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CH-Nils

How to get youngsters back into sailing? - from the perspective of a y

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I just read the "How to increase the number of sailors post"

I think the post is good and relevant, yet fails to address the correct audience - Young adults (my generation and younger)

Its pointless if 30+ year old men argue about how to get the youngsters on board, when most of them don't know how they think and see sailing.
Now with my 23 years I might be a bit older than the target audience, but i think the issues I had to get into sailing are pretty representative... So here we go:

Two months ago I (a student at the time) looked to buy a dinghy. I wanted it to be fast & exciting, not to hard to handle and relatively cheap (under 2000 us$).

People recommended me mainly to get a moth (fast and exciting but way to expensive and harder to sail) or a super old laser/hobie (Cheap and easy to handle)

And THIS is exactly where the problem lies (at least it did for me)

When people see a moth flying over the lake on Youtube they think: WOW This is the coolest thing ever! Gotta try it out... until they see the pricetag of 25k $ and that there's nowhere to try this out.
Then they see that for under 2000$ the only thing that they could afford is a buying a beater laser from the 1970s or joining a club with lasers from the 90s...
everybody except the diehard crazy will say this is lame and look into buying a new Iphone instead.

Solve this and you get growth back in the sport faster than ever

Now how do we solve this?


I'm open for suggestions/ideas/criticism

 








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Sailing is not a cheap sport, unfortunately to build a boat costs a lot and so the only cheap boats you'll ever find are used ones, the older the cheaper. Until somebody develops a new boat design or boat building technique that is a fraction of the cost of the current designs/methods, you'll never find something new that cheap. Never mind fast. Fast and exciting looking boats are often light and difficult to sail, one of the major mistakes that we see a lot of beginners make is to assume that a cheap boat is going to be cheap to use, it's often an inverse relationship.

 

Engaging and maintaining a youth interest in the sport (especially towards the university-aged category, 18-25) has been a question that has stumped a lot of people for a long time. Different scenarios require different approaches, so there isn't one be all and end all solution. One system I've seen work with some success is the concept of a yacht club having an "academy" where young people can join the club at a reduced cost and have access to boats for a minimal per-use or per-time cost. The collected revenue is then fed back into the boats to help maintain and support them to keep them available to the young members. Unfortunately to make it sustainable there has to be enough money coming in to maintain a modern and active fleet of boats, this generally means that there's money coming in from outside the program, either through the club from other activities or from private donors, or that the costs to the youth members become expensive either as membership or the usage fees.

 

There are a lot of costs associated with sailing, from the initial purchase, maintenance, replacement, storage, etc start to add up. As you rightly pointed out, it becomes prohibitively expensive to take part in sailing unless it's an old boat that you don't care to keep going, or you are part of a larger organization as described above. Attracting young people with limited budgets to an expensive sport means that the difference has to be covered somewhere.

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Sailing is not a cheap sport, unfortunately to build a boat costs a lot and so the only cheap boats you'll ever find are used ones, the older the cheaper. Until somebody develops a new boat design or boat building technique that is a fraction of the cost of the current designs/methods, you'll never find something new that cheap. Attracting young people with limited budgets to an expensive sport means that the difference has to be covered somewhere.

That's it in a nutshell.

 

There are several sexagenarians here who repeatedly explain how one can get into sailing for $1000 (one of them has regularly sailed on six-figure boats). Sure you can buy a beater as the OP noted, but who'd want to - it's absurd.

 

Starting in Opti beaters and graduating to 420 beaters will never pay either, even if it worked 50 years ago when most active sailors were kids.

 

Unless a radically cheaper design/building technique for radically faster (foiling) boats, large and small, sailing is an elitist activity now - networking for the (aspiring) 1%.

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Everything mentioned on this and other threads is correct, but I think the real problem is TIME. It takes time to learn to sail boat, either high performance or low performance. It takes time to maintain a boat. It takes time to even find the correct boat for someone's preferences. It take time to participate in regattas. Parents must invest time in their youngsters to expose them to sailing. For many, there isn't enough time. Their "modern " lives are sucking up all the available time doing other things. It is NOT MONEY. People have plenty for their BMW's or the afore mentioned iPhone. They just don't choose to spend it on a boat. Whether TIME or MONEY, they choose not to invest it in sailing. Sadly, more and more people both younger and older don't see the return. At 67 I will continue to enjoy every moment on the water either racing or daysailing my little boats. Glad my father invested his time to teach me the pleasures of sailing. I did the same for my three children but sadly they don't appear to have the TIME.

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I cannot agree with "not growing up"

 

I'm not speaking about kids. For kids your argument is very valid but this topic is about youngsters 16 to 30 years old. We have time! Time to tinker, repair, learn and sail... But where does a student or 18 year old get 10k $ for an exciting boat? That's the issue...

 

Young adults like me spend alot of time learning and mastering new sports:

 

look for example towards downhill mountain biking... Teens spend alot of time repairing, riding and learning. Going up the mountain is also time consuming and can be expensive! Yet the sport booms! Why? Cos you can get a new kickass bike for 2000$ and a 2nd hand one for 1000$. Those prices are very reachable... Especially as today's kids get decent amounts of cash from their parents (one quick look at my friends suffices)

 

But an RS aero, which can be considered the basic new sports dinghy is friggin' 8000 dollars! No student can afford that! Not even in a few years when 2nd hand aero might be available for 4000 dollars. Even if he works a whole summer at his student job! I worked every summer in a supermarket and believe me i didn't even get near 3000 dollars!

 

Anyway i think we need a new boat... Something that costs max 3000$ new and is exciting... Now that would get kids out there... The waszp and rs aero are good steps forward as long as enough clubs get a fleet or the prices go down!

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Good old rules IC's (very high performance) can be purchased for $1000 - 4000 ready to sail. You will not win the worlds but to blast around you can't go wrong.

 

An IC is not for beginners and not simple like a Laser but finding high performance for such a low cost is hard to beat. An IC is a boat that does requires tinkering and the associated skills.

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But an RS aero, which can be considered the basic new sports dinghy is friggin' 8000 dollars! No student can afford that! Not even in a few years when 2nd hand aero might be available for 4000 dollars. Even if he works a whole summer at his student job! I worked every summer in a supermarket and believe me i didn't even get near 3000 dollars!

Anyway i think we need a new boat... Something that costs max 3000$ new and is exciting... Now that would get kids out there... The waszp and rs aero are good steps forward as long as enough clubs get a fleet or the prices go down!

No doubt a new, exciting boat at $3000 would be a breakthrough, but clearly no one has such a design/build in that range. One of the most intriguing new ideas I've seen is the UFO, but that's expected to retail under $8000. That alone is a breakthrough in terms of user friendly performance for the $ IMO. Their market research suggested $7K was the ceiling to attract new, younger sailors - but the performance had to eclipse Lasers and the like.

 

http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?showtopic=176284&hl=clark#entry5432619

 

https://www.facebook.com/fulcrumspeedworks

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I cannot agree with "not growing up"

 

I'm not speaking about kids. For kids your argument is very valid but this topic is about youngsters 16 to 30 years old. We have time! Time to tinker, repair, learn and sail... But where does a student or 18 year old get 10k $ for an exciting boat? That's the issue...

 

Young adults like me spend alot of time learning and mastering new sports:

 

look for example towards downhill mountain biking... Teens spend alot of time repairing, riding and learning. Going up the mountain is also time consuming and can be expensive! Yet the sport booms! Why? Cos you can get a new kickass bike for 2000$ and a 2nd hand one for 1000$. Those prices are very reachable... Especially as today's kids get decent amounts of cash from their parents (one quick look at my friends suffices)

 

But an RS aero, which can be considered the basic new sports dinghy is friggin' 8000 dollars! No student can afford that! Not even in a few years when 2nd hand aero might be available for 4000 dollars. Even if he works a whole summer at his student job! I worked every summer in a supermarket and believe me i didn't even get near 3000 dollars!

 

Anyway i think we need a new boat... Something that costs max 3000$ new and is exciting... Now that would get kids out there... The waszp and rs aero are good steps forward as long as enough clubs get a fleet or the prices go down!

Really, you're talking about a new design and method of building that costs about 1/3 of what the current designs and methods cost. That's not going to be achieved by cost reductions here or there.

 

Maybe (very maybe) one could design a boat to be built out of roto plastic or other similar techniques, that might hold the loads of a rig (maybe a free-standing rig so the structure can be located in one spot). But even then, a plastic kayak of which many are bought and they are mass-produced, which has no structure compared to a sailboat, is going to cost $500 for a cheap one that will maybe last a season of use, and over $1000 new for a solid one. By the time you then add a rig (carbon ain't cheap, but alu isn't free), a sail (gotta pay somebody to stitch that bedsheet together), and the reinforcing and structure to support the loads (which can be surprisingly high, even in a simple little boat, never mind something classed as "exciting" from speed alone), and you want to do this for the price of about 2 kayaks?

 

I get the intention, I love the dream, as do many other people here, but really what you're suggesting and what would help a lot would be a total breakthrough. I know that the Clarks, the minds behind the UFO and the Machete IC kit are driving to find any way of making things affordable. The Machete is a great example of this. You have tons of time? Well, you can buy, for the price of a new laser, a kit, with all the bits you can't make at home completed for you. All you have to do is slap the plywood pieces together and you have the performance of something that would cost 2-3x as much from a manufacturer. Want to know why it is so much cheaper? The first one built, done by somebody with plenty of experience putting boats together, took 400 hours. That's not 400 hours including the time to sleep and eat, that's 400 hours in the shed and building. Spend 4 hours a day on it (which is a lot of spare time for a student) and it will still take you over 3 months if you don't skip a day. (Here's a good one for you, in that time, you could watch every Game of Thrones episode so far 6 times over and still have time to make yourself snacks in between. Or for those of you a little older, you could watch EVERY Star Trek television episode, including the sequel series, aired in the 20th century.)

 

Therein lies our problem, it takes a lot of man hours and/or specialist equipment to build a boat with current techniques. For example, the 400 hours it takes to put together a Machete kit, say you had somebody do it for you and paid them $10/hour (which is a lot less than you'd pay somebody for skilled labour), that's another $4000 on the price tag. You're suddenly looking at over $10000 for the boat.

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Agism is an activity taken up in dejection and frustration, not problem-solving.

 

Costs need to fall. Accessible performance needs to rise. We've pulled out absolutely all the stops to crack that problem with the UFO. However, if you need to get down to 2k, you're stuck with secondhand markets, which really don't count for a variety of reasons. Or you want a kite. If money wasn't important, why have kites, the cheapest fastest option around, gained so much ground in this decade? If time was the key limiting factor, where have all these kids with basic sail training been finding the time to learn a new form of sailing?

 

DRC

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Agism is an activity taken up in dejection and frustration, not problem-solving.

 

Costs need to fall. Accessible performance needs to rise. We've pulled out absolutely all the stops to crack that problem with the UFO. However, if you need to get down to 2k, you're stuck with secondhand markets, which really don't count for a variety of reasons. Or you want a kite. If money wasn't important, why have kites, the cheapest fastest option around, gained so much ground in this decade? If time was the key limiting factor, where have all these kids with basic sail training been finding the time to learn a new form of sailing?

 

DRC

Dave, you got a new canoe down to what, $6000? A foiler down to <$8000. You're on the way to that $2000 boat.

 

But Dave's also right, to get exciting fast wind-powered water sports, it's hard to beat second hand windsurfers and kites. Plus, especially in the case of kites, they pack down smaller than a boat, to the point where one could reasonably carry a kite setup on a bus. But for light and shifty wind conditions, maybe they aren't the best options (although a big windsurfer might manage).

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You are not going to defy gravity, boats cost what they cost for reasons beyond the control of anyone on this thread. Materials and time have a relationship that you can only trim so far back before you are at rock bottom, and that figure will still be up there for a foiling or performance boat.

 

Somehow the idea that speed and adrenaline bursts are what sailing is all about is corrupting the sport. It's part of it, but sailing is multifaceted and has many expressions. The fastest boats are not the most popular by a long shot, but for the purposes of this discussion it seems that where peoples heads are at. Young guys 16-22 lets say are the "target market" put simply most could do with support either from a club or elsewhere, I think clubs are the way to get them involved. The more young people sail, the more they appreciate the skills required and the less speed alone (and its high costs) becomes a factor. I hear it all the time from the older wealthier owners around here, how crew are hard to find for their big boats but they don't put the thought, time and money into their clubs to foster the young people and take them through the ranks. On that, clubs are not a meat market for crew but if you have a thriving well run club with classes from optis through to perhaps sports boats along with a good social aspect, then people will join.

 

What I am saying is that there is no magic bullet by pricing a boat at X to get the punters in

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Agree. We constantly see posts about faster more radical boats to lure today's young sailor. I'm not so sure that is the answer, or that every young sailor wants to hang on for dear life or compete in a boat that requires massive time and effort to just get around the course.

 

The environment is as important as the platform. The dedicated will rise to the top and progress to more competitive venues, but the idea that a supersonic foiling cat is required to hold a teenager's interest may be counterproductive.

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Our sportboat fleet (J/70s and Viper 640s) recruits a lot of young sailors from teens on up. They are excited to sail small fast boats where they get to do stuff and feel their athleticism contribute to the performance. I spent $8000 on my half of my first Viper 640, and then got my own Viper 640 for about $18000. It was about the same price as my used Subaru Tribeca. So my answer is crew -> co-ownership -> ownership. Then bring in more crew and hope they repeat the cycle.

 

Cheers and good luck,

 

Jason

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It appears we're looking for boats that are fun and responsive to sail, but not difficult to make perform or keep upright. Boats that don't cost too much and which don't fall apart too easily. A used 505 fit the bill for me. They're found all over the place, and support from others eager to help build the fleet makes racing them a friendly learning session. The parties are pretty good too.

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An old contender fills the same criteria for a Nigel no mates like me.

 

And time is a problem. Once you move from the party times up to trying to look after a house, engagements, weddings, baby showers, kids themselves, mid to late 20's are fucking busy. That's without trying to advance a career so you do have enough money to buy a nice boat

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sorry - I don't buy the cost argument.

 

Sure - if you want to be competitive in 1 design fleets, cost can be an issue.

 

But you can tear around in a fast dinghy for easily less than $1k; the IC was given as an example above, but there are beater oddball boats around that go pretty fast and nobody wants.

 

Stay away from tubs like 420, 470, etc and find something designed in the 90's at least.

 

Not sure why buying a beater doesn't work -- its a great way to learn about fixing and improving boats (which is a very important skill in itself).

 

If you want to fast on the cheap on a knock around boat - almost nothing beats an old hobie cat or similar.

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Agree. We constantly see posts about faster more radical boats to lure today's young sailor. I'm not so sure that is the answer, or that every young sailor wants to hang on for dear life or compete in a boat that requires massive time and effort to just get around the course.

 

The environment is as important as the platform. The dedicated will rise to the top and progress to more competitive venues, but the idea that a supersonic foiling cat is required to hold a teenager's interest may be counterproductive.

It seems the various extreme sports have grown with younger actives far more than legacy sports like conventional sailing.

 

However 'hanging on for dear life' is not part of the design brief for the UFO, and it's not 'a supersonic foiling cat' by design. Give it a look, might be something different in terms of safer, user friendly performance for the $. The Clark's have a very well thought out (sailing) mousetrap, with several prototypes/pre-production boats sailing. Well worth watching IMO.

 

And I agree the agism in several other posts isn't useful. Probably the same people who still push Opti's and 420's which is clearly NOT working - insanity is doing what you've always done and expecting different results...

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But you can tear around in a fast dinghy for easily less than $1k; the IC was given as an example above, but there are beater oddball boats around that go pretty fast and nobody wants.

 

Stay away from tubs like 420, 470, etc and find something designed in the 90's at least.

 

Not sure why buying a beater doesn't work -- its a great way to learn about fixing and improving boats (which is a very important skill in itself).

 

If you want to fast on the cheap on a knock around boat - almost nothing beats an old hobie cat or similar.

Any more specific examples for the OP beyond the IC or a Hobie?

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But you can tear around in a fast dinghy for easily less than $1k; the IC was given as an example above, but there are beater oddball boats around that go pretty fast and nobody wants.

 

Stay away from tubs like 420, 470, etc and find something designed in the 90's at least.

 

Not sure why buying a beater doesn't work -- its a great way to learn about fixing and improving boats (which is a very important skill in itself).

 

If you want to fast on the cheap on a knock around boat - almost nothing beats an old hobie cat or similar.

Any more specific examples for the OP beyond the IC or a Hobie?

 

 

I'm not experienced in US dinghies, but locally here in Oz; old skiff (obsolete 12s, 16s go for silly money), cherub, B14, NS14 are fun in any breeze over 10kn, etc.

 

Development classes (like the IC) are fertile hunting ground: as designs become obsolete, their value to people in the class drops dramatically.

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Instead of trying to change the hardware, for which there are large issues to address, why not change the software? In other words, don't try to change the affordability of the boats, get the people that CAN afford the boats into craft that will encourage kids and recruit them as crew? If most of us will think back, our entry into the sport was via pulling strings for someone who could afford the boat. If we worked harder on recruiting crew and worked harder on trying to hook the kids on the sport, more gains could be made without trying to completely change the system. And anecdote: I bought a $500 470 and took 4 newbie's out before it broke. Of those 4, 2 joined the local club and 1 bought a Laser. In full disclosure, the 2 that joined crew for me on the 24 so the hook was already half set but the idea holds water. Another aquaintence in Austin has a "school" where he teaches a class on how to crew a 24 then puts the students on local boats for a Sunday beercan race. Let's look at getting people in the "fast, fun" classes to spend the time and effort to get kids on a wire before we try to get them into ownership.

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Our sportboat fleet (J/70s and Viper 640s) recruits a lot of young sailors from teens on up. They are excited to sail small fast boats where they get to do stuff and feel their athleticism contribute to the performance. I spent $8000 on my half of my first Viper 640, and then got my own Viper 640 for about $18000. It was about the same price as my used Subaru Tribeca. So my answer is crew -> co-ownership -> ownership. Then bring in more crew and hope they repeat the cycle.

 

Cheers and good luck,

 

Jason

Totally agree. We need to get newbies on exciting rides. Hanging like a possum on the side of a J24 (or similar) getting yelled at by an incompetent grey haired old salt will turn away the most optimistic sailor.

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[...] Costs need to fall. Accessible performance needs to rise.[...]

 

DRC

THIS. Nothing more to add. Couldn't have said it better myself

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The answer is kite boards. Take a look at the hot sailing parts of the country. I bet people on boards is challenging the number of people on "proper" boats on any given weekend on SF Bay. And are much higher on weeknights.

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I just read the "How to increase the number of sailors post"

 

I think the post is good and relevant, yet fails to address the correct audience - Young adults (my generation and younger)

Its pointless if 30+ year old men argue about how to get the youngsters on board, when most of them don't know how they think and see sailing.

Now with my 23 years I might be a bit older than the target audience, but i think the issues I had to get into sailing are pretty representative... So here we go:

 

Two months ago I (a student at the time) looked to buy a dinghy. I wanted it to be fast & exciting, not to hard to handle and relatively cheap (under 2000 us$).

 

People recommended me mainly to get a moth (fast and exciting but way to expensive and harder to sail) or a super old laser/hobie (Cheap and easy to handle)

 

And THIS is exactly where the problem lies (at least it did for me)

 

When people see a moth flying over the lake on Youtube they think: WOW This is the coolest thing ever! Gotta try it out... until they see the pricetag of 25k $ and that there's nowhere to try this out.

Then they see that for under 2000$ the only thing that they could afford is a buying a beater laser from the 1970s or joining a club with lasers from the 90s...

everybody except the diehard crazy will say this is lame and look into buying a new Iphone instead.

 

Solve this and you get growth back in the sport faster than ever

 

Now how do we solve this?

 

I'm open for suggestions/ideas/criticism

 

None of the posts appear to answer the above, and though my opinion doesn't really count (I'm over 40), it seems like a very good question to ask.

 

I do note that the cost for a new, state of art race winner is $25K, but a second hand foiler - to get you started - can be had for as little as £2750. (The cost for pre-loved foilers is coming down).

 

See here for a cheaper foiler (there are other adverts on the site):

 

http://www.mothmart.com/foiling-moth/mistress-for-sale-possibly-the-cheapest-foiler-ever/

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[...] Costs need to fall. Accessible performance needs to rise.[...]

 

DRC

THIS. Nothing more to add. Couldn't have said it better myself

 

 

 

While I don't disagree, let's take the RS Aero for example. This boat is in the $8K range, so how do we make this boat cheaply accessible to the masses and of a consistent and reasonable quality, and yet still be able to turn a profit for its companies? Mind you this has to include its dealers, builders, etc.. Is that dream possible, a widely available, high quality, high performance singlehanded or doublehanded dinghy in the 2-4k range?

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[...] Costs need to fall. Accessible performance needs to rise.[...]

 

DRC

THIS. Nothing more to add. Couldn't have said it better myself

 

While I don't disagree, let's take the RS Aero for example. This boat is in the $8K range, so how do we make this boat cheaply accessible to the masses and of a consistent and reasonable quality, and yet still be able to turn a profit for its companies? Mind you this has to include its dealers, builders, etc.. Is that dream possible, a widely available, high quality, high performance singlehanded or doublehanded dinghy in the 2-4k range?

It's called a kiteboard.

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One emphasis seems to be that things have to be new designs to be cool enough to invest in. You have to have an IPhone 7 even if you had IPhones 2 through 6, and they did everything you needed. That's a moving target that sailing can't win.

 

Single handing a Hobie 16 while out on a trapeze is plenty of fun, but apparently who would want to buy that ancient design even if it is fun. Around here you can get a beater Hobie 16 for $500. As far a being a beater, polish and wax, or paint it. $2000 will get you a 16 with good looking shiny gel coat and half way decent sails.

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[...] Costs need to fall. Accessible performance needs to rise.[...]

 

DRC

THIS. Nothing more to add. Couldn't have said it better myself

 

 

 

While I don't disagree, let's take the RS Aero for example. This boat is in the $8K range, so how do we make this boat cheaply accessible to the masses and of a consistent and reasonable quality, and yet still be able to turn a profit for its companies? Mind you this has to include its dealers, builders, etc.. Is that dream possible, a widely available, high quality, high performance singlehanded or doublehanded dinghy in the 2-4k range?

 

 

if someone cant afford an $8k boat, then go buy a vanguard 15 for $1500 and race against 10-20 people every week in san francisco. its really not a cost issue.

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I think its simplistic to think price is the barrier to sailing. When I started, barely a teenager, it was on an old spencer dinghy and every weekend I'd put sails and gear on my bike and cycle for an hour to where the boat was so I could just get out there. Why? well I didn't have the luxury of a chauffeur driven SUV taking me to the club, I was a super keen sailing rat who parents told me if I wanted it then I paid for it! Racing came later.

 

You gotta have passion, somethings got to click inside and you have to have the opportunity to see if its for you. All this trying to attract kids with a magic boat is bullshit, its just another version of helicopter style over parenting.

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When I started, barely a teenager, it was on an old spencer dinghy and every weekend

Me too. But when I was a teenager we all had old beat up boats. New boats were for people with good jobs who'd delayed kids. But now the teenagers start with shiny new boats from mummy and daddy, and who the hell wants to move from that to old beat up when they leave home?

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I think its simplistic to think price is the barrier to sailing. When I started, barely a teenager, it was on an old spencer dinghy and every weekend I'd put sails and gear on my bike and cycle for an hour to where the boat was so I could just get out there. Why? well I didn't have the luxury of a chauffeur driven SUV taking me to the club, I was a super keen sailing rat who parents told me if I wanted it then I paid for it! Racing came later.

 

You gotta have passion, somethings got to click inside and you have to have the opportunity to see if its for you. All this trying to attract kids with a magic boat is bullshit, its just another version of helicopter style over parenting.

So it's just kids today? If it's not price, time, elitism and so many other activities today among other factors - what is it exactly? At least in the US, the trend couldn't be more clear (from Saving Sailing):

post-301-0-27404500-1474273923_thumb.jpg

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I think its simplistic to think price is the barrier to sailing. When I started, barely a teenager, it was on an old spencer dinghy and every weekend I'd put sails and gear on my bike and cycle for an hour to where the boat was so I could just get out there. Why? well I didn't have the luxury of a chauffeur driven SUV taking me to the club, I was a super keen sailing rat who parents told me if I wanted it then I paid for it! Racing came later.

 

You gotta have passion, somethings got to click inside and you have to have the opportunity to see if its for you. All this trying to attract kids with a magic boat is bullshit, its just another version of helicopter style over parenting.

So it's just kids today? If it's not price, time, elitism and so many other activities today among other factors - what is it exactly? At least in the US, the trend couldn't be more clear (from Saving Sailing):

 

 

As a kiwi growing up in the yachting heyday of the 70's in a city that has a huge yachting history as well as an egalitarian culture, I cant speak for the US kids today situation. It seems to me to even have a site called "Sailing Anarchy" there must be something for the marketers who started it to tap into a vein of "fuck the establishment" so I guess that speaks volumes about the US scene. Sure we have the old farts who are all flags and trumpets but yachting was much more accessible. Now its less so, I'll comment on that from a keelboat racers point of view; Demographics are a bitch, everyone is aging, clubs are full of grannies and old crusties with walking sticks. Ownership sucks, my boat needs a 12 metre berth, antifouling and a sail every year or two, insurance, race fees etc which works out the basic running costs at about 14k per year. I do about 70 races a year for the grand total of $200 per race. Yep its fucking elitist alright, we just fool ourselves that its not, imagine being a golfer and every round costing $200, your mates would quite rightly call you a rich elitist wanker!

 

Now I could reduce that if I wanted to forego some convenience and performance but seriously this is an expensive sport because boats and especially bigger keel boats cost time and money. BUT to get a dinghy just to go sailing like an old 505, laser, hobie etc its cheap as chips so I think it must be something else or perhaps kids dont want to work up from the shitters to bleeding edge?

 

Sailing just aint as easy as it used to be unless you happen to be a wealthy middle aged retiree motoring a fucking white whale caravan around with a stick on top, that means less real sailors which in turn means less real sailing talk, sailing culture, sailing mentors and sailing grommets.

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I just read the "How to increase the number of sailors post"

 

I think the post is good and relevant, yet fails to address the correct audience - Young adults (my generation and younger)

Its pointless if 30+ year old men argue about how to get the youngsters on board, when most of them don't know how they think and see sailing.

Now with my 23 years I might be a bit older than the target audience, but i think the issues I had to get into sailing are pretty representative... So here we go:

 

Two months ago I (a student at the time) looked to buy a dinghy. I wanted it to be fast & exciting, not to hard to handle and relatively cheap (under 2000 us$).

 

People recommended me mainly to get a moth (fast and exciting but way to expensive and harder to sail) or a super old laser/hobie (Cheap and easy to handle)

 

And THIS is exactly where the problem lies (at least it did for me)

 

When people see a moth flying over the lake on Youtube they think: WOW This is the coolest thing ever! Gotta try it out... until they see the pricetag of 25k $ and that there's nowhere to try this out.

Then they see that for under 2000$ the only thing that they could afford is a buying a beater laser from the 1970s or joining a club with lasers from the 90s...

everybody except the diehard crazy will say this is lame and look into buying a new Iphone instead.

 

Solve this and you get growth back in the sport faster than ever

 

Now how do we solve this?

 

I'm open for suggestions/ideas/criticism

 

None of the posts appear to answer the above, and though my opinion doesn't really count (I'm over 40), it seems like a very good question to ask.

 

I do note that the cost for a new, state of art race winner is $25K, but a second hand foiler - to get you started - can be had for as little as £2750. (The cost for pre-loved foilers is coming down).

 

See here for a cheaper foiler (there are other adverts on the site):

 

http://www.mothmart.com/foiling-moth/mistress-for-sale-possibly-the-cheapest-foiler-ever/

 

And that's still like $5000. 2.5x the price mentioned in the initial post.

 

Every person has their own reason why they can or can't sail. It might be price, as mentioned, getting a boat can be expensive, maintaining it can be expensive, but not so much so that you CANNOT get one if you don't want it bad enough. I know that in Canada for a while, the 49er fleet was mostly university-aged guys, many in the middle of their degrees. Everyone made a big commitment, but the reward for spending basically all your money on sailing was there, we had class racing locally, travel every weekend as a fleet, it was fantastic.

Some people might not have the time, this is harder to deal with, if your commitments are filling your schedule and you desperately want to sail, maybe you need to check your priorities. A lack of time and money often leads to sailing on other peoples' boats. It's nice, but there's some satisfaction missing from owning and maintaining a boat (for those who enjoy that).

The hardest one to get over is access. In many cities across NA, I can'T speak too much about elsewhere in the world, getting access to the water to go sailing can be hellishly difficult. Minimal waterfront space dedicated to clubs, a fraction of those clubs being active sailing clubs, and often the expense of membership and the time cost to get to/from the club when you're working part time and studying to get a degree can be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

 

I think a lot of people who try, but don't get into it, or sail as kids and give it up as they grow up, miss a lot of what sailing is. It becomes a bit of a lifestyle and makes you part of a culture world-wide; when you're old enough to have graduated from the youth classes is when this really becomes apparent. Stick with sailing, put in the time and effort to go out and you meet a lot of people. I think we can all agree that for those of us who have raced for years, especially with travelling to regattas, can find a friend or a ride anywhere in the world on the drop of a hat (almost). The costs to entry are high, financially and time-wise, I don't think anyone can debate that, but the rewards at the end of the day are pretty special.

 

Like anything else, if you want it bad enough there's a way to make it work, it's just that sailing doesn't look like more than a fun game that takes a lot of time and money to the outside world.

 

There isn't a magic bullet cure to any of this. A cheap boat will help, easier access will help, but in the end sailing is more than just a sport like playing football as a kid, and as such it takes more commitment to get into it.

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I'm not sure that cost is the biggest barrier to entry - you can crew anything for the price of a pint of beer.

 

Even if singlehanding, and hence boat ownership, are the intention is it not possible to offer boats like the Aero on an HP scheme like with cars? Put down a $2000 deposit, pay $100 a month for 36 months and then renew, walk away or buy the boat.

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The answer is kite boards. Take a look at the hot sailing parts of the country. I bet people on boards is challenging the number of people on "proper" boats on any given weekend on SF Bay. And are much higher on weeknights.

The biggest dinghy club in the UK faces one of the most popular kite surfing beach in the UK and I can tell you that 1. the number of kites peaked some years ago and is now in decline and 2. the number of kites was never anywhere close to the number of "boats".

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A lot of good comments here.

As for the need for cheaper, new and appealing boats, I'll let experts in that area such as Dave & Steve Clark continue the details of that discussion. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of costs involved to build a good, high quality boat in, say, the USA and, for comparison purposes, China (or other SE Asia cheap labor area; cheeper than China?). This may help us not in the boat building business understand why it's really hard (impossible) to sell a boat like an Aero (quality, performance, etc.) for $2000.

 

I'm 52 and have been sailing since I was 13. I started on a $150 Super Snark (there's an old thread somewhere here) for a couple years including vacations spent sailing it off the beach in the SE USA. For the pure fun of sailing, the Super Snark may have been the best investment made in my sailing career. But, in those days, there were no foiling Moths and so many other "extreme" skiffs / dinghy's gracing the sailing media. I've moved on to more expensive and interesting boats but that $150 Super Snark gets credit for "setting the hook".

 

Now we live in this culture of extreme everything when it comes to outdoor activities. A new Alpine skier watches a pro ski down a 45 degree couloir deep in the backcountry and gets it in their head that with a couple lessons at the local ski hill they will have the skills to do that. Instant gratification; no one wants to "pay their dues". Same for sailing. Someone sees a YouTube video of a Moth or I-14 and decide that is "sailing" and that is what they must do to get into sailing. While those are great goals to achieve, to attract and keep new sailers we need to take a realistic approach.

 

As noted here and elsewhere, there are plenty of fast, used dinghy's available for not much more than the price of a new kayak or SUP and that will give the user significantly more fun. No, it's not a new Aero or Moth, but when you can purchase a good used Laser for $1000-2000 what's not to like (maybe in a few years there will start to be some cheaper used Aero's)? A Laser is about as easy as they come. With some experience, a new sailer can be blasting across the water and having a great time. Not foiling on a Moth but, as anyone who's sailed a Laser on a broad reach in 15 knots can confirm, it's a lot fun (and you're gaining valuable skills needed to move-up to something more "modern" as finances allow).

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I think the main issue to attracting dinghy sailors is not the money, since except for the latest new boats (like a Moth, but now there's a Wasp for far less) they're not that expensive, especially used. The bigger problem is the attractiveness of the sport to athletic 20-somethings, such as the guy who started this thread. Anyone who has sailed at some of the big wind venues (e.g. Cabarete, but there are lots of others throughout the world) has noticed that there are tons of windsurfers flying across the chop, lots of kite boarders flying through the air, and maybe, just maybe, a couple of dinghy sailors being smoked by them all. If I were an adventuresome 20-year-old, I sure wouldn't be thinking, gosh, if only I could sail one of them Lasers! The fact is that, especially in the U.S., most of the boats available to our youth are slow. Yes, the Laser is slow, despite the name. So is the Sunfish. So is the 420. And that is why you rarely see those boats out for a thrilling spin, like the windsurfers and kite boarders. You mainly see them racing, or training for racing. That's how us dinghy sailors get our thrills: not from speed, but by trying to beat the other guys. It's no coincidence that there is a far smaller percentage of racers among the windsurfers and kite boarders. They don't need to race in order to get their thrills. We do. Now, the old farts (like me) will say: they're missing the point, the skill and subtlety of racing, understanding the wind and currents, the beer-drinking afterwards, getting to spend hours working on your vessel, etc etc – it's a lifetime of satisfaction. And it's all true. But it's naive to think that it's necessarily going to resonate with an active youngster who (for example) just spent the winter snow boarding on the local half-pipe and flipping off the jumps.

 

I'm a one-design dinghy sailor, so I certainly recognize that one-design racing is critical to the sport. But the evangelical dominance of it (again, especially but not only in the U.S.) is killing the abundant entrance of athletic youth. Some other countries (e.g. Britain, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand) have a much wider range of boats that are broadly available, some of them quite fast. Those fast boats came about because those countries have open development classes, which serve as R&D programs to move the sport forward. And they have active handicap systems to allow everyone to sail together. This occurs not to the exclusion of one-design racing, but in addition to it. Surprise, surprise, they win lots of Olympic medals. We force almost everyone into Optis, Sunfish, Laser, 420, then watch the majority of them either move to keelboats or depart the sport. If I were 20 years old, that wouldn't do much for me either.

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Much like motorcycling, people look at the neat pictures online and in the magazines and everybody thinks they "need" superbike, when you can have a world of fun on a CB500F.

 

For someone getting into the sport, I think the more basic the first boat is, within reason, the MORE they will learn. Unless someone is an absolute Savant, trying to sail a Moth without extensive performance dinghy experience will be an exercise in frustration, expense and injury.

 

Go ahead and knock the used market - but the 'invisible hand' of the market means that if there IS a slammin' deal on a nice clean used boat it will likely change hands quickly - local market vagaries notwithstanding.

 

Sail as many different small boats as you can - you may very well find several that you cannot stand ( looking at you 420 ) and perhaps others that you find fun and sociable ( that'd be the Taser ! ) - meanwhile keep crewing and LEARNING all you can, while you save your dough so that you can be liquid enough to MOVE when the right boat shows up.

 

I scored a MegaByte with a busted rig for a song, ordered up the new generation rig and sail and have been having a blast ever since - you just have to know what you are looking at.

 

It's not the Sport's fault that people with neat boats don't want to give them away or that the older stuff that IS for sale cheap isn't the Flavor of the Week - that, my friend - is Life.

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+1 Gutterblack

 

Great Red, funny I was thinking the exact same comparison. OP is complaining that they want to blast around on a Ninja H2, which they can't afford and no-one will loan them (gee I wonder why), when all they can afford is a second hand 64cc MotoCross.

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Some other countries (e.g. Britain, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand) have a much wider range of boats that are broadly available, some of them quite fast. Those fast boats came about because those countries have open development classes, which serve as R&D programs to move the sport forward. And they have active handicap systems to allow everyone to sail together.

 

And fast boats are at something like a 50 year low in popularity in the UK, and the vast majority of folk who do time in 29ers in their teens who stay in sailing move on to slower boats. Back in the 90s I predeicted that right now we'd be seeing a huge boom in high performance boats with all those folk trained up in fast handling techniques, but we have exactly the opposite. I don't pretend to understand why, but I have to accept that's what is happening.

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And fast boats are at something like a 50 year low in popularity in the UK, and the vast majority of folk who do time in 29ers in their teens who stay in sailing move on to slower boats. Back in the 90s I predeicted that right now we'd be seeing a huge boom in high performance boats with all those folk trained up in fast handling techniques, but we have exactly the opposite. I don't pretend to understand why, but I have to accept that's what is happening.

 

 

Perhaps the reason is--> you are a P.O.M.E.? ;)

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Perhaps not, as chris249 has argued at vast length that the same trend towards lower performance boats exists in AUS.

 

I don't think it's so hard to understand. Sailing has an ageing demographic and older sailors will tend to prefer less physically demanding boats. Furthermore I believe sailors are sailing less regularly and will again tend to prefer boats that are easier to handle.

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No, a downhill bike does not cost 2k. The fork for a downhill bike costs 2k. Or 3k. You cannot buy a decent used downhill bike for 1k. Maybe a set of used wheels. Things in cycling have changed a lot in the last 10 years, and one of those things is the cost. A really top end downhill bike now costs more than a new laser.

 

http://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/v10

 

 

look for example towards downhill mountain biking... Teens spend alot of time repairing, riding and learning. Going up the mountain is also time consuming and can be expensive! Yet the sport booms! Why? Cos you can get a new kickass bike for 2000$ and a 2nd hand one for 1000$. Those prices are very reachable... Especially as today's kids get decent amounts of cash from their parents (one quick look at my friends suffices)

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Perhaps not, as chris249 has argued at vast length that the same trend towards lower performance boats exists in AUS.

 

I don't think it's so hard to understand. Sailing has an ageing demographic and older sailors will tend to prefer less physically demanding boats. Furthermore I believe sailors are sailing less regularly and will again tend to prefer boats that are easier to handle.

 

Could be true, a lot of older guys here sail dinghies with one sail and its fiercely competitive. I think there are several reasons, no crew hassles, cheap (compared to keelers) physically demanding in a healthy workout kind of way and perhaps the big reason is that on slower boats you have more time to focus on tactics and strategy as well as the simple fact that speed is relative. It still feels fast

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No, a downhill bike does not cost 2k. The fork for a downhill bike costs 2k. Or 3k. You cannot buy a decent used downhill bike for 1k. Maybe a set of used wheels. Things in cycling have changed a lot in the last 10 years, and one of those things is the cost. A really top end downhill bike now costs more than a new laser.

 

http://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/v10

 

 

look for example towards downhill mountain biking... Teens spend alot of time repairing, riding and learning. Going up the mountain is also time consuming and can be expensive! Yet the sport booms! Why? Cos you can get a new kickass bike for 2000$ and a 2nd hand one for 1000$. Those prices are very reachable... Especially as today's kids get decent amounts of cash from their parents (one quick look at my friends suffices)

 

There is less obvious difference between a nice entry level DH bike and the top of the line. A laser and a moth look nothing alike. A top bike and an average bike look quite similar, although they will ride very differently.

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I think its simplistic to think price is the barrier to sailing. When I started, barely a teenager, it was on an old spencer dinghy and every weekend I'd put sails and gear on my bike and cycle for an hour to where the boat was so I could just get out there. Why? well I didn't have the luxury of a chauffeur driven SUV taking me to the club, I was a super keen sailing rat who parents told me if I wanted it then I paid for it! Racing came later.

 

You gotta have passion, somethings got to click inside and you have to have the opportunity to see if its for you. All this trying to attract kids with a magic boat is bullshit, its just another version of helicopter style over parenting.

So it's just kids today? If it's not price, time, elitism and so many other activities today among other factors - what is it exactly? At least in the US, the trend couldn't be more clear (from Saving Sailing):

 

 

As a kiwi growing up in the yachting heyday of the 70's in a city that has a huge yachting history as well as an egalitarian culture, I cant speak for the US kids today situation. It seems to me to even have a site called "Sailing Anarchy" there must be something for the marketers who started it to tap into a vein of "fuck the establishment" so I guess that speaks volumes about the US scene. Sure we have the old farts who are all flags and trumpets but yachting was much more accessible. Now its less so, I'll comment on that from a keelboat racers point of view; Demographics are a bitch, everyone is aging, clubs are full of grannies and old crusties with walking sticks. Ownership sucks, my boat needs a 12 metre berth, antifouling and a sail every year or two, insurance, race fees etc which works out the basic running costs at about 14k per year. I do about 70 races a year for the grand total of $200 per race. Yep its fucking elitist alright, we just fool ourselves that its not, imagine being a golfer and every round costing $200, your mates would quite rightly call you a rich elitist wanker!

 

Now I could reduce that if I wanted to forego some convenience and performance but seriously this is an expensive sport because boats and especially bigger keel boats cost time and money. BUT to get a dinghy just to go sailing like an old 505, laser, hobie etc its cheap as chips so I think it must be something else or perhaps kids dont want to work up from the shitters to bleeding edge?

 

Sailing just aint as easy as it used to be unless you happen to be a wealthy middle aged retiree motoring a fucking white whale caravan around with a stick on top, that means less real sailors which in turn means less real sailing talk, sailing culture, sailing mentors and sailing grommets.

 

I was hoping to just be a lurker on this thread, hoping to get some ideas....sorry didn't find any, so now I feel a relentless urge to rant.

 

----begin rant-----

 

These guys see the big picture.

 

Hardware isn't the problem. Read this thread, see all the bickering, see the lack of people stepping up with the real solutions...yep..failure is imminent.

 

The only way to get anyone (of any age) to do something is to invite them, and make them think it was their idea.

 

The number of people I see standing around wondering why no one comes to play with them outnumbers the people on the streets inviting new people into the fold by at least 10:1, probably closer to 100:1

 

All the new gadgets in the world won't fix that problem.

 

Want new sailors?

 

the solution is in your mirror.

 

You're either part of the solution or your part of the problem.

 

 

ooohh but cost is a problem right? nope....I see thousands of boats sitting idle every day. owners have plenty of cash to make them move, but don't care enough to make it happen.

 

but the "kids" don't have the cash... bullshit. You can walk the docks in just about any marina and find a shitbox for back slip fees...You can crew for free, and most skippers will buy you the beer.

 

....but high performance boats are expensive, and kids want high performance boats..

bullshit on 3 fronts

1. .....wanting is good, as my mom used to say, "wish in one hand, shit in the other, see which fills up the fastest"

want/desire is the driving force behind work ethic. If someone gives it to you, it has no value, if you want it, and work for it, then it's worth something to you, price is just a number.

 

2. ..... "new" sailors need to learn to sail before hopping on "high performance" boats. I've taught sailing for years, and in the beginning (not forever) but in the beginning, people need time to learn and process the fundamentals of sailing...once they develop skills, some move on to high performance, some move on to cruising etc... not everybody, including every young person wants fast.

 

3.... High performance catamarans, windsurfers, kiteboards...etc.. have been around for decades (all can be had for cheap), all promised to be a boom to the sport, none have delivered....all are awesome, but again...hardware ain't the problem.

 

 

Folks the solution is so much simpler...and harder than we want to believe.

 

Want more sailors...bring your friends. Don't have friends who want to sail? Make new friends.

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I think its simplistic to think price is the barrier to sailing. When I started, barely a teenager, it was on an old spencer dinghy and every weekend I'd put sails and gear on my bike and cycle for an hour to where the boat was so I could just get out there. Why? well I didn't have the luxury of a chauffeur driven SUV taking me to the club, I was a super keen sailing rat who parents told me if I wanted it then I paid for it! Racing came later.

 

You gotta have passion, somethings got to click inside and you have to have the opportunity to see if its for you. All this trying to attract kids with a magic boat is bullshit, its just another version of helicopter style over parenting.

So it's just kids today? If it's not price, time, elitism and so many other activities today among other factors - what is it exactly? At least in the US, the trend couldn't be more clear (from Saving Sailing):

 

 

As a kiwi growing up in the yachting heyday of the 70's in a city that has a huge yachting history as well as an egalitarian culture, I cant speak for the US kids today situation. It seems to me to even have a site called "Sailing Anarchy" there must be something for the marketers who started it to tap into a vein of "fuck the establishment" so I guess that speaks volumes about the US scene. Sure we have the old farts who are all flags and trumpets but yachting was much more accessible. Now its less so, I'll comment on that from a keelboat racers point of view; Demographics are a bitch, everyone is aging, clubs are full of grannies and old crusties with walking sticks. Ownership sucks, my boat needs a 12 metre berth, antifouling and a sail every year or two, insurance, race fees etc which works out the basic running costs at about 14k per year. I do about 70 races a year for the grand total of $200 per race. Yep its fucking elitist alright, we just fool ourselves that its not, imagine being a golfer and every round costing $200, your mates would quite rightly call you a rich elitist wanker!

 

Now I could reduce that if I wanted to forego some convenience and performance but seriously this is an expensive sport because boats and especially bigger keel boats cost time and money. BUT to get a dinghy just to go sailing like an old 505, laser, hobie etc its cheap as chips so I think it must be something else or perhaps kids dont want to work up from the shitters to bleeding edge?

 

Sailing just aint as easy as it used to be unless you happen to be a wealthy middle aged retiree motoring a fucking white whale caravan around with a stick on top, that means less real sailors which in turn means less real sailing talk, sailing culture, sailing mentors and sailing grommets.

 

I was hoping to just be a lurker on this thread, hoping to get some ideas....sorry didn't find any, so now I feel a relentless urge to rant.

 

----begin rant-----

 

These guys see the big picture.

 

Hardware isn't the problem. Read this thread, see all the bickering, see the lack of people stepping up with the real solutions...yep..failure is imminent.

 

The only way to get anyone (of any age) to do something is to invite them, and make them think it was their idea.

 

The number of people I see standing around wondering why no one comes to play with them outnumbers the people on the streets inviting new people into the fold by at least 10:1, probably closer to 100:1

 

All the new gadgets in the world won't fix that problem.

 

Want new sailors?

 

the solution is in your mirror.

 

You're either part of the solution or your part of the problem.

 

 

ooohh but cost is a problem right? nope....I see thousands of boats sitting idle every day. owners have plenty of cash to make them move, but don't care enough to make it happen.

 

but the "kids" don't have the cash... bullshit. You can walk the docks in just about any marina and find a shitbox for back slip fees...You can crew for free, and most skippers will buy you the beer.

 

....but high performance boats are expensive, and kids want high performance boats..

bullshit on 3 fronts

1. .....wanting is good, as my mom used to say, "wish in one hand, shit in the other, see which fills up the fastest"

want/desire is the driving force behind work ethic. If someone gives it to you, it has no value, if you want it, and work for it, then it's worth something to you, price is just a number.

 

2. ..... "new" sailors need to learn to sail before hopping on "high performance" boats. I've taught sailing for years, and in the beginning (not forever) but in the beginning, people need time to learn and process the fundamentals of sailing...once they develop skills, some move on to high performance, some move on to cruising etc... not everybody, including every young person wants fast.

 

3.... High performance catamarans, windsurfers, kiteboards...etc.. have been around for decades (all can be had for cheap), all promised to be a boom to the sport, none have delivered....all are awesome, but again...hardware ain't the problem.

 

 

Folks the solution is so much simpler...and harder than we want to believe.

 

Want more sailors...bring your friends. Don't have friends who want to sail? Make new friends.

 

+100

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I was hoping to just be a lurker on this thread, hoping to get some ideas....sorry didn't find any, so now I feel a relentless urge to rant.

 

 

 

----begin rant-----

 

These guys see the big picture.

 

Hardware isn't the problem. Read this thread, see all the bickering, see the lack of people stepping up with the real solutions...yep..failure is imminent.

 

The only way to get anyone (of any age) to do something is to invite them, and make them think it was their idea.

 

The number of people I see standing around wondering why no one comes to play with them outnumbers the people on the streets inviting new people into the fold by at least 10:1, probably closer to 100:1

 

All the new gadgets in the world won't fix that problem.

 

Want new sailors?

 

the solution is in your mirror.

 

You're either part of the solution or your part of the problem.

 

 

ooohh but cost is a problem right? nope....I see thousands of boats sitting idle every day. owners have plenty of cash to make them move, but don't care enough to make it happen.

 

but the "kids" don't have the cash... bullshit. You can walk the docks in just about any marina and find a shitbox for back slip fees...You can crew for free, and most skippers will buy you the beer.

 

....but high performance boats are expensive, and kids want high performance boats..

bullshit on 3 fronts

1. .....wanting is good, as my mom used to say, "wish in one hand, shit in the other, see which fills up the fastest"

want/desire is the driving force behind work ethic. If someone gives it to you, it has no value, if you want it, and work for it, then it's worth something to you, price is just a number.

 

2. ..... "new" sailors need to learn to sail before hopping on "high performance" boats. I've taught sailing for years, and in the beginning (not forever) but in the beginning, people need time to learn and process the fundamentals of sailing...once they develop skills, some move on to high performance, some move on to cruising etc... not everybody, including every young person wants fast.

 

3.... High performance catamarans, windsurfers, kiteboards...etc.. have been around for decades (all can be had for cheap), all promised to be a boom to the sport, none have delivered....all are awesome, but again...hardware ain't the problem.

 

 

Folks the solution is so much simpler...and harder than we want to believe.

 

Want more sailors...bring your friends. Don't have friends who want to sail? Make new friends.

 

 

So it's just "bring your friends?" If that's the case, you'd think someone somewhere would have already made that work. Do you have examples of places fleets have grown by encouraging everyone to 'bring their friends?' Or even more to the point, fleets have grown with new, younger sailors? Most fleets around us have declined. And the few who have grown, have just brought back old sailors and their boats, not younger sailors with any boat.

 

In our little local fleet, folks have repeatedly brought new boaters out on the race course, but literally none of them stay with it - of all ages. Some owners have taken juniors (and junior sail instructors) out on bigger keelboats after junior sail sessions year after year, and invited them (and their parents) to come out for racing - and literally none of them come out. Just inviting folks out hasn't worked locally, but maybe we're doing it wrong?

 

I don't think anyone is saying it's just cost, but cost is a major issue. I'd say cost, time/competing activities (that are more exciting, or less cost/higher thrills) and elitism are near the top of the obstacles. That, and all the octogenarians (and younger 1%ers who play along), who keep trying to reinvent the 70's models of yachting and yacht clubs.

 

Buying a beater car makes sense if that's all you can afford, transportation is essential for most people. But sailing is a leisure activity, so why would anyone want to voluntarily spend their time & money on a beater Laser when there are way more fun things to do with that time and money? The younger generations are choosing to spend their leisure activity time & money on BMX, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, kitesurfing, hang gliding, motocross, hiking-climbing-mountaineering, etc. Evidently THEY think those activities are more exciting, and most considerably cheaper too...

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Additional input:

 

If we're talking about what kind of boat is the most fun for a youngster, then we're already talking about a sailor.

 

Capturing non-sailors and making them sailors depends not at all about what kind of boat - these people don't yet have the knowledge or experience to know what boats might be more fun for them personally than others. It depends on sparking their imagination, and getting them interested. Most of that happens for social reasons - the people look like fun, the parties look fun, racing looks fun.

 

From a non-sailor spectator point of view, I have trouble envisioning how seeing a fleet of 49ers sailing around (and wiping out) is more likely to attract new people to the sport than seeing a fleet of 420s blasting around and having a great time. Quite the opposite, really.

 

Once we have captured their imagination and hooked a new person on sailing, let's talk about equipment. Sailors want to sail fast. Sure. But many also love camaraderie and competition - things that are promoted within one-design fleets - of ANY type. Someone who is likely to stick with the sport and become a lifelong sailor, I believe, will not leave because they are in a fleet of "slow" boats. Someone who leaves the sport because their boat options were too "slow" would probably not have stuck around anyway - and might be exactly the same person who gets frustrated and quits after capsizing an I14 for the 5th time within 100 yards of the dock on their first day.

 

When I drive down to the club and see dozens of 420s and more dozens of Optis all locked in tight competition, and hordes of kids with huge smiles plastered on their faces, it makes me happy. And I don't believe that these are people who will simply leave because of equipment.

 

Your mileage may vary.

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The younger generations are choosing to spend their leisure activity time & money on BMX, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, kitesurfing, hang gliding, motocross, hiking-climbing-mountaineering, etc. Evidently THEY think those activities are more exciting, and most considerably cheaper too...

 

Actually hang gliding is mostly pursued by a declining number of ageing hold-outs. Paragliding has pretty much replaced it and the age profile of paragliding is not so different to sailing.

 

But I agree that "bring your friends" won't grow the sport. You don't stumble into racing sailboats. It is wet, cold, sometimes boring and sometimes a little bit scary. You've got to really want to do it.

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FWIW http://sailinganarchy.com/2015/07/15/sailing-saved/

Ask yourself- When is the last time your kid, or a friendly non-sailor begged you to go “fun sailing” with them in 10-15kts on your raceboat? Or the last time you reached out for crew and had to turn people away due to the large response? If the answer took some thought, you may be trying to push the rock uphill. There can be a better way.

 

High Performance Sailing and constantly evolving ways of sharing it with the world are unquestionably attracting new people, spectators and sponsors all the way from the America’s Cup and VOR, to the 7000 people who watched the Fort 2 Battery Race via Sailing Anarchy’s live stream. Whether we like it or not, the environment that we sail in has changed over the last fifty years. As a result, the 50-year old model that many areas and clubs continue to operate under is no longer bringing in new people and retaining existing ones.

 

It’s becoming more important than ever for sailing to be inherently fun. I am not suggesting that we load up novices into aussie-18’s and turn them loose, or have cake and ice cream after every race, but it is obvious that the iphone and X box have raised the level of excitement needed to capture young people’s attention.

 

In Charleston, the Hobie 20 was the answer. Having a ready supply of used boats at reasonable prices in a spot with a great beach launching club and reliable, consistent breeze (and the ability to outperform the big currents) makes this boat the coolest starter fleet boat in the history of Charleston. Starting from scratch, we designed our fleet to re-engage and keep those kids who leave sailing because they can no longer fit under an opti boom and don’t like bailing out their boat with a juice jug. We also designed it for the guys who just want to stand the rig up and haul ass on a weeknight. Frequently heard in the group is “I didnt buy this boat to race windward/leewards and worry about tactics. I bought it to haul ass and have fun.”

 

High speed, ease of use, learning, and minimal pain-in-the-ass (PITA) factor are the keys. If you’re having trouble attracting new sailors, try going faster.

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In my opinion, one hindrance for anyone (young or old) that wishes to get involved with sailing small boats (fast or slow) is easy, legal, safe access to water. At least this is true in the USA.

 

Some of us are fortunate to live in areas where water access is pretty easy either through traditional sailing and yacht clubs (one should not automatically equate these with high cost) or sailing centers (Sail Newport for example). For the rest, we're left with limited access and many places that are not so "friendly" to rigging, launching and retrieving a small sailboat.

 

These same places, however, are seeing a big growth of kayak and SUP users where launching and retrieving requirements are not as severe (go ahead and pull your rotomolded kayak onto the rocks). I suspect that many people in the USA gravitating towards kayaks and SUP's are the same types who would really like to sail....

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The issue is access and cost of access / storage. Ive got cash to buy a decent used boat, or a down payment , because I've been living very cheaply since I graduated . But, I can't afford the on going costs to simply have a place to sail. I can't afford a place to live where I can keep the boat in the off season which means my yearly costs for the boat become quite painful. Consequently , no boat (aside from a laser my friend graciously let's me keep in his yard next to his)

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The issue is access and cost of access / storage. Ive got cash to buy a decent used boat, or a down payment , because I've been living very cheaply since I graduated . But, I can't afford the on going costs to simply have a place to sail. I can't afford a place to live where I can keep the boat in the off season which means my yearly costs for the boat become quite painful. Consequently , no boat (aside from a laser my friend graciously let's me keep in his yard next to his)

why would you need to live near where the boat is kept in the offseason?

 

quick tip: if you drive about 100 miles outside any major city on the planet, there is generally people w/ barns and lots of space that would let you stash a boat for a couple months for a couple hundred bucks

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Everything mentioned on this and other threads is correct, but I think the real problem is TIME. It takes time to learn to sail boat, either high performance or low performance. It takes time to maintain a boat. It takes time to even find the correct boat for someone's preferences. It take time to participate in regattas. Parents must invest time in their youngsters to expose them to sailing. For many, there isn't enough time. Their "modern " lives are sucking up all the available time doing other things. It is NOT MONEY. People have plenty for their BMW's or the afore mentioned iPhone. They just don't choose to spend it on a boat. Whether TIME or MONEY, they choose not to invest it in sailing. Sadly, more and more people both younger and older don't see the return. At 67 I will continue to enjoy every moment on the water either racing or daysailing my little boats. Glad my father invested his time to teach me the pleasures of sailing. I did the same for my three children but sadly they don't appear to have the TIME.

 

if 0 out of 3 kids have interest in making the time to sail, then you did a poor job at instilling a love for the game in them. if the game is taught to people in the proper way, the retention % from generation to generation is a lot higher than 0%

 

just curious, what are your kids hobbies or sports they play as adults?

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The issue is access and cost of access / storage. Ive got cash to buy a decent used boat, or a down payment , because I've been living very cheaply since I graduated . But, I can't afford the on going costs to simply have a place to sail. I can't afford a place to live where I can keep the boat in the off season which means my yearly costs for the boat become quite painful. Consequently , no boat (aside from a laser my friend graciously let's me keep in his yard next to his)

why would you need to live near where the boat is kept in the offseason?

 

quick tip: if you drive about 100 miles outside any major city on the planet, there is generally people w/ barns and lots of space that would let you stash a boat for a couple months for a couple hundred bucks

I was saying as far as keeping it in my driveway or yard etc. A farm is interesting, would you do that with a 5-10k boat though ?

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The biggest problem facing trying to get kinds into sailing is making them get up before 9am.

 

There, I've said it. Problem solved. :P

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... sparking their imagination, and getting them interested. Most of that happens for social reasons - the people look like fun, the parties look fun, racing looks fun.

 

Yes! I have two daughters -- ages 11 and 7 -- who are a case in point. They hate my 30-foot 4KSB, so I rented a 14-foot Holder sailboat a couple times in Mission Bay. Family outing, you know. They kinda liked it and kinda had fun, but to them it was hardly worth the 50-minute each-way drive. Then at the end of summer I invited many of their friends and their families to a beach toy day in the Bay. I brought along my vinyl inflatable boat and I fetched the 14-footer again. Four or five kids were with me in the sailboat and we towed another couple of kids in the inflatable. They jumped in the water, swapped boats, splashed each other, took turns controlling the sheets, and my daughter got to be hot stuff when she took the tiller. They had a GREAT time -- together.

 

Over the summer I also saw the Oceanside Harbor "summer camp" kids having a lot of fun together on Zumas, with adults in the shadows only.

 

Maybe the old farts (like me) need to empower groups of kids and then just back off and let 'em have fun.

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... sparking their imagination, and getting them interested. Most of that happens for social reasons - the people look like fun, the parties look fun, racing looks fun.

 

...

 

Maybe the old farts (like me) need to empower groups of kids and then just back off and let 'em have fun.

 

 

+1

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The biggest problem facing trying to get kinds into sailing is making them get up before 9am.

 

There, I've said it. Problem solved. :P

I bought a powerboat that we can take to the club on Sat night, so the 9am on the dock call isn't so hard. Today it's a 50 minute drive which means out of bed at 7:30 on a Sunday. Tough

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The issue is access and cost of access / storage. Ive got cash to buy a decent used boat, or a down payment , because I've been living very cheaply since I graduated . But, I can't afford the on going costs to simply have a place to sail. I can't afford a place to live where I can keep the boat in the off season which means my yearly costs for the boat become quite painful. Consequently , no boat (aside from a laser my friend graciously let's me keep in his yard next to his)

why would you need to live near where the boat is kept in the offseason?

 

quick tip: if you drive about 100 miles outside any major city on the planet, there is generally people w/ barns and lots of space that would let you stash a boat for a couple months for a couple hundred bucks

I was saying as far as keeping it in my driveway or yard etc. A farm is interesting, would you do that with a 5-10k boat though ?

 

if its insured, yes

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... sparking their imagination, and getting them interested. Most of that happens for social reasons - the people look like fun, the parties look fun, racing looks fun.

...

 

Maybe the old farts (like me) need to empower groups of kids and then just back off and let 'em have fun.

 

+1

 

Social reasons aside, LET THE KIDS sail the damn boat BY THEMSELVES! No coaches, no parents. Go to a few lower key regattas without coaches. Its important, i think, to get out there on your own. We used to go out every now and then on sundays or saturdays when the coaches werent around for whatever reason, a couple lasers a couple 420s and a couple optis, or some combination thereof, and just go sail around. Sometimes just one boat, sometimes a few of us. Do a few maneuvers on our own, some speed stuff, but also just go around the bay or out to the gulf to places normally wouldnt bother to go.... all without someone looking at us every second of the day. Too many parents, in my experience outside of the group of sailors i grew up with, either want their kid to be protected 100% of the time or training 100% of the time. Or both.

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I don't think it's so hard to understand. Sailing has an ageing demographic and older sailors will tend to prefer less physically demanding boats

 

Maybe, but my observation is that the sailors in the high performance classes now tend to be older than they ever were, and the youngsters from 29ers are sailing moderate performance boats.

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I think some of the most successful days I had as a sailing instructor as far as keeping the kids interested were the sailing trips. Once the kids got beyond the "learn to sail where you want to go" stage, and we were confident enough in them that we didn't need to keep them all within a 20-second coach-boat trip, we would go on an adventure (of sorts). There was an uninhabited island a few miles down the lake from where we sailed out of, we'd make a day of it, choosing a nice medium wind day, pack the coach boat full of food and goodies (and a stack of anchors), and off we went. Yes the trips served as a chance to introduce the kids to the concepts of charts and longer "legs" than a race, but mostly it was there to be fun. We could trust the kids to keep the boats upright and going, so they were allowed to take whatever course they wanted to the island (generally upwind), we just kept an eye out if anyone capsized or looked like they got stuck. By the time they'd get to the island we'd have set up a couple anchor lines so they could tie up their boats, they then had to find a way to get the food to shore (floating the coolers was a standard option, throwing packs of hotdogs from the boats was less successful, but we didn't stop them, just made them fish the packs out of the water). They had a chance to make themselves lunch, play on the rock beach, swim, do whatever, the main point was it was their day to do with as they wished, as instructors we tried to back off and relax as much as we felt we could. I would hear stories of these trips for years, it's how the advanced kids convinced the beginners to keep with it, why a lot of them came back in following years, they had a good time playing.

 

So that all worked well, giving the kids space got them interested in sailing as more than a racing game or mindless going around a course. But, if you ask me now how many of the kids are still sailing, whether it's racing or cruising or just sitting on a sailboat for no reason, I'd have to say a very small percentage do so regularly. Basically as they got older they lost access to cheap club-owned "junior program" boats, they couldn't afford (or didn't want to afford) as a teenager to buy a boat and maintain it. They might buy a boat, go to the club and ask to keep it there, they were then subject to a couple hundred in membership and storage fees, plus keeping the boats going, even if you bought a $1000-$2000 laser, within 2-3 years you'd spent more just keeping the boat where it could be sailed than you did on the boat. The ones who seem to have stuck around are the ones that are/were instructors later in life. It's a biased sample since obviously they like sailing enough to be around it all day every day for their summers, but all the local clubs had deals with the instructors, you got a temporary membership, you could keep a boat at the club for free, it cut the costs and access issues right down. As soon as they aren't instructors anymore then a lot of these people drop out of sailing until you see them pop up on university teams, or sailing somebody's big keelboat for a while.

 

So basically, I suspect that the issues mentioned here are all relevant. How relevant to each person or area is a personal thing. Certainly you won't convince young people (I'm still talking about 18-25 year olds) to continue sailing from their youth if it's expensive and/or difficult to access the water. You might be able to get them to crew on other boats, or join race teams if it's convenient. But that's what a lot of it comes down to, sailing is inherently a little inconvenient, you need access to water, access to an expensive bit of equipment (a boat), the budget to keep said equipment floating, it all adds up until the target audience decides that there's something else to do, possibly something less inconvenient.

 

Recruiting non-sailors is a whole different story. I've invited tons of people to come race with me on big boats when I can, I've even convinced some to stick around the sport long enough to learn the ropes (and stop calling them ropes). But getting them really into it seems to only work if it's a group, you can more easily get a group of friends to travel some distance, put some time in, etc then it's social. If anything, 18-25 year olds are extremely social creatures by nature, anything that's a chance to hang out with friends or meet new people tends to be reasonably well received. But once they are on the hook, you run into the problems mentioned earlier about how convenient it is to stay involved with the sport.

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Has anyone asked WHY we want to keep people in sailing after their teens?

The agonising seems to be coming from yacht clubs who need members to cover their costs, the trade who needs customers for their latest toy, and journalists who need problems to write about.

Sailing for kids and teens, as well as getting them out of their bedrooms, is a brilliant educational experience which teaches life skills perhaps better than most sports.

Do we worry that adults don't keep practising their Spanish unless and until they can afford the time and money for foreign holidays?

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Fact: Double handers are more attractive to newbie teenies than solo and get twice as many sailing.

Girls on boats attract guys.

Beater 420's are ok to start but get boring. The 420 class could be improved if up grades and changes were allowed.

If more clubs supported/encouraged handicap racing (as well as USless sailing) we could get more cheap boats sailing.

Four kids in a Lightning sailing against 3 kids in a Windmill is better than none of the kids sailing. At this level, cost is very low.

With our Neandrathal OD thinking, If there actually was a $2K high performance boat we would condemn it because there wasn't a

ready made OD class and cheaper used boats available. Just think of what a modern 420 could be if to ALL if upgrades/changes were allowed.

Lighter hull weights, better cockpit layouts, fatheads (still dacron) and etc. without increasing manufacturing costs.

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Alot of young sailors switch to kiting. I mean, Im starting to kite more than sail. Its cheaper, so much cheaper, than say campaigning a performance dinghy on a college budget. AND no rigging AND no expensive fixes. PLUS Foiling is really fun.

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