Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: St Lawrence
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Interesting thread, I have been thinking some what about where the perception of sailing being an elitist activity comes from.
The concept of sailing and cruising being the domain of the wealthy and select seems to be a fairly new phenomenon and seems to be influenced to some degree both by regional geography and culture.
In Europe and the UK, there are certainly enclaves of large expensive yachts on the Mediterranean, but at the same time, in much of Europe sailing and cruising, particularly in small boats is regarded as a family activity any person with a moderate income can fully expect to enjoy. In Europe, not only are small cruising boats popular with families, but Europeans in general don't seem to suffer from the same excesses as in the Americas. Not only are boats smaller, but houses and cars are smaller too. Material wealth takes a back seat to leisure time, as evidenced by the much more generous vacation laws in Europe.
We know that early sail boats, for thousands of years were primarily conveyances for people and goods and tools for harvesting from the sea. Seaman were often poor, in ancient times the wealthy seem to have been more occupied with other material goods like acquiring slaves and exotic cats to be concerned with boating for the most part, sailing was a poor-middle class activity.
Fast forward to one of the first broadly recognized modern recreational sailors, Joshua Slocum. Slocum was a poor unemployed seaman who built up a simple boat and used his skill as a seaman and determination to over come challenges that some now would have you believe can only be overcome with chart plotters and powerful winches. If you sailed at any time after Slocum, you will never be the first recreational sailor to have sailed around the world, a poor man in a simple boat will always have done it before you.
Fast forward again to the 60's, the start of the golden age of recreational sailing, brought on by strong CHEAP fiberglass boats that were accessible to nearly any person with a job.
The golden age is dead, but the same fundamental rules that have always applied, still apply today. Money does not a sailor make. Any person with $1000 to spend on a dinghy can cruise extensively, at least within the confines of their home continent, which for me is the Americas, and there is a lifetime of exploring that can be done between Canada in the North and Tierra Del Fuego in the South.
Although some may deeply desire that sailing be an elitist sport, and try to convince you that it is, it certainly doesn't need to be. Whether you sail to travel, for exercise, for freedom, adventure, excitement or just the desire to feel unique or special, you can go out and get a boat big or small, complex or simple and sail it, just like poor, wealthy and the somewhere in between have been for thousands of years.
Last edited by Arcb; 12-07-2016 at 06:49 AM.