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Old 25-07-2020, 09:20   #16
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
I see a lot of boats that don't get a lot of use. It seems like a lot of people either have the money or the time, but not both.
Boats and airplanes, it's the same story. You buy it, you're excited, you use it a lot and for many, after the initial excitement phase is over, they don't use them as much and eventually not at all.
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Old 25-07-2020, 10:59   #17
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

Wow! I want to thank everyone who has posted so far, as every post has had some very interesting things to say, and thought provoking ideas/"takes" on the question. I certainly had my own ideas, but I have been on a nearly 20 year hiatus from the hobby, as I got married, focused on my profession, raised children, and had neither the time nor disposable income to get back into sailing in the way I wanted to, until about 3 years ago.

So I'd like to comment on each post, but I really have to reflect on each one and think about what each of you has said, and I may ask a follow-up question of a few people.

Just so everyone knows, I'm interested in this for a variety of reasons; first, I have children who are mid-to-late teens, second, I just get the sense that a lot of outdoor activities are experiencing a bit of a decline in participation (I think of the closure of golf courses around the country), thirdly, compared to decades past, I wonder if young men these days, are as interested in manual/mechanical things, especially when they may be required to fix them themselves. Fourth, is wondering if things in our culture have shifted the desires and values that I, and likely many here, had growing up, to make us want to make sailing/cruising, etc. a part of our life?
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Old 25-07-2020, 12:22   #18
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

There are still lots of boats in the good anchorages. But I also notice the boats seem to be bigger now. We did the same Mexico cruise in 2000 and then in 2018 and in 2000 I saw more smaller boats with kids on board. Now I see most boats are over 40', there are more humongous catamarans and I see fewer children.
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Old 25-07-2020, 12:47   #19
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

We have cruised in the Caribbean for each of the past 10 winters. Over that time we have certainly seen the number of cruisers increase, and by a lot. This is especially true in the Windwards. The average age has always been pretty high, the vast majority of the cruisers we encounter are retired, and finding cruising to be a fairly economical way to spend their time. At the same time, the number of bareboat charters has also grown tremendously. On our first trip to the BVI, more than 20 years ago, we anchored with 3 other boats in the bight on Norman island - no mooring balls, no bars, just peace and quiet. Now, you can just about walk across the bay on the charter boats.
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Old 25-07-2020, 12:52   #20
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

Well I am UK based, 31 and just doing the boat up to leave and I cant wait to live at anchor!

Will be able to work remotely if everything goes to plan!

Not an exact answer I knkw but I hope it helps 😁
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Old 25-07-2020, 13:06   #21
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

My observations are that boats are bigger. Cruisers are older. Electric winches, reliable windlasses, and furling mainsails have contributed to both trends.

But if you include both powerboat cruisers and sailboat cruisers, I think cruising has grown. “Loopers” didn’t exist 20 years ago.
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Old 25-07-2020, 13:33   #22
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

It’s the same lines with hunters, rafters, and interest in exploring the outdoors, outside of following a Rick Stevens guide book.

I’m not sure as to why, maybe it is society valuing comfort and security over everything, maybe it’s all the tech, maybe it’s how fat everyone is getting, maybe a combination of all of the above


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It is hard to measure but Xenophobia is on the rise, so many places are less welcoming to cruisers than they used to be. Also, world dominance of a US passport is fading. US Citizens are getting a taste of their own medicine as countries dis-favor Americans over others. Payback for years of racial and ethnic origin discrimination inherent to the US immigration system. Now the federal troops are invading Portland on the grounds its within 100 miles of a US boarder. Canadians are restricting entry from the US. It may be symbolic, but that wall on the boarder with Mexico keeps American's in as well as it keeps Non-USA nationals out of the US. I am sure that the people of east Berlin were told their wall was designed to protect them from an invasion from west Berlin. And when that wall came down, absolutely nothing bad happened. it is sad that instead of uniting mankind, the pandemic has increased tribalism. The "other" is to blame, instead of lets fix this together. Soon, we will need permission to leave the USA, as well as come back in. Oh well. Things will either get better, . . . or they won't.
Well that’s a interesting, if non factual, view on it.
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Old 25-07-2020, 13:39   #23
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

Whichever way you define cruising, now there are more cruising boats in all popular destinations.


Hence we can say cruising is booming, not busting.


That the boats mostly stay put and their owners attached to local bars is not something related to cruising but rather to modern day predominant lifestyle.



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Old 25-07-2020, 13:44   #24
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

It seems to be getting more and more crowds in the various harbors, so I’m going to say increasing.

However, for my 3 decades of sailing, I’ve always been and STILL AM the youngest guy at the marina. Ha ha ha.
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Old 25-07-2020, 13:49   #25
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

A.k.a. 'immobility-morbidity' syndrome.


To be on a cruising boat, in a popular location. This is the 2020 cruising dream. Not going anywhere, just being - like in Kosinski's story ... Going requires effort. Going implies getting off the couch.



They have mobile phones now, so why would anybody walk?



People today are not interesting in exploring anymore.


Example:
We are anchored off Ste Anne, the grounds for trekking, walking are beyond prime there. We go to the windward side and back, which is maybe a 20 miles' walk. We meet NOT A SINGLE SOUL on the tracks - NO-BODY.



So, there are hundreds of boats anchored, maybe a thousand people or more, but as soon as you get just beyond the waterfront limits, there is nobody exploring the landscape.


Which makes me all too happy as I have all the island to myself. The opposite situation (cruisers growing legs and learning to walk) would be a truly terrible thing.


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Old 25-07-2020, 15:49   #26
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

Well the world is getting more the same, hidden gems have been exploited, seeing paradise second time is not the same, fish numbers decreased, back in the day you use to be connected to the stars via a sextent now we disconnected.
I really enjoyed backpacking on the edge of new frontier years ago, now little new frontier is left. I know where some is, I hope you do to.
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Old 25-07-2020, 15:55   #27
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

COVID-19 aside it is harder to cruise than it use to be. I still remember my first trip to the Bahamas in 1959. My Dad sailed from Miami to Cat Cay and checked in. All he needed was his Florida driver's license. He bought some Cuban cigars there. On the return trip it was an easy five minute check in at the customs dock; again trivial paper work. Today you need a passport and a permit with a not trivial cost (still think the $US300 is a good deal, but it is a lot more than it use to be even adjusted for inflation).

There was a fast boat from Miami to Bimini I took with friends in high school and again no paperwork to go ashore; this in the early sixties.

Same goes for things like marinas. It use to be easy to find slips in Miami, now there is a massive waiting list at prices that are shocking. While it is possible to find inexpensive blue water cruisers it is not so easy for a noobie to know which boat is sound and which is a disaster waiting to happen.

One other big factor is what I call fear. More than once I have taken someone out on my boat in what I call ideal weather, flat seas and moderate winds where the boat sails itself. But once we got out of sight of land they spazed out and were terrified. In one case it was not on my boat but theirs. I can't really explain it but maybe Jimmy Buffet explained it best with a line in one of his songs; "the seas in my veins".
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Old 25-07-2020, 16:23   #28
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

I think technology has changed the picture too. When I was young, it was hard to gather information about a small island somewhere. If it wasn't in world book, you were out of luck. Now, people have videos, pictures, stories of far away places on their phone.

So much of the mystery and adventure is gone.
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Old 25-07-2020, 16:23   #29
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

The dream of cruising has in part been taken over by cruise ships as they are getting cheaper. You can have the adventure of going to places and exploring with all your technology that most people want without having to deal with everything involved with maintenance and all of the other costs of owning your own boat. And you can get a free virus lol. For younger people who want to party and have no responsibility it's perfect for them. Us older generation want to get away from all that and leave most of it behind.
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Old 25-07-2020, 16:44   #30
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Re: IS CRUISING DEAD or DYING, STABLE or GROWING?

International cruisers invariably need to pass through Darwin at the top of Australia. In my time there the changes were really obvious. In the 1980's there were many small boats (under 40 ft) with young couples. Sometimes with young children. For many it was an adventure as they would work in bars, fruit picking ...anything.
For some reason I could not quite fathom most of these young sailors were European or Aussies/Kiwis heading off for Asia.
Americans did not seem to be as prevalent. There were probably more Japanese than than Americans.
That has now all gone. Now a large number of the massively reduced (prior to Covid) fraternity are retirees in large catamarans.
I have no survey numbers but the change is conspicuos and dramatic.

For what it is worth, my own opinion is that many countries have seen a shift in wealth from an even spread to one where the wealth is gathered at the top end. Younger adventurous types are now financially constrained or afraid. Also, many basic costs such as insurance, marina fees (where applicable), fuel and lift out etc. have exceeded CPI. Also, it has been so cheap to jump on a big international jet that you can get more bang for your bucks by flying in and then travelling around countries.
A few years ago, an acquaintance sailed out of Darwin into Indonesia. Things went wrong and they returned to Darwin on a weekend. The customs/quarantine fee was about $600 AUD. They pointed out that for that money they could fly and holiday in Bali with accommodation and food plus a bit of sex, drugs and rock and roll for less.(Sort of.)
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