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Old 04-03-2015, 05:28   #76
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

Speaking of sci-fi and solar sails.

Incredible Technology: How Solar Sails Could Propel the First Starships
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Old 04-03-2015, 06:30   #77
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

Good points. Numbers can be very deceptive and can "prove" most any point depending on how they are presented. However, anyone spending significant time on the water, either cruising in the Caribbean or fishing on inland lakes, gets a certain feel. Anecdotal evidence can be more on target than a misrepresented set of number. Bottom line: there are much fewer boat out on the water now than, say, 20 years ago. In the coastal Carolina area, there are multiple slips available in most any marina.

The elimination of the middle class in boats, sail or power, is a function of not only the income of the middle class but the financial considerations of operating a business. Try to find a 15-17 foot runabout or a low priced jon boat for fishing. The runabouts don't exist and the jon boats are handled by only a few dealers. Why? The dealers can't keep their doors open selling low priced, low margin small boats. It's becoming, once again, a sport for those with significant disposable income.

Having said that, I think the lifestyle changes discussed in other posts are actually more of a factor. Used boats are plentiful at bargain prices. Also, if you follow some of the topics on CF, the way maintenance and repair is presented it's no wonder new potential sailor are discouraged. Seriously, most people on the water do not face the challenges of true "cruisers" who, like RTW sailors represent a very, very small percentage of boat owners/users. Yes, maintenance is important but I can understand how many would be scared off given the focus from this and other groups on things like blisters, the horrors of cored hulls and decks (most ALL sailboats!), thru hull fittings, myriad engine issues, cost of sails, replacing rigging after 10 years (questionable for a weekend boat and boater which represents far more situations than true cruisers an RTW sailors drive the issues discussed on this forum, as is appropriate given the title), cost and necessity of safety equipment, untrustworthiness of yards, and just making every issue a battle ground of conflicting opinions. Perhaps we are our own worst enemy! If I had access to forums such as this back in the early 80s, I would have never have bought my first new cruiser... and certainly would have been scared off any consideration of a used one. I have found the information exchanged here to be highly useful as I search for a used cruiser. If I were new, I wouldn't want to deal with all the hassles, dangers, and considerable maintenance costs presented as the price you pay to enjoy being on the water.
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:04   #78
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

Pure speculation here, but I wonder if people have a higher expectation of services and comforts compared to past generations, which in turn is driving up costs, and therefore leaving more people out of the game.

In some ways you'd have to assume the answer is clearly, yes. Just like there is now a higher expectation for land life compared to 30 years ago (two cars, bigger house, multiple bathrooms, dishwashers, A/C, all manner of small electric appliances, etc.) so too with boating. The demand for bigger boats and more electronics are clear. Thirty years ago people left on "big" boats that were in the mid-30s. Today the average cruising boat seems to be mid-40s. We now want bigger fridges, full freezers, dishwashers, washer/dryers, AIS, RADAR, chartplotter, electric winches, furling sails, watermakers, communications tools (Internet), big dingy, big outboard, liferaft, EPIRB, PLB, etc. All this raises the standard entry-level baseline.

So sure, there are lots of good quality older boats out there, but do people want them? And if they do, the cost is still considerable once we add all our current "needs." All this drives up the cost. And with little time off from work, it's easy to see why large-boat cruising might be on the decline.
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:22   #79
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

I think you're right, Mike, that large boat cruising may be in decline. But that's really a boomer or Gen X thing, who desire those conveniences in their golden years. Some of the hallmarks of the Millennial generation is a preference for time over money, experiences over possessions, and renting vs. owning. I know for myself, without Boston Harbor Sailing Club, for better or worse, I likely wouldn't be lying at anchor off Key West right now trying to figure out if I can row against 15-20 knot winds in a 10 foot inflatable, and fooling around on CF to avoid having to make the experiment!
I think Millennials will be happy with smaller boats, and IslandTime has it right that we will probably charter them or join clubs rather than own them. Boat chores and passage making have taken up most of my first week and a half of cruising/ownership, and I'd much rather be enjoying the trip than doing those (there's that time over work thing again ).


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Old 05-03-2015, 08:25   #80
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

One further point to highlight the above: how many threads on CF are starts by soon-to-retire advanced life stage people asking if they should keep working so they can afford a larger boat, vs. by millennials who are asking if $50k and a 30' boat are enough to get them around the world?


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Old 05-03-2015, 08:39   #81
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

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I think you're right, Mike, that large boat cruising may be in decline. But that's really a boomer or Gen X thing, who desire those conveniences in their golden years. Some of the hallmarks of the Millennial generation is a preference for time over money, experiences over possessions, and renting vs. owning. I know for myself, without Boston Harbor Sailing Club, for better or worse, I likely wouldn't be lying at anchor off Key West right now trying to figure out if I can row against 15-20 knot winds in a 10 foot inflatable, and fooling around on CF to avoid having to make the experiment!
I think Millennials will be happy with smaller boats, and IslandTime has it right that we will probably charter them or join clubs rather than own them. Boat chores and passage making have taken up most of my first week and a half of cruising/ownership, and I'd much rather be enjoying the trip than doing those (there's that time over work thing again ).


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Not buying it. Boomers were the hippie generation about free love and sticking it to "the man"...until they became "the man" and it was thier kids hooking up. Then like every generation before them they became more conservative as a group.

Millennials are "happy" with less because that's what they can afford. Yes, thier later lives will be different from boomers but expect them to have a similar transition. If nothing else, as the boomers die off, a large chunk of wealth will transfer down over the next 20-30yrs.
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:42   #82
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

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One further point to highlight the above: how many threads on CF are starts by soon-to-retire advanced life stage people asking if they should keep working so they can afford a larger boat, vs. by millennials who are asking if $50k and a 30' boat are enough to get them around the world?


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The boomers were asking about the $10k 25' boat 25yrs ago. It's not a different generation. Its a generation at a different point in thier lives.

The boomers who are just looking to retire now have generally taken the conservative approach thru life. The millenials taking the conservative approach are at the office with dreams of cruising in 20-30yrs.
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:56   #83
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

I can buy that. It's always hard to define stage of life vs generational changes, which is a point I brought up earlier about this whole 'tied to video games' thing. The older folks don't seem to remember their Atari consoles!



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Old 05-03-2015, 09:01   #84
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

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I think you're right, Mike, that large boat cruising may be in decline. But that's really a boomer or Gen X thing, who desire those conveniences in their golden years. Some of the hallmarks of the Millennial generation is a preference for time over money, experiences over possessions, and renting vs. owning. ...
It will be interesting to see if Millennials will hold these values over time. Baby Boomers were going to change the world in their youth; free love and egalitarian living for all. Then they got older, and more powerful, and became the most voracious self-centred cohort since the Gilded Age. Millennials are coming of age in a time of fewer options, general austerity, environmental problems and reduced potential income, so it makes sense to prioritize "less."

Of course, I tend to agree with your overall view. Some of us, irrespective of generational factors, will always value time and freedom over money and luxuries.

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Boat chores and passage making have taken up most of my first week and a half of cruising/ownership, and I'd much rather be enjoying the trip than doing those (there's that time over work thing again ).
That's funny. These are part of living life afloat. To me, cruising is not about being a tourist, but about a lifestyle. To each his/her own. Wish I was having your troubles right now, instead of suffering through another Canadian winter .
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:10   #85
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

Well if there's one thing I can't complain about it's the temperature! Everyone talks about the chores of boat ownership on the forum and I should have known going in, but, even with very simple systems, still lots to be done in the commissioning which I hope will pay off later in more free time in areas where supplies aren't close to hand!
I too am really interested in how my generation will evolve. There is a certain inertia that is permanent. Graduating college in a recession, for instance, is documented to set you back for life as far as total earning power. Choosing a career path focused on family and free time can lock you into that vs. chasing money and promotion early on, which is more reversible in my opinion. So some of what Millennials are experiencing may be permanent.
I have to imagine that the greater tech accessibility will negate some of the reasons to own a boat just as supply will be more readily available. Boatbound, an airbnb for boats, is basically selling itself to the industry as a way to get young people into boating and a way to, pretty counter-intuitively, increase the sale of boats (I'm guessing here) as greater exposure leads to more buying, and greater usage by renters leads to more catastrophic accidents


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Old 05-03-2015, 09:24   #86
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Re: Good dissection if where sailing is headed

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Sailing was never a mass market activity. I do think it's shrinking but a lot of that can be tied back to costs. Our 1995 boat listed at $90k new. The same model is over $250k. Prices are growing far faster than inflation by a large margin.
I think if you look at the price of homes, automobiles, airplanes whatever. You'll find the same, matter of fact try finding out what $30,000 in 1982 is worth now. I believe I tried and came up with $90,000. That works out to close to 10% inflation per year, which is nowhere near the figures you find for inflation, I think the inflation numbers are being manipulated.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:17   #87
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Re: Good dissection if where sailing is headed

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I think if you look at the price of homes, automobiles, airplanes whatever. You'll find the same, matter of fact try finding out what $30,000 in 1982 is worth now. I believe I tried and came up with $90,000. That works out to close to 10% inflation per year, which is nowhere near the figures you find for inflation, I think the inflation numbers are being manipulated.
Actually your $30k 1982 house worth $90k today works out to around 3.5% inflation (you have to back out the compounding effect). That's a bit higher than long term inflation. The market tried to fix the problem but the govt stepped in to drive down mortgage rates effectively driving up prices. Eventually, they will have to let rates rise and we will see prices drop back to right around long term inflation rates.

The example for a boat that I listed same model, same size works out to around 5.5% inflation. It doesn't sound like much but over a longer period, a couple percent above inflation is huge. Boat prices are going up at well above the inflation rate.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:34   #88
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

In the US, free time is in short supply. Just a fact of life. I was just reading of a guy who has very specific rules for when he can take vacation and it looks like he can have a maximum of 12 days off and that includes weekends.

For me, taking more than a week off is problematic because the work does not stop when I go on vacation. In fact, I generally work at least a couple half days each vacation week due to job requirements. I have had to do this for years and the only exception was last year when we went to China to look at a boat yard.

In the US, many traditional volunteer organization have huge problems getting members because people do not have much free time anymore. Volunteer Fire Departments and the various social/charity groups are really hard hit.

When I played sports as a kid, I could ride a bike to school for practice. My parents just had to take me to the games. Now a days with the way schools are built, the schools really are not near that many of the students and having to be driven to practice is required. Furthermore, many kids join sports leagues out side of school that require more driving to practice and games. Our oldest has played in leagues where the games were held 3-4 hour drives away. This was just not an option when I was a kid. Today people do this, one, because the kids want to play at that level and two, as a way to possibly get a college scholarship and/or get into a better school.

Activities at school have greatly increased. What is ironic to me is that the schools want parental participation on one hand, which leads to Helocoptering, but then they don't like parents asking too many questions and being involved in the child's education.

All of this takes TIME which is in short supply. I have made it a priority to chaperone my kids school events, which is just not dances and local field trips, but multi night trips that require me to take off from work. NONE of my schools ever had field trips that took us away from school for three days and two nights. These trips are huge amount of work for the teachers who lead these trips, not only the planning and administration required getting the trip to occur, but also during the trip. It is a huge amount of work for the teacher in charge but also the parents. This just did not happen in my day or my parents day.

Many outdoor activities are in decline as a percentage of the population. There are various reasons for this but I think lack of time is one big reason.

You often here advise on the boat forums for people to buy a boat now. Frankly, that is often really bad advise. The wifey and I thought about this and laughed because even if we had the money right now, and we don't, we have NO time due to work and kids. The idea that if we had a boat 2-3 hours away on the coast and we would just hop in the car to go to the boat on Friday is laughable. We are exhausted by Friday and on Saturday and Sunday we will be doing chores and getting other stuff done leaving no time for boat time. We will be lucky to relax a few hours before starting it all over again.

We have very nice touring kayaks and I drive across a huge lake that I USED to kayak on all of the time. 15 years ago! We picked were we lived thinking we would be closer to the lake and have more time to kayak. The reality with the kids is that we just don't have the time.

I do not think we are an exception to having time constraints. I think this is why you see older people getting into cruising because they now have time and the money. Younger people with out kids can earn some money and go but if you have kids it is far more problematic to just buy a boat and go. In our circumstances that would have been impossible. In fact, 15 years ago the wife and I talked about it but decided it was not something that could happen. So here we are...

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Dan
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Old 05-03-2015, 16:26   #89
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

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The boomers were asking about the $10k 25' boat 25yrs ago. It's not a different generation. Its a generation at a different point in thier lives.

The boomers who are just looking to retire now have generally taken the conservative approach thru life. The millenials taking the conservative approach are at the office with dreams of cruising in 20-30yrs.
I think a lot of what we are missing is perspective. Some young men have always gone to sea and some still are.

Joshua Slocum (OK not so young) went small. I am sure the 1%ers were siting in the yacht club poo-pooing his endeavor. Oh, no. Wait. They sponsored him, and sent letters of introduction to admirals and kings...

Fatty went, if not so small, totally cheap in the 60's.

In the 70's there was the "Cape Horn to Starboard guy" John Kretschmer.

And there a plenty of "guys" (Now couples in some cases) doing it today.

As for the Millenials? I have a niece living in Dad's basement. I have a nephew with a full scholarship to study law but "prefers" to be a meat cutter. I have a son who just joined the Navy. They are a diverse lot just like we were.

In the last 5 years I have turned over 1/2 my work force as the Boomers retire. These are all (about 10-12 of them) highly educated, highly motivated and awesome. They have PC skills I have been dreaming of having on my team. They multi-task effortlessly and have "integrated" their work and life in many ways.

Cell phones and computers did that. I bitch about "never" unplugging. They no nothing different and it's OK with them.

As for the decline of sailing? Go to lake havasu on a summer weekend - It's butt to butt speedboat. There is money and there is time and there is motivation. But sailing isn't a "rush" unless one is racing and one thing young people are addicted to is the rush.

Let them get in their 40's. They'll slow down. We all did.

As for the economics? Speaking for the USA - Are we recovering from the worst financial crisis since 1929? Yes. Did we have to invent a WWII to do it? Almost. Are we underemployed? Predominantly. Are we threatened by great talent and economies overseas (as opposed to 1948)? Predominantly.

Boomers conservative with our lives and money? My depression surviving, WWII fighting dad was conservative. I was an idiot until I was 23-24...

Hello! Most of us boomers were not living with mom and dad in a basement in the late 60's and early 70's because we were getting high, having sex and living in communes. We didn't get serious until later. And now we are judging the Xers and Milennials?

Puhlease...
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:49   #90
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Re: Good Dissection of Where Sailing is Headed

I have no opinion on whether boat ownership is in decline or not- because I really don't know.

Mike's point about declining standard of living for north Americans is spot on.

If I want to take a vacation my options are to quit my job or get fired. Plain and simple. I'm not talking months here either- I'm talking 4 or 5 days.

A point I don't support is that young people prefer the ease of say power boating to sailing.

Power boating- like sailing, flying, off roading and shooting things is, always has been and always will be fun regardless of what generation you're talking about.

I think video games have nothing to do with the popularity of sailing either. I have a PS 4 set up on my sailboat. They are not mutually exclusive activities.

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