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Old 25-12-2016, 12:08   #1
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How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

I couldn't find a bulletproof source, so here's a WAG based on my experience in several boating states and what little I've found & read on sailboat usage. This somewhat dated source https://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1...g/News/614.pdf seems to agree on the biggest and smallest categories at least.

I also ran it by a race oriented forum, they seemed to agree in general but noted huge variations in specific boating communities (primarily more racers, more neglected boats).

Not intended to deride or reinforce any category. Just for discussion and your thoughts.

Probably goes without saying, but:
  • Active racers - out racing more often than not, may not use the boat much other than racing
  • Active cruisers - out cruising more often than not, may not use the boat much other than cruising
  • Second home - the folks who spend most weekends on their boats, but rarely take them out, and then only when weather is nearly ideal
  • Occasional use - boat is a status symbol, sits unattended except for the occasional outing with friends, family or customers like July 4th, Labor Day weekend, air & water shows, or other local events
  • Mostly neglected - the boats with bird poop all over them, and you don't know who the owner(s) is. Some of them are junk, but some of them are actually very nice, newish boats!
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Old 25-12-2016, 12:19   #2
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

There must be a percentage who seemingly do not much else than work on their boats.
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Old 25-12-2016, 12:29   #3
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

And then there are those who spend most of their time on sailing forums.
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Old 25-12-2016, 12:46   #4
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Interloper View Post
I couldn't find a bulletproof source, so here's a WAG based on my experience in several boating states and what little I've found & read on sailboat usage. This somewhat dated source https://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1...g/News/614.pdf seems to agree on the biggest and smallest categories at least.

I also ran it by a race oriented forum, they seemed to agree in general but noted huge variations in specific boating communities (primarily more racers, more neglected boats).

Not intended to deride or reinforce any category. Just for discussion and your thoughts.

Probably goes without saying, but:
  • Active racers - out racing more often than not, may not use the boat much other than racing
  • Active cruisers - out cruising more often than not, may not use the boat much other than cruising
  • Second home - the folks who spend most weekends on their boats, but rarely take them out, and then only when weather is nearly ideal
  • Occasional use - boat is a status symbol, sits unattended except for the occasional outing with friends, family or customers like July 4th, Labor Day weekend, air & water shows, or other local events
  • Mostly neglected - the boats with bird poop all over them, and you don't know who the owner(s) is. Some of them are junk, but some of them are actually very nice, newish boats!
Without putting too fine a point on an excellent summation, one category seems missing. Persons with shoreside responsibilities i.e. work, family interminably long winter. Use boat virtually every weekend and occasional evenings during soft water months. Often cruise to nearby ports or cruises to nowhere with very little dock time. Roughly a 40% use 60% dock during the season.
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Old 25-12-2016, 13:01   #5
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

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Without putting too fine a point on an excellent summation, one category seems missing. Persons with shoreside responsibilities i.e. work, family interminably long winter. Use boat virtually every weekend and occasional evenings during soft water months. Often cruise to nearby ports or cruises to nowhere with very little dock time. Roughly a 40% use 60% dock during the season.
The epitome of "active cruiser?"
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Old 25-12-2016, 13:05   #6
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

I don't understand where you got the data for that Graphic you posted. On the document you provide the link there is no data for most of those conclusions and without data to support them they mean nothing.

Anyway regarding this Graphic

Regarding these parameters:

"Active racers - out racing more often than not, may not use the boat much other than racing
Active cruisers - out cruising more often than not, may not use the boat much other than cruising
Second home - the folks who spend most weekends on their boats, but rarely take them out, and then only when weather is nearly ideal
Occasional use - boat is a status symbol, sits unattended except for the occasional outing with friends, family or customers like July 4th, Labor Day weekend, air & water shows, or other local events
Mostly neglected - the boats with bird poop all over them, and you don't know who the owner(s) is. Some of them are junk, but some of them are actually very nice, newish boats!"


Assuming you are talking of sailboats with a significant size, cruising boats, or cruiser racers, that graphic don't seem to adjust to the reality I see.

Certainly there are a lot more boats that are used for cruising than almost exclusively for racing, much more than the double. Without statistic evidence makes no sense to try to guess but everybody can see that the number of boats used for cruising are many times more the number of boats used exclusively for racing, or almost.

Then you consider that from the boats that are used and are not neglected only one in each 3.5 are used for something other than only status symbols or to spend weekends on the boats at the dock and those boats are rarely taken out for sailing. Again it seems to me a vast exaggeration. Most that have sailboats use them at least on the summer holidays for sailing/cruising and occasionally on week ends when the weather is fine.

Obviously only the ones that are retired or are rich and don't have to work can sail them more than that and those are a minority regarding the number of the ones that own sailboats. You seem that you only consider on those 10% that use the sailboats for cruising the ones that are on that situation, when you say "out cruising more often than not"
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Old 25-12-2016, 15:24   #7
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

Active racing is much larger than 5% here.

When I do my normal 20 mile bay crossing on a Saturday after the breeze comes up, I can usually see 20-40 sails over near Hampton where they are constantly racing (out of the Hampton Yacht Club)

I see 2-10 cruisers or folks out day sailing.

The majority of the boats are not used. I'd say quite a bit over 50%

As far as the racing though, if it's not one design, what does it really mean?
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Old 25-12-2016, 15:41   #8
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

I know a few people who never take their sailboats out, but immensely enjoy working and piddling about on them. And, really, if that's what makes them happy, what is wrong with that?
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Old 25-12-2016, 16:35   #9
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

You forgot to mention the live-aboard category.
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Old 25-12-2016, 16:39   #10
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

I do not feel the split represents a bigger portion of the picture.

Looking at marinas around the world, I think less than 1% of all boats are actively used. Definitely more are used for active racing than for active cruising. Overall the figure of all boats used for racing and or cruising feels more like 5%. Maybe further 10 or 15% are used while docked (weekend use to sleep over and have a relaxing drink).

Few boats seem neglected though, likely less than 10%.

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Old 25-12-2016, 16:52   #11
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

It's interesting how different our experiences are/have been. Maybe real averages, whatever they really are, will seem wrong to most.

Active racers are almost exactly 5% of all sailboats where I've been for more than 20 years, though it used to be at least double that. And that is what the link in post #1 showed too. That said, I know folks in other regions who report active racing is 20%, even 50%.

And at least 50% of the boats where I am are mostly neglected. Many are filthy, but not all (some use weekly cleaning services, but rarely if ever show up themselves). I've almost never seen them leave there slip, and I've almost never seen anyone aboard. I am there 2-3 days/week from May thru Oct. This number also matches the link in post #1.

That leaves 45% other.

And I know a lot of people, 25% +/-, arrive every Friday afternoon, leave Sunday afternoon or evening, and take their boats out 3-4 times/season. They socialize and drink mostly.

Again, maybe real averages, whatever they really are, will seem wrong to most. I am not claiming my chart is definitive, I said WAG, I haven't found solid data. If anyone has good average data, please share.
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Old 25-12-2016, 16:56   #12
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Active racing is much larger than 5% here.

When I do my normal 20 mile bay crossing on a Saturday after the breeze comes up, I can usually see 20-40 sails over near Hampton where they are constantly racing (out of the Hampton Yacht Club)

I see 2-10 cruisers or folks out day sailing.

The majority of the boats are not used. I'd say quite a bit over 50%

As far as the racing though, if it's not one design, what does it really mean?
Apart from Hobies, Lasers and Opties, there are no two boats alike here.

If anyone wants to race a keelboat, it has to be mixed fleet, handicap based racing.
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Old 25-12-2016, 20:08   #13
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

I fear this subject will remain subjective because there's no reliable source of definitive information. For example, active cruiser would include everyone who is out in extended cruises. How would you document that if considering a particular marina or region? The most obvious boats are the neglected ones sitting in the marina (just about any marina you visit) but to establish percentages objectively would be a daunting task at best but in reality, IMO, impossible. Thanks for making me think though. ��
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Old 25-12-2016, 21:14   #14
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

Two other categories

- In a charter fleet

- In a sailing school fleet (ASA, US Sailing, etc)

Here in San Francisco, a boat can be in a both of these.

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Old 25-12-2016, 21:15   #15
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Re: How Sailboats Get Used, Or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KJB View Post
You forgot to mention the live-aboard category.
That's me




Quote:
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There must be a percentage who seemingly do not much else than work on their boats.
That's me, too.
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