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Old 05-11-2018, 14:47   #181
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

I'm lol'ing at all the boomers on here making false assumptions about "kids these days". The reason why sailing is dying:
1. Young people don't have free time anymore. Everyone I know younger than me works more than one job, usually involving weekend hours.
2. Paid vacation is a unicorn for most people now. Being able to take longer vacations (over 2 weeks) is pretty much impossible for anyone under 40+
3. Inflation in the housing market and student loan debt has wiped out the disposable income it takes to sail.
4. Sailing clubs are aging and mostly don't have a clue how to reach younger people. For instance, in my local dinghy racing club my wife and I (48 and 44) are the "youngsters". The people who run the club barely know how email works and have no clue about social media. It's impossible to reach anyone younger than us and don't get me started on the "social committee". Let's just say it's a nice preview of what the nursing home lifestyle is going to be like for us in 30-40 years. The lessons we're learning from the experienced sailors are invaluable.

/end rant/
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Old 05-11-2018, 14:56   #182
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

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Originally Posted by Douglas E Knapp View Post
I want to start cruising. The first thing I found when I started to learn was that most people want a 50 foot plus boat. Then you look at the prices! There is NO way I could start sailing at those prices!

Then after MONTHS of reading I found out that in the 70's people wanted 32 foot boats! The costs of boats seem to be at least to the power of 2 if not 3 increases for each foot increase in size.

35 foot; 100 to 300 thousand.

50 foot; 400 to 600 thousand.

You also get this increase in all the parts and the dock space. There is this huge trend of marketing to push people to ever bigger and bigger boats because you make more money with a bigger boat.

Also if you think that I will just buy an old 50 boat and fix it up, you run into this wall that the time and energy to just paint a boat of this size is also huge. Small boats are the way to go.

I think we have pushed for bigger so long that newbies don't know that small is really better and it is WAY cheaper. This alone is likely enough to knock a lot of people out of the dream.
The numbers are correct. I do not agree with the conclusions regarding the size for long term cruising. In todayís world up to 40í is a day/weekend/a week off sailors. Some starts serious cruising on 40-50í but it is quite challenging for those who want more than a camping. So the serious long cruising boat must be 50+ Well equipped and comfortable- at least for me and for many I know. To be miserable, you better stay on shore - it is much cheaper...

Boats are bigger at all segments as people are not willing to sacrifice too much comfort for cruising - and I totally agree with that.

Joshua Slocum era is way over - the faster we face the new realities the better we are equipped for cruising.
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Old 05-11-2018, 15:12   #183
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

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The numbers are correct. I do not agree with the conclusions regarding the size for long term cruising. In todayís world up to 40í is a day/weekend/a week off sailors. Some starts serious cruising on 40-50í but it is quite challenging for those who want more than a camping. So the serious long cruising boat must be 50+ Well equipped and comfortable- at least for me and for many I know. To be miserable, you better stay on shore - it is much cheaper...

Boats are bigger at all segments as people are not willing to sacrifice too much comfort for cruising - and I totally agree with that.

Joshua Slocum era is way over - the faster we face the new realities the better we are equipped for cruising.
My experience so far tells a different tale. We cruise on our 37-foot boat (actually, it is 36í 9Ē, which is EXACTLY the same LOA as Spray ). We havenít gone as far, or as long, as many, but we have called this boat home for the last few years. For the previous decade we would go on extended seasonal cruises (one to four months).

So far, weíve chosen to cruise more remote areas like north shore, Lake Superior, and Newfoundland for the last couple of seasons. So we sail some challenging waters. We almost always anchor out. We have all the storage and tankage space we need to live quite comfortably. And we can do this relatively inexpensively b/c we have not allowed ourselves to be seduced by the marketing of bigger is better.

We are most definitely not ďcamping.Ē I know, b/c I used to do a lot of actual camping. I can explain the difference to anyone who is unclear on the two.

Boat sizes have gone up for the same reason house sizes have. People today are the same as they were in the 1970s (evolution doesnít work that fast ), so our needs havenít changed. But thanks to all the manupulative marketing, our wants sure have.
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Old 05-11-2018, 15:21   #184
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

But the boat sizes that are shown in the boat shows and the magazines are huge. Back in the late 60s and the 70s the boat shows were full of plain 20-35 foot boats, that the average family could reasonably save up to buy (even in the dire economic situation in the UK in the 70s). The most advanced technology these had was usually a galley foot pump for fresh water.

In the late 80s and 90s when I got into boating, mid-30s was considered normal and anything over 40' was a "big boat". 50' was considered almost superyacht territory, even where the money was on the Hamble River. If you wanted to burn money you could buy a GPS unit.

Nowadays anything under 50' seems to be treated as a daysailer. Adverts and reviews in the yachting magazines are for 55-70' boats (or 50'+ catamarans), all way out of reach for most average people, at least new.

Naturally the boatbuilders are building what they know they can sell to make the most money, so they seem to be moving upmarket as fast as they can. Good on them, I suppose, but if you're looking for a large number of average families to get into sailing then I'm not sure who is targeting them. Not the boat shows, not the magazines, not the builders, it seems.
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Old 05-11-2018, 15:23   #185
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

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I thought I was through with sailing until, at the ripe old age of 65 I stumbled upon the bounty of: "...the Glory Days of USED cruising sailboat...", in the form of an abandoned Bristol 34 that I purchase for $250 plus tax. (Talk about the need for DIY skills, go to: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...zax/1709257066 for a pictorial promenade). After restoring and sailing on SW Florida and Puget Sound waters, I sold her to an appreciative couple and bought a dilapidated Valiant 40 for $3,000. I've now joined a yacht club for the first time and am an ardent promoter of the opportunity that the used market offers young people these days among my fellow members AND THEIR CHILDREN.
*** thatís fantastic and one of the things that used to make people happy! Really working and refitting the boat youíre going to sail on. I made more or less the same with my first 24í keelboat but later simply had no time and more or less bought boats - bigger, better equipped and almost ready to sail.
My kids wouldnít care about rebuilding a boat, iíll Be happy if theyíll agree to replace a halyard....
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Old 05-11-2018, 15:30   #186
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

Seems like some posters are projecting their own unwillingness to go cruising in anything but a large and home-like yacht onto the world's population.

We've been full time cruising for 32 years now, and yes, the average boat size has increased as has the average load of convenience items on board. However, in every anchorage one will find smaller, simpler boats, often but not always with younger sailors on board. This is a fact... we see these guys everywhere, and they seem to be having a good time and think of themselves as cruising sailors. I do too.

I keep seeing the term "only camping" applied to such smaller vessels. What a crock! When camping, I seem to recall sleeping on a thin pad on lumpy ground, not a nice foam mattress. I seem to recall getting wet when it rained, and having no where to really escape that wetness other than a no-standing-head-room leaky tent, not a warm, dry and comfy cabin. I remember tending to personal needs crouched behind a tree, after digging a hole, I remember cooking over an open fire, if I could get a fire going. I remember having to carry all the food and water that I wanted to use on my back. I remember a lot of things that differentiate camping from cruising even in a small yacht.

I like our current cruising boat a lot, and yes, it is 46 feet long. But I also liked our previous boat, only 36 feet long, and we sailed over 86,000 miles in her. I liked the previous-to-that boat too, and it was only 30 feet long. We never were full time on her, but managed over 25,000 miles in her, and never thought we were "only camping".

There are obviously some folks who feel that they can't go sailing without all the comforts and room of home. I don't think they constitute the whole cruising population, not by far. To base predictions of the future of cruising on their outlook is unconvincing to me!

Jim
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Old 05-11-2018, 15:35   #187
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

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3. Inflation in the housing market and student loan debt has wiped out the disposable income it takes to sail.
Your rant is a good one, IMO.
However, I think your inflation-in-the-housing-market argument is a bit thin...
In the US in 1970, the median income was about 26% of the median home price. ($6185 / $23,533)
In the US in 2017, the median income was about 26% of the median home price. ($59,055 / $227,300)

https://www.census.gov/const/uspricemon.pdf
Housing price history from 1970 through 2018
https://seekingalpha.com/article/415...usehold-income
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Old 05-11-2018, 15:36   #188
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

Maybe the reason the building of cruising boats is declining is the the current buyers have the internet and can research. And when they do all they hear is "buy some old 70/80s boat and make it new" on the internet. So builders don't build stuff not selling. Once the next decade of cruisers dies off and stop posting maybe it will change.
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Old 05-11-2018, 15:43   #189
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

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Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
But the boat sizes that are shown in the boat shows and the magazines are huge. Back in the late 60s and the 70s the boat shows were full of plain 20-35 foot boats, that the average family could reasonably save up to buy (even in the dire economic situation in the UK in the 70s). The most advanced technology these had was usually a galley foot pump for fresh water.

In the late 80s and 90s when I got into boating, mid-30s was considered normal and anything over 40' was a "big boat". 50' was considered almost superyacht territory, even where the money was on the Hamble River. If you wanted to burn money you could buy a GPS unit.

Nowadays anything under 50' seems to be treated as a daysailer. Adverts and reviews in the yachting magazines are for 55-70' boats (or 50'+ catamarans), all way out of reach for most average people, at least new.

Naturally the boatbuilders are building what they know they can sell to make the most money, so they seem to be moving upmarket as fast as they can. Good on them, I suppose, but if you're looking for a large number of average families to get into sailing then I'm not sure who is targeting them. Not the boat shows, not the magazines, not the builders, it seems.
*** look at the European cars these days vs those of the 60ís (the US had to downsize from those ridiculous cars we had in the 60ís). Can you compare a VW Passat today to the Ford Cortina of the 60ís? actually not even to the Passat of the 70ís... the Mini, the Fiat 500... Our kitchens, bathrooms...
People want more comfort. And this is what determining what they consider to buy for sailing and cruising.

Sure Mike here describes a great life cruising experience on a 37í.... technically it is doable of course, (I guess Mike isnít navigating with a spring loaded alarm clock... )) but most people want more space, amenities, comfort, friends to join etc etc. (me included... ).
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Old 05-11-2018, 16:01   #190
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

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...Sure Mike here describes a great life cruising experience on a 37í.... technically it is doable of course, (I guess Mike isnít navigating with a spring loaded alarm clock... )) but most people want more space, amenities, comfort, friends to join etc etc. (me included... ).
Itís not just technically doable. It IS doable, and IS being done by huge numbers of people. The simple fact is, most people donít need nearly as much as they think they do. But theyíve been bamboozled by the glossy mags and the glitzy you tubers into thinking they gotta have tons of space, and all the amenities, of modern life.

For sure, some do need more luxuries than others, but not everyone. And I would bet most people would find they can do without most of these items if they just give it a try.

BTW, Iíd love to find a good quality spring-loaded clock

There was a thread here, perhaps six-eight months ago, which looked at average size of boats that left for RTW journeys from the west coast. It was compiled by that west coast cruising club (forget the name), and included data going back to the 1960s.

I and a few others crunched the data on LOA. What came out was rather surprising. The average LOA had not changed very much over the entire dataset: from the 1960 (and earlier) to 2016. The average stayed pretty much around 42í. The data was for for RTW cruisers (not racers) departing and returning to the west coast.

What this suggests to me is that, for long-term cruising, the average size may not be increasing. Itís clearly increasing in some areas, and for some markets. But maybe these arenít the long-term cruisers most of us are (or aspire to be).
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Old 05-11-2018, 16:08   #191
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

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Itís not just technically doable. It IS doable, and IS being done by huge numbers of people. The simple fact is, most people donít need nearly as much as they think they do. But theyíve been bamboozled by the glossy mags and the glitzy you tubers into thinking they gotta have tons of space, and all the amenities, of modern life.

For sure, some do need more luxuries than others, but not everyone. And I would bet most people would find they can do without most of these items if they just give it a try.

BTW, Iíd love to find a good quality spring-loaded clock

There was a thread here, perhaps six-eight months ago, which looked at average size of boats that left for RTW journeys from the west coast. It was compiled by that west coast cruising club (forget the name), and included data going back to the 1960s.

I and a few others crunched the data on LOA. What came out was rather surprising. The average LOA had not changed very much over the entire dataset: from the 1960 (and earlier) to 2016. The average stayed pretty much around 42í. The data was for for RTW cruisers (not racers) departing and returning to the west coast.

What this suggests to me is that, for long-term cruising, the average size may not be increasing. Itís clearly increasing in some areas, and for some markets. But maybe these arenít the long-term cruisers most of us are (or aspire to be).
***
I do agree with you, Mike 100%! You ARE my hero! The discussion was about newer generations of sailors and (potentially) cruisers that ask for more, weather justified or not and it is probably too late to fix that poor education (by all means) - we better build a new one for our grandchildren...
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Old 05-11-2018, 16:15   #192
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

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It’s not just technically doable. It IS doable, and IS being done by huge numbers of people. The simple fact is, most people don’t need nearly as much as they think they do. But they’ve been bamboozled by the glossy mags and the glitzy you tubers into thinking they gotta have tons of space, and all the amenities, of modern life.
I have to agree with this. Years ago, I down-sized from a modern, monstrous house (5BR/5BA) to an old small one with less that 1/4 of the size. Even my kids were happier in unexpected ways, after appreciating the beauty of "less". All of this was contrary to the bigger-is-better common thinking.

I think our perfect long-term cruising boat would be a beamy 32-footer, if only it would behave more like a 40-footer on the open seas.
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Old 05-11-2018, 16:23   #193
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

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Seems like some posters are projecting their own unwillingness to go cruising in anything but a large and home-like yacht onto the world's population.

We've been full time cruising for 32 years now, and yes, the average boat size has increased as has the average load of convenience items on board. However, in every anchorage one will find smaller, simpler boats, often but not always with younger sailors on board. This is a fact... we see these guys everywhere, and they seem to be having a good time and think of themselves as cruising sailors. I do too.

I keep seeing the term "only camping" applied to such smaller vessels. What a crock! When camping, I seem to recall sleeping on a thin pad on lumpy ground, not a nice foam mattress. I seem to recall getting wet when it rained, and having no where to really escape that wetness other than a no-standing-head-room leaky tent, not a warm, dry and comfy cabin. I remember tending to personal needs crouched behind a tree, after digging a hole, I remember cooking over an open fire, if I could get a fire going. I remember having to carry all the food and water that I wanted to use on my back. I remember a lot of things that differentiate camping from cruising even in a small yacht.

I like our current cruising boat a lot, and yes, it is 46 feet long. But I also liked our previous boat, only 36 feet long, and we sailed over 86,000 miles in her. I liked the previous-to-that boat too, and it was only 30 feet long. We never were full time on her, but managed over 25,000 miles in her, and never thought we were "only camping".

There are obviously some folks who feel that they can't go sailing without all the comforts and room of home. I don't think they constitute the whole cruising population, not by far. To base predictions of the future of cruising on their outlook is unconvincing to me!

Jim
***
Jim, you are right. And your cruising mileage is impressive by all means! But we can also agree it is a matter of personal taste and those preferences of the people considering sailing and cruising have changed. Actually, you also describe a migration from a 30í to 36í and to 46í.... - so thatís the point! A new cruiser look at our present boats not at what we had 20-30 years ago. For them, 46í is the starting point.

And as the starting point moved, in general, up - the associated costs also moved up. And Iím not speaking about the general life challenges described so well here by others: medical insurance, education debt, kids education, secured retirement when the life span increases... These do not push sailors into smaller, more affordable boats, but sadly push them out of the sailing-cruising community.
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Old 05-11-2018, 16:31   #194
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

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These do not push sailors into smaller, more affordable boats, but sadly push them out of the sailing-cruising community.
But that was the point of my post... it may push some out, but there are plenty of folks cruising in smaller boats. The bottom line is that if you have the desire, the means can be found, and it won't be "just camping".

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Old 05-11-2018, 19:03   #195
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Re: Cruising Sailboats: a Dying Breed?

Part of the problem is the sense of 'entitlement' we've built into the Millenial (and subsequent) generations.

No slapping, too much mollycoddling, 'everyone gets a prize', it all adds up to people who 'want it all NOW'. And don't see the need to 'do' anything to get it, much less make sacrifices.

Never mind buying a flat/apartment and paying it off, then moving up to something bigger (or investing in another apartment block...good plan!), these days younger people want the six-bedroom, all-bells-and-whistles 'McMansions'. Straight out of college! Good luck with that!

Industry, marketing, is all 'conspiring' to head in the same direction. Our debt provides someone else with a living. To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, "Debt is good!" - for bankers!!

Bigger cars, like houses, and boats, all have more 'fruit' - and COST more, so the makers/builders/marketers/bankers focus more on what makes them margin.

No margin in second-hand boats, cars, so they are cheap-ish.

But this is also market-specific. In Oz, the same boat will be double what you could buy one for in the US. The sheer volume of boats (and cars) makes them cheaper in the US than elsewhere. (And, yeah, I search Craigslist for comparative research - regularly).

In Oz we dodged the 2000 recession, ducked the 2008 GFC, and have - technically - 'never been better off' (by comparison to rest of world) - but it's all relative.

ALL stuff costs more here, because of our smaller market making real competition difficult. AUS$12/kg for snowpeas, grown locally, but $1 bunch for imported asparagus (from Mexico, of all places). Global markets, indeed.

But, there seems to be a fairly constant supply of second-hand sailboats changing hands - I watch the main market - Gumtree, daily (and have done so for many years) - and the number of sailboats for sale on any given day is around 1500. Drops to 12-1300 in winter, then climbs back to 15-1600 in summer. [NB: This mostly excludes brokers and marina sales agents - it's all private sellers - so it's where the bargain boats are to be had. More modern, more features, boats tend to be for sale with brokers, and are more expensive due to broker commissions inflating prices, as they do everywhere].

But I tend to agree with Mike - there is a demographic bubble, the post-war 'baby-boomers' the youngest of which are a couple of years older than me - ie: pushing 60, whereas the oldest are in their early seventies.

So it stands to reason this demographic are over-represented in EVERY field of endeavour, and as they grow old and swallow the anchor, the overall numbers 'out cruising' *may* drop. This is logical.

BUT... there is the possibility that growing disenchantment with onshore life, and the (increasingly cheap thanks to falling numbers of buyers) sailboat market, may *just* encourage more of the younger generations to get off their butts and go sailing.

Just wait - there'll soon be a "maker space" for small sailboats, and a "movement" will grow from that.

Or the Kardashians will get into sailing. Or Harry and Meghan will buy a 30-fter to race in the Solent. Any weird coincidence could spark a 'new rush', as the Prince of Wales (later George IV) did with his passion for yachting in the late 1890's - which if course made the midle classes seek to emulate their 'betters'.

[BTW: Was not meaning to imply the Kardashians were our 'betters' in any way shape or form!! For 'Kardashian' insert 'locally popular social and media hero' and it might be closer to what I intended].

I have to say that the internet and social media are likely to make this more likely rather than less likely, as it's so much easier for anyone with a pulse to 'get connected' these days and follow their dream for several years, as so many lurkers on here have done/are doing (me included).

There were no 'cruising blogs' "back in the day". These days you get pictures, video even, and practical advice, not just the 'here's where we went last summer' travelogue type yarns. Club magazines still do that. For example, the Ocean Cruising Club's Flying Fish is now online and free to download, from issue one. I recently spent a very satisfying cuppla months of free time trawling THAT archive, and watched the 'destination trends' change from the Pacific to the Arctic, for example. Thanks to global warming, we can go there too! Not sure that's a positive change, but...

As in the 'whatever happened to the wannabees' thread, many younger folk will, familiar as they are with Nike's motto, simply just go!

So while overall numbers may drop - emphasis, may - the actual number, thanks to population increase, may actually grow.

As Pinguin pointed out, Tierra del Fuego is seeing lots of Finnish sailors, not so many Anglophones. How much longer before it's Malaysians? Chinese? Indians? Indonesians?

These 'developing' nations are yet to reach 'peak middle class', so they are yet to (but are developing) their 'offshore cruisers'.

So, on balance, I think it's way too soon to write off the 'cruising class' entirely. And while I agree the 'western baby boomer' demographic is sliding (sideways, at speed, hollerin' all the way) towards swallowing the anchor, there is a good chance that developing nations will replace them in terms of actual numbers. Maybe even grow the overall numbers.

Which may, or may not, be a good thing for the few remaining, 'untouched' wild places of the world.

Let's not do *too* much to encourage 'growth' in the 'offshore cruising market'.

But by all means, keep spruiking the "it's all going to hell in a hand basket" litany.

The less young folks 'out there' the more room for us older folks who are still in the planning stages.

As Sgt Esterhaus used to say, on HSB, "be careful out there"!
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