I completely relate to this topic. When I bought my sailboat almost two years ago, I was thinking I would be taking my friends and family out all the time. One of my main reasons of buying a sailboat was because I thought it would be a great social activity. Being 25, it seems like most of the times friends and I hang out is often just going out to bars or hanging out at each othersí places. I thought sailing would be something new and something people would enjoy for a change. Well, it has become my passion, but not to any of my friends. Most of my friends have made it out once, only few have come out more than once, and then some have still yet to in the past two years. Most, if not all that have joined me really enjoyed it, but things often get in the way to come out.
I have found that many people cannot sail on short notice which sometimes I canít help but do. That would often be the case when weather wasnít looking good for sailing earlier in the week, but then Friday night it looks like there would be good sailing weather on the weekend. Rarely will I have guests for a Saturday day sail if I just call up on a Friday. I usually start invitations on a Wednesday, often going through my entire phone contact list calling each person up, leaving lots of voicemails or being told they canít make it. I would do this almost weekly, but it does get old.
Another reason that makes it hard for me to bring people out is most of my friends and I live 1.5 hours from the bay. That means at least 3 hours of driving in stressful DC metro area traffic which most people donít enjoy. It also means it is an all day activity and so many people are busy with other things. Then I also enjoy spending my entire weekends out there on the water sailing to new locations and anchoring out for the nights. There are only select people I would want to invite to overnight with on my small 25í boat for the entire weekend.
I probably single handed at least 75% of this past season. I donít mind it and find it to be very rewarding, but I do really enjoy taking friends and family out there. Probably at least half of those times single handling I was out there sailing with my good friend who was sailing his boat single handed. Those were fun times too sailing along together. I remember the first time I single handed during my first season. It was a huge accomplishment for me and great to know I did not have to count on others to be able to get out on the water.
Recently I have been thinking about how I may be more successful in bring people out next season. If I lived closer to the bay, I think it would be easier to invite people out. Right now itís a big commitment having to drive 3 hours round trip, but that wonít change for a few years. I think next spring I am going to send out an email to all my friends explaining they are welcome to come out sailing and to feel free to call me, or let me know when they are available to sail and Iíll see if I can fit them into my schedule. Iím sure Iíll still be making lots of calls, but it would be nice if I could convince them that Iíd like it if they would ask me if they can come out and let me know when their schedules are free. I may also try to plan some sails more than a week in advance just to get people lined up to come out. I think it will probably be easier to get people to plan ahead and if needed cancel due to weather or whatever reason, rather than trying to get people on short notice.
One of my sailing friends actually just brought this same topic up last week. He bought his sailboat a year ago, with dreams like mine but is finding out how difficult it is to bring people out. For him itís even harder since he has a family with kids and all their activities/sports and they are not passionate about sailing. If my dad sailed when I was a kid, I would have thought it was awesome. Instead, my friend was telling me how his son wants to meet up with his friends at the mall instead of go sailing with him. What is with kids these days? As a kid I never wanted to go hang out at the mall, it wasnít something we did. To choose the mall over something as great as sailing, just seems wrong.
Well, hopefully next year I may bring more friends out. It's not that big of a deal, just getting out there on the water is the most important part!