Dudeman - I don't think your post is funny
I think it's something all would-be cruisers should think about before setting sail. We've been cruising Mexico
for 3 years and 99% of cruisers are over 50. We've met 4 families with kids, two single-handers under 30, one couple in their 20's. In 3 years.
From reading the cruising magazines, I thought the ocean was teeming with adventurous younger folks taking a sabbatical to see the world by boat. Perhaps they are elsewhere, but they sure aren't in Pacific Mexico
As for the dwindling (growing?) overall number of cruisers, I have no idea. But an older local fellow on the beach yesterday here in Huatulco, Mexico said that the anchorage we are in now -- which has had 2-4 sailboats in it for the last 2 months -- used to have "lots of boats" all winter long a decade or two ago. Not sure what to make of that statement.
I don't know why there aren't more young people out here. But I think the reason lots of older folks try cruising for 1-3 years and then quit (in our experience that is the case for 70% of cruisers we've met), is that it is a very grubby and very challenging lifestyle.
Boats are very complicated nowadays, so keeping all the systems going can be a 20 to 40 hour a week job involving expensive parts
that are costly to ship overseas.
Perhaps more importantly, all of us cruisers spent decades living a very clean and sanitary life in the lap of luxury in a developed western nation. For a lot of us it's fun to read about other people having seafaring adventures, but the reality of being salty, sandy and smelly much of the time, sleeping on sticky sheets
and wearing the same clothes for days in a row is not all that fun.
Cruising is like tent camping. Ironically, our boat is far more sophisticated and cost three times what our truck-and-trailer RV rig did. Yet in our RV we feel like we live in a rolling condo...
The bottom line is that the whole world can be seen by other means besides a boat nowadays. There is nowhere we've cruised so far that we couldn't have gotten to by another mode of transportation, and some of our best experiences have happened inland at places we could have easily reached if we were still living in a house. Sleeping in a bed
that doesn't move and waking up to a long hot shower
is surely preferable for most folks than rocking around all night long in the swell and taking a one-gallon spritz bath.
Before we left to go south, we talked at length with every boat that was returning from a few years in Mexico, Central America
and the Caribbean
. Invariably they were returning to sell their boat after 1-4 years of cruising. They had enjoyed their cruise
, but every single
one made a statement along the lines of, "cruising is all about the boat"... It dominates the budget
and dominates your time.
Most of those cruisers we talked to wanted to return to the places they'd visited by boat -- but they wanted to fly there...
If you are passionate about boating
, fixing boats, maintaining boats and living on a boat, the cruising life is the one for you. But if you are going cruising to see new countries, experience different cultures, learn new languages, mingle with the locals and generally TRAVEL, then it is not the best way to achieve your dream...
We have traveled full-time by RV and sailboat for almost six years, split about evenly. In comparison to boats, RVs have ultra simple systems that don't break -- the environment
is not corrosive. So you can focus on sightseeing and all that other fun stuff.
In our experience, the full-time RVing and cruising lifestyles can be summed up this way:
RVing is about the destinations. Cruising is about the journey.
Both have been fulfilling for us. We enjoy living off the grid -- we never stay in marinas
, campgrounds or RV parks. But in the end, I'm not sure that the cushy way we baby boomers were raised and the cushy way we've raised our kids has created a population that wants to journey as much as it wants to enjoy the cool and fun destinations of this world...