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Old 03-06-2014, 21:18   #1
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MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

Hi CF,

My name is Matt, I'm a sailor and an MBA student.

My sailing experience originated in 2007 when for nearly two years I crewed on a private sailboat (Caliber 40') and sailed west from Australia, around Africa, and ended in Brazil. My long-term goal is to live-aboard and cruise.

As part of my final capstone project in my MBA program I am developing a business plan for a new venture designed to financially support cruisers. As we know, many cruisers and potential cruisers often wonder how they can afford a long-term lifestyle at sea. Even though this lifestyle can be affordable, without a pension, retirement savings, personal wealth, or an in-demand skill to earn money while cruising, it is a difficult lifestyle to fund in the long-term.

My business plan will provide cruisers with a reliable income stream without dramatically altering the cruising lifestyle or needing any special skills or certifications.

Part of the challenge for my project is estimating the size of the full-time, long-term cruiser market. I have plenty of statistics on boat ownership, however, estimating the number of active or potential cruisers is proving difficult. I must have this number in order to calculate revenue projections.

Does anyone have statistics (or even a general idea in your opinions) on the number of world-wide, full-time, long-term cruising sailboats? In other words, about how many sailboats are out there already living the dream?

Furthermore, and more difficult to estimate, about how many boats choose not to cruise because they are unsure of how to fund the lifestyle?

Thank you in advance for your time. Any feedback or insight you could provide would be extremely valuable.

Matt
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Old 04-06-2014, 00:34   #2
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

Wow. Not to throw cold water on your project, but the population statistics you are looking for will be very difficult to guestimate, much less verify.

As an example, the Danish Ocean Cruising Association (DOCA) has around 3300 members. These are all either:
a - More or less full time cruisers
b - Cruisers who cruise for longer periods of time and then return to the hard for a few years, either because of economic issues or family etc.
c- Wannabe cruisers (they are gathering information, skills etc getting ready to make the jump).
d- Sailors wanting to cruise for shorter or longer periods as crew on someone's elses boat.

I suspect that many talk about the dream, but never realize it, or only realize part of it (we wanted to sail around the world, but we ended up cruising the MED or the carribean for 12 months).

Cruising full time for years, requires a certain mindset, and the willingness to more or less burn your bridges behind you. Full time, year long cruising is generally not possible if you try to maintain a presence on the hard. The expense of keeping a house or apartment (even if rented out) just becomes too much.

Family issues are also a show stopper. At the risk of sounding sexist, family issues, I suspect, are more of a dream killer for women. Parents get older, kids, grandkids, missed family events (birthdays, weddings, funerals etc etc etc) are (in my opinion) felt more keenly by women.


Good luck with the research - and I'm sure I'm not the only one here who would like to hear the results of your research.

On a final note - DOCA claims to be the second largest Cruisers association in the world - with 3300 members (and only a fraction of them are on the water full time cruising at any given time).

carsten
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Old 04-06-2014, 21:24   #3
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

Hi Carstenb,

Thank you for the honesty in the reply. I do realize this is a challenging project but it wouldn't be MBA-level if it wasn't

I appreciate the statistics from the Danish Ocean Cruising Association. I can definitely use this data in my project. And I didn't consider that cruising associations around the world would be a good source of information. I'll dig into those a bit more.

I contacted Mark Pillsbury, editor at Cruising World, and he graciously provided me with some great articles. Jimmy Cornell estimates in this 2011 article that about 10,000 blue water cruisers are active at any given time. This actually may be the only estimate I'll be able to find, although certainly Jimmy is an authority!

I understand the challenges of full-time cruising. I too was subject to many of the concerns you bring up. Some of the challenges you mention are exactly the reason why I'm developing this project. I want to give the cruiser a resource to help solve at least one challenge: the financial uncertainty.

I'll keep you posted on my research and the business plan development. In my opinion, and based on my early research, the business plan is an excellent idea. It does make me nervous to share details openly in these early stages as 1) I still have many details to work through, and 2) if the plan actually is feasible I'd like to be the one to launch it! But at some point every business must be announced!

Thank again,
Matt
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Old 06-06-2014, 22:11   #4
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

I've been contemplating this a fair bit recently. I'm about to inherit around AUD400,000 and finding a place to put it which returns enough to live on with the minimum "hands on" involvement is a bit of a nightmare for a cruiser. Real estate is the best bet but you only need one bastard tenant and attention is dragged back to handle the fallout.

Term deposits that return anything more than about 4% seem to lack government the guarantees that I'd require to feel safe.

As for earning money while cruising, well ... as an electronics tech I couldn't even make a decent living on land for the past 40 years so that's out.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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Old 07-06-2014, 17:08   #5
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

If you figure it out let me know, I'm interested.

You may have heard of Beth Leonard. Evans hangs around here a bit.

Beth and Evans Home Page

In anyone would know it would be her. She has a financial background and some experience.

Give her a try, they are very nice and helpful folks.
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Old 08-06-2014, 17:36   #6
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

Best wishes.

For the first part of your question, the number of sailors currently cruising, the answer is going to come from customs and immigration statistics. I just did a 5 minute review of Jimmy Cornell's "A Passion for the Sea" which I thought included such statistics, but did not find it quickly. The article or book I read (again, think it's Jimmy's book but not sure), included numbers from several specific years spanning the last several decades. As a business leader, I can say I would consider such governmental statistics authoritative. The key terms I can think of would include recreational/private (not cruise ships), immigration clearance, and statistics.

As to the second part around the potential size of the market, that's why companies have marketing divisions, so it's tricky. In the US, we have the National Marine Manufacturer's Association (NMMA.org) that might have insights into US related statistics. They actively promote boating and their value proposition includes expanding the market. It's also interesting to consider that China is a growth market for boat sales and could be a place people are interested in taking a sabbatical from.

An alternative to other statistics would be to create your own using demographic projections. Maybe the post WWII Baby Boomers will raise the "penetration ratio" of sailing as they retire. Maybe other age related or other cohorts will indicate future changes in the market.

Sorry I didn't have an OOB "Out of the Box" answer, but welcome to the business world.

HTH,
Jason
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Old 16-07-2014, 13:12   #7
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

Matt, I'd really like to hear more about your capstone project. If you have the mind, let us know how it's going.

Thanks,
Scot


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Old 16-07-2014, 15:22   #8
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

My latest business plan is working excellently! I rob people!!! Completely legally!

Send me $100 and I'll show you how



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Old 16-07-2014, 17:51   #9
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

The long term cruisers I've met were all pretty money savvy. I'm thinking that funding the lifestyle was their first consideration, even before choosing the boat. That's probably why they were successful.
It might be an interesting mba project, but I'll bet any good investment advisor could come up with a plan suited to long term cruisers; not a whole lot different than a retirement plan.

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Old 16-07-2014, 18:03   #10
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
My latest business plan is working excellently! I rob people!!! Completely legally!

Send me $100 and I'll show you how



Mark
Mark, here's a business plan for you, and anyone else who wants it, absolutely free.

Invent something that costs a dime to make, sells for a dollar, and is habit forming.

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Old 16-07-2014, 19:12   #11
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

MBA capstone projects are soooooo easy!

Here's a business plan for you:

1. Earn an MBA.
2. Get a job.
3. Earn enough money to buy a boat.
4. Buy a boat.
5. Learn to sail boat while earning enough money to cruise.
6. Cruise.
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Old 03-09-2014, 00:04   #12
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Re: MBA Student Seeking Cruising Statistics

Bash,

That's exactly my plan!

I'm at number 3, with #5 already done, I couldn't wait
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