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  #21  
Old 05-16-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

Northocean, you make some great observations.

Where are the young people? Where are the small boats?
I think the two questions are inter-related.

First, though, the pool of adventurers is smaller, with a different set of role models than the role models those sailors over 40 have/had. I think that if you haven't had an exposure to sailing during your teens, the odds that you will become a sailor in your 20s or 30s are significantly reduced... and sometimes that exposure can be as simple as a book or a movie.
Growing up in the 70s, we had bell bottoms, big hair and "Dove."

"Dove" showed a whole lot of us that it could be done- the blue water life was attainable.
The 60s and early 70s were the golden age of sweat equity dream-fulfillment. Those who tuned in, turned on and dropped out often picked up a crapload of cheap ply or some chicken wire and cement and built themselves a boat to go sailing.

"Yeah!" said the average early 70s family.

When you look at how many old Piver trimarans and Samson ferro-cement ketches are still haunting marinas around the world 40 years on, it seems like every damn backyard, boatyard and junkyard on the planet must have had at least one half-completed hull during the early 70s.

During the 70s it seems like every family had a boat, or you knew somebody who had a boat- if you had a boat you sued it, and your kids invited their friends, and their friends parents weren't worried about their kids going sailing. Remember, this is back in the day when mom would throw you out of the house on a Saturday morning and tell you not to come home until the streetlights came on.

Oh, and we had video games- "pong". fun for five minutes, but not worth holing up in the rec room all summer to play. "Pong" or the marina where there are bikini-clad chicks? It was a no-brainer.
Later, in the 80s, anybody who was cool in television or film lived on a boat. The really cool lived on a sailboat.


So, those over the age of 40 have a pretty solid body of exposure to the sailing life, on a large, but possible, scale.

Flash back to the 70s, and most boats had anemic showers, cramped quarters, no tv, an icebox and a stove. Most people were okay with that, because, back in the 70s the average kitchen did not have a microwave, the average living room did not have a vcr, a BIG tv was 27", and people were cool with the idea of cruising being a way to get away from all of that technology, and getting away from the rat-race.

If your formative years were the 90s- by this time "Dove" was a quaint bit of history, largely forgotten, or largely dismissed as irrelevant and Sonny Crockett had sailed "St. Vitus Dance" into the sunset because...

Winning the rat-race was more important than getting away from it. Those who bucked the trend and stepped off the pace were viewed as suspect. Consumerism, bigger, faster, better, shinier, louder, NOW! was the order of the day, and we wanted to pack our lives with as much of the explosion of new technology as we could. TVs became bigger and flatter and the internet became faster and offered more porn and ebay and "Pong" wasn't even a memory in the world of "DOOM" a game you could, nay, had to play for hours to enjoy. NOBODY tuned in turned on and dropped out anymore because if you didn't get a degree you were gonna be left behind. You had to go to college, you had to go $100,000 into debt to get an entry level job that pays $30K a year. Every house had a microwave or two, more bathrooms, more convenience- almost every new car had power windows and locks and A/C and we had more connectivity...
...and it scared the hell out of us.
With 24 hour news and the internet and riots in LA and more crime and new crimes with new names like "carjacking" the world now seemed a whole lot scarier, and people lost their sense of perspective- the anomaly became the accepted norm, and "coccooning" became a catch-phrase. People stopped adventuring- instead they made theri homes their nests, with central air and home theatres and reclining sofas and....
...and attainableboats still had simple stoves, no AC, weak showers, (if they had showers at all) and everything required actual grunt.

"Ew," said the average 90s family.

Big fear, big debt and an attachment to luxury- three strikes against going cruising if you were born after Kurt Cobain chewed on a shotgun.

It seems like every sport that involves some risk, effort and extended periods away from home are in decline- mountainclimbing, hanggliding, hiking.

So here we are today, and I'm seeing signs that the 70s might be coming back. The Sunderland kids and Jessica Watson and Laura Dekker are the "Dove" for a new generation. I hope so.
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Last edited by bljones; 05-16-2013 at 08:49 AM.
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  #22  
Old 05-16-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

I'm guessing that 29 (me) and 27 (my wife) counts as young? Not cruising yet, but we do have a 26' boat (S2 7.9) on our local lake that is able to be trailered. We intend to take it to larger bodies of water (Kentucky Lake, the Great Lakes, etc.) in the near future for 4-8 day cruising adventures. Still learning (its the first boat that is 100% ours, and the biggest one we have experience with, and we just got it 3 months ago). The intention right now is to sail the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks out of this boat for a couple years, then, if we are still liking this sailing thing, sell everything, buy a bigger boat, and cast off for parts unknown.
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Old 05-16-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

bljones:

I was born in 1983, definitely a "child of the 90s" ...but...I grew up on a farm...had a 19" TV that was nearly never on...wasn't allowed to play "Doom" (Mom caught me playing Wolfenstien 3d once...made me delete it)...was thrown outside and told not to come inside until the fireflies came out..and my idea of a good time was when my cousins would come over and we'd build hay forts in the barn, shoot each other with "pea shooters" [hollow aluminum arrows that we would use as blow guns to shoot soybeans], and whack at each other with wooden swords playing "capture the flag." My parents' idea of a good vacation was either hiking in Glacier National Park, or (the lap of luxury for us) going to a guest ranch in Colorado. I'm guessing that my upbringing is very non-typical for my generation...
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Old 05-16-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

I think there are a lot of younger people doing things besides playing video games these days, but those things may not be sailing. Case in point, I spent nearly 2 years in my 20s backpacking around Europe, and I was far from the only person doing it. It wasn't exactly the most common thing to do, but there was never any shortage of other young people around doing the same thing and "living the dream".

Now that I'm in my early 30s, I find that I'm the youngest person in my marina by at least 15 years (not counting powerboats), and my 19-foot Typhoon is the smallest except for maybe one or two on trailers. When I tell people I actually sometimes overnight on it the reaction is pretty skeptical.

I do a lot of camping, and there is always sort of a cultural and age divide between the tent sections and RV sections of the campground, but the sailing world seems to be limited to the RV section. I'm not sure why that is. I do think it has to do with the perception that you have to have a lot of money--most people my age I talk to have this general idea that "a boat" must cost about $100,000, but when I explain that it can easily be done for less than a good used car, and that my monthly expenses are about what most people my age pay for a smartphone plan + cable TV, they start to understand. It is still a very foreign idea to most people though.

Last edited by bamabratsche; 05-16-2013 at 09:28 AM.
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Re: Where are the younger people?

Look at the guitar hero phenomenon. Kids who simply will not take an hour a day to learn guitar - which WILL get you laid- will spend hours daily on guitar hero- which will not. Why? God only knows. Not much makes sense to me- I mean not much about us ever has- but the last few years I've just completely disconnected, simply can not relate anymore. The overriding desire for comfort, which leads cruisers to pack everything you've heard of x2 (see cruising dads very amusing definition of cruiser/ packing list) alienates me, the overriding desire for safety confuses me- I view it as nothing more than avoidance behavior, as seen in a soft dog- you see it in retriever training, soft dogs will just fail to attempt certain scenarios- and struggle with concepts, cuz they might get nicked with the collar. And finally the constant craving for convenience- so now we have instant Starbucks coffee- cuz the 4 minutes wait on a French press could well prove fatal I suppose. Heinz ketchup in squeeze bottles... It's a metaphor for the decline of western civilization. Then you meet folks out cruising who look at your age and get resentful or scandalized- assuming you haven't "earned it" whatever that means...
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Old 05-16-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by c. breeze View Post
...the 4 minutes wait on a French press could well prove fatal I suppose.
Hehe...then what about the 10 minute wait for the siphon pot that I use? I must be dead 1000x over!
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Re: Where are the younger people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhys05 View Post
Hehe...then what about the 10 minute wait for the siphon pot that I use? I must be dead 1000x over!
Someone call a doctor... This man is dying of patience.
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Old 05-16-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

So many variables here. Let me add another I would venture to say there are still plenty of young people sailing, just not necessarily in the area you go to. maybe they are in small trailerable boats, hobie cats, lasers, 22 footers easy to maintain, Many are not interested in living aboard a boat as well.

Many of the young people, however like the rest of us they are raising families, have younger kids so a boat is really a luxury on the list of things you children "need" and come after things like clothes, food, and their activities.

With many young Also so cruising and dropping of the regular grid is just not an option to them, their careers will take a hit. Maybe some have priorities than yours different like helping other people, contributing to society as doctors, nurses, teachers etc. and see that as a greater calling than just taking off into the great wilderness.

These same people when they reach their 50s/ 60s/70 still have the calling to travel and do what you are doing so they go cruising to parts unknown and that's who you are seeing. By that age you have more money and also can afford to put ammentities on your boat as well as get a larger boat.

Understand I am not passing judgment here just stating what I see. Most of the younger people are career oriented or family oriented and their priorities are definitely different.

My wife and I are in our late 50s and looking forward to the day we retire and get to sail in the islands for 5 months a year and on the Chesapeake the other 7 months. me more than her However now we still cruise quite a bit...almost 3000 miles a year if you look in our logbooks. My wife as an example is still working...( my wife is a newborn nurse) and will have a hard time giving that up to go sailing full time as she feels she is helping and contributing to others well being. This may be a choice a lot of people make

Sailing off and cruising is very individual and in a way " me" self directed. Hard to do with children as you are more selfless with your time to them or when you feel you are contributing to society as a whole. Again no value judgment, but most younger people chose a different path than you that's all. In the end you have to balance and do what makes you happy.

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  #29  
Old 05-16-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

chef2sail:

I think that you are spot on with most younger people being career and/or family oriented. "Cruising" can/could/likely will put a damper on that. I think the difference with my wife and I and our willingness to give that up is two-fold, one being our rural upbringing, and two being our current career situations: Me being an engineer for a faceless corporation and not feeling like I'm really making much of an impact, and her being in higher education ("academics") where she SHOULD feel like she is making an impact (and does...on the students) but has to deal with ridiculous politics and general inertia that drives her nuts. As far as "family oriented," I don't think that cruising has to sacrifice that, see "Windtraveler" or "Anasazi racing" blogs for good examples of that..
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Old 05-16-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

a few of the people I work with are "boaters" but I am the only sailor. They all talk about how big their engines are and how fast the boat can go and how quick they can make it to the wreck to get a few hours of fishing in.

good for them, at least they are getting out there.

But the moment the subject of sailing comes up, the topic invariably leads to how much they all hate it when a sailboat "leans" or heels. None of them can understand why we do not topple over, even when I explain about ballest. When I had my GP14, they were even more skeptical as that Dinghy only had meat ballest.

But, I digress, The big thing is, if those guys got out once every two weeks, everyone heard about it. I got out several times a week in my GP
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