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post #31 of 78 Old 04-25-2017
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Re: Nobody's buying boats?

I wouldn't doubt that inexperienced sailors (note, inexperienced, not young, easy to be older and know nothing about boats or sailing and the current record holder for a solo circumnavigation is 16) allow themselves to be convinced that they need much more boat than they really need to get the job done.

As for folks who are committed to owning a boat, but maybe can't afford a large yacht (both time and money), I think they're finding work arounds, Hobie Getaways, sea kayaks, dinghies, even Stand Up Paddle Boards.

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post #32 of 78 Old 04-25-2017
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Re: Nobody's buying boats?

People are definitely used to a higher level of luxury. Just look at how house sizes have changed.

When our house was built in 1942 it was 750 square feet and was considered suitable for a family of 4. Now it has had a second story added and at 1250 square feet it's just barely big enough for my wife and me! We really need to get that basement finished….

The average US house was 1,660 square feet in 1973 and grew to 2,687 square feet in 2015, at the same time that family size was shrinking.
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post #33 of 78 Old 04-25-2017
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Re: Nobody's buying boats?

So true about the car and house thing. A few years ago we went in to buy a new car. First off, I wanted a small, fuel efficient vehicle with good maintenance reputation. I settled on a Honda Fit, but I wanted the basics, bare bones, version: no air, no power locks or remote start, no butt warmer seats, manual transmission … you know, a simple car.

After much attempted upselling the dealership finally sold us this car, but we had to special order if from the factory in Japan. None of the lowest-end models were available anywhere in ONTARIO! They had plenty of the higher versions around, but not their basic car.

It’s not by accident that cars keep getting more luxurious, houses keep getting larger and boats are both (larger and more luxurious) … it’s the constant drum beat of our consumerist culture. Our economy runs by convincing all of us that we need more, More, MORE! Demand is constantly created where none exists. The idea of having enough, of being satisfied with what you have, is anathema in our culture. And all this is fed by most people working harder than ever, and going deeper into debt.

All this said, I predict we will see a dramatic reversal in many of these factors. In fact, I think we already are. The signs of change are all around us, led by the cultural trends in the millennial generation. Mini houses, smaller, fewer or no cars. The so-called “sharing economy” (which has little to do with sharing). All these things are driven by the real decline in middle class wealth.
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post #34 of 78 Old 04-25-2017
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Re: Nobody's buying boats?

I think it's perfectly natural and normal for people to prefer to be more comfortable. I'm sure it will continue and that motivation drives innovation as much as anything.

The problem isn't some greedy sin of society, it's that people started to spend too much on single luxury items, like bigger houses. They overshot the goal. There is nothing wrong with a bigger house, as long as you can afford it. Maybe if folks went from 1700sf to 2300, instead of 2700, they would have it all. I'm sure some of this will reset. However, society at large will never adopt a minimalist lifestyle as mainstream, unless it's forced upon them.


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post #35 of 78 Old 04-25-2017
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Re: Nobody's buying boats?

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Originally Posted by Sal Paradise View Post
Many of my friends and acquaintances are so far from being able to own, maintain and manage a sailboat. Mostly they waste ( IMHO ) their time, also their money on useless things, like driving to Loews to buy lawn fertilizer and mulch, attending company award dinners and driving to engagement parties for kids of people they barely know. How can they ever find time and money to buy a sailboat, and learn to sail??? And then take days off sailing somewhere!!! Hahahaha! That's fine, more dock space for me. I'll gladly be unpopular and go sailing.
This is my exact thinking that I have recently come to realize. I discovered like a bolt of lightning, that the proverbial "American Dream" is not really my dream. I don't want to spend 2 hours a week mowing grass, another 2 weeding the beds, work parties, and the like....I hope to soon start renting and I just purchased a solid older mid-size cruising boat so I can reconnect with the water and the sense of serenity and freedom sailing offers. When I retire in about 5 years, I may get a larger boat to accommodate more comfortable long-term sailing. This is my American Dream.
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Re: Nobody's buying boats?

Yeah, but it would be pretty nice to have your headstone engraved with Yard of the Week Award Winner.
Or something else equally envied....
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post #37 of 78 Old 04-25-2017
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Re: Nobody's buying boats?

The fact that houses are getting bigger in North America is only half the storey. At the same time as the houses are getting bigger the yards are getting smaller or at the very best staying the same. This is true of the Marine environment, the yachts are getting bigger as the shoreline becomes more developed, condos compete with Marina's and recreational property and commercial facilities. The world is getting smaller, or at least the amount available for each one of us to share.

There is no wilderness bordering Lake Ontario, there might be undeveloped land, but certainly no wilderness. Even out of site of land it's a rare thing to have shore lights or another vessels or an aircraft running lights not visible.

When I first sailed Lake Superior, the Eastern shore line appeared to be pristine shoreline, but the last time I was there in 2011 there was a massive wind farm development where there had been only wilderness.

In my area there are multi year waiting lists for most Marina's and yacht clubs, moorage/storage fees for a 35' boat are running $5000 a year and up.

I think there is a meaningful force that is going to cause yachts to get smaller, it's a resource just like money, but not money- space.
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post #38 of 78 Old 04-25-2017
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Re: Nobody's buying boats?

I wonder how much "younger" people ever counted for sailboat sales. I'm a new comer to sailboat ownership, so I can't really have an informed opinion, but my GUESS is that owning a sailboat has always been more of an older folks endeavor.

Even if I'm wrong about that, I don't see the younger folks of today as being any less energetic than previous generations. And as technology has made it easier to sail and navigate, the designers of gear for other sports have made even greater advancements. Sports like snowboarding, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, surfing, whitewater kayaking, paragliding are SO much more accessible, easy, safe, and FUN now than they were twenty years ago. All those sports are attracting increasing numbers of young adults. They cost about the same as owning and sailing a small sailboat. But, they are WAY more physical than sailing and thus are really more appropriate for young people. And every one of those sports is chock-full of athletic, fun, adventurous women with great bodies. If you know of a sailboat marina that can make that claim, please let me know about it.

At the other end of the lifespan, the bareboat charter business seems to be thriving. Bareboats are chartered by those same folks as described above for a break from their gravity sports. More importantly, older people look at sailing and come to the intelligent decision that renting a big cruising boat is cheaper and WAY easier than owning a cruising boat. Hop on a plane to almost anywhere you'd want to cruise for a month, and there will be a boat, all clean and ready to go. When you are done, tie the boat to the dock and walk away. Yes, it make sense for some of us to buy and own boats, but for many others, the wide availability of fairly new, nice boats to rent makes ownership unnecessary.
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Last edited by jwing; 04-25-2017 at 09:26 PM.
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post #39 of 78 Old 04-25-2017
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Re: Nobody's buying boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I think it's perfectly natural and normal for people to prefer to be more comfortable. I'm sure it will continue and that motivation drives innovation as much as anything.
I disagree. I think what is “natural” is for an animal or a species to find a balance in an eco-system. Perpetual MORE in the face of finite systems is unnatural, and is the root of most environmental and political problems we face on this planet. It’s not normal. Whether you ascribe greed, or call it a sin, I don’t know. It’s not “normal” by ecological or biological senses.

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...However, society at large will never adopt a minimalist lifestyle as mainstream, unless it's forced upon them.
Agreed. It is being forced on us. This is exactly what is happening.

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Originally Posted by Arcb View Post
The fact that houses are getting bigger in North America is only half the storey. At the same time as the houses are getting bigger the yards are getting smaller or at the very best staying the same. This is true of the Marine environment, the yachts are getting bigger as the shoreline becomes more developed, condos compete with Marina's and recreational property and commercial facilities. The world is getting smaller, or at least the amount available for each one of us to share.

There is no wilderness bordering Lake Ontario, there might be undeveloped land, but certainly no wilderness. Even out of site of land it's a rare thing to not have shore lights or another vessels or an aircraft running lights not visible.

When I first sailed Lake Superior, the Eastern shore line appeared to be pristine shoreline, but the last time I was there in 2011 there was a massive wind farm development where there had been only wilderness.

In my area there are multi year waiting lists for most Marina's and yacht clubs, moorage/storage fees for a 35' boat are running $5000 a year and up.

I think there is a meaningful force that is going to cause yachts to get smaller, it's a resource just like money, but not money- space.
Interesting observation about reduced space for us all to share. I will say though, that the actual east shore of Superior still has no observable development. I think the windmills you’re referring to are in White Fish Bay, near Batchawana Bay and the Sault. Once you’re north of these areas, and along the northern shore, Superior still offers real wilderness. It’s not pristine/untouched. But it is still wild.

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post #40 of 78 Old 04-26-2017
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Re: Nobody's buying boats?

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Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
So true about the car and house thing. A few years ago we went in to buy a new car. First off, I wanted a small, fuel efficient vehicle with good maintenance reputation. I settled on a Honda Fit, but I wanted the basics, bare bones, version: no air, no power locks or remote start, no butt warmer seats, manual transmission … you know, a simple car.

After much attempted upselling the dealership finally sold us this car, but we had to special order if from the factory in Japan. None of the lowest-end models were available anywhere in ONTARIO! They had plenty of the higher versions around, but not their basic car.

It’s not by accident that cars keep getting more luxurious, houses keep getting larger and boats are both (larger and more luxurious) … it’s the constant drum beat of our consumerist culture. Our economy runs by convincing all of us that we need more, More, MORE! Demand is constantly created where none exists. The idea of having enough, of being satisfied with what you have, is anathema in our culture. And all this is fed by most people working harder than ever, and going deeper into debt.

All this said, I predict we will see a dramatic reversal in many of these factors. In fact, I think we already are. The signs of change are all around us, led by the cultural trends in the millennial generation. Mini houses, smaller, fewer or no cars. The so-called “sharing economy” (which has little to do with sharing). All these things are driven by the real decline in middle class wealth.
I'm not complaining about the upgrades in car comfort over the years. I grew up in the desert in the fifties, when air conditioned cars were almost unheard of - at least among the people we knew. And it wasn't just air conditioning; the cars themselves had trouble coping with high temperatures. Any time we took a trip we left about three or four o'clock in the morning, so we could be out of the desert before it got hot. It not only kept us from sweating; it saved our vehicles.

Back then, the Indio grade was lined with 55-gallon barrels full of water, for the benefit of cars that overheated and geysered their radiators. The shoulders of Highway 60/70 were littered with rubber, from retread tires (all some of us could afford) that had disintegrated from running on hot asphalt. Fighting a headwind could result in parking under a tree for hours, until the wind subsided or the sun set. And even in the shade we kept sweating...

It still blows my mind sometimes that I can run the same desert on the I-10 freeway (that replaced Highway 60-70) any time of the day or night, without sitting in a puddle of sweat. Or without overheating my little Nissan pickup; it doesn't care what the ambient temperature is. The barrels of water along the highway are long gone. The signs suggesting you turn off your A/C for the next 'X' number of miles to avoid overheating are still there, but no one pays attention to them anymore.

Trust me: it didn't take any consumerist brainwashing to convince me A/C in my car is a good thing...

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Last edited by troy2000; 04-26-2017 at 05:35 AM.
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