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.