I think it's way more complex than just cost. Or the 'McMansion syndrome'.
Way back when, there weren't so many boats around. Getting a mooring
or a slip was relatively simple. Not so much today. Slips are more expensive due to *massively* rising cost of waterfront real estate. Especially in my neck of the woods. YMMV.
In NSW, which has limited sheltered anchorages
fields, especially near the major metropolis of Sydney
, the majority of boats on moorings are under 8m (a recent audit showed this up), so the space to moor a 'smaller boat' is somewhat limited, and, due to the (well) risen cost of a slip, less well off folks with a smaller boat can't get a mooring and can't afford a slip, never mind a boat.
Another issue is the whole 'time poor' thing. Way more stuff to entertain folks these days, even without their phones and the internet
. Also, due to lengthening hours of work
(esp inc commute time) there is less time to participate in leisure activities, so we tend to do stuff that 's quick and easy. And have to fit it all in on weekends. Inc kids
sport, which seems to take up a whole weekend, for anyone who has younger kids (not so many on here, perhaps..??)
and launching (and vice versa) a small trailer
boat is NOT something one does in a hurry. It also gets 'old' very quickly, so loses its appeal. Especially for he/she who needs a shower
. And a toilet. And A/C.
up onshore 'yards' and 'boaitng clubs' used to be a thing, but not so much these days as the cost of waterfront real estate has pushed them all out to the margins.
Then there is inflation. A dollar doesn't buy as much as it used to. Plus the wages and on costs have risen, so what the builder
used to buy for a dollar, nowadays costs a LOT more, so the relative price
of boats is much higher today. Add to that the inflation in wages, and that too has an impact on the up-front cost. We can theoretically afford more these days. Especially with democratisation and de-genderisation of the work place, as women
now can earn good salaries, so a household's income
has risen, and so their buyin power. Sell ers of *everything* are aware of this, so prices of *everything* have risen.
Another issue is that (way back when) full keeled small boats had reasonable headroom
- approaching full standing, especially for those under 6'. "Small boat" these days means 'cramped', and 'sitting head
room only', especially for trailer
sailers. SO the type. design, and construction of yachts has changed, too, which favours longer and wider boats which are proportionally MUCH roomier (and so can have more kit stuffed in them) than similar-length narrower boats of the early 'glass era.
That small-ish boat that turned up in Tassie, if you had a look at the design, only has standing headroom
at the foot of the companion, and then you are standing on the hull
, not on a raised sole. Good design trick, but still a small boat
If my '70s-designed Farrier was built that way, I'd have standing headroom at the galley
, whereas with the 6" bilge
and sole it actually has, I need a pop-top to stand fully upright. That's a 24' 'trailer sailer'. Or 7.2m compared to the Froggies 7.7m.
So, I guess we can't say *THIS* is the reason why small boats are not being built or not being bought....it's way too complex an issue for that oversimplification, but I think the longevity of the earlier boats (fibreglass) has a lot to do with it also. Wooden boats rotted and sank or were scrapped, freeing up mooring space, and providing ongoing work for boatyards
The modern alternative is capital-intensive. And the 'capitalists' will make bigger, fancier boats, as these have higher profit margins.
Perhaps what is needed is a cashed-up entrepreneur to design a CAD-cut, vacuum-moulded, foam-glass 27-28 with 6' headroom, flushing
, fridge, heater
and power sockets for 'electronics of your choice', and make it in a developing country where the cost of wages is low enough to make the eventual boat 'cost effective' for less-well-off Millenials?
I remember reading some time ago a build thread on a Bob Forster trimaran
- 28', 6' headroom, fodling like a Farrier, but cold-moulded so could be home-built (essentially, a Nineties Farrier TT), and one frugal builder
constructed one, sail away, for just under AUS$50K.
That's about a third of what Corsair
or Dragonfly would want to build the same boat in moulded foam/glass, delivered to a dock
But for someone 'less than well off' (i.e.: Millenials) a $20K fixer-upper mono is probably a much more financially appealing 'bet'.
Look at 'Free Range Sailing' on You Tube as a classic
example. 30' Clansman, older-style mono, $28K ready to sail. Yes, they are 'clickbait' sailors being funded by 'patreons' and 'donors', but they openly admit they didn't solicit this, and were prepared from Day 1 to work - sail - work - sail, but were pressured by viewers to accept donations, and
to set up a Patreon account, which now provides them the ability to continue without having to work. But they live largely off the land for protein, and live a healthy life and appear to have a great time.
So, perhaps we will see more of this type of 'sailor' in the future?