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Old 09-01-2012, 19:34   #31
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

In addition to the issues already listed, the OHS culture that has swept my country is very good but the downside is risk aversion in the community now. For a novice cruiser, desk jockey type, like me, I feel there are many risks – e.g. associated with finances, technical issues, sailing knowledge etc, so these are real challenges.

Allied to that, the 'sense of adventure' in the community is not nearly as strong as it once was. I notice 1 or 2 of my kids (oldest in early 20’s) probably find all the challenge they need in computer games on the net, perhaps against gamers from other countries.

The pursuit of non-trade careers in western culture mean far fewer individuals are able to cope with the demands of doing up an affordable older boat (cheaply), or are so stuck in the rat race they cannot find the time let alone the money to do this.

I think it’s been mentioned, but regulations are always growing, environmental and otherwise, and may not encourage cruising. Funny that, I like to think that people who travel the world have an interest in nature and basically are ambassadors for it….need to be encouraged IMO!
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Old 09-01-2012, 19:51   #32
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

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It is all about jobs. When I first went cruising in the mid 70s, I had a Union job that didnt make me rich , but paid for a small boat and enough money in the bank to feel like I could take off for a year. My wife and I stretched it for 2 years by being frugal. No marinas, almost no resaurants , and very little frills. THESE WERE THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. One of the big differances of then and now is that when I flew back to California after being gone for 2 years my old job wanted me to go back to work the very next day. I was no super worker or anything like that. There were simply many many jobs available then. Now if a young couple(maybe with kids) can even save enough for a boat and a little money in the bank, they are lucky, and in this economy if they leave their jobs they know that it will be almost impossible to come back to a good job when they need more money. It is no wonder that there are so few young families out there cruising. Most young people can hardly keep food on the table let alone buy a boat. This is not a political rant because I dont think anything except time will cure our economy, but I feel sorry for the younger generation, and the opportunities that are so few and far between now. If you see a young couple out cruising, have them over for dinner and you will probably find that they have all the same dreams that got us old farts sailing so long ago _____Grant.

Many valid points here. Many of my friends (late 20's) are so buried in debt and concerned about retirement/pension that they can't even fathom leaving their jobs for anything.

I mean with this economy and fiat currency my generation is financially doomed anyways. Why not have fun, and learn to be self sufficient instead?
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Old 09-01-2012, 20:01   #33
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

When we were in Tahiti in the late 70s a boat came through that had an early thirties couple on board and a 6 year old son. We got to know them and found out that the father had sailed through the South Pacific when he was 6 years old and decided that he wanted to give his son the same adventure that his father had given him. What a wonderful thing to do for a child.__Grant.
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Old 09-01-2012, 20:05   #34
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

My wife and I have lived aboard our boat for maybe five years (maybe four), are currently in our early 30's, and started in our late 20's. We are still generally the youngest people around and certainly were back then. Not to get all metaphysical but mariners in generally are somewhat timeless, and the best ones tend to be older simply because they have the capacity for having the most experience over us younger folks.

Regardless, it would be nice if things weren't catered so much to older retirees. The whole Margarittaville / Troprock on the catamaran thing doesn't really line up with my lifestyle. Not in anyway a bad thing, but just not really what we're looking for.

All in all I love the maritime community general; two of the guys I work with the most often are old enough to be my father and I consider them pretty good friends.
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Old 09-01-2012, 20:44   #35
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

I agree, mariners are quite timeless. I have a lot of sailing buddies that are twice my age, but they still know how to have fun and get her done.
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Old 09-01-2012, 20:50   #36
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

This is an interesting topic that I've been wondering about for years. I'm currently 34 but "dropped out" of the rat race in my early/mid twenties to travel and have been underway most of the years since, though primarily over land. I'm not sure why there are so few younger folks out cruising and traveling but I'll type for a while anyway.

As most of us know, there is a lot to be gained by being out there and it's a great lifestyle but there are also plenty of important costs from being separated from a steady group of friends/peers to most likely sacrificing your chance at a high-pay career or business. I've been able to remain in touch with most of my closer friends and visit them every year but the differences in our lives have increased as time has passed. I've greatly enjoyed, learned from and matured from my current social scene of older friends and from being alone and I really appreciated the younger travelers that I meet. It would, however, be great to frequently run into folks that are facing the same challenges that I am from a similar point in their lives. I learn more from those around me that have already passed through their thirties than I probably would from folks my age, but it's not the same as having enthusiastic conversations about life with folks in the same position you are. Likewise I can't often relate as well to the challenges of many of my older cruising friends.

Although I think money does play a huge roll in the decisions of almost all people I don't think it's the lack of money needed to simply go cruising that keeps younger folks ashore. I think the primary reasons are social pressures. From what I can tell gaining status through accumulation of material wealth and social influence is hugely important to most of us in the developed world. Stepping out of the acceptable and defined constraints of society, outside of your support network of friends and comforts of a known home/area is often frightening and plenty of folks that I know don't see any reason to assume these risks. When sharing travel plans with friends I've been hit with blank stares and "why" more than once. If you sail off in a fancy and big boat you can maintain a lot, or all, of the status that might be equivalent to the mortgaged house, new car and the job with the fancy title (etc.) but there will still be other social costs. All of humanity seems at least slightly prejudiced against those who are different (understatement of course!).

Other reasons that I don't think that money and jobs are the main reasons that younger folks don't cruise are that you can get small glass cruisers for very cheap. In fact entry level (60s/70s, small, glass, simple, monos) cruising boats may be cheaper today than they have ever been before. Life certainly isn't cheap but cruising is one of the least expensive lifestyles that I know of. Information technologies have opened up ways to make money from large swaths of the planet more easily than ever before, even if you aren't tech savvy. This access to information has also revolutionized learning about cruising and about ways to make money. These technologies also allow us to stay in touch better than ever (even if it's a limited substitute). I think that technically it's as easy or easier than it ever has been to go cruising.

I'd love to hear more about what it was like when most cruisers were younger. In the last week I've read three of the Pardey's books written primarily in the 70's and it does seem like a much different time. Even though I think social pressures are the main reason folks don't go cruising my guess is that these pressures haven't changed very much over time with the possible exception of the 60's era for some folks? I guess the differences between a few decades ago and now are probably more in line with many of the other reasons that have been listed in this thread but social pressures coupled with the momentum and direction of our society seems like they will prevent an overflow of cruisers any time soon.

I look forward to hearing more thoughts on this topic.

Jonathan
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Old 09-01-2012, 21:12   #37
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

It's hard to just go sailing when you have a ton of debt, but believe me I am tempted.
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Old 09-01-2012, 21:29   #38
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

Young people live in a different world today. Virtual reality is more real to them than real reality, and certainly more affordable and safe.

In virtual reality, you have a thousand lives, and you can start over anytime you want.

A 55 inch HD television takes you around the world in an hour or two, and you don't even have to lift a finger other than to press on the remote control. Vicarious adventures are easy, and although you don't get a sense of accomplishment, you get to see many of the same things.

It's a lot of work to prepare a sailboat for cruising. It takes massive amounts of time and money before you have even left the dock. There's not much instant gratification in getting a boat ready for a major cruise. You spend years getting ready for a cruise that may last only for months.

There's also rules, regulations, and laws in abundance that thwart your desire to sail the unfriendly waters of places like Florida that place a maze of restrictions on what you can and cannot do, and where you can and cannot go, where you can and cannot anchor.

Children want cells phones, texting, internet, facebook, computer games, and virtual reality - things that are hard to come by on a cruising yacht in remote locations. Children often don't want to leave their friends behind and live in the small cramped quarters on a yacht.

Then of course, there is the boat schooling. It's much easier to send your kid to a public school than to have to teach them yourself on a yacht. I remember how much fun it was to teach my kids CHEMISTRY FROM HELL when they were taking high school courses on the yacht.

How can you afford to take a family cruising when health insurance costs an arm and a leg? You need a job so that your family is insured.

Virtual reality looks pretty good to many folks when they look real reality square in the eye.

It took eleven years to sail around the world with my family/kids, and it was every bit as good as I had hoped. Real reality trumps virtual reality 365 days a year when you are living your dreams. But for it to work, it has to be your dream, and the dream has to be so strong that it takes over your life.

Here is how sailing dreams took over my life:

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Old 09-01-2012, 21:35   #39
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

[QUOTE=gjordan;856848]It is all about jobs. One of the big differances of then and now is that when I flew back to California after being gone for 2 years my old job wanted me to go back to work the very next day.

I think gjordan has summed it all up in this abriviated quote.
If We left today for two years, I know for a fact my job would not be there when I got back.

How about a question for those out there cruising now. When you reach a point that you need to be back on land fulltime because of health or some other reason, did you save enough money to support yourselves?
This is a question I have often wondered about. I think I could start cruising for a few years within a month or so, but I would be out of funds in a few years. How did you plan for your future when your cruise is over?
You guy and gals that started in the 70's and early 80's, Did you really save enough to cruise for 3 decades and finish life on land?
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Old 09-01-2012, 22:03   #40
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

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Many valid points here. Many of my friends (late 20's) are so buried in debt and concerned about retirement/pension that they can't even fathom leaving their jobs for anything.

I mean with this economy and fiat currency my generation is financially doomed anyways. Why not have fun, and learn to be self sufficient instead?
This is the big dilemma for me. As a 32 year old, I might have worked and saved lots in the last 5 years of my life, just to be able to spend 6 months in a nursing home when I am 90 with inflation, and the uncertainty in a non-unlimited growth stock market and the current state of the world economy doesn't help. I have no debt, and no ties to this area where I live. I would be 30 miles from my family on the water in Michigan (in the summer) compared to 340 miles now. My parents vacation for 3 weeks in Florida during the winter, so that wouldn't be bad either. As shown in the $500/month thread, I could easily and happily live on $500/month for a long, long time. And I could probably bring that number down if I tried hard enough and had time to think about having fun on a cheap budget. And the 'family' still has some say in what you do and want to look out for your well-being. I'm sure they will bring up every Coast Guard rescue, but overlook every fatal car accident.

Then you have the 'hippie' factor. And society, both the yuppies on the left, and the conservatives on the right view them as bums, leeches on society, losers, and unsuccessful. Yet, they are probably a lot happier than the stressed out guy sitting through a meeting and having to battle traffic 5 days a week. Their vision of a friendly economy and enjoying life doesn't sit well with the corporate competitive economic model.

Regulations and fees are a big problem. In the US it is still good in most places, but if you don't marina hop, it seems hard to just leave your boat alone at anchor and then get to shore and find a grocery store or do anything. I worry about what I can do and where I can do it. Maybe it is irrational, but it's there. It is the reason I don't live in my car, I don't know where you can park, where free parking is, where the shipping lanes are, and local ordinances against anchoring or beaching your dingy are.

Technology in engine propulsion is a small, but important thing. If I was to drop everything and cruise, I would need to know how much it would cost, and these numbers do not look good to me:
Great Loop Cruising expenses
I don't have social security or a pension to count on to know how much to budget. And with uncertainty in fuel prices, especially if unsubsidized, motoring becomes way too expensive. Yet, part of being 'successful' in cruising is getting someplace. Yes, I have fallen into the trap that you have to go fast, since you should be able to leave work on Friday at 5 and be at the lake 300 miles away by 9:30. To take 2-3 days, and not knowing a schedule seems crazy to me. It is one of the bad habits I would need to break.

Relationships are a tricky one. Therortically, I have done everything 'right'. But my results are dismal now. I am possibly irrationally worried that you wouldn't find single 20-30 somethings while living this lifestyle. I'm not sure what type of women are out there, and would be willing to give up 95% of their material goods to live in a 200 sq ft boat with another person that bounces around.

And then you have the haters. The jealous types that would get pissed off at you for retiring 20 years before them, and posting pictures of yourself in the Bahamas... while they are working in the winter and shoveling snow.
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Old 09-01-2012, 22:06   #41
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

I see some different things than have been posted so far. As most know from my profile, we have a trawler, so we do go to sea in a "stinkpot" albeit very slowly. I have been on and around the ocean and boats all my life, I am just not a sailor. I see many people who do have the disposable income for substantial boats, but the vast majority of those are interested in power boats, not slow ones like mine or not sailboats. I have taken fols out on my boat and they want to know how I can stand going so slowly. To me, 8 knots is moving right along! To many of them, the boat in another material possession that defines what success they have had in life so far. If you look at statistics, the upper end of the marine world has not suffered anything at all like the lower end. These folks are not "seamen" (or "seawomen") in any sense of the term. They have no passion for a boat, for the sea or for exploring the world in a boat. Most don't even care about exploring Puget Sound, they just want to know how far to the next marina to plug in. Whether this is a reflection of materialism, instant gratification, or a need to impress of a younger generation I can't really say, But I do know that if all your boat is to you is a floating vacation condo, rather than an integral part of your life, you have wasted an big pile of money. BTW, this is not to condemn other power boaters, I know many like me, oddly enough, most of them own trawlers!
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Old 09-01-2012, 22:16   #42
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

[QUOTE=ShaunJ;856928]
Quote:
Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
It is all about jobs. One of the big differances of then and now is that when I flew back to California after being gone for 2 years my old job wanted me to go back to work the very next day.

I think gjordan has summed it all up in this abriviated quote.
If We left today for two years, I know for a fact my job would not be there when I got back.

How about a question for those out there cruising now. When you reach a point that you need to be back on land fulltime because of health or some other reason, did you save enough money to support yourselves?
This is a question I have often wondered about. I think I could start cruising for a few years within a month or so, but I would be out of funds in a few years. How did you plan for your future when your cruise is over?
You guy and gals that started in the 70's and early 80's, Did you really save enough to cruise for 3 decades and finish life on land?
That is my problem too. But it is an irrational fear. Why, because, even if I run out of money in 15-20 years, I could just move in with my parents since they would be getting older and need some help. They have a house and such. And there are always 'jobs'. You might have to make one yourself, or be willing to work a retail type thing, but there will be jobs a few years from now. The problem is how much money do you need to survive on in retirement? And you never know what direction your life might take.

Health insurance would be much easier if it were a single payer system with most paid for by a sales tax...
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Old 09-01-2012, 22:44   #43
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Re: Is family cruising dead?

[QUOTE=SunDevil;856942]
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That is my problem too. But it is an irrational fear.
Yup. People need a bit more confidence in themselves and credit. Two ways I'd look at it:

1) The type of person who can save up enough and work hard enough to get a boat around the world (or nearly so) is not some deadbeat loser who's going to be in the same unemployment line with the average joe. Worse case scenario you stay with some friends until you get a job, then an apartment, and then start living again. You're not going to die destitute and starving in the streets.

2) The real bad stuff you can't control anyway. Civil war, meteors, cancer, murder, car crashes that leave you really banged up, etc. The really nasty stuff out there that can really destroy you (or nearly so) is far beyond your control.


People want a lot of control over their lives and I get that, but if there are a billion variables in life it doesn't really matter if you've allocated for fifty of them.
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Old 09-01-2012, 23:28   #44
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We are 55. Picking up sailing again. When we were younger we were too busy to get away from responsibilities.
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Old 10-01-2012, 00:55   #45
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I'm 48 and sadly if the wife and kids would buy into it we would be off cruising full time. Best I've had was cruising for a few weeks at a time. When we do meet kids on other boats it is great fun. The reasons are 1) daughter is in High School and I don't remember enough math to help her with her school work, 2) son is in 8th grade and wants to play sports in high school, 3) wife doesn't like passages, and 4) kids don't want to leave their friends. I've had to rein in on my desires -- This year we are planning on 6 weeks of sailing. Best I could do. I guess we are worried about getting the kids into college etc.
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