Just came back from New England/Boston boat show
. Attended may be 15 times in the past 20+ years. This year may have seen the fewest number of sailboats there. Couple of Hanses, IP 349 and I think a Bene 45 or some such. The only positive sigh is that all of them had fairly long visitor lines although not as long as in the years past.
None had their masts up although in previous years mast
up was the norm as the ceiling allows for that. Perhaps it is indicative of our current
"safety first at all costs" mentality which is not very conducive to sailing in the first place.
On the negative side all the sailing/cruising gear
vendors were sparsely visited or at least so it seemed. All insurance
brokers (except one) were very flippant to a guy (me) asking for a lliability only quote on a 40 year old sailboat. And perhaps this is an indication what the marine
industry in general thinks of good old boat
Except for a few "last day of the show" deals on some clothing
(which I already have plenty off) there was nothing there which I would be interested in AND could afford. If it wasn't for comped tickets from a marine
industry buddy I would be upset at wasting $16 per ticket. In the old days you could at least get a 1 year subscription to a sailing magazine with the ticket but since Progressive got into the game
they stopped that and all you get out of the deal is a more or less sturdy plastic bag.
I also noticed an increased (compared to years ago) presence of pontoons, skidoos and other such toys. The whole sections just for them. So as some pointed out earlier may be it's not the lack of money
but lack of interest which drives the decline of interest in sailing as opposed to motoring or lounging on the water
My personal opinion that sailing in particular but boating
in general, as an activity for an average Joe or Jane, has suffered from being priced out of the average middle class budget
. Not just the cost of the boats, those have been reasonable in the used market but all the other associated costs have skyrocketed. And that does not bode well for the industry down the road.
Very few of us started with $300-500K new boats. Most/many got in in their 20s and 30s with a used 20-25 footer then climbed up to bigger sizes. There is nothing comparable to that entry population. The millenials either are too poor or too distracted by all the gadgets in their vicinity to sit stil for a bunch of comprehensive ASA
show over the years also gotten less salty and more "lifestyle merchantly". Stopped going there about 5 years ago. Why gawk at 1mil 50+ feet cats which even 10 years from now I won't be able to afford? Now if they could come up with a well built 35-40 foot mono for under $120-150K that would be a game
changer. Heck, they did it with computers
why not do the same with sailboats.