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Old 27-02-2015, 17:39   #31
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

When I started sailing it was relatively accessible, lots of used boats around that could quickly and easily be brought up to spec. Even new boats where affordable. The average long distance cruiser was 30-35ft, average coastal boat was 26-28ft and this was perfectly adequate for weekend trips with a family of 4. Boats had basic electrics and nav was by paper chart and compass.
Now an average coastal boat is at least 35-40ft and the cost of the electronics is more than I paid for my first boat!
And you wonder why people question the value?
Basically the 'sailing industry' is pricing itself out of business buy selling luxury and 'safety' not sailing. Get back to basics and maybe we will get boats back on the water.
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Old 28-02-2015, 05:39   #32
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

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Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Now an average coastal boat is at least 35-40ft and the cost of the electronics is more than I paid for my first boat!
So true and so funny. There are scads of threads of folks buying a sub 30 foot boat (i.e. sub $15k) for harbor/day sailing and the first thing they want to add is $2000 worth of chart plotter...
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Old 28-02-2015, 11:33   #33
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

I love the sentiment of Boatman's reply which is how I and many of us feel on this Forum but, I don't believe it represents the new generation of potential boaters. These are people who have been reared in a computer/electronics generated world where experiencing life vicariously is more exciting than the real thing. The games they play have a predictable and controllable outcome; their "adventures" are more likely to follow new hip trends and social acceptance rather than their own desires; labels and branding will be very important in all their boat related purchases; the quality of the boat will also be measured by the amount of electronic gadgets onboard; they value "the boat" for its social prestige rather than the true love of being on the water and finally, the assumed safety and comfort of a power boat (I can drive a car . . . I can drive a boat) will be far preferable to the labor intensive effort and real knowledge required to operate a sailboat. Yes, these are generalities but in life we do not judge by the exception but rather the rule. It has been my personal experience in dealing with the forty and under crowd that they are generally cold, impersonal automatons whose life is controlled by social media, "likes," "friends" and living their lives through a cellphone, I-Pad or computer. Where is sailing headed? It will become less popular, year to year, and will eventually become an esoteric past time like reading quality literature, listening to good music, engaging in a challenging hobby/sport or sharing quality time with your family and friends. Cynical? You bet! The proof is in the pudding.
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Old 28-02-2015, 11:43   #34
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

Rognvald nailed it,
I feel real sure my generation will most likely be among the last to enjoy the freedom of owning and flying your own airplane. I used to think it was ecenomic, that the younger generation just simply can't afford airplanes anymore, then I got back into messing around with boats. With the sheer numbers of power boats that cost more to buy and burn more fuel than an airplane, I decided that the decline in flying isn't due to lack of funds.
It's simply too hard to do, it takes a long time and a lot of study to get your license, no instant gratification there.
If you can stroke a check today, your can be cruising around in your power Yacht tomorrow, sailing is a lot of work, and slow, it's not just turning a key and casting off, but mostly it's not THE thing to Facebook about apparently.
The new generation is extremely driven by "social recognition"


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Old 28-02-2015, 11:54   #35
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

It seems to me like a lot of people are confusing 20-40 year olds with 10-20 year olds. While single adult males do constitute the biggest market for video games, being immersed in electronics is, I think, more a stage of life than a generational thing. Of course it limits exposure, though. When exposed, I think you'll find many find sailing enjoyable. I took many peers for daysails in Boston Harbor, and all asked when they could do it again, and one has taken all the ASA courses and begun chartering his own boats. Owning a boat, like owning a house or a car, however, likely is a thing of the past - who wants to deal with all the hassles unless you have a specific need (I.e. Full time cruising).


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Old 28-02-2015, 12:01   #36
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pirate Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
it's not THE thing to Facebook about apparently.
The new generation is extremely driven by "social recognition"
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I don't know about that.. there's quite a few 'young un's' who are FB friends and sail.. hell one of em's a lady timber boat surveyor barely 30.. and the commercial skipper of a 120ft gaffer.. others late teens and early 20's..
They're out there alright.. and its for love not fashion..
just maybe not in your locale...

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Old 28-02-2015, 15:45   #37
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

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I don't know about that.. there's quite a few 'young un's' who are FB friends and sail.. hell one of em's a lady timber boat surveyor barely 30.. and the commercial skipper of a 120ft gaffer.. others late teens and early 20's..
They're out there alright.. and its for love not fashion..
just maybe not in your locale...

"Yes, these are generalities but in life we do not judge by the exception but rather the rule." Rognvald (quoted above) However, Boatman, I cannot speak for Europeans, but I believe in the US the sad generalization is true. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 28-02-2015, 15:56   #38
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

I would guess that this very conversation was happening when the power boat was made in 20 years there won't be a need for sailboat. Still here.

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Old 28-02-2015, 16:23   #39
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

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The interesting thing to me is on a very different though. I'm relatively new to sailing. I have been an adrenaline junky my entire life. I'm 64 so sure not a young guy. I have been getting my fixes doing the following things since I was young.
fighting forest fires
flying airplanes
downhill skiing
parachute jumping
etc.
I have spend a lot of time with other junkies like myself and we always talked about short shots in that most of these things give you at most a few minutes of adrenaline rush some only seconds.

I was surprised to find that early in my sailing experience I experienced the longest adrenaline experience of my life. We were sailing from the Cayman Islands to Florida. We got into 40kt winds I was in my Swan with a very experienced captain in a very sea worthy boat and all seemed to do well and felt comfortable. After being a bit scared for a few minutes. Then off for more than 24 hrs of fantastic fun and excitement.

I have been hooked on sailing ever since although I don't get to do it as much as I'd like I do sail a couple of months a year.

It seems like there are all kinds of TV shows and YouTube videos of bungee jumping, diving of cliffs with wing suits, ski and snowboard acrobatics, etc., that younger people just love.

Before sailing I would never have guessed that going out in 25 to 30kt winds would be as exciting and fun as it is. I think even here on the forum we don't talk enough about the excitement of sailing. I do love the lazy light wind days a bit but sailing in strong winds is what I love the most. In fact if someone had told me I could get excited about sailing 7 to 8kts before I sailed off shore I would have laughed at them.

So we are always talking about the fun and leisure of sailing and comfortable boats. I think the whole sailing community also needs to make a pitch to the younger folks about the excitement of sailing. I would not have wanted to be out in a power boat in those 40kt winds.

Just my 2cents on why sailing is loosing out because I think very few young know the excitement of sailing.

Thank you for that. There is another CF thread today about a guy who can't decide whether to buy a sailing cat or a power cat. The discussion has deteriorated into a debate about cost of fuel vs. cost of maintaining sails - wow, talk about missing the point of actually sailing ... some people just don't get it.

BTW, there is an early S&S Swan 36 at my marina - drop dead gorgeous boat, you have good taste sir.
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Old 28-02-2015, 17:08   #40
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

There's lots of types of sailboats and sailors. It's a pretty big commitment in terms of skills and expense and it's longer term commitment than a new motorcycle or car.

Cruising offers all manner of challenges, rewards and experiences not to be found in almost any other "leisure" activity and it can even be a lifestyle. One never stops learning which doesn't seem to be the case with some or most other leisure activitities. You can do it alone, with family, friends.. be a part of a club or on your own.

It's hard to market the sailing experience in one simple message and it's not easy to get the bug because one needs robust exposure to the experience... not moored boats as a backdrop for summer dining. While sailing is getting more high tech... it's really all about the same things..

For those that get it... there is nothing to compare. For those that don't... it's a hole in the water you pour money into.
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Old 28-02-2015, 18:00   #41
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

Roland, Rustic Charm and O’Reilly all made good points.
· - Yachts (and boats) are more complicated and therefore expensive than they need to be
· - There will always people who will be sailing just because it feels so good
· - Ownership of larger boats may be declining (also indicated by that original posted article)


Roland, Barnakiel, Rognvald and a64pilot made some –IMO- good observations why that is so:
· - Yachts (and boats) are more complicated and therefore expensive than they need to be (this repeat quote is deliberate)
· - The need of instant gratification, adrenaline
· - Apparent lack of spare time
· - Disappearance of middle class in USA
· - Sailing is not really socially high on the calendar, not Facebook like material


There are many interests groups that would like to see more people into sailing: chandlers, boat brokers, boat manufacturers, marina operators, boat owners who like to sell their boats and of course sailing clubs. All these groups have a financial interest to promote sailing!


There are many reasons why a decline is evident or not, due to different economic or geographical circumstances, political or cultural changes etc. I don’t think Ukraine will be a cruising destination this summer, or that the boating industry in Iraq is flourishing.


Has a decline been really measured? Some of the figures quoted in the post by AVB3 (BTW what does this -avb3- TLA stands for? (TLA = Three letter Acronym)) indicated a decline in numbers people sailed in USA, but it was not quoting boat ownership. Along the same lines, sales for the Jordan brokerage were still down 20% (compared with pre-2008 data) according to the same article. That indicates 2nd hand boats re-sold, not an indication of boat ownership!


Where would one get up to date and accurate figures of boat ownership, preferably by size groups? And how can we compare that with figures in the past let’s say 10, 20 and 30 years ago?
Of course if one could obtain yearly production figures from each manufacturer, add them all up to get a global perspective, deduct some due to boats lost/scrapped.


Unless we get figures which are more accurate AND we compare that with equally accurate figures of the past, we are dealing with anecdotal evidence, which may or may not be 100% correct.


Then there is the anomaly of marinas and number of pens (or ‘slips’ as you call them is the USA I think). Numbers of marinas have increased 3, 5 or maybe even 10 fold over last 20 years. Most marinas and anchorages seem to be full, as O’Reilly already observed, and how to we marry that with a decline in boat ownership? Or is it just a decline in ownership of sailing boats?


It could well be that boat ownership has NOT dropped, and is in fact increasing slowly. Maybe boats are just used less??? If boat ownership would be decreasing in real numbers, then one would have to destroy more boats each year than they are newly built. Of course there is another numerical way to express boat ownership: that as percentage of the total population. For the USA there was a production of 7000 boats in?2014 (as per posted article), but one would have to add all the imports and home-built boats, and then check that total number with the increased population in that year.


I think all the afore mentioned interest groups like to see a reversal of the perceived decline. I have no financial interest in the boating industry, but I would like to see my sailing club prosper, not struggling as it is now!


Maybe that could be a new thread: “How to improve the survival chances of sailing clubs”.
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:31   #42
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

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There was an episode of Star Trek (many years ago) where I think it was Picard who built a space ship that ran on sails to catch solar rays. :

The buggers pinched the idea from an old Asimov story I believe.



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Old 01-03-2015, 07:25   #43
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

I can add a bit here, as I worked for the Danish Sailing Association for some years. Firstly, this is not an american issue - this is also occuring in europe. But we need to deliniate between numbers of people sailing and numbers of people who are members of sailing clubs.

Most statisics regarding numbers of people sailing are based on the number of members of sailing clubs.

Sailing club membership is decling for several reasons:

1- less people race because weekly beer can racing requires that you meet up at a certain time and be on time. It is an organized activity.

Organized club activities are virtually all losing members as people's work schedules become more flexible (read fragmented).

2- More choice. Lets face it - 30 years ago leisure time activities offered far fewer choice than today. Internet, internet gaming thousands of TV channels etc means hav ing a lot more to choose between.

3- There is no deep dark secret to fitness centers membership increase. You can go when you want, stay as long as you want etc etc. Even golf membership is declining.

4- Time - sailing, like golf takes a minimum of several hours (usually much more). Fewer people are willing to spend this time.
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:06   #44
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

The decline and fall of sailing as a sport comes up now and then. I say "fine". There are enough boats out here now anyway and its not like its going extinct.
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:06   #45
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Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

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The buggers pinched the idea from an old Asimov story I believe.



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It was Deep Space Nine, Benjamin Sisko, and I believe yes, "lightships" were either Asimov, Heinlein or another from the great Era of Science Fiction. I remember reading about a lightship race where there were several participants in an old book


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