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bill4

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I really don't understand why more people don't sail dinghies & cats. I didn't grow up w/ it; I just decided in my early 40s that it looked cool and I was going to try it. So:

 

* It looks cool.

 

* It's manly. Who's not scared in 30 mph winds and big seas?

 

* If you do it a lot, you start to look pretty damn good.

 

* It's cheap to buy a used Laser to get started (though finding one might take some time - b/c NOBODY SAILS).

 

* It's very meditative - sailing alone in heavy or chill conditions is great for the spirit & mind.

 

* For those who need/want to compete, there are plenty of competitive outlets.

 

* In the summer, young 20-something sailors are frolicking about in bathing suits. That's the perfect atmosphere for these 20-something kids to have fun w/ each other later in the evening.

 

I was talking w/ a fellow Laser sailor who very occasionally shows up in Corpus to sail. He's an older fellow, and often tells stories about 30 years ago the beaches of Corpus Christi being absolutely jam packed w/ catamarans all up and down the beach. Young buff guys, ladies in bikinis, everybody having fun and enjoying the excitement of sailing. You don't see ANY of that now anywhere around Corpus. It's a shame the whole thing just died.

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I dunno, I agree with few of his propositions and almost none of his conclusions.

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As somebody who is smack in the target range for the article, I say that it is pretty ill informed and is focusing on the wrong issues. there are enough boats out there that continue to be sailed by "Silver Sailors" without any issues. For me, the problems of decline in participation have nothing to do with design and everything to do with the realities of the modern world. For most, the biggest issue these days is time.

 

Sailing simply takes too long, as does golf. Cycling is done from home - you start and finish at home, can do it on your own or with friends, it can be as short or long as you want, you can stop for coffee and a chat, or you can even do it going to and from work, which i would do if I was still in an office witha shower. I can wake up at 7.00 am, do a 2 hour bike ride with friends, including coffee and a chat, and be ready for the rest of the day by 9.30am. I've had a top workout, seen stunning scenary and got Try doing that with sailing or golf!

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I really don't understand why more people don't sail dinghies & cats. I didn't grow up w/ it; I just decided in my early 40s that it looked cool and I was going to try it. So:

 

 

 

If I had not got hurt, I'd be dinghy sailing, windsurfing and getting kids going fast.

My son really missed out after I got hurt.

You just cannot rely on anyone to take your place.

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As a 59 year old dinghy sailor I don't think the design discussion is without merit, light masts to lift into or out of the boat, I want that and so on... and there are a number of boats that are pretty close to the mark but some modifications to optimise would be beneficial.

 

As to the time question, if I could launch my boat from the bottom of the garden I would be in heaven and I would be out at 7am for a sail before starting the business day. In Sydney, getting to the water in road traffic and finding a parking spot (try Woollahra SC, Balmoral SC, Double Bay etc.in the middle of the day for an afternoon race) soaks up a lot of time so you leave early to avoid traffic and find somewhere to park. First world problems I know but what could be an afternoon activity turns into a whole day exercise.

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Thanks for this article. As Silver Sailors we find the old Australian 18footers (1980's version) are the best. We sail one in Hilo Bay Hawaii and we are in our 70's. Key is that the boat is big enough so the body is not crunched, and traps allow the body to be in good posture. We can also "undersail it" by using the #3 mast [designed for 20-30K breezes] in 8-12 knots if we choose, and we sail with 4 rather than the standard 3, so we have help in launches and capsizes. We have some fit young folks who help keep her upright with their weight for balance as we scream along between 15 to 20 kts of boat speed. Maybe the dinghy boat builders should look to the 80's design.

 

Richard

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As somebody who is smack in the target range for the article, I say that it is pretty ill informed and is focusing on the wrong issues. there are enough boats out there that continue to be sailed by "Silver Sailors" without any issues. For me, the problems of decline in participation have nothing to do with design and everything to do with the realities of the modern world. For most, the biggest issue these days is time.

 

Sailing simply takes too long, as does golf. Cycling is done from home - you start and finish at home, can do it on your own or with friends, it can be as short or long as you want, you can stop for coffee and a chat, or you can even do it going to and from work, which i would do if I was still in an office witha shower. I can wake up at 7.00 am, do a 2 hour bike ride with friends, including coffee and a chat, and be ready for the rest of the day by 9.30am. I've had a top workout, seen stunning scenary and got Try doing that with sailing or golf!

You are correct that the biggest issue is time. However, you are incorrect to equate sailing with golf and insist that sailing takes too much time. we have a great group of masters aged finn sailors both at my club and across the US and world. the great thing about the finn is that you can go sailing in no time. just pull the cover off, raise main, throw in water and go. It takes more time for me to change clothes than it does to launch the boat. And since it is a singlehander you don't need to make plans with anyone else. If you feel like sailing, you go.Luckily, I have a group of friends who all like to go so we schedule our practices together and have a great time.

 

the finn is a physical boat but that is good. It makes you want to work out and try to stay in shape. We have some 70 year old guys that are great finn sailors and still kick the youngsters asses on a regular basis. I think the finn worlds masters may be close to 400 boats now. The finn is the way to go.

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The article is written from the UK perspective so it may be a bit off for the USA. One of the thing to note is the number of new boat designs he's mentioned whereas in the US the number of new dinghy designs pushed in the last 15-20 years is far smaller and most of those have been European designs from people like RS, Topper etc.

 

IMHO it's not just the boats it's the attitude of a lot of people in the sport. I was lucky enough when i got into the sport at 24 to have a friend who was my entre into the sport and a friendly club that was OK with me showing up to race on OPB without becoming a member. In fact I sailed there 3 years altogether without being a member (~7 as a member) and sailed on a bunch of boats both dinghies and keelers. I think a lot of people don't think about how many barriers there are to entry:

  1. boats aren't cheap but they aren't necessarily more than bicycles and triathlon gear that a ton of my friends are into. And golf gear can run the same amount of dosh. The upkeep is pricey though and far too many boats require a lot of time in maintenance.
  2. The SC/YC entry process is in many cases pretty ridiculous and pricey. The idea that I should pay 100s or even 1000s of $ just to apply plus I have to get a recommendation from another member? If I've just moved to a new place I by definition don't know anybody. On top of hundreds in yearly dues and places to keep the boat etc it start to seem a bit stupid especially for younger people. I knew a guy who was a member at a YC in NC and then moved to FL and was faced by a huge pile as initiation fee into a YC there. I don't know what initiation fees are for but this one was 5 figures! Even YCs in the UK with "Royal" in their names had lower initiation fees.
  3. A lot of times there are few ways to learn how to do the sport. Most clubs don't have adult sailing classes so how often do you see the guy who buys a boat and spends all his time polishing it but never sailing it because he can't get it out the slip or doesn't know how to make it go upwind or something... and he's not progressing or feels embarrassed so he gives up, pays dues for a few years, and then quits.

I think Sailing's big problem is they're not getting new blood in. The idea is that all the keen teen racers are going to join up once they get out of college but as many sports will tell you this doesn't happen unless you make the effort in outreach. I just read an article in the US Master's Swimming Magazine about this same thing. Their idea which has worked at some clubs is to recruit from the colleges and age group swimmers which is a great idea. I think sailing needs to keep track of young age group and college sailors and give their names to the local YC/SC to reach out to them in their 20s and 30s. The same way that no matter how many times I move my college's alumni association manages to find me.

 

Sailing also needs to go after the young outdoorsy people who've never sailed but the YC/SC model might need to be changed. maybe you discount membership for youngsters. My club did that, you were a Jr until 30 and paid less. Or go to a pay per sail model with club boats. For me right now a membership where I paid few hundred per year and got to race maybe 15 w/e's per year on a club owned boat with some fair share hours thrown in to help with club/boat upkeep would be good because I don't want to own a boat but I'd love to sail.

 

So a lot of this comes down to the YC. The structure of a lot of YCs is crap. My old club is a wonderful place, good facilities, good training for adults but it's dead cheap, why? It has no employees, there is no professional manager, or bartender or chef. If you want food or booze you bring your own and you can cook it in the kitchen but clean up after yourself. Club maintenance/upkeep is done by all members via "fair share" i.e. you have to put in a few hours every year (or pay a nominal fine). We had something like 300 members and membership was full and if you think about one employee making $30K/year that's $100/member/year yet I went to YCs where they had staffed bars, restaurants etc etc etc no wonder they were 1000s of $ per year. If I want dinner I go to a restaurant. The club is about sailing and socializing around sailing, that's it. The year after I joined they wanted to get more members so they set up a booth at the local spring outdoor expo and basically did away with the "recommended by a member rule" (basically the membership committee guy recommended anyone who was willing to come to the new member orientation). In one year they maxed out membership and it's been maxed for a decade even as people come and go which they do. Are other clubs that welcoming?

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In my part of the Sydney area the big dinghy classes for senior sailors are Lasers, NS14s, Tasers and MG14s, and since the Taser and MG are spin offs from the NS, it shows that Frank Bethwaite and his friends at the Northbridge SC were on the right track about 40 years ago when they started the NS14 class.

 

A big limiter for sailing in general is the space that boat storage requires. Cities are getting more crowded and modern homes rarely have space for trailers. We still have a few clubs which have storage space but these are now in the minority.

 

We do have a few dedicated senior citizens sailing moths. Mostly in the back half of the fleet, but having a ball. Quite a few over 50s having a go at something more challenging and much more exciting before its too late. Having young mentors helps a lot.

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I agree with Phil,

 

(note: Lasers -- see also Spirals. Big amongst the seniors)..

 

Space is a huge issue -- definitely a problem in Australia with our mostly urban existence in crowded and expensive cities. Less of a problem away from the cities, though country sailing is then limited by the tyranny of distance. It explains why the strongest fleets are in places with low housing density and lower land costs, like the central coast lakes.

 

The focus on 'pathways' by the sailing establishment/organisations is stifling the casual off-the-beach, want to muck around with my mates type sailor.

 

Clubs moving away from their roots by trying to exploit their location with restaurants and bars is a problem -- but isn't the only reason some struggle.

 

I don't see boat design as an problem -- its way down the list.

 

Our club is constantly running training for adults and kids - this barely keeps the number of members up, the training courses are rarely over-subscribed.

 

We're working on the storage issue by building an extension to the club just for boat storage -- there's a huge local market of new residents in apartments currently untapped.

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You say "Porn Culture" like it's a Bad Thing...

 

Love my Megabyte for this Old Fart - but yeah, it's too much boat for most and has too many pieces for a program to have for let.

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As somebody who is smack in the target range for the article, I say that it is pretty ill informed and is focusing on the wrong issues. there are enough boats out there that continue to be sailed by "Silver Sailors" without any issues. For me, the problems of decline in participation have nothing to do with design and everything to do with the realities of the modern world. For most, the biggest issue these days is time.

 

Sailing simply takes too long, as does golf. Cycling is done from home - you start and finish at home, can do it on your own or with friends, it can be as short or long as you want, you can stop for coffee and a chat, or you can even do it going to and from work, which i would do if I was still in an office witha shower. I can wake up at 7.00 am, do a 2 hour bike ride with friends, including coffee and a chat, and be ready for the rest of the day by 9.30am. I've had a top workout, seen stunning scenary and got Try doing that with sailing or golf!

You are correct that the biggest issue is time. However, you are incorrect to equate sailing with golf and insist that sailing takes too much time. we have a great group of masters aged finn sailors both at my club and across the US and world. the great thing about the finn is that you can go sailing in no time. just pull the cover off, raise main, throw in water and go. It takes more time for me to change clothes than it does to launch the boat. And since it is a singlehander you don't need to make plans with anyone else. If you feel like sailing, you go.Luckily, I have a group of friends who all like to go so we schedule our practices together and have a great time.

 

the finn is a physical boat but that is good. It makes you want to work out and try to stay in shape. We have some 70 year old guys that are great finn sailors and still kick the youngsters asses on a regular basis. I think the finn worlds masters may be close to 400 boats now. The finn is the way to go.

+1. Finn was 50th BD present to myself. Jump in the boat and go. And good inspiration to hit the gym during the week.

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At our club (Chipping Norton Lake SC) in western Sydney the average age of our sailors would be late 50s, with many in their 60s. We are mostly sailing single handed in a variety of boats, such as NS14 (main only), Lasers, Spirals, Leaders, and old club Pacers. Our oldest member (75) has moved on to sail his Finn at Woollahra SC, and is booked in for the world masters at Lake Garda Italy, in May.

 

We welcome anyone and any boat really, it just seems that over the years we have gravitated to an old farts club, sailing single handed most of the time. When a lot of us were born England had a King...

 

By the way Phil the NS 14 class started in 59/60, so is 56 years old!

 

Age hasn't stopped John Winning skippering an 18, and I'm guessing he is about 62, and still going strong.

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Regardless of your age, if you cannot a find a dinghy design that suits you in 2016, you probably can’t be helped into sailing – especially in the UK. There is so many types and boats on the market, old and new, big and small, heavy and light, probably more designs and sheer numbers than ever before in the history of pleasure boating. Many people spend more on mountain or e-bikes than most dinghy sailors on their boats. If Finns are too heavy, go Laser, if that’s too for you, go RS Aero. If you can’t right a capsized Laser, OK or whatever, you probably shouldn’t be sailing dinghies. What a bunch of B.S. Finns and Laser Master’s regattas worldwide have a great turnout, greater than many youngster’s regattas. Almost two hundred and fifty competitors at World Laser Masters 2015, two hundred competitors at the World Finn Masters 2015 and ninety at the OK Worlds 2015, who have no problem whatsoever with their boats and the logistics involved (mind all three competitions were not exactly held at central locations on the resp. continents). The Laser class introduced the 75+ years category a couple of years ago. If old geezer dinghy sailing isn’t thriving in our sport then what is? What is Hanshell talking about?

 

Yes, many sailing clubs face a problem of aging membership. However, that’s not a matter of the types of boats available on the market. It’s a matter of a) diversification of sports and other leisure activities in general and the working class’ limited free time, especially when mom + dad both work full time and are distracted by phenomenon a).

 

On the bright side, that development in clubs in most places means that many of those aging, mostly well off club members are paying for the infrastructure that you, dedicated young or old dinghy sailor, enjoy, and that they rarely even use. They are happy to camp on the 4knshbxes on sunny days and once the wind pipes up and there’s a few clouds up above you have the whole place for yourself.

 

Re young sailors: many youth regattas in Europe recently have had record turnouts, 900 Optis at Garda over Easter this year for instance. If there’s a problem with the different types of boats it's also diversification, a luxury, not a deficiency problem. If they do not stick with it once they grow, it could be a) puberty and diversification of interests (like the other sex, or the same one for that matter) or too many old geezers, camping out at the club in their 4knshbxes and some others occupying the dinghy ramp...

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The worrying bit about the youth boom in the UK, to my mind, is that mummy and daddy are expected to be supporting their sprogs, trekking from training event to regatta, **and not sailing themselves**. So that's much of the 30-45 generation off the water, and are they going to come back afterwards?

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Lookng at how many are going to the Masters it seems the Finn would be the boat for old farts. Expecting ca. 380 boats next month at Lake Garda. Plenty of Great Grand Masters and Legends amoung them.

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I'm an old fart and I sailed Finns and loved them but it just got too expensive to keep it on the hard at the club so I passed it on.

 

I miss the joy of going for a sail at the drop of a hat but to do that costs money I don't have.

 

I still sail but it's not quite the same.

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The worrying bit about the youth boom in the UK, to my mind, is that mummy and daddy are expected to be supporting their sprogs, trekking from training event to regatta, **and not sailing themselves**. So that's much of the 30-45 generation off the water, and are they going to come back afterwards?

No they're not. It's like piano, ballet etc etc that we push our kids into that, except for the elite few, they'll never do after age 18. My sister-in-law is convinced my niece can get a fencing scholarship to an Ivy League school. Problem is Ivy League schools don't give scholarships and fencing is expensive so is my niece going to do this when she's a cash poor 20 something?

 

The better model for sailing is teach kids in Optis and then get them onto boats with mum and dad when they're teens. The keen ones can go racing 29ers and Lasers toward those 5 rings but for most kids we should be encouraging them into a mode of sailing that they might do for the rest of their lives.

 

 

 

We welcome anyone and any boat really, it just seems that over the years we have gravitated to an old farts club, sailing single handed most of the time. When a lot of us were born England had a King...

And what happens when you old geezers kick the bucket or realize you can't hike anymore? If you aren't attracting younger members you're dying.

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I'm an old fart and I sailed Finns and loved them but it just got too expensive to keep it on the hard at the club so I passed it on.

 

I miss the joy of going for a sail at the drop of a hat but to do that costs money I don't have.

 

I still sail but it's not quite the same.

As a pretty much always broke single dad I have to say I am glad I am a member of a small but active sailing club on a small lake where yearly dues and boat storage come to 200€

We have 20 Finns here about 10-12 active and whan we have our yearly Finn regatta we get 30 -40 on the line.

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Too much talking and not enough SAILING. Get out there and SAIL SOMETHING! Be an example of all the joys of sailing - some will follow.

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The worrying bit about the youth boom in the UK, to my mind, is that mummy and daddy are expected to be supporting their sprogs, trekking from training event to regatta, **and not sailing themselves**. So that's much of the 30-45 generation off the water, and are they going to come back afterwards?

 

 

... and that would assume we have 'compliant' children wanting to go sailing in the first place. I've pretty much given up sailing at weekends now due to family commitments - either holidays or social gatherings around birthdays, weddings, friends meet up; not to mention supporting my kids in what they actually want to do, which in my case is riding four legged creatures and shovelling their shit around a field. I've even been roped in to that middle class concentration camp that is Centre Parcs this year, I could let a vein if I thought about it too hard.

 

I take the odd day here or there for my selfish pursuit, but if I do I tend to load a board on the roof and drive to the coast on the best forecast. I could almost guarantee that sod's law would kick in if those days had a fixed location at my local club. There'd either be too much wind, or more than likely nothing at all! I can see why kite surfing attracts so many younger people from the former sailing club youth teams.

 

So that leaves sailing as something I do midweek in daylight saving time one night a week.... assuming work doesn't then get in the way, which it will do for the first 5 Wednesday nights this year by the looks of it - Grrrr!!!! (I renewed my club membership though, ever hopeful)

 

I'd like to think as kids get older that free time becomes more available- but that's taking into consideration the potential of grandkids or great nieces and nephews.... more and more family events that will probably wipe out weekends for the rest of our adult lives!!!!

 

Our solo fleet has a less-than-secret Wednesday afternoon session. If the wind hangs around they do too for the evening racing.... but they get the best of it though and provides enough encouragement that there's light at the end of the tunnel when my generation can afford to retire at 75.

 

I think SimonN got right up there somewhere..... the issue is definitely not the boats, or the clubs, or the access, or the funding etc... it's free time.

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So that's much of the 30-45 generation off the water, and are they going to come back afterwards?

No they're not. It's like piano, ballet etc etc that we push our kids into that, except for the elite few, they'll never do after age 18.

 

The ironic part, now I think of it, is that one of the few sets of parents at my club who did manage to carry on doing some sailing themselves and not completely get subsumed into the youth only thing, are the ones who have a daughter who's in the British Olympic team for Rio...

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Too much talking and not enough SAILING. Get out there and SAIL SOMETHING! Be an example of all the joys of sailing - some will follow.

 

Around these parts (Corpus Christi, Texas) it's definitely not boat design or anything like that that's keeping people from sailing. I distinctly remember being in college in my late teens and seeing a local news story about a local Laser sailor who was training for the Olympics. They showed some footage of the Laser sailor, and I was hooked. It looked SO FUN!!

 

The problem was that I had absolutely no idea how to get into this sailing thing. I never saw anybody actually sailing any boat other than a "wine and cheese" yacht. So, I never saw anybody sailing a Laser or other small dinghy that I could go up to and ask: "hey, what's this all about? How do I do it?"

 

Fast forward 20 years, I'm in my late 30s and I've got my own money. I'm in the same situation - I have absolutely no idea how to get into this fun-looking sport. WHO IS DOING IT!!!!???? It's a total mystery. But I have money, and so I just blindly threw money at the problem. I went to a local sail shop (KO Sailing), said I don't know anything about sailing but I want to start, and they sold me an old beat-up Laser for $1,500. I then just went sailing on my own w/ no instruction. Just figured it out through trial and error.

 

But most people, if interested, won't do this. They need some middle step between (a) initial interest and (B) plunking down $1,500 for a boat and teaching oneself through trial and error. Around Corpus Christi, there simply is no such middle step.

 

There's a local yacht club, but it only advertises "youth sailing." So, any bloke like me gets the idea that small dinghies like Lasers are just for kids, and that grown-ups have no business on those boats. Grown-ups have to sail the "wine and cheese" yachts.

 

I get people coming up to me all the time on the beach and they ask: "Hey man - that's so cool! You're like, surfing the waves on your sailboat? That's crazy cool! How do I get one of these and learn?" And I've got no response other than "throw some money at the problem and learn through trial and error." That is always received as an unsatisfying response.

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I'm an old fart who learned to sail on a really small lake / large pond in Western Kentucky when I was 13. My dad purchased a Super Snark at the equivalent of Wal-Mart for about $150 (1977 dollars) and armed with a couple books we took turns teaching ourselves to sail. Not difficult. Low cost and while the water was small we had a nice public beach right next to a parking lot. Moved onwards and upwards (different classes; different locations, racing, etc.) as they say and still sailing now 39 years later.

 

The problem I see in many parts of the US now is safe / easy / legal water access. While this post is focused on old farts I think water access is a problem for everyone regardless of age. Unless someone wants to join a sailing club and usually spend in dues per year more than a $1500 used Laser (or similar; finding good, used boats is not a problem), water access in many places can be very difficult. If it's hard to easily get on / off the water, many are not going to make the effort and move on to other activities.

 

Compare to skiing. One can purchase a season pass at a ski resort (sort of like joining a SC / YC) or one can take his / her skis to any trailhead on public land and have a great day on untracked snow without the crowds and cost of the resort. Easy access. Zero access cost. There doesn't seem to be an equivalent to trailheads with regards to water access.

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Regardless of your age, if you cannot a find a dinghy design that suits you in 2016, you probably can’t be helped into sailing – especially in the UK. There is so many types and boats on the market, old and new, big and small, heavy and light, probably more designs and sheer numbers than ever before in the history of pleasure boating.

Totally agree. A bigger problem is too many choices. How many more single handers do we need? I think it is fascinating that the two most popular "seniors" boats are the Laser and the Finn. Nobody dares diss the Finn - in spite of its 1949 design - and many kick the shit out of the Laser as a dated torture rack. Frankly, I enjoy the challenge and workout the Laser offers. My problem is in the light stuff when I need to fold myself up like a lawn chair and have my knees weld in place. Come to think of it, when it is blowing, I think all boats are fun. When it is light, I would rather play golf... Regardless - back to an IC for my 60th!

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But most people, if interested, won't do this. They need some middle step between (a) initial interest and ( B) plunking down $1,500 for a boat and teaching oneself through trial and error. Around Corpus Christi, there simply is no such middle step.

 

 

 

There's a local yacht club, but it only advertises "youth sailing." So, any bloke like me gets the idea that small dinghies like Lasers are just for kids, and that grown-ups have no business on those boats. Grown-ups have to sail the "wine and cheese" yachts.

 

I get people coming up to me all the time on the beach and they ask: "Hey man - that's so cool! You're like, surfing the waves on your sailboat? That's crazy cool! How do I get one of these and learn?" And I've got no response other than "throw some money at the problem and learn through trial and error." That is always received as an unsatisfying response.

 

 

I've got an idea for you, borrowed from the equestrian world (found out about this by way of my girlfriend. Boats are hard enough to maintain without the risk of them getting sick). Riding has a significantly different ownership and teaching model. In it, athletes from novice to expert never stop taking lessons. Predominantly these lessons occur at the coach's barn on a horse owned and maintained by the coach and they are paid for on a one lesson at a time schedule. The price of a lesson ranges from around $30 to around $100 depending on the quality of the coach and the quality of the equipment you're taking out. The coach subsidizes his horse habit by selling knowledge and access, thus facilitating your learning process. The rider gets a 'pay as you go' and well tutored education for as long as interest holds. This is a pretty sweet arrangement. Doesn't sound very worthwhile from the coaches perspective until you see it in action and realize that the riders show up "rig" the horses themselves, and lead them to the arena where the coach is finishing up the previous lesson. Scheduled end to end it works really well and could be easily done off of a beach with the coach never coming ashore.

 

Any sailing junkie with a range of dinghies and a decent chase boat could do this. You could do this, DTA. I could do this.

The way in which this differs from a community boating program, of which there are quite a few around the united states, is the 1) swapping low expense and high volume for higher expense and greater focus on your development as a sailor 2) its decreased need for full blown yacht-club level infrastructure. This could all be done at a local boat ramp.

 

Now here's the final bit that I'd love to see: dealerships having resident coaches and using dealership boats for lessons. To my knowledge this doesn't happen and I'm stumped for reasons why. Dinghy dealers have all the key ingredients, arrays of dinghies for all skill levels, usually RIBs, and expertise in spades. Selling $40 Pico lessons or $100 RS700 lessons on the weekends and then selling those boats off to those same students at the end of the summer for a discount has got to be more worthwhile than letting stuff sit in the showroom. Further, students could "climb the ladder" of increased performance boats without having to buy each and every one along the path. Bob Johnstone, who would later go on to found J-boats, used to do something like this when he was the Alcort dealer for the Chicago area. All the boats for the community sailing program were provided for free by him and he offered them at a discount at summers end to these newly minted sailing junkies. Win-win. The other bit that made it worthwhile as a business proposition was that none of these novice sailors started out owning any gear (Lifejackets etc) and Johnstone got to sell them all of it from his store.

 

So to my knowledge one on one entry level to expert coaching, sold by the time slot rather than by the campaign, using the coaches equipment, works in at least one other sport. Further it can be mated with a dealer model which worked really well for Bob Johnstone. Somebody should try it.

 

DRC

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SNIP

I was talking w/ a fellow Laser sailor who very occasionally shows up in Corpus to sail. He's an older fellow, and often tells stories about 30 years ago the beaches of Corpus Christi being absolutely jam packed w/ catamarans all up and down the beach. Young buff guys, ladies in bikinis, everybody having fun and enjoying the excitement of sailing. You don't see ANY of that now anywhere around Corpus. It's a shame the whole thing just died.

Now it is just Porn Culture:

Bikinis, Drinks, and Selfies.

Drinking used to be what you did after you did something worthwhile.

Now, drinking is the whole activity.

 

+1. Luv boat porn!

 

My silver sled...

post-38311-0-23183900-1460721365_thumb.jpg

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I'm an old fart and I sailed Finns and loved them but it just got too expensive to keep it on the hard at the club so I passed it on.

 

I miss the joy of going for a sail at the drop of a hat but to do that costs money I don't have.

 

I still sail but it's not quite the same.

Jethrow, "drop of a hat" works for me...find old Kite (based on Finn) or maybe Interclub or similar boat down there. Got to be a few that are short, light and fairly simple fun too, as you know.

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Regardless of your age, if you cannot a find a dinghy design that suits you in 2016, you probably can’t be helped into sailing –

Totally agree. A bigger problem is too many choices. How many more single handers do we need? I think it is fascinating that the two most popular "seniors" boats are the Laser and the Finn. Nobody dares diss the Finn - in spite of its 1949 design - and many kick the shit out of the Laser as a dated torture rack. Frankly, I enjoy the challenge and workout the Laser offers. My problem is in the light stuff when I need to fold myself up like a lawn chair and have my knees weld in place. Come to think of it, when it is blowing, I think all boats are fun. When it is light, I would rather play golf... Regardless - back to an IC for my 60th!

 

 

Hence, the Megabyte...

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Regardless of your age, if you cannot a find a dinghy design that suits you in 2016, you probably can’t be helped into sailing –

Totally agree. A bigger problem is too many choices. How many more single handers do we need? I think it is fascinating that the two most popular "seniors" boats are the Laser and the Finn. Nobody dares diss the Finn - in spite of its 1949 design - and many kick the shit out of the Laser as a dated torture rack. Frankly, I enjoy the challenge and workout the Laser offers. My problem is in the light stuff when I need to fold myself up like a lawn chair and have my knees weld in place. Come to think of it, when it is blowing, I think all boats are fun. When it is light, I would rather play golf... Regardless - back to an IC for my 60th!

 

 

Hence, the Megabyte...

 

 

i diss the finn.

Old fucking crappy slow shit boat.

it's the ultimate proof that big and fat guys are conservative, old fashioned dickheads.

 

It looks like shit.

it sails ok - ok compared to what? a laser, a musto performance skiff, a moth?

I leave it for you to decide.

 

the laser is a least somewhat "modern" if my may say so. it might be outdated now, but it felt modern for a reasonable about of time.

The 49er is nearly 20 years old and still feels very modern. good on them!

 

fuck the finn, it should have drowned along with the star.

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Eh, they sail the Hell out of them, and in any kind of breeze you DO need some hair on your chest but at least they have some leg-room ! There aren't any around here now, - so no fleet, and they are personally a bit too technical for me - they can get rather complex in the systems, and frankly it's just too much boat for me here where it's frequently windy - but someplace where there is a fleet and moderate conditions ? I could see having a go at the guys and see just who's who... but to just take one for a squirt ? - I'd much rather my Mega - fewer moving pieces and planes very readily.

 

But the direction of the thread is more about how to get the Old Farts out, and I don't know that it is the right answer for everyone either - price, power, etc - what I can emphatically say is that it IS much more adult-scale than the ubiquitous Laser and several other single-handers.

 

Are single-handers the answer ? Well, AN answer - I think so. More doing, less sitting around - that's fun.

 

There have been other threads about larger one-person dinghies, but yes - something simple and a bit bigger sounds perfect, until you appreciate that every inch of freeboard added makes it that much harder to get back in the boat !

 

It's a close thing, trying to get that just right.

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Over 400 boats at the Finn Masters in a few weeks in Torbole- it is awesome sailing and a fun group of people.

 

The day it ends I'm off to the FD Worlds to crew :-D

 

 

 

it's the ultimate proof that big and fat guys are conservative, old fashioned dickheads.

Hmmm I can't imagine anyone calling me conservative- and not too many would call me fat- at least to my face, nor old fashioned hell I am hardly ever a dickhead but I still sail Finns and enjoy it.

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Regardless of your age, if you cannot a find a dinghy design that suits you in 2016, you probably can’t be helped into sailing –

Totally agree. A bigger problem is too many choices. How many more single handers do we need? I think it is fascinating that the two most popular "seniors" boats are the Laser and the Finn. Nobody dares diss the Finn - in spite of its 1949 design - and many kick the shit out of the Laser as a dated torture rack. Frankly, I enjoy the challenge and workout the Laser offers. My problem is in the light stuff when I need to fold myself up like a lawn chair and have my knees weld in place. Come to think of it, when it is blowing, I think all boats are fun. When it is light, I would rather play golf... Regardless - back to an IC for my 60th!

 

 

Hence, the Megabyte...

 

 

i diss the finn.

Old fucking crappy slow shit boat.

it's the ultimate proof that big and fat guys are conservative, old fashioned dickheads.

 

It looks like shit.

it sails ok - ok compared to what? a laser, a musto performance skiff, a moth?

I leave it for you to decide.

 

the laser is a least somewhat "modern" if my may say so. it might be outdated now, but it felt modern for a reasonable about of time.

The 49er is nearly 20 years old and still feels very modern. good on them!

 

fuck the finn, it should have drowned along with the star.

 

Ooooo! Dissing not only the boat but the sailors, too! You should head to Torbole and share your views with all those big, fat, conservative, old fashioned dickheads.

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Regardless of your age, if you cannot a find a dinghy design that suits you in 2016, you probably can’t be helped into sailing –

Totally agree. A bigger problem is too many choices. How many more single handers do we need? I think it is fascinating that the two most popular "seniors" boats are the Laser and the Finn. Nobody dares diss the Finn - in spite of its 1949 design - and many kick the shit out of the Laser as a dated torture rack. Frankly, I enjoy the challenge and workout the Laser offers. My problem is in the light stuff when I need to fold myself up like a lawn chair and have my knees weld in place. Come to think of it, when it is blowing, I think all boats are fun. When it is light, I would rather play golf... Regardless - back to an IC for my 60th!

 

 

Hence, the Megabyte...

 

 

i diss the finn.

Old fucking crappy slow shit boat.

it's the ultimate proof that big and fat guys are conservative, old fashioned dickheads.

 

It looks like shit.

it sails ok - ok compared to what? a laser, a musto performance skiff, a moth?

I leave it for you to decide.

 

the laser is a least somewhat "modern" if my may say so. it might be outdated now, but it felt modern for a reasonable about of time.

The 49er is nearly 20 years old and still feels very modern. good on them!

 

fuck the finn, it should have drowned along with the star.

 

Ooooo! Dissing not only the boat but the sailors, too! You should head to Torbole and share your views with all those big, fat, conservative, old fashioned dickheads.

 

Int 14 is good for old dudes.

 

light

low loads

quick

trapeze for old backs

couple of 70 year old dudes sailed in the recent Pac Rims

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Combined age of 144 years. They sailed all races and only DNF'd the final race. Iron men.

we were just kids at a combined age of 108

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I like my FD too. Call me old fashioned for that please. Otherwise i wouldn't have one.

But I'm not saying that its a contemporary boat and that it should be in the Olympics.

If 400 people want to sail a fin in torbole then that's great for them. Torbole is a great venue.

Just stop going on about how great your stinky old boat is, ok?

If you still intend to so then please understand that you sound like somebody who thinks that fishing is a sport.

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I like my FD too. Call me old fashioned for that please. Otherwise i wouldn't have one.

But I'm not saying that its a contemporary boat and that it should be in the Olympics.

If 400 people want to sail a fin in torbole then that's great for them. Torbole is a great venue.

Just stop going on about how great your stinky old boat is, ok?

If you still intend to so then please understand that you sound like somebody who thinks that fishing is a sport.

I don't think any of us would say the Finn, Laser, Star... is the greatest, hottest boat... but the competition is great. For me in my situation the Finn is great boat, I prefer to sail singlehanded, I like the physical challenge, am a big guy who probably spends too much time in the gym, and it is reasonably inexpensive to get into and run for a poor single dad like me. If I was smaller I would sail a laser just because it is fantastic racing for the price and so easy to store, transport...

 

We have 10-15 active boats on out tiny lake and travel a fair bit. My club has a 6 boat and 2 3 boat trailers so we travel together which saves lot's of money. Our local regattas get 30-40 boats out and even though we have mostly crappy small lakes we have really good people. Really nothing better here.

 

I admit I don't have too much experience in the newest fastest boats, but I have sailed 14's and IC's a bit. FD's and 505's a lot and some cat sailing- along with years of Stars, Etchells, Lasers....

A few of our local sailors campaigned a 18 for a while but they still don't seem too bored in the Finn.

 

If I was not interested in racing and just wanted to sail around I would not sail a Finn probably. If I had tons of money I would sail some hot high end fast thing as well as my Finn. Before I got my current Finn I thought a lot about a Contender, but there is no one to race against anywhere near by.

 

 

 

 

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A lot of ideas/theories in here but one is obviously missing. First, to get an oldie out dinghy racing an in an OD class, you first have to get them SAILING! This whole thread is focused on oldsters OD.racing and how to fix it.with new designs or whatever. First, I would fix the racing.

Take a silver sailor who finally sells his 37' PHRF lead sled because its just too much hassle (upkeep and keeping crew happy) but still would enjoy sailing/racing. His club has a fleet of Lasers and JY 15's. He tries either (both a mistake) and gives it up after a season. He would have been much better off in a Flying Scott or something of that ilk but the OD neandrathals go to work on him with peer pressure and presto, after a season he's gone.

I hear Finns, FD, 5 o5's,29R's I-14s, Lasers all mentioned here and to all but their already subscribed supporters except for maybe the Megabyte are part of the problem. To get any numbers you have to have a larger group to attract from. The clubs supporting handicap dinghy racing are doing OK and its easy to add OD racing fleets. Not so much the other way around. It would also help to have a decent handicap system in place like the UK does.

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A lot of ideas/theories in here but one is obviously missing. First, to get an oldie out dinghy racing an in an OD class, you first have to get them SAILING! This whole thread is focused on oldsters OD.racing and how to fix it.with new designs or whatever. First, I would fix the racing.

Take a silver sailor who finally sells his 37' PHRF lead sled because its just too much hassle (upkeep and keeping crew happy) but still would enjoy sailing/racing. His club has a fleet of Lasers and JY 15's. He tries either (both a mistake) and gives it up after a season. He would have been much better off in a Flying Scott or something of that ilk but the OD neandrathals go to work on him with peer pressure and presto, after a season he's gone.

I hear Finns, FD, 5 o5's,29R's I-14s, Lasers all mentioned here and to all but their already subscribed supporters except for maybe the Megabyte are part of the problem. To get any numbers you have to have a larger group to attract from. The clubs supporting handicap dinghy racing are doing OK and its easy to add OD racing fleets. Not so much the other way around. It would also help to have a decent handicap system in place like the UK does.

Our local handicap fleet kinda died. We still get the occasional orphan for our 2 biggest events, but the individual fleets are now the organizing authority for season calendars, etc

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A lot of ideas/theories in here but one is obviously missing. First, to get an oldie out dinghy racing an in an OD class, you first have to get them SAILING! This whole thread is focused on oldsters OD.racing and how to fix it.with new designs or whatever. First, I would fix the racing.

Take a silver sailor who finally sells his 37' PHRF lead sled because its just too much hassle (upkeep and keeping crew happy) but still would enjoy sailing/racing. His club has a fleet of Lasers and JY 15's. He tries either (both a mistake) and gives it up after a season. He would have been much better off in a Flying Scott or something of that ilk but the OD neandrathals go to work on him with peer pressure and presto, after a season he's gone.

I hear Finns, FD, 5 o5's,29R's I-14s, Lasers all mentioned here and to all but their already subscribed supporters except for maybe the Megabyte are part of the problem. To get any numbers you have to have a larger group to attract from. The clubs supporting handicap dinghy racing are doing OK and its easy to add OD racing fleets. Not so much the other way around. It would also help to have a decent handicap system in place like the UK does.

Our local handicap fleet kinda died. We still get the occasional orphan for our 2 biggest events, but the individual fleets are now the organizing authority for season calendars, etc

 

Ours kinda died too. We put so much emphasis on OD that we killed it ourselves. Only a minority of the members can/will sail Lasers so the bar stays busy or the members make a tee time.

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I think the I-14, 29er, and to a lesser extent FD and 505 recommendations were a bit tongue in cheek. Sure, men of iron who have consistently sailed high-performance dinghies can still sail them in their 70's, but for the merely human, ex-phrf racer, something less physically demanding is needed.

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I think the I-14, 29er, and to a lesser extent FD and 505 recommendations were a bit tongue in cheek. Sure, men of iron who have consistently sailed high-performance dinghies can still sail them in their 70's, but for the merely human, ex-phrf racer, something less physically demanding is needed.

 

 

I'm more Pillsbury Doughboy than IronMan.

 

Find the 5o pretty approachable as mentioned.

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Blackjack, that is me....sold my 37 ft. 1 ton lead mine when I retired. I may be a bit different than the average old phrf sailor, in that I grew up dinghy sailing and have continued to sail them on and off for years. Here in Hilo we have our choice of lasers, sunfish, or some beach cats, all beach launched. But I yearn for something faster and easier on the body to sail than a Laser. Not so much the hiking, but just more comfortable hiking, and more comfortable when not hiking in the lighter stuff. Sailing the Aussie 18 on Sunday was great. Not too hard on the body, plenty of power, and the couple I was sailing with are 72 and 78! I hope to do as well.

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Strange (and very British) how every boat mentioned in the article is a monohull - whereas multi-hulls like the Weta Trimaran solve many of the issues raised: light weight (120Kg inc carbon mast), vice free handling ashore (store in the space of a Laser - rigged in 25 mins -) and afloat (very stable - 200Kg crew limit), ergonomically sound (no boom, furling kite, no hiking) comfortable (lie on the tramps or sit on the float upwind), easily recoverable (undo the porthole and sink the float) and fun (20 knots downwind without busting a gut). And thus many Weta owners are over 50 and even over 80yo - they'll also be used at the World Masters Games Regatta in Auckland in April 2017.

It's also interesting that while sailing participation has flatlined, Kayaking has seen huge growth as it fills the same criteria as cycling (cheap, quick, no storage, no club required) - wheras sailing is perceived as being the most expensive, most elite, most snobbish, dangerous and time consuming sport for older people (source: Gemba Report, Yachting Australia).

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Strange (and very British) how every boat mentioned in the article is a monohull - whereas multi-hulls like the Weta Trimaran solve many of the issues raised: light weight (120Kg inc carbon mast), vice free handling ashore (store in the space of a Laser - rigged in 25 mins -) and afloat (very stable - 200Kg crew limit), ergonomically sound (no boom, furling kite, no hiking) comfortable (lie on the tramps or sit on the float upwind), easily recoverable (undo the porthole and sink the float) and fun (20 knots downwind without busting a gut). And thus many Weta owners are over 50 and even over 80yo - they'll also be used at the World Masters Games Regatta in Auckland in April 2017.

It's also interesting that while sailing participation has flatlined, Kayaking has seen huge growth as it fills the same criteria as cycling (cheap, quick, no storage, no club required) - wheras sailing is perceived as being the most expensive, most elite, most snobbish, dangerous and time consuming sport for older people (source: Gemba Report, Yachting Australia).

 

 

UK viewpoint alert....

 

The Weta is not permitted at a good majority of the winter handicap events. So it makes a crap choice for the UK dinghy sailor who likes to keep in touch with old mates from old classes once or twice a year at this series.

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In my part of the Sydney area the big dinghy classes for senior sailors are Lasers, NS14s, Tasers and MG14s, and since the Taser and MG are spin offs from the NS, it shows that Frank Bethwaite and his friends at the Northbridge SC were on the right track about 40 years ago when they started the NS14 class.

 

A big limiter for sailing in general is the space that boat storage requires. Cities are getting more crowded and modern homes rarely have space for trailers. We still have a few clubs which have storage space but these are now in the minority.

 

We do have a few dedicated senior citizens sailing moths. Mostly in the back half of the fleet, but having a ball. Quite a few over 50s having a go at something more challenging and much more exciting before its too late. Having young mentors helps a lot.

 

I looked at Moths and Single-handed skiffs for my "last gasp" fun boat but decided I didn't want to spend all my time swimming. What I needed was a skiff with stabilisers - and found it with the Weta trimaran after seeing this video.

 

I agree with the storage issue in Sydney - my creative solution is to keep my Weta on the road on it's trailer (legal as it's under 7m long) and launch from a pontoon in Rushcutters Bay reached by a gantry only 2m wide (the Weta is 1.98m wide x 4m long on the trolley - if you remove the outer padding :)). I piss off the fishermen rigging the boat and tip it over the edge to go for a sail. Getting it back on the pontoon is another challenge but I've sorted that one too (removing the trolley wheels helps). The benefits are it's only 5 mins from home on the e-bike and I can change at RANSA nearby.

 

The Weta will be used at the World Masters Games regatta in Auckland in April 2017 - see weta.com.au/wmg.

 

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Strange (and very British) how every boat mentioned in the article is a monohull - whereas multi-hulls like the Weta Trimaran solve many of the issues raised: light weight (120Kg inc carbon mast), vice free handling ashore (store in the space of a Laser - rigged in 25 mins -) and afloat (very stable - 200Kg crew limit), ergonomically sound (no boom, furling kite, no hiking) comfortable (lie on the tramps or sit on the float upwind), easily recoverable (undo the porthole and sink the float) and fun (20 knots downwind without busting a gut). And thus many Weta owners are over 50 and even over 80yo - they'll also be used at the World Masters Games Regatta in Auckland in April 2017.

It's also interesting that while sailing participation has flatlined, Kayaking has seen huge growth as it fills the same criteria as cycling (cheap, quick, no storage, no club required) - wheras sailing is perceived as being the most expensive, most elite, most snobbish, dangerous and time consuming sport for older people (source: Gemba Report, Yachting Australia).

 

 

UK viewpoint alert....

 

The Weta is not permitted at a good majority of the winter handicap events. So it makes a crap choice for the UK dinghy sailor who likes to keep in touch with old mates from old classes once or twice a year at this series.

 

 

I'm originally from the UK and aware of the anti-multi sentiment - and it would be hopeless at my old club at Chipstead lake near Sevenoaks - but then again, so would a Musto skiff.

 

But Wetas are often sailed with the monohull fleet in many clubs since the performance is similar (close to a Fireball) and it tacks like one too. Perhaps a word with the race committee might help.

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In my case it's working backwards from the majority hypothesis. Oh, yeah, my wife and I sailed two-three times a week before kids came but then the kids took up so much time, the boat sat at the dock for weeks so we ended up selling it. The kids got into our junior program and neither went very far with it but we bought an FJ and two lasers and figured they'd gravitate to it with their school chums. But, there was swimming, karate, soccer, etc. and sailing took too much time, money and time so the boats sat on their trailers and we sold them. Now we're old farts who've moved on to other pursuits and here come the kids sailing again! Both of them are nearly constantly on the water and now, you know what? My wife and I are shopping for a nice 4ksb and talking about getting back out on the water with our kids!

 

Once it became their choice and maybe something they had to struggle a bit to go for, they went for it just like their parents.

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As somebody who is smack in the target range for the article, I say that it is pretty ill informed and is focusing on the wrong issues. there are enough boats out there that continue to be sailed by "Silver Sailors" without any issues. For me, the problems of decline in participation have nothing to do with design and everything to do with the realities of the modern world. For most, the biggest issue these days is time.

 

Sailing simply takes too long, as does golf. Cycling is done from home - you start and finish at home, can do it on your own or with friends, it can be as short or long as you want, you can stop for coffee and a chat, or you can even do it going to and from work, which i would do if I was still in an office witha shower. I can wake up at 7.00 am, do a 2 hour bike ride with friends, including coffee and a chat, and be ready for the rest of the day by 9.30am. I've had a top workout, seen stunning scenary and got Try doing that with sailing or golf!

You are correct that the biggest issue is time. However, you are incorrect to equate sailing with golf and insist that sailing takes too much time. we have a great group of masters aged finn sailors both at my club and across the US and world. the great thing about the finn is that you can go sailing in no time. just pull the cover off, raise main, throw in water and go. It takes more time for me to change clothes than it does to launch the boat. And since it is a singlehander you don't need to make plans with anyone else. If you feel like sailing, you go.Luckily, I have a group of friends who all like to go so we schedule our practices together and have a great time.

 

the finn is a physical boat but that is good. It makes you want to work out and try to stay in shape. We have some 70 year old guys that are great finn sailors and still kick the youngsters asses on a regular basis. I think the finn worlds masters may be close to 400 boats now. The finn is the way to go.

 

+1, but not good for carrying swill and cooler, so I build an outrigger to flop on.

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