Author Topic: Saving Sailing  (Read 5805 times)

Offline Napier6

  • Rigger
  • ****
  • Posts: 40
  • Karma: 1
Saving Sailing
« on: December 31, 2009, 09:25:50 AM »
 
“Saving Sailing : The Story of Choices, Families, Time Commitments, and How We Can Create a Better Future” by Nicholas D. Hayes Published 2009 by Crickhollow Books
ISBN: 9781933987071  www.SavingSailing.com
 
I just finished reading “Saving Sailing” last night and wanted to post a review.  Sailing is declining around the country as are many pastimes that involve more thought than plopping on the couch and turning on the TV.  I was surprised to find that “Participation in sailing in the United States has declined by about 40% in the last decade.” 

Nicholas Hayes is on the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center and an experienced sailor.  He has talked to many sailors and gathered the data for the book.

The real problem is that of time.  Hayes describes it as a “Charter” lifestyle where we go drop kids off at practice, or pay money to watch a performance, or take part in a sanitized form of easy entertainment mostly cut off from others and our family.  One very interesting point in the book is that we all have to juggle time but if you can include the family on all levels instead of just dropping them off (not just sailing) you are having fun and enjoying a “Life Pastime.”

One of the main factors that sailing is seen as a brief stint in a sunfish at summer camp and never picked up again is that it is hard.  Hayes points out that the fact it is hard is why it is so rewarding.  It is difficult for popular culture to sanitize and package.  Hayes says that we must Mentor to gain new converts, not just leave the family at home and sail off for the weekend.  I must admit that I am one of the 45-65 year old white males he is talking about.  I will strive to invite more people aboard this coming year to show them at least that it can be fun and you don’t run the risk of dying every moment.  Oh yes, and I’m not Thurston Howell III (Gilligan’s Island millionaire).  What is good about this is that involving the family in any activity is a positive, even if it is not sailing, but fishing, or some other non-charter type of fun.

The book is in a conversational style that I like.  It is 236 pages long and a relatively quick read.  While it is not a Tom Clancy thriller, I would recommend you read this book if you love sailing and want to see it continue instead of being relegated to being a quaint eccentric hobby of the few.
2005 Com-Pac Eclipse Hull #28 "Skylark"

Online Bob23

  • I'm a mean and selfish curmudgeon! - Bob23
  • Fleet Admiral
  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 6294
  • Karma: 113
  • All men die; few men really live.
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2009, 10:08:12 AM »
Sounds like a great book. I'll admit, it is sometimes difficult to find time to sail. But there is nothing like it to retreat, even for a short time, from what appears to be a world gone mad. Don't know about you, but when I'm sailing, all that day to day bs we deal with disappears! Viola!
Bob23

Offline kahp ho

  • Captain
  • *****
  • Posts: 256
  • Karma: 10
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2009, 12:57:42 PM »
Ya, I would second what Bob23 said. I've found my sense of time distorts when I'm sailing. What I think was a two hour sail turns out to have been four hours. A dead giveaway I've been having fun.

I haven't noticed any decline in sailing activity, at least not in the puddles I've been sailing. There has been an explosion in the numbers of "smokers" (wake boats, those pesky PWC's, etc.). Lucky for me they seem to favor the places close to town and they don't seem to like the windy places as much. I can live with that ;). As for sailing being difficult, when asked I've always told people it's pretty easy to learn to sail, but you'll spend the rest of your life learning to sail better. That's part of the attraction for me.

mel
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 12:59:59 PM by kahp ho »
'07 Legacy "Amphibian"

Offline HenryC

  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 508
  • Karma: 36
Our options have changed.
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2010, 08:59:28 AM »
If there are indeed fewer people sailing, perhaps it is simply because there are less sailors.  Whatever it is that attracts people to the sport may simply not be as common any more, and for whatever reason--social, economic, cultural--there aren't enough new sailors appearing to make up for those who are passing on.

I don't think this is cause to worry.  No matter what happens, sailing is not going to go away, there will always be those who to gravitate to it.  Our role is to be there for them, to teach and inspire.  It's what I try to do, through my writing, and by communicating my enthusiasm as best I can. 

What I find saddest of all is the excuse that no one seems to "have the time", any more.  We are surrounded by labor-saving devices, transport and communication is becoming faster every day, and technology is making us (supposedly!) more efficient and productive.  Could it be that this landscape of machines and software we have erected around ourselves and spent so much time and effort trying to sell to each other is in reality counter-productive?  Perhaps the cocoon of systems we have constructed to give us more creative and leisure time demands so much maintenance and has such high overhead costs that it winds up taking much more from us than it gives back.  After all, we all carry telephones in our pockets, and in public everyone seems to always be talking to someone, but if you actually call anybody all you seem to get any more is voice mail or recorded instructions.

Sailors know this, which is why we sail.  Sure, the boat and the sea puts demands on our time, they are insistent and unforgiving. This is true not just in sailing, but in any activity we engage in to enrich and improve our lives. But we are there because we choose to be.  Those who aren't there with us never even realized they had a choice.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2010, 09:02:37 AM by HenryC »

Online brackish

  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 2247
  • Karma: 56
  • Arion
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2010, 10:01:45 AM »
What I find saddest of all is the excuse that no one seems to "have the time", any more.  We are surrounded by labor-saving devices, transport and communication is becoming faster every day, and technology is making us (supposedly!) more efficient and productive.  Could it be that this landscape of machines and software we have erected around ourselves and spent so much time and effort trying to sell to each other is in reality counter-productive?  Perhaps the cocoon of systems we have constructed to give us more creative and leisure time demands so much maintenance and has such high overhead costs that it winds up taking much more from us than it gives back.  After all, we all carry telephones in our pockets, and in public everyone seems to always be talking to someone, but if you actually call anybody all you seem to get any more is voice mail or recorded instructions.

A point well made HenryC, I think it very well could be.  Sailing is a pastime of focus on the activity and reflection on the experience.  It is difficult to do either when you are incessantly "connected" to a world intent on bombarding you with mostly irrelevant soundbites.

In my twenties, my circle of sailing friends were avid.  By the time we all hit forty most had switched to power.  In my sixties, I'm the only individual in that group that still sails.  The yacht clubs in the area, at one time focused on sailing.  Youth and adult sailing education, regattas and the expansion of one design fleets were primary to the club charters.  Now it seems that they are more interested in expanding the club restaurant, bar and pool facilities, and a growing percentage of the members may not even have boats.  The cost of slips in the area have risen much faster than the rate of inflation and the supply has fallen due to the major hurricanes of the last decade.  Fact is, in a certain size range, power boats are easier to keep at the house on a trailer to avoid that cost.

These, of course, are just anecdotal observances with no claim to statistical relevance.  And it is hard to know for sure that I just haven't become an "old fogey".

Offline HenryC

  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 508
  • Karma: 36
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2010, 11:07:43 AM »
Perhaps the saddest comment of all is that many of those powerboaters you refer to USED to be sailors.  That is, it is not through ignorance or lack of contact with the sport that they have stopped sailing, it's that for whatever the reason, the world is not as "sail-friendly" any more, even for us old fogeys.  Not that there's anything wrong with powerboats, any boat is better than no boat, and even wave-runners and cigarette boats have their place in the grand scheme of creation.

I have also noticed a change in the type of sailors we see.  There is more interest in high-tech open boat sailing, big-sled racing, and other more organized  sporting and competitive activity and a corresponding decline (not a scientific survey, just my anecdotal observation) in the gentler pastimes of cruising and gunkholing.  There seem to be less places to do this, and less people doing it.  I used to remember waking up in some remote anchorage sharing the place with other young people, couples, families, and even the occasional old geezer spending the night in his small sailboat.  There were sailing adventures available even for those who didn't have the boat, money or time for blue-water passages and coastal cruises.

Maybe it's part of a pattern,  road racing is being replaced by NASCAR and dragstrips, and baseball is being eclipsed by the NFL.  Could we we just be becoming more thrill-oriented, more seduced by instant gratification and the pre-packaged entertainment experience?  The well-turned double play cannot compete with endzone celebration. 

Forgive me if I'm reading too much sociology into this, but sailors do tend to be a moody and introspective bunch.


nies

  • Guest
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2010, 11:51:57 AM »
 Its all about work (effort), sailing takes effort and time.....let loose a line or two, turn the switch and go sixty mph in less than a minute......if you are not interested in  connecting with the elements you are passing through then power boating is for you........we have not taught our children the value of taking the time for the natural high of sailing.........I am as much to blame as anyone..........Phil

Offline Steve Ullrich

  • Captain
  • *****
  • Posts: 345
  • Karma: 33
  • 1988 Com-Pac 16 III
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2010, 12:46:22 PM »
The cost of fuel might have actually lowered the number of power boats on some of the lakes around here.  I have many friends with boats that say it is just too expensive to fill up the tank and pull the kids around the lake every weekend.  There are still plenty of power boats and pwc's out there but a lot of them seem to be spending a little more time in the garage than they used to.  I'd like to think that more people will get back to sailing as the costs associated with running and maintaining their gas guzzlers creeps higher. 
Steve Ullrich, Savage, MN
1988 Com-Pac 16/III - Teacher's Pet

Online Bob23

  • I'm a mean and selfish curmudgeon! - Bob23
  • Fleet Admiral
  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 6294
  • Karma: 113
  • All men die; few men really live.
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2010, 03:53:46 PM »
   I'm very fortunate to have a father-in-law who has sailed 75 years of his so far 90 years on this planet. He's held a captains license for 50 of those years and is a very intuitive sailor who reigned in the Lightning class regattas in Surf City, NJ. His boats name was "Time and Tide" and I remember a newspaper article headline referring to him in his winning days- "Like time and tide, Otto Hansen waits for no man." He knows fine boats and loves my 23/2. I've passed my love of sailing to my son, Chris, and about 2 years ago, realizing that he couldn't handle his "bog boat" anymore, gave it to my son. We have no need of powerboats but instead love learning all that is sailing. Needless to say, it is extremely rewarding to my father in law to see his grandson sailing his 1970 Irwin FreeSpirit, "Gannet".
   I guess when it comes to sailing the old adage applies: If I have to explain it to you, you wouldn't understand. You either get it or you don't. You're either bitten by the bug or you aren't. Now don't get me wrong- I love big, loud, high horsepower engines. I love the thunder and the speed. If that's what someone likes, so be it. I just don't have any interest in owning or even going aboard one.
Bob23...content at 6 knots.

newt

  • Guest
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2010, 06:17:19 AM »
I think the necessity of going green (because of a loss of petroleum fuel) will eventually kill the powerboats. If gas gets to be 10 or 20 dollars a gallon, and combined with the damage the internal combustion engine does to the waterways (possible green fees?)... Well I just don't think it has a future. When I cruise the San Juans (Washington) Motorboats outnumber the sailboats at dock. Sailboats way outnumber the motorboats moving place to place, and yeah that takes into account the shorter times it takes to travel by motorboat. What is going to happen to all the commercial traffic? I don't know. But I think our future lies in sailboats that use electric to get out of the harbor.
I think our greater challenge is getting kids off the media band wagon and out into real life. They need to be taught to work as well as use their I-pods. Computers, as useful as they are, are not real life.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 06:28:03 AM by newt »

Offline Craig Weis

  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 2037
  • Karma: 17
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2010, 10:52:48 AM »
newt , How is the world going to move our collective butts and boats around if the collective mind stops selling petrol products?

Just curious. What ever moves uses heat. And heat is btu's and btu's are available in any number of resources.
Love the question. So many many different answers all involving the generation of heat. Which is not a bad thing.

Any ideas? Germany went broke and fell on their knees trying to 'go green'. Germany gave this nonsense up.
Way before that, Spain has sputtered out trying to stay in business and still 'go green'. Unemployment is around 40% to 60%
in places.

It's kind of proving that 'going green' shall be more of a problem than first thought.

Like my USPS table mate's knee jerk reaction during Mother's Day brunch at the Yacht Club.
I said to no one in particular that I believed there is "No such thing as renewable energy."
 
Before my words bounced off the table my sailing friend pipes up, "Oh sure there is."

Oh really?  Name one....

skip.

 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 11:06:19 AM by skip »

nies

  • Guest
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2010, 11:05:30 AM »
Skip, the current plan in Washington is to can all the "hot air " D.C. generates and sell it to the rest of us under the brand name "Government Option"........Phil

newt

  • Guest
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2010, 01:56:02 PM »
Good questions Skip. I come to it from a different way- It looks like we are rapidly running out of oil. No I mean really, they haven't discovered enough oil in the past decade to keep us going for one year. So now what? I agree in that there is really no new energy and the matter-energy conservation in the universe seems like it makes sense to me. In our neck of the woods though, it seems like we can depend on the sun for a source of energy, so all things the sun renews I think my be good bets. After all we survived before we discovered petroleum burns...

Online brackish

  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 2247
  • Karma: 56
  • Arion
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2010, 03:28:47 PM »
Newt, there is a lot of oil already discovered.  The reason we (U.S) buy so much is that it is cheaper to buy oil than to mine some of the existing formations.  Most of the primary (flows on it's own) and secondary (has to be pumped but is of a viscosity/specific gravity that it can be) is already on line.  There are large formations, already identified, that will require tertiary recovery (locked in a sand/shale formation and has come out by more costly means).  If you've ever been in the San Joaquin valley north of Bakersfield or outside of Calgary, You've seen examples of steam generators used for tertiary recovery.  There are other methods.  Additionally, there is a lot offshore that is not being mined for political reasons.  Certainly it is not infinite, but there is a bunch left.

The issue is cost.  As the price of oil goes up because the world supply on line of "easy oil" diminishes the difficult formation oil will be recovered at a higher cost to the consumers.  That will also drive the development of other types of energy, including, on a recreational basis and maybe a commercial basis, wind to drive sails.  To have world governments that seems to be hell bent on providing costly tax dollar subsidies to do that now is pure folly.  In the U. S. the farm subsidies for alcohol are a dangerous dabbling into free market systems.  However, that seems to be where we are today across the board. 

As a guy who was driven out of the oil and gas business after twenty years because of oversupply, I know a bunch about it.

Sorry for dragging this a little bit further off topic.


Offline kickingbug1

  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 1853
  • Karma: 22
  • CLR sailor
Re: Saving Sailing
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2010, 04:43:54 PM »
   when gas was over 4 bucks a gallon i most definitely saw a drop in power boat traffic on my home lake. sadly sailing didnt appear to be increasing. a lot of sailboats sit idle in their slips for many reasons. some people who purchased larger cruisers really werent sailors. they just wanted to be "yacht owners". the boat was more of a weekend retreat and many of these cruised under power more than undersail. the old "flip a switch or press a button" mentality. a friend of mine recently told me of a decline of membership at his yacht club. one guy got rid of his catalina 22 and bought a harley. i wonder how many of those "yacht owners" found it easier to have a boat that didnt have "that big pole" sticking up. i guess many of the larger sailboat owners had to cut back on expenses and paying thousands of dollars to keep their boats in a slip seemed like a needless expense. another reason for the decline of sailing came to me over christmas. my daughter got an I phone from her husband as a gift. while sitting in my living room with both our families i observed my daughter (28), her husband (29) my nephews (20 and 23) and even my sister in law (54) bent over staring at either an i phone or laptop computer for hours on end. the information age is a tough opponent. sailing can be thrilling but that thrill has a certain risk. you cant fall overboard, capsize or even get wet looking a computer or tv screen. we have done our best to insulate our children from the bad things in the world and in the process we may have insulated them from the very best things this world has to offer. on a positive note the less sailors there are the more water for me.
oday 14 daysailor, chrysler musketeer cat, chrysler mutineer, com-pac 16-1 "kicknbug" renamed "audrey j", catalina capri 18 "audrey j"