Originally Posted by Lake-Effect
Could be slight economic improvement, but I think it may have more to do with the dot-com boomers approaching middle age and seeking something more fulfilling than X-Box and 75" 4k TVs.
This was my impression too. I just took an ASA dinghy
course, and half the students were past middle-aged, looking to expand their retirement
horizons, and the other half were middle-aged or less and looking for alternative lifestyles--or rather alternative lives. I think with the rise of the independent tech worker, and the early-retirement crowd (also from tech), young people are looking for getaways (sailing and RV'ing seem to be the biggest winners). There were some very popular examples of both of these recently: Rebel Heart and Bumfuzzle, respectively, and others on Sailfeed.
I do think there is also an effect from the improving economy and West-Marine-as-a-fashion-statement crowd, but if you get enough Bumfuzzles out there, you will have a more durable revival--especially if they have kids
aboard to carry on the tradition. Also family
world-cruising is on the rise it seems (or at least better documented through blogs--which will have the same effect: more exposure).
Originally Posted by Island Time O25
ASA schools are becoming platforms for churning out "ASA cert holders" to help them occasionally charter
boats rather than real life long sailing enthusiasts and sailors.
But you can't have one without the other, can you? Plus, someone who "occasionally charters boats" seems like a "life-long sailing entheusiast" to me. They are pro-sailing on coastal and political issues, and they are pumping dollars into the charter
businesses, which support sailing jobs, chandleries, and other people's boat mortgages. Plus, I think there is a much greater potential population of occasional charterers than there are people ready to live-aboard or work around boats.