Where are the younger people? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 154 Old 05-15-2013 Thread Starter
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Where are the younger people?

I have started cruising around recently and I am totally surprised by the age demographics of my fellow sailors. I'd say at least eighty percent, maybe mrr like 90 are over 60 years old.

I did by grow up around boats and maybe this is a regional thing but it is not what I expected. I have always thought I sailing as the water equivalent of driving a Land Rover across Africa or something so I thought the people out here would be 20-50. It's such a hard and outdoorsy sport, almost I thought it woul be adrenaline filled, water flying over the bow, quick quick quick reef the main, oh no! Sheet out sheet out! But with the temperate weather it's more sitting and "cruising".

I'm sure it can be anything you wan it to be. For example today I got to go aboard a guys Catalina 42 mkII. It had a lot I conveniences I did t know where so common. I thought sailboats were smaller and more basic. This had electric winches. Generator. Two tvs. Two showers. All lines ran to the cockpit and a full enclosure. We talked about it and he say he never had to go on deck except to remove the sail cover if he plan to raise the main that day. So you could sail in more ease than I thought possible. The majority of the boats I'm seeig look like this one. Push a button an the autopilot tacks for you.

Is this the face of the modern sailor? Not a sunburned, torn pants, looks like he's been castaway on a deserted island? Do younger people not sail? Or do younger people not cruise. If I went to a marina in a city would I see a greater mix or not. Say Baltimore or Newport beach. What is it like there? Who owns boats and who sails?

I am not criticizing I am only observing. Not trying to say set people cannot or should not sail. Maybe I would say that more young people should. But or all I know they do. When I go to a new marina I find myself slightly out of place. It is definitely geared for bigger boats and older people. I woul describe the atmosphere as not unlike a marine RV park. Not really people partyin on the docks after a crazy sail.

It also goes to the advice I have received on where I want to go. Everyone recommended me go to these really remote wilderness spots. Where I would like more to do. I like the wilderness sometimes, but have been having more fun when there is something on shore like a cool town, which is more of what I am going o be seeking. Otherwise if I ask people where go I go its like go to X island. It's in the middle of nowhere and there's a hiking trail and great anchorage. It's lovely. Harold and I went last year and spent a couple weeks and only saw five other boats.

I kinda like seeig other boats! What you guys call a crowd is NOT what I call a crowd. To me I am pretty much one step away from the total wild. It's nice but also nice to go to a lively own and see more stuff. Maybe I should have called my post My Observations from a new cruising prospective.
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post #2 of 154 Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

Most of the relatively younger people I run across are in the fast lane. They want everything fast, internet, cell connections, cars, women/men, food and yes, boats, thus eliminating sail boats - well at least most sail boats. Those of in the older/elderly category want things a bit slower. We don't need fast: Internet, cell connections, cars, women/men, food, or boats. Approximately 99-percent of the sailors I met in south Florida were over 50 years of age, and at least 80-percent were over 65 years of age. Captain Jack, who lives aboard a 28-foot sailboat in Marathon City Marina, was 91, still hitting on the younger ladies, and says it's the slow and steady lane for him.

Good Luck,

Gary
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post #3 of 154 Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

I don't see a lot of smaller sailboats in our area--the kind a young family might be able to afford. When we got started in the early '70s there were a lot more small boats and a 30' boat was considered "big". Nowadays it seems that an entry level sailboat is more likely to be in the 22-25' range and your "big" boats are over 40'.

Given that the average boat size has grown over the years, sailing may appear all the more beyond the reach of many young sailors.
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post #4 of 154 Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

does 42 count? I finally traded in my DInghy for a small pocket cruiser

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post #5 of 154 Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

I think half of the answer is that you are sailing in the off season. For folks who can only take 2-4 weeks off of work per year they are probably going to wait until it is a bit warmer to go cruising. Everyone says that the Gulf Islands are pretty quiet at this time of year, it is July and August when they are crowded. Jonathan Raban's "Passage to Juneau" demonstrates this well because he sails north on the inside passage in April and south in July and talks about the differences.

When I cruised the San Juans last summer most of the other folks seemed to be middle aged, often with kids, mostly in 30-40' cruising boats that were made in the 70s and 80s. It's true that our Catalina 25 (the one that you met me at about a month ago) was smaller than most of the other boats, but rigging seemed to be about the same. I talked to a lot of other cruisers about their boats and didn't run into any with electric winches. That might be partially self selected though, because I tended to talk to those who owned boats that drew me in.

I have many friends in the Seattle area who are in their 30s and enjoy sailing. Some of them own their boats, some don't. They might get a week of cruising in a year since they are busy with work, family, and other pursuits much of the time. Often "cruising" means 3-4 day trips down here because there isn't time to get up to the islands.

You have a rare chance to cruise at a fairly young age for a long period of time. That'll mean that you see fewer other cruisers your age, but it's still something that I know I'm jealous of.

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post #6 of 154 Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

I am still pretty young (45). On behalf of the pretty young people (not the people who are really young . . . them bastards), I want to say: your post was way too long to read!

That said, I think you have a point of sorts. Many cruisers are in a retirement mode and of retirement age. You don't want to be a retiree do you? If not, what you want out of your boat and the water is different. Think about that -- make it meaningful. If you just want to drink in marina bars then maybe you aren't that different than the old crowd. Don't worry so much about how others are doing it. How will YOU do it?
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post #7 of 154 Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

Also it's still school season and those younger cruisers' kids are still in school. Things will shift somewhat come July.

Most cruising boats will likely have many of the amenities you've seen, but many won't. We have refrig, a dodger, cabin heat but not a lot more and comfortably spend 6-8 weeks aboard each summer.

Ron

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post #8 of 154 Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

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Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post


Is this the face of the modern sailor? Not a sunburned, torn pants, looks like he's been castaway on a deserted island? Do younger people not sail? Or do younger people not cruise.
You got it, bub.

In 'Murica, we gots two kinds of young people; the kind that Gary described (in the fast lane), or the "risk averse". The kind that thinks that an Xbox360 is the gateway to greatness, thus spending their lives on the sofa, with a Hotpocket in one hand, and a 1 liter bottle soda in the other.

If you're young, living aboard, and actually sailing, I applaud you. Do it. Don't be put off by the "RV" demographic in the marina.

Last year, I was living aboard and noticed the same thing. There were 2 other liveaboards near my age (40) in the marina. One took a job, and sailed his boat down to Norfolk, and the other snapped his leg in a freak accident and had to live with family while he healed.

I felt pretty alone. In fact, one of the other marina inhabitants commented that I "make the rest of them look bad" because I lived aboard, and actually sailed most afternoons after work, and cruised for entire weekends. Shocking I tells ya, just shocking.

Here's another news-flash for you:

Women will LOVE you. At first. You're young and wild, and passionate. "You live on a boat? How exciting!" But then...that stupid "sailing" thing will get in the way. "You need to grow up, settle down, get a real job. How long are you going to live in that tiny, stinky boat?"

A wise, Kiwi friend recently explained it to me: Women adore passionate men, but they hate whatever it is that we're passionate about.

You might, just might, find someone who shares you passion, but it's equally possible that you'll be stuck alone, surrounded by people who just don't get it. People who think sailing is just a "casual hobby".

Don't let it deter you though. Sail, travel, and cherish a freedom that most in the U.S. don't have, and don't even realize exists. Once you give it up, it's nearly impossible to get it back.

Here's some younger folks doing it right, to inspire you:

S/V Old Shoes
1973 Pearson 30 #255

Last edited by BubbleheadMd; 05-15-2013 at 11:34 PM.
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post #9 of 154 Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

Wow! If you think 45 is pretty young, if you live to 90 you would be middle aged. Don`t worry, though, if you Don`t grow by age 50 you Don`t have to. The only drawback is you can`t retire until 3 days after you're dead. That's why at 72 I`m still working. Gotta pay for my transgressions when I was young.

Gary
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post #10 of 154 Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Where are the younger people?

hello I started to crew when I was 26 didn't get to go out as much as I'd like tho because the guy who owned the boat would only go out on perfect weather. Then I took 2 weekends of sailing classes on flying j s.

now I seem stuck..I might be able to afford a boat but he'll if I have money for a slip or repairs. I have been around boats enough to know where all the money goes bye bye..

tons of time and no money is my problem lol
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