Where are the younger people? - Page 16 - SailNet Community

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Old 08-01-2013
Guero's Avatar
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Re: Where are the younger people?


The lifestyle of cruising sailboats contrasts with that of most young professionals who can afford them.

I'm 37 years old and I own a Hunter 410. I'm a bit of a contrast in my sailing club. I'm lucky enough that I can stay out of the office for extended periods of times, but with a compromise, I needed to equip my boat with KVH V3 for broadband internet cause of work obligations. When I want to go anchor at some remote Islands or a zone without phone signal, like I did last week, I went to Alacranes Reef north of Mexican coast, I need to be able to receive calls from employees and check my emails at least twice a day. Not everyone can do that. So, it's much more practical to have a motor yatch, with more space, more accomodations, get somewhere fast, spend week-end, come back quick cause they can't afford to stay there for a week. People have jobs, families, obligations, and time restraints. You also don't have to find a friend that can share shifts with you to sail the boat. Wife factor also, a lot of sailing guys I know have wives who hates it. Mine just starting to enjoy it after 4 years of sailing.

There's also a learning curve associated to it, security instructions to be explained to your guests, have to ask them to move around because you have to do a tack, explain that the boat will now heel and that it's normal, looking at the sheer fear of someone when an unexpected gust heels the boat to 30 degrees for a few second . So if you like to entertain guests, a sailboat is not an ideal choice. Regarding fishing, you can't also go fish at 50 miles of the coast in 2 hours. The draft impose restrictions to where you can anchor and how near from the beach you need to be to anchor. More restrictions.

My reason for sailing over motoring even though I like a good fast plane on friend's boats? My sailboat is the only thing I've that I can't go fast. It's the only place I disconnect my brain from the stress, except when I need to do quick checks of my work emails on the sat internet. But I can see why a lot of guy interested in recreational boating would not look at sailboats.

With that said, I know a lot of young sailors and also live boards in their 30's, but they are a minority I believe.

My 2 cents.
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Guero - Enjoy the little things!
Current boat: Hunter 410 2002 (Illusion) - Current Location: Marina Paraiso, Yucalpeten, Mexico.
Sold: 1975 Aloha 34 (Serenity)
Sold: 1982 Catalina 25 (Polaris)

Last edited by Guero; 08-01-2013 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

I think you folks have ALL hit on the reasons there are few people cruising (which is really what the OP is asking).
A) Cost, yes some junkers can be had for free, but due to time constraints and/or lack of skill, it's not practical to take on that kind of project.
B) Cost again! It costs money to tow a trailerable (gas), and most POS Prius type cars get great MPG (cause gas is stupid expensive) can't tow! Forget that if you go bigger, you need to pay for marinas, and insurance, and or luxury tax, registration, etc.
C) Skill - sailing is a sport, and requires time to learn (you see in A?) people don't have time
D) Kids learn today about instantaneous gratification (flip a switch and live in a new realm) the XBox 360 experience.
D) Speed - most people who DON'T sail don't realize that sailing can be FAST! It CAN be an extreme sport... In fact I'd argue MOST of the people on this site don't think of Sailing that way either (not a knock please don't mistake that - cruising is ALSO extreme, but NOT what we are talking about).
E) I am going to say it... SAILING IS DYING! It's a dying sport. It's dying because of A-D. Less and Less people are buying into it. Therefore less and less people are passing it along to their children (as a skill). It WON'T EVER go away, but it will certainly become a margins only sport (you know unless owning a power boat becomes too expensive for anyone - ie $7/gallon gas).

I submit that if young people think you have to spend $12mill to go fast (see AC-72), apparently they've never seen a foiling moth!

But you know for under $10k, you can still have a lot of fun:
Boatless - suffering through liars and used car [pronounced boat] salespeople who are incapable to seeing the truth.

Last edited by SHNOOL; 08-01-2013 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

Man, I am in Newport right now, if you could see the hundreds (or thousands) of sailboats in the harbor and watch the crews, you wouldn't think sailing is dying, because it isn't. They are buying into it with amounts of money that I can't imagine.

But its a niche sport for sure.
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Old 08-01-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

Originally Posted by Sal Paradise View Post
Man, I am in Newport right now, if you could see the hundreds (or thousands) of sailboats in the harbor and watch the crews, you wouldn't think sailing is dying, because it isn't. They are buying into it with amounts of money that I can't imagine.

But its a niche sport for sure.
I just spent a few hours with a couple that have sailed to Maine from the UK. They've spent 18 months aboard and sailed around 10,000 NM to get here.

To hear them talk, there's a cruising community everywhere they've been along the way. In fact, cruiser word of mouth is their main source of info for their itinerary as they go. They only have wifi when they're near a source.

I asked him are they the young people amongst those they meet? He said pretty much(he's 38).

This makes sense to me just as it did 20 years ago when I was off for a year(then in our 30's we were the younger people we met on the east coast).

It took them a couple of decades of careers to make themselves financially solvent enough to go cruising. Cruising, if you're traveling long distance, isn't cheap. It's not the same as living aboard.

Along the way, they each earned their own homes, each of which is now rented which is supplying what they need to cruise on a 34' boat around the Atlantic. They've well experienced, frugal, and smart with their choice of boat and gear.

This thread often feels like it exists in a vacuum when I read about the lack of young people out cruising. Sailing has always been a niche recreation, but seems alive and well on my coast, as does a smaller fraction that are off cruising.

Tom Young sailing a 1961 38' Alden Challenger, CHRISTMAS out of
Rockport, Maine.
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