Re: Where are the younger people?
Younger people don't have "The [sailing] bug", because they are just too distracted by the ability to do many other, simpler things.
I'm in my 20's and I am living on my 3rd sailboat.
A $1000 13'er after high school, a $300 16' catamaran after college, and a $15000, 28 year old Catalina 30 I purchased when I was 26, I paid for it with cash that I worked and worked and worked and worked and worked for, having to lie to both of my jobs while being a full-time college student, that the other job needed me to work this or that holiday, so I could actually get a day off - Maybe 3 days off per year, total. I didn't own a boat for those 4 years because I knew I wouldn't be able to use it, but the dream was there and I rented a Catalina 14.2 on Labor Day in Newport Beach in 2009 - Sadly I can remember - anyways, It's been worth it. I say all that because "getting into sailing" on their own, without a clue, is daunting enough to give up doing unless they have a special motivation - which is rare for that generation to have in anything for long.
Even as a liveaboard I sail at least once a week on average. I only have weekends to do it, so I am out there.
Anyways, that should give me some credibility for the rest of this:
I've only met 4 other people my age who own sailboats and use them. A lot of people want to try sailing but think there is way more to it than we all know there actually is. I can say that there's younger people, probably teenagers and 20-somethings participating in weekday races at the clubs, or take it as a college class if they're lucky, so that's nice to see.
My belief is that sailing is not as mainstream as it was in the 70s. It's been tapering off, clinging and relying on the same generation that was "young" in the 70s, and supported the manufacturing boom, and stuck with sailing until now and they are in their 60s or older finally able to enjoy it more days a week or retire and cruise and saturate the crowd of sailors.
The bottom line is that, agreeing with most of your opinions, the demographic age group of 18-30 year olds currently is taken up by so many other things. Whether it be pursuing careers professionally and paying of school debt, or sitting on dads couch playing video games and waiting for something 'get rich quick' thing to happen, there is basically access to any other interest they want, available at their fingertips, fantasy or reality.
Think about 1970, if you lived near water than you probably boated whenever you could, and you caught the bug and it stuck, you were young and it was mostly affordable and something to do because there just wasn't much else to do back then (compared to the availability of things now). Think about 2013, if you live near water you might instagram a photo of it when it's pretty, share it on facebook, while streaming a movie from your cell phone to your iTV on the flatscreen, while waiting for someone across the country to take their turn playing "words with friends". There is too much they can be doing, and not enough time or good reason to focus on just one, and it preoccupies their minds just fine.
We know sailing, as a whole, is an enormous commitment. You work to set aside money, to spend (along with your time) to tinker and fix and maintain something you are proud of so you can ultimately get those perfect days from it. People in their 40's+ learned to appreciate that - reward from hard work, before the world felt so small - but now that young demographic has it differently. If something isn't easily attainable, or popular, they probably won't waste their time for it. I know that the majority of people in this young demographic (like my friends) like the idea of sailing - the romantic sunset sails, warm breeze and clear calm water, quietly moving a sleek clean comfortable boat - as a break from their hectic multitasking lives, not as a hobby or lifestyle. My friends LOVE going out sailing, as a "day-cation" or because that "nautical look" is trending right now and they want to feel the part, but mostly so they can share it on social media and look like they have cooler lives than their friends.
If they can have that, for a day, for free (I make them supply food or beer) while I supply my boat (my main focus and passion) and I do the work from the experience I've gained sailing different craft, and it satisfies their temporary sailing bug, then why would they do more? They don't need to, and tomorrow there's going to be something else that sparks interest and they can go get fulfillment from that.
I hope that someone more my age who I bring out sailing or talks to me about sailing, gets the REAL sailing bug, the one that makes them put everything else on the back-burner and alternate your desktop background to sailing photo's and keep a watch on good weather windows, etc etc... However I know that to get this generations interest hooked on ANYTHING for life, is nearly impossible now... too much else they could do.
We obviously all think sailing the greatest thing ever, but it's not meant for everyone - The rest of the world is that everyone.
1985 Catalina 30 Std Rig "A Cenoura"
Last edited by Philzy3985; 05-16-2013 at 05:13 PM.