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Old 12-11-2010, 20:01   #1
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Is the Cruising Lifestyle Dying ?

So we've been sailing from Canada and down the ICW and have noticed that 99% of the other cruisers we meet are no offense but old. Besides the obvious money factor it makes no sense that 99lb grandma is on the bow heaving the lines while young people who should be there aren't. Are there more cruisers now than 25 years ago and has it always been like this where the majority of cruisers are into retirement? My personal opinion is that boats have become so RVish that nobody can afford them and their systems anymore. After the baby boomers are done who's going to keep the tradition alive?
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Old 12-11-2010, 20:11   #2
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Old 12-11-2010, 20:52   #3
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Old 12-11-2010, 20:52   #4
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Old 12-11-2010, 21:03   #5
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Old 12-11-2010, 21:12   #6
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Uh I guess my post was funny. I was just trying to figure out it cruising has always been an older age thing but it sounds like from your guys experience it isn't.
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Old 12-11-2010, 21:59   #7
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My personal opinion is that boats have become so RVish that nobody can afford them and their systems anymore. After the baby boomers are done who's going to keep the tradition alive?
It is definitely a lot like that at my home port where the cruising yacht club is dominated by the rich and fairly exclusive of the same age group. My honest opinion is that having a boat is a status symbol and hardly any are seriously considering cruising. The attitude with the average man is boats cost money so why have one?

As a result struggling to have a boat can be mentally exhausting. I am one of the few giving it a serious go. With the persistent attitude around here it is not hard to plan permanently setting sail.
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Old 12-11-2010, 23:04   #8
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I wasn't old when I started. Then life got in the way and I got old when I wasn't looking.
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Old 12-11-2010, 23:18   #9
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Besides the obvious money factor it makes no sense that 99lb grandma is on the bow heaving the lines while young people who should be there aren't.
Ageism meets sexism. I suppose that we should be happy that there wasn't any racism thrown in as well. Or is it to be understood that the young people who "should be there" are all white young people?
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Old 12-11-2010, 23:53   #10
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31 here. Getting ready to start the process.

I saw a documentary on Boing Boing recently about some 20-something Hipsters that fixed up a derelict boat in an attempt to recreate the age of "Lunatic sailing" as they call it.

Really the video deserves its own thread, but the narrator was discussing his interpretation that sailing up until recently was focused around the "wealthy and privileged". Something I really disagree with, but he went on to say that it was their goal to just go out and "do it".

I was both thrilled and at the same time dismayed by their approach, but it did give me some hope that there are some young folks out there that are fascinated with the lifestyle.

There are a few Blog that my girlfriend and I read religiously. There is a young couple that set out on a Baba 35 (Exactly what we have been eying for some time) and their journey has kept the fire lit under our behinds. We visited our first broker last weekend.

I will say, that most people I meet our age double take when we tell them our plans. The response is always the same, "Are you crazy?". It only takes a few minutes roaming through this filthy city to ask the same question ourselves about wanting to stay here for the rest of entirety, "Are you crazy?"
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Old 12-11-2010, 23:55   #11
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I wasn't old when I started. Then life got in the way and I got old when I wasn't looking.
Growing old is ok, it's the ageing process that sucks.
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Old 13-11-2010, 00:04   #12
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So we've been sailing from Canada and down the ICW and have noticed that 99% of the other cruisers we meet are no offense but old. Besides the obvious money factor it makes no sense that 99lb grandma is on the bow heaving the lines while young people who should be there aren't. Are there more cruisers now than 25 years ago and has it always been like this where the majority of cruisers are into retirement? My personal opinion is that boats have become so RVish that nobody can afford them and their systems anymore. After the baby boomers are done who's going to keep the tradition alive?
Dudeman,

I'll start out by hoping that you were not deliberately being offensive in your post.

There are indeed lots of retired folks out cruising these days, Ann and I are two of them, and damn pleased to be here. And, yep, she's a grandmother, and she does indeed "heave the lines" as well as standing watch, reefing, steering, navigating, and all the many duties of a competent seaman. She's been doing all those things since we started out cruising full time 24 years ago... and guess what? She (and I) were a lot younger then. Perhaps we were not as young as you seem to think we should have been, but we had jobs and kids and things that made us be week-end sailors for the many years before we left for good.

To try and answer your specific question, depending on your definition of "cruisers" there are either more or less than when we started out. More if you just count the boats anchored in cruising destination anchorages... lots more. Less if you only count folks who are on open ended cruises rather than time-limited "sabbatical" cruises... folks who intend to go back to their former lives after some period of time cruising.

Your "personal opinion" about RV-like boats seems like a comment about the current crop of production boats, not about the folks who may or may not choose to sail in them. If you should ever get out of the ICW, you might find that there are a great many people actually cruising in non-Winnebago style vessels... ones that folks of limited means can and do afford to sail in. You might also find some of pre-retirement ages. One of the true delights of the cruising community is that we have good friends who are (gasp) even older than us, and others who are little older than our grandkids. Surprisingly, even the younger ones seem to accept wrinkled old farts as fellow cruisers. We enjoy all of them, and there lies the answer to your last question: they (the young ones) are the ones that will carry on the cruising life in coming years.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Yankee Jack Creek, Great Sandy Straights, Qld, Oz southbound...
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Old 13-11-2010, 00:07   #13
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So we've been sailing from Canada and down the ICW and have noticed that 99% of the other cruisers we meet are no offense but old. Besides the obvious money factor it makes no sense that 99lb grandma is on the bow heaving the lines while young people who should be there aren't. Are there more cruisers now than 25 years ago and has it always been like this where the majority of cruisers are into retirement? My personal opinion is that boats have become so RVish that nobody can afford them and their systems anymore. After the baby boomers are done who's going to keep the tradition alive?
I've had to do it with my own kids... now I have to do it with somebody elses... SAYING 'NO OFFENCE' BEFORE SAYING SOMETHING OFFENSIVE, DOESN'T MAKE IT UNOFFENSIVE.
No offence, but people who do that are dickheads!!!

Now, if anything, there are probably more young folk cruising than there were 30 or 40 years ago. There are more, cheaper, second hand boats than ever before and those who choose the cruising lifestyle can get into it easier than ever before.

But their numbers are swamped by the even greater number of retirees out there, who can also get into cruising more easily than ever before.

Baby boomers are probably the first generation who have carried the 'can do', 'never say die' mentality into retirement, so we're all over the goddam place.

Overall, the numbers of cruisers has skyrocketed, which is a pain, but it does mean that there is heaps of good gear being developed and sold, and that means good secondhand stuff available, cheap.

I can understand you thinking it's expensive. Younger folk are used to buying everything new, and designer branded etc. If you carry that mindset into cruising it's a rich man's game. For people who have the affordability that's great. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Some of us are of the 'only snobs pay retail' school, and best value for $ is after the initial devaluation dive from new to second hand, if you're smart about it.

Another factor has got to be the explosion of bareboat chartering. People have the opportunity to get the feel for sailing as a lifestyle option.

I've just finished reading a Eric Hiscock book written in the 70s... probably their last circumnavigation. He was amazed at how the cruising population had 'exploded' in the 10 years since their previous circum. It's been exponential since then.

So, don't lose any sleep about who will keep the tradition alive, just help us keep the secret that the planet is 75% water!
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Old 13-11-2010, 00:40   #14
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I wasn't old when I started. Then life got in the way and I got old when I wasn't looking.
Ditto! And not necessarily cruising but boating in particular for myself.

Before fiberglass boats it was more the middle aged wealthy on the smaller vessels and the older gents on the big yachts. But there was a boom in the mid 50's where boats were becoming more affordable (production boats). And marinas were going up like apartments.

But today I think it has leveled out. There are the dreamers, the wanna be's and the do-ers. To become a real cruiser it takes three things. A boat, some money and the ambition. You take away one item and it's a no go.
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Old 13-11-2010, 00:48   #15
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I can’t see what everyone are so upset about? Truth is that in the last 12 mths I don’t think I met anyone out cruising who was younger than me skippering a boat. Most have been mid forties to at least seventy. I did hear of one younger bloke, but he grounded his boat on a beach. I am stating fact so there must be a genuine underlying basis for the post?

I note, a lot of these “more experienced folk” have been excellent role models and extremely helpful. It’s a real pity I have not met more of the same based in my home port.
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