Author Topic: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?  (Read 2928 times)

Online Mas

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Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« on: March 27, 2016, 02:52:15 PM »
Well one of the things that getting a few years under your belt does is to provide reference points for reflection. Sitting on our finger pier not long ago on a nice day that was bringing the boaters out of their winter hibernation, I was struck by the fact that there were no young folks. I know it was a pretty long hiatus from sailing we took but i distinctly remember many people our age then getting into sailing, having dreams of life aboard, etc. I am also sure that like us, many of those folks let sailing sit on the bench while they like us started careers, families, bought homes (in our case a farm, talk about setting ourselves up for work!), but in our case we NEVER let go of the desire to return to sailing. Now that we have I have noticed most of the folks are around our age. They either returned to sailing like us, never left, or are just now in a position to start. I get that, but what i am puzzled by is where are all the young folks like we used to be?

My recollections of the sailing community decades ago was of a more diverse and vibrant community. Folks in the business also report few newcomers, and that we are actually not typical as we are back into it and actually plan to sail. Where is the new generation? A disclaimer is that our marina is sail only and maybe the throb of a powerful motor floats younger folks boats. I know I will hope to pass this love to my son as we have done with snow sports, white water paddling, and the outdoors lifestyle we pursued closer to home in the time away from sailing.

Ok you young bucks, where are ya? You can even use your smart phones to navigate!

Happy Easter all. Truly a day of renewal.
S/V  'Mas'  87' CP16/2
S/V  'Interlude' 89' PSC31

Offline HeaveToo

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2016, 03:21:58 PM »
This sounds like one of my wife's laments about sailing.  She says that people our age don't normally do this.  Blah blah blah blah blah.

Truly, I have been cruising for a while.  I haven't run into too many people my age.  I am not sure why but in the age where everything must happen instantly or people loose interest, I can see how many people don't understand it.

Keeping a boat up is a lot of work.  It can also get costly, depending on the boat, the budget, etc.  This is partly why I am in a Compac 23 versus my Catalina 30. 

When people ask me how long it takes to get somewhere they can't believe how long it takes.  Jimmy Buffet once said, in a song, "Go fast enough to get there but slow enough to see."  I think that statement sums it up well.  For a powerboater it seems to be about the destination but for a sailor the journey is as important as the destination.  Yeah, it is great to make a far off landfall, but the adventure of getting there is just as exciting. 
Døyr fe, døyr frender
Døyr sjølv det sama
men ordet om deg aldreg døyr
vinn du et gjetord gjevt

Offline kahp ho

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2016, 03:52:29 PM »
My first reaction was to say "right here"! But then I remembered I don't qualify as being of that age anymore.

I have seen some younger folks participating, but mostly in family groups and/or in things like Laser racing. 'Course that's just in my rather limited geographical area that I'm familiar with. Sailing in general has never been a big numbers game around here. It does continue at about the same level of participation though.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 12:47:51 AM by kahp ho »
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Offline kickingbug1

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2016, 05:48:53 PM »
    i have to say that i really dont mind that younger people dont really seem to be drawn to sailing. in the age of smart phones (that so many seem to be "praying" to) and video games, sailing seems too slow. i for one wouldn't want my lake to be clogged with sailors. when we go during the week there is hardly another boat to be seen. and quiet---boy is it quiet.
oday 14 daysailor, chrysler musketeer cat, chrysler mutineer, com-pac 16-1 "kicknbug" renamed "audrey j", catalina capri 18 "audrey j"

Offline Jim23

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2016, 06:04:43 PM »
I've thought about this question myself. I've come to believe that most young boaters haven't developed an appreciation for sailing. At 46 I'm no longer in the young category but many of my peers prefer wakeboarding or waterskiing. I stopped going to the Denver boat show because it has become the Denver 'wakeboard' boat show, not one sailboat on display. In  many cases young people have just never experienced sailing.

I enrolled my 14 year old nephew in the local sailing school last summer and he was bitten by the sailing bug. Now he's excited to come up and sail with me. I've also been brainwashing my kids to appreciate sailing over power boating. I'm hoping they keep the tradition going.

Offline rbh1515

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2016, 08:29:11 PM »
I'll tell you where they are...their kids are into sports, and they take up the whole weekend.  Plus, both parents are working, and life is busy.  I'm 56yo, and when I was younger I was into sports, but I may have at most 1 game on a weekend.  Now, there are weekend long tournaments.
Also, the kids now have video games, and that's what they love.
It's sad!
I have friends with 35 and 36 foot beautiful sailboats and the kids are not interested.  Go figure.
Another friend had a nice older 26 foot sailboat and sold it since there was no time to use it.
Rob
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Offline Floridagent

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2016, 08:59:54 PM »
I'm 63.  This weekend we had about 50 folks participate in a kayakathon to raise money for the Boggy Creek Children's Camp in Lake County Florida.  The main trail was the Dora Canal -- a piece of old Florida that is slow, quiet, and full of wildlife. Most paddlers were younger than forty and some were teens.  I would hope their appreciation for nature will extend to sailing later on as opposed to the fastboat syndrome.  Oh, I failed to mention that free drinks at eight waterside establishments was involved!  If we had been sailing we might have made it to only two or three!

Also, the Lake Eustis Sailing Club has sailing lessons every Saturday morning and they regularly have 20 youngsters racing.  The Menges Scow winter nationals are held here every February and most of those folks are younger.

So, I'm a bit more encouraged.
"Cay Cat"     (say "keycat")

Online Mas

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2016, 09:33:07 PM »
It is good that younger folks spend time outside with no cell phones and the organized life of weekend soccer games. So little time to reflect when your life remains planned for you and you become uncomfortable with the prospect of being alone. We seem to encourage that "more is better."

"At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much."
-  Robin Lee Graham

Robin's book and voyage fundamentally changed my life as i became aware how less can be more. Too many helicopter parents insist upon a life predestined to be one of acquisition and stature. We allowed our son to pursue his dreams (not ours) and he has been grateful ever since. We homeschooled him and gave him his diploma with this written on it:

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both. ”

Sailing is just such a path. We may lament the work our boats may need but all is forgotten when the wind fills your sails. Is it work when it is done with such little distinction between work and play, destination and voyage, knowing that we do not dictate the voyage but instead the wind and sea. This is difficult for many young folks who have their whole lives planned out for them. I am grateful for the opportunity to have sailing back in my life again. It's time to get those youngins out there as well! Lots of boats for the classroom, the sea is a great teacher, where are the students? I'm gunna find some!

S/V  'Mas'  87' CP16/2
S/V  'Interlude' 89' PSC31

Offline frank

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2016, 09:43:07 PM »
Exellent post No Mas!!!!!!  Truly...


Have a 'karma' on me
 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2016, 09:45:45 PM by frank »
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Offline Potcake boy

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2016, 10:45:16 PM »
Yep - great topic and uplifting insight by all. Spend a little money on a small boat for your son or daughter and maybe they will see there is a whole big world outside of iPhones and automobiles. Team sports is good, but nothing builds character like being in command of one's own vessel whether it's competing in Optimists or just out for a day sail. If your kids are grown then there is opportunity to share your experience with the grand kids, beats the hell out of taking them to Disney World.
Ron
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Offline tmw

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2016, 11:05:52 PM »
Any reason why smart phones and sailboats don't mix?

Kids and families definitely have a lot of options today, like who knew about stand up paddle boarding ten years ago? Sailing is still more popular than wind surfing, but also requires a large time commitment.

Offline Bob23

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2016, 06:53:18 AM »
Well....Jason has kind of answered that question!!!

Online Mas

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2016, 09:18:07 AM »
Right on Jason! There is a private school down the road from our boat that has a sailing program and have personally met the instructor.. No doubt there are sailing programs where there is water. Our local public high school and the university here have rowing programs, quite good ones actually. It is also a fact that life demands much of young families and finances are always a factor but even more so for this new generation. My question still stands as the sailing schools have been there for generations, at least this one, many children are exposed to the art of sailing, it is at the point of independence from home and school where you hope the lessons carry on that seems the challenge. Part of the answer is sailing is no longer necessary as it used to be, our technology and information have removed much of a sense of mystery and wonder, and as already mentioned life is very demanding of this new generation (21-35yr. olds just for the sake of definition).

I see thousands of kids playing soccer. I see almost none continuing after high school and college. I am not talking about the career path of professional soccer, simply a life that has soccer as part of it. This is my question regarding sailing. It has always been the case that school sports give many lessons that continue for life but rarely does the sport itself continue to be pursued. Always exceptions but they are exceptions. If you go to a local basketball court you see all ages playing, but mostly younger. If you go to a marina you see few younger sailors. Maybe it just where we are on the Chesapeake, but if so then the industry is doing a horrible job of keeping track of and attracting  all those younger sailors because the numbers are just not there like they used to be a generation or so ago.

I vote to put Jason and a recent newcomer from NC who just got a CP16 (great post on the lounge as well) in charge of getting the word out! It should also be noted that Clarke Mills deserves a nod here as they both are sailing his designs! Both e CP16 and the Optimus pram have been responsible for many getting into sailing, including myself. Gotta go, the boat is calling.
S/V  'Mas'  87' CP16/2
S/V  'Interlude' 89' PSC31

Offline captronr

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2016, 09:34:19 AM »
Our sail club adopted a new process a few years ago, for several reasons:  It created a fleet program.  So a sailor at any level could join the club, take lessons on a club boat, get checked out on a club boat, then sign up to use one of the boats for almost no cost.

It helped in several ways:
We were running out of open slips for new people.
We had several members either die, move away, or quit sailing due to whatever, and they either gave or cheaply sold their boats to the club.
It allowed new people to learn and actually use a boat without dropping all the $$ to buy one, then find out they didn't like sailing.

Seemed to be a great idea, and allowed newbees to check out a boat like you would rent a car, only cheaper.

It did require some investment ($$) to acquire and fix up the boats, one or more members to be the fleet master, and some effort to make it successful.  It worked well for several years, then the fleet master moved, and it's so-so now.

Ron

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Offline Potcake boy

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Re: Where are all the next generation of sailboaters?
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2016, 08:38:58 PM »
Is it a matter of not having a population of young sailors, or are the boats they sail going by our old people boats so fast we simply don't see them. Seriously however, it may have something to do with the higher adrenaline levels of younger people and so they only return to sailing as an interest when the athletic requirement catches up with them. So I think we have at least two categories of sailors, those who are bitten by the bug and passion drives their sailing through their entire life, and those who enjoy it as the time is available. Some folks could spend months cruising in their boats on the ocean and others happy with a occasional week on a charter boat in the Bahamas. It takes real passion to spend such a large amount of one's time and money to pursue sailing as a life long avocation. 
Ron
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