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Old 16-02-2020, 08:37   #1
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Where are the sailboats?!

I just returned from the Helsinki International Boat Show ("The biggest boating event in the Northern Europe", they say)

The exhibitors were spread out over two floors and a number of huge halls but there where near to no sailboats there!

A huge number of different species of motor boats, equipment, clothes, other marine stuff... but just three cruising sailboats (Hanse 348, Oceanis 30.1, Oceanis 38.1), tucked away into a corner of one of the halls.

I chatted with one person to confirm my memories of previous shows, and he did agree with me: the number of sailboats has decreased dramatically over the years.

On this forum, on the other hand, people seem to say that sailing in itself is not declining at all. So what's going on here?
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Old 16-02-2020, 08:47   #2
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

Indoor Boat shows here in the northeast are the same. The Annapolis show, which is in-water, and Newport, have a fair showing. Couldn’t tell you about Miami, as I’ve never been.

I think that cruisers looking to purchase new sailboats will typically know what they want, and arrange showings with the builders directly. Powerboat builders are more likely to get an ‘impulse’ buy on a big boat from a rich guy who envisions entertaining guests/clients for the day on a big motor yacht, as opposed to us sailors, who think far ahead.

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Old 16-02-2020, 08:51   #3
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

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Originally Posted by mlydon View Post
Indoor Boat shows here in the northeast are the same. The Annapolis show, which is in-water, and Newport, have a fair showing. Couldn’t tell you about Miami, as I’ve never been.

I think that cruisers looking to purchase new sailboats will typically know what they want, and arrange showings with the builders directly. Powerboat builders are more likely to get an ‘impulse’ buy on a big boat from a rich guy who envisions entertaining guests/clients for the day on a big motor yacht, as opposed to us sailors, who think far ahead.

Matt
I've been to both the Annapolis and Miami boat shows...Both had a fair showing of sailboats.
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Old 16-02-2020, 08:51   #4
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

Even within the realm of powerboats, look closely and you'll notice that what comes to the boat shows is pretty well filtered from the overall selection available. Especially if they have limited display space, boat manufacturers tend to bring the stuff that's most likely to make people go "ooh, shiny, I want to buy that" as they look, rather than the stuff that's mostly bought by people who already know what they want.
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Old 16-02-2020, 08:53   #5
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

Supply and maybe demand
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Old 16-02-2020, 08:54   #6
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

I don't bother to go to the Helsinki show anymore - as you say, not much to see and you get better deals on equipment either in local stores direct or online. So few sailing boats of any size. My friend who is a professional wooden boat builder tells that last year 26 new sailing boats were sold in Finland - UP from previous years! With such a large stock of second hand boats in existence, who needs to buy new anyway? That is the unfortunate fact for builders. Of course, if you are rich enough to be able to afford a new boat, good luck to you!
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Old 16-02-2020, 09:31   #7
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mglonnro View Post
I just returned from the Helsinki International Boat Show ("The biggest boating event in the Northern Europe", they say)

The exhibitors were spread out over two floors and a number of huge halls but there where near to no sailboats there!

A huge number of different species of motor boats, equipment, clothes, other marine stuff... but just three cruising sailboats (Hanse 348, Oceanis 30.1, Oceanis 38.1), tucked away into a corner of one of the halls.

I chatted with one person to confirm my memories of previous shows, and he did agree with me: the number of sailboats has decreased dramatically over the years.

On this forum, on the other hand, people seem to say that sailing in itself is not declining at all. So what's going on here?
Southampton Boat show for sailing boats
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Old 16-02-2020, 09:41   #8
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mglonnro View Post
I just returned from the Helsinki International Boat Show ("The biggest boating event in the Northern Europe", they say)

The exhibitors were spread out over two floors and a number of huge halls but there where near to no sailboats there!

A huge number of different species of motor boats, equipment, clothes, other marine stuff... but just three cruising sailboats (Hanse 348, Oceanis 30.1, Oceanis 38.1), tucked away into a corner of one of the halls.

I chatted with one person to confirm my memories of previous shows, and he did agree with me: the number of sailboats has decreased dramatically over the years.

On this forum, on the other hand, people seem to say that sailing in itself is not declining at all. So what's going on here?
Rant of the day

Not true, sailing is declining. Many people still buy sailboats to go cruising or for local sailing however a very large number of these buyers are not sailors and know little about sailing beyond what they get in seminars or forums. These non-sailors soon learn that sailing is not the image they have of sitting in the cockpit sailing along on a gentle breeze with an arm around their sweetheart and a glass of wine at hand while a panorama of exotic ports pass by.

Often, once the image is shattered by reality, the boat is back on the market.

Why would dealers persist in pushing new sailboats when there is such a surplus of used ones available at a cheap price? People who want a sailboat can easily find a used sailboat.

Here in Mexico we rarely see people arriving with new boats (boats which were acquired new). On the contrary, most boats are on their third, fourth, or fifth owners, some many more.

Sailing is declining because more and more sailboat owners just realize that they don't like sailing. It is hard work, tiring, hot, time consuming, costly, prone to breakdowns, inconvenient, on and on. They motor almost all the time, and they buy boats which cannot sail anyhow. The trend to bigger and more complex boats exacerbates that; the joy of sailing a simple little sailboat is almost unknown; a thing of the past. If people keep their boats it's because it offers other things, such a opportunities for shoreside socializing, or abilities to visit scenic places.

Here on this forum there are a few hard core sailors, out in the real world, not so much.

The dealers know where the market is: instant gratification powerboats.
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Old 16-02-2020, 09:46   #9
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
Rant of the day

Not true, sailing is declining. Many people still buy sailboats to go cruising or for local sailing however a very large number of these buyers are not sailors and know little about sailing beyond what they get in seminars or forums. These non-sailors soon learn that sailing is not the image they have of sitting in the cockpit sailing along on a gentle breeze with an arm around their sweetheart and a glass of wine at hand while a panorama of exotic ports pass by.

Often, once the image is shattered by reality, the boat is back on the market.

Why would dealers persist in pushing new sailboats when there is such a surplus of used ones available at a cheap price? People who want a sailboat can easily find a used sailboat.

Here in Mexico we rarely see people arriving with new boats (boats which were acquired new). On the contrary, most boats are on their third, fourth, or fifth owners, some many more.

Sailing is declining because more and more sailboat owners just realize that they don't like sailing. It is hard work, tiring, hot, time consuming, costly, prone to breakdowns, inconvenient, on and on. They motor almost all the time, and they buy boats which cannot sail anyhow. The trend to bigger and more complex boats exacerbates that; the joy of sailing a simple little sailboat is almost unknown; a thing of the past.

Here on this forum there are a few hard core sailors, out in the real world, not so much.

The dealers know where the market is: instant gratification powerboats.
I think you will find Europe a different place, France , Spain .Portugal , the Nordic countries the UK hall have rich sailing histories and inspire the next generation , the Olympic games for the last 12 years has seen the UK especially do very well in Sailing which inspires others to go onto the water , but as always a boat is a luxury item and very few can afford it
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Old 16-02-2020, 09:48   #10
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

I agree that sailboats are much less popular than they used to be. Some of it is demographics with older people giving up on sailboats for trawlers or other motor cruisers. I hear this from marina people and see it in my fellow boaters.
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Old 16-02-2020, 09:55   #11
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingssail View Post

Sailing is declining because more and more sailboat owners just realize that they don't like sailing. It is hard work, tiring, hot, time consuming, costly, prone to breakdowns, inconvenient, on and on. They motor almost all the time, and they buy boats which cannot sail anyhow. The trend to bigger and more complex boats exacerbates that; the joy of sailing a simple little sailboat is almost unknown; a thing of the past. If people keep their boats it's because it offers other things, such a opportunities for shoreside socializing, or abilities to visit scenic places.

Here on this forum there are a few hard core sailors, out in the real world, not so much.

The dealers know where the market is: instant gratification powerboats.
that is funny! Or well, sad, in case it indeed is mostly true

WE HAVE TO BRING BACK SAILING!

Less instant gratification, more gratification a few days later after you've been scared s*itless of the weather, hurt yourself, tried to use the head unsuccessfully while heeled over, and vomited
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Old 16-02-2020, 10:04   #12
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

The Düsseldorf Boot show is huge. There were plenty of sailboats on display indoors this past January. I think the D'dorf show is the biggest indoor show in the world and maybe a lot of the sailboat manufacturers are saving money and just showing there?

I am not a German and that show sure attracts a lot of foreigners.
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Old 16-02-2020, 10:06   #13
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

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I agree that sailboats are much less popular than they used to be. Some of it is demographics with older people giving up on sailboats for trawlers or other motor cruisers. I hear this from marina people and see it in my fellow boaters.
The USA is not the centre of the World nor boating , were do people get their data from or as usual the experts that know everything , sometimes a little leg work , research and fore though dispels these rumours that are always abundant on CF, every sailor knows best

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Old 16-02-2020, 10:11   #14
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

Where's the research to validate these many claims???
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Old 16-02-2020, 10:13   #15
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Re: Where are the sailboats?!

This mirrors my experience at the Seattle Boat show for the last 3 years. Lots of power boats and power boat gear, but a declining number of sailboats, especially at the 'on the water' portion of the show.

I asked a couple of brokers about this and was told it is simply the market driving the selections. The PNW abounds in sailboats and sailing, but by far most of the new boat sales are power boats. In the case of 1st time owners of boomer age - the percentage is even greater.
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