are screwing up. so, I left it alone and minded my business.

by the time I had closed the distance to about 10 yards, the wind had arrived so I turned about and headed back upwind. they did too. now, the size of their boat should have meant they passed me by easily. however, it took them awhile to come abreast of me. I waved and kept sailing. they didn't mind the trim of the jib and it luffed often, which slowed them up. there is an island on the lake, in line with the sailor's cove. it screws up the wind around it, for some distance, regardless of wind direction. so, as I approached it, I tacked over, sailed past it's wind shadow, and tacked back to my original course.

they just kept sailing right into the wind shadow, like they didn't realize that's what was happening. well, after a while of watching them sail in such an odd fashion, during a time while they were running with the main sheeted in for beating, I decided I watched them struggling enough ( it was obvious that they were ) and I sailed down to where they were, easily overtaking them.

I said hi and asked how they were doing. they replied that they weren't doing good. I took that as my cure and said hat I noticed that and inquired as to how long they had been sailing. they had bought the boat 3 months ago and had been trying to figure out how to sail by watching youtube videos. now, I don't think that is a bad way to learn sailing. I taught myself by reading lots of books and applying what I read. my first time out on my dinghy, I did just fine. but not everyone can learn without a teacher and it didn't seem to help them. so, I told them i'd help them out and said they needed to ease the main. I got them sailing ok and stuck with them. a guy in a cruiser sailed up to us. he and I had been talking while we sailed near each other, previously. he saw what I was about and also gave them pointers.

they suffered a mild accidental jibe because they weren't mindful of the tiller, once. I kept them from having another immediate accidental jibe. new sailor's tend to respond to an accidental jibe by turning the tiller to where it should have been before the jibe, causing another jibe, I notice. anyhow, they were heading back to the dock, reaching by that time. I had kept telling them how to sail, the whole time.

the wind had dropped and my boat sails very well in light airs. so, I was having no trouble keeping up. they began pulling down the jib and I was sailing in circles around them, talking to them, as they did. I offered to teach them how to sail. no charge. i'm on the water every weekend, anyway, and I hadn't started to sail in the bay, yet. I gave them my phone number and email. told them my schedule was flexible and the next time they decided to take it out, i'd be glad to show them how to sail it.

I never heard from them and never saw them on the lake again. months went by. if they were still trying to sail that boat, I should have seen them up there. there's no other lake near there for them to sail on.

I figure they got frustrated and gave up. it's a shame. I was more than willing to invest the time to teach them.
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Old 11-12-2013
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Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??

I think that is a big part of it. Power boats, personal water craft, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, etc. all are much easier to learn how to use.

It could be laziness. It could be just a general lack of leisure time, or lack of information on available learning resources. There happens to be a few different options for learning how to sail not far from where I live, - both for kids and adults but I was completely unaware of them until a few years ago. It seems to me I used to see TV commercials from marine stores advertising sailboats when I was little, but no more. I'm pretty sure you
could watch the America's cup races on regular TV and local parks used to rent out sailboats but that's not the case anymore either.

Sailing became more of a mainstream activity back in the 70's but it's not any longer.

Last edited by unimacs; 11-12-2013 at 03:13 PM.
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