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    • UnderDawg

      A Few Simple Rules   05/22/2017

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2savage

Declining fleets and memories of the boom years...

121 posts in this topic

Back in Europe during the 70's I had the pleasure of racing in some of the biggest fleets EVER!!!!.  One design dinghies, 243 boats on the start line (gate start).  International Moth, 80 boats at the Nationals.  Around The Island Race (Isle of White) over 1,500 boats competing.   Chichester Harbor Federation Week, 1,000+ dinghies and small keel boats.

 

So, where do we end up?    I did see a plethora of Optimists out on the North Fork this weekend, but is it enough??   

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1 hour ago, 2savage said:

Back in Europe during the 70's I had the pleasure of racing in some of the biggest fleets EVER!!!!.  One design dinghies, 243 boats on the start line (gate start).  International Moth, 80 boats at the Nationals.  Around The Island Race (Isle of White) over 1,500 boats competing.   Chichester Harbor Federation Week, 1,000+ dinghies and small keel boats.

 

So, where do we end up?    I did see a plethora of Optimists out on the North Fork this weekend, but is it enough??   

I think we are at about 20% of what we had race participation versus 1975. But how to measure that accurately?
Certainly dinghy racing has dropped through the floor. With a few bright spots. 505. Canoe. Thistle. Lightning. Laser. Sunfish. MC. Snipe in some areas. And the UFO is on the rise. Maybe the aero will go somewhere. I was rooting for the Dzero. I think that has traction in Europe.
I'm not mentioning junior sailing. I've left out some boats for sure. The V15 was pretty vibrant 10 years ago. Since mine was stolen I've lost track.

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From the Front Page:

"A ton of boats – 115 from 19 countries to be exact, are at the ORC Worlds in Trieste, Italy. We’ll have a report from the fleet very soon…"

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The Round the Island race the weekend before last had 1,340 entries.

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At the SORC(Suamico Offshore Racing Club) ,aka, Windjammers Sailing Club, in the Tuesday night races we have an increase in boats.

In the spinnaker division we have a Beneteau First 40.7, a Beneteau First 10r, a Nelson-Marek 39, a couple S2 7.9, at least 1 S2 9.1, soon to be Tripp 40, and a few more I can't recall offhand.

The no-kite and cruising divisions are growing, also.

I think the generally deeper water on Green Bay is helping.....

 

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20 hours ago, Presuming Ed said:

The Round the Island race the weekend before last had 1,340 entries.

Yes, also in Brittany race entries are on the up again even if not yet back to 1990s levels. The peak must have been late 90s I think.

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Just a comparison...

 

 

NASCAR used to have zillions of cars racing in venues everywhere (before it was Trademarked NASCAR), now it has what, maybe 100? 

Sailing races used to have zillions of boats on the line. Now?...

What changed? letting pro's be legitimate, identified pro's.

The big money drove the hobbyist's out. AC? Always the Billionaire Boy's Club. The average IOR race? Sure a few high dollar boats with a driver who *maybe* got a new porsche for winning SORC, but mostly not. I can remember racing against Tom Blackaller, Big Dennis, and several other "big names" when they were *amateurs*, but most were guys driving their hobby boats.

Now most big name regattas have boats with program managers, unlimited budgets and airfare/salaries for crews.  I always thought it was cool when the owner took the crew out to dinner after a regatta to say thanks. Now they give you a W-2.

My 1/50th of a US$

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I think three issues have hurt sailing. 

#1.  Slip fees are high.  People only have so much disposable income for pleasure and the rise in slip fees is moving people to other forms of recreation.

#2.  Availability of slip.  Developers have been buying the marinas and turning them into Condo Projects further promoting Problem #1..

#3.  Our population is aging, and many people are getting out of sailing because of age.  And, they are not being replaced by the younger set due to #1 and #2 above.

That's the way I see it in Florida.

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I simply think the interest of a large segment of the population is gone and never coming back. 

Most kids I know just aren't interested in sailing.  The very idea of working hard and spending money to go slow can't compete with all the other distractions available.

Of course some kids raised in the right environment and with supportive parents will sail.  But the glory days are over. 

 

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The stupid thing is that the governing bodies don't collect information about the fleets so no one really knows whether they are declining. However, checking out various numbers shows that in many places there seem to be more kids than ever before. In the '80s the British and US Opti nationals were normally under 100 boats. Now they get around 400 and 250 respectively. Bics, Teras, Toppers are doing well.  Okay, Blue Jays are gone but overall the kids are alright.

Lots and lots of people are sailing hiking singlehanders all around the world - Lasers, Radials, Europes, RSs, Solos, O Jolle, Finns, Sabres, Zephyrs. Since the early days of the boom years it's been a growth area.

In dinghies the big decline seems to be in fast trap boats (including cats), windsurfers, and in the Jack Holt style ply family boats that were once so big in England and Australia. The British 505 championships got well over 100 boats year upon year in the '70s - now the numbers are normally in the 20s. The Fireball used to get 170+ - now it's around 50. The International 14 champs in the UK used to get 70-80. Now they get less than 30. The skiffs have not replaced them; in fact many of the skiff classes in England have died and they aren't doing much elsewhere. The 29er is surprisingly small - only four countries in the world have 40 or more active boats and national fleets average around 20 active boats.

The story with Enterprises, Mirrors, GP14s, Herons and other Holt boats is similar but not as dire. The 2000 and 200 in England may show that there's still a market for a modern boat in that sort of sector.

Cat numbers in general are going nowhere or dwindling although the A, F18 and Hobie 16 are solid. Windsurfer fleets have dropped dramatically since the boom years, apart from the huge Techno junior hybrid scene in Europe. The Moth is going really well in south eastern Australia and the UK, but in no other country are there more than 50 active boats. There's a lot of noise about foiling but not so many boats racing. 

As P Ed says, some of the events centred around mid-size cruiser-racers are doing OK.

The good news is that some measurements show that the panic about kids numbers is way overblown - there are perhaps more kids now than before. The big move seems to be towards hiking singlehanders and away from crewed trapeze boats. The "modern but not extreme" hiking doublehanders seem to be doing OK but none of them are truly worldwide classes. Oh, and the material of the 2000s could be polyethylene.

The bad news is that overall numbers are not looking good, and the downward trend is accelerating over the last three years. And the types of boat that people are making the most noise about are not growing, or not growing fast enough to keep numbers up.

 

 

 

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Not enough kids entering the sport. I blame the internet. Time constraints have changed the sport since the 70s. Instant gratification expectations dictates that if you cant do the whole thing in 2.5 hours, you don't stand a chance of getting the family involved. If you don't engage with the whole family its unlikely you will get an individual kid from that family. Doesn't matter if its dinghy sailing or keel boat racing,  for most people you have 2.5 hours, that's it.

Why do you think the AC races ran for 20 minutes and the whole days racing was over in 2.5 hours?

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14 hours ago, bugger said:

I simply think the interest of a large segment of the population is gone and never coming back. 

Most kids I know just aren't interested in sailing.  The very idea of working hard and spending money to go slow can't compete with all the other distractions available.

Of course some kids raised in the right environment and with supportive parents will sail.  But the glory days are over. 

 

I've observed that many things in life are cyclical.  People re-discover things and suddenly, it's trendy again. "Everything old is new again."  It's difficult to predict if that will happen with sailing, but it's possible.

In related news, my club had 110 boats compete in our Junior Regatta this summer. The tragedy is that only a small fraction of these kids will continue sailing into adulthood. There is some sort of failure of transition between junior and college sailing that has been noted several times by people who know better than me.

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10 hours ago, Last Post said:

Not enough kids entering the sport. I blame the internet. Time constraints have changed the sport since the 70s. Instant gratification expectations dictates that if you cant do the whole thing in 2.5 hours, you don't stand a chance of getting the family involved. If you don't engage with the whole family its unlikely you will get an individual kid from that family. Doesn't matter if its dinghy sailing or keel boat racing,  for most people you have 2.5 hours, that's it.

Why do you think the AC races ran for 20 minutes and the whole days racing was over in 2.5 hours?

i don't get this argument at all. I regularly competed in 420 events with over 100 420's, lasers, and literally hundreds of optis. The issue is retention, not getting kids in sailing. To own a leadboat as a human in their 20's is just not attainable for most, i am on the cusp of being able to afford it and i think that puts me in a minority. For most of my friends college loans can be crippling. Trying to start a life. Moving away from water (one of my problems) makes it hard to maintain a boat. I still actively crew on leadboats - it doesn't cost a lot and i don't need to worry about maintaining them (But have offered to help), but i am really, really, missing dinghies... but i can't afford the time or money to deal with them.

 

The AC was always only a couple hours of racing... It used to be one or two races a day (LV etc) but the day was over after a couple hours. The fact that they do a shitload of heats in a day is indicative of attention span - not tying up a TV spot for 8hrs. 

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I'm pretty tired of this ongoing discussion.  The problem is that our global economy got totally fucked by a few generations of humans that lacked the ability to understand the impact of their actions.  You want to know why the majority of people aged 21-45 can't and don't buy boats and spend lots of money to compete?  It's because they lack the means to do so.  Most of the money in this world is held by an aging group of people, those people failed to create jobs and encouraged people to go to college to pursue their dreams rather than follow the necessary paths to obtain employment.  As a result you have a skills gap, where there are numerous unfilled jobs that people don't want because they have a college degree, but there are no jobs that want or need that degree.  Add to all of that the debt that younger generations now carry in order to afford the higher cost of living while average wages remain relatively unchanged.  And we haven't even discussed the fact that the cost of owning and maintaining a boat these days is exponentially more expensive than it was just 20 years ago, with fewer resources to do so.  Boat yards have become condo developments, boat builders are shutting their doors, the cost of new technology in the sailing industry makes it impossible to compete in many fleets due to the arms race.  It used to be that anyone with a little extra money, a trailer hitch and a tent could campaign a boat, that's simply not the case anymore.

 

So if you're old and wealthy and sitting there wondering what's happening to the sport, go out and buy a boat and let young people sail it.

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11 hours ago, Last Post said:

Not enough kids entering the sport. I blame the internet. Time constraints have changed the sport since the 70s. Instant gratification expectations dictates that if you cant do the whole thing in 2.5 hours, you don't stand a chance of getting the family involved. If you don't engage with the whole family its unlikely you will get an individual kid from that family. Doesn't matter if its dinghy sailing or keel boat racing,  for most people you have 2.5 hours, that's it.

Why do you think the AC races ran for 20 minutes and the whole days racing was over in 2.5 hours?

Short attention spans?

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RumLine, true, sailing is relatively expensive, but the decline is traceable to 1985 - extreme sports, jetskis, video games. High-stimulus alternatives have soared, but innovative dinghies in the US are only recently available. Commonly used boats designed pre-1970's - Opti's, Sabots, El Toros, Lasers, CFJs, C420s - don't have the modern attributes to compete well within the broader scope of modern consumer expectations.

Any activity needs to feed the base. Small boat choices in the US for several decades have not provided the level of convenience, excitement and versatility necessary to sustain robust participation beyond novice levels. If we compare junior program enrollment rates for novice vs high school the ratio is about 10-1. This is about half of the retention rate in other sports.

"Teenageers" age 10-14 are much more sophisticated now vs 30 years ago. The US pathway of commonly available dinghies does not provide kids age 10-14 with a viable advancement platform, nor an entry point for those who start late to competition. Further, as has been noted elsewhere, a race only focus takes away from kids' need for adventure, empowerment and exploration. 

The attrition rate of girls in sailing is much higher than boys. They have a greater need for social activity than boys, and yet here in the US what boat can a pair of 11 year old girls sail in decent breeze? 

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20 hours ago, akeeley4834 said:

I think three issues have hurt sailing. 

#1.  Slip fees are high.  People only have so much disposable income for pleasure and the rise in slip fees is moving people to other forms of recreation.

#2.  Availability of slip.  Developers have been buying the marinas and turning them into Condo Projects further promoting Problem #1..

#3.  Our population is aging, and many people are getting out of sailing because of age.  And, they are not being replaced by the younger set due to #1 and #2 above.

That's the way I see it in Florida.

^^^^ This. 

Affordable water access is a huge issue and not going to get any better. No amount of tweaking rules, boats, one design classes, youth programs, or anything else will make much a difference unless water access for 'regular' folks can be made more affordable. Unfortunately I don't think making marina slips, boats storage  and water access more available and affordable is a solvable problem. 

That's one reason people are buying kayaks and SUPs instead Sunfish and Lasers. 

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1 hour ago, RumLine said:

I'm pretty tired of this ongoing discussion.  The problem is that our global economy got totally fucked by a few generations of humans that lacked the ability to understand the impact of their actions.  You want to know why the majority of people aged 21-45 can't and don't buy boats and spend lots of money to compete?  It's because they lack the means to do so.  Most of the money in this world is held by an aging group of people, those people failed to create jobs and encouraged people to go to college to pursue their dreams rather than follow the necessary paths to obtain employment.  As a result you have a skills gap, where there are numerous unfilled jobs that people don't want because they have a college degree, but there are no jobs that want or need that degree.  Add to all of that the debt that younger generations now carry in order to afford the higher cost of living while average wages remain relatively unchanged.  And we haven't even discussed the fact that the cost of owning and maintaining a boat these days is exponentially more expensive than it was just 20 years ago, with fewer resources to do so.  Boat yards have become condo developments, boat builders are shutting their doors, the cost of new technology in the sailing industry makes it impossible to compete in many fleets due to the arms race.  It used to be that anyone with a little extra money, a trailer hitch and a tent could campaign a boat, that's simply not the case anymore.

 

So if you're old and wealthy and sitting there wondering what's happening to the sport, go out and buy a boat and let young people sail it.

Partially true. I don't buy the college degree part. The reality is that real world incomes have gone down over 30+ years for the middle class. The 1% get richer due to the power of corporations and lobbyists. The net result is that boats are not affordable for middle class families any more. The only market for new boats is catering to the small percentage of the wealthy. That's why the manufacturers of old who built 4KSB sailboats barely exist, and the Wally-type companies of the world are doing well with low volume, high buck boat building.

As a side note, this financial anxiety has also turned to cultural anxiety, as people generally know they are getting screwed over but don't really understand how or why, and look for scapegoats. Immigrants, terrorists and the establishment (and the latter is partially true). Without taking this discussion to Political Anarchy, I think you can see where it's headed.

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Racing well requires practice unless you want to see the same results all the time.  Actually requires a committed crew of maybe half dozen who are willing to commit a couple evenings and occasional weekend for half a year...while balancing their own family responsibilities.  It's not like every sailor needs their own boat.  Not that I was ever good at racing, but I would have happily spent the money to support coaching and amenities for our very amateur effort.  I can't imagine ever racing again.

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22 hours ago, Caca Cabeza said:

Just a comparison...

 

 

NASCAR used to have zillions of cars racing in venues everywhere (before it was Trademarked NASCAR), now it has what, maybe 100? 

Sailing races used to have zillions of boats on the line. Now?...

What changed? letting pro's be legitimate, identified pro's.

The big money drove the hobbyist's out. AC? Always the Billionaire Boy's Club. The average IOR race? Sure a few high dollar boats with a driver who *maybe* got a new porsche for winning SORC, but mostly not. I can remember racing against Tom Blackaller, Big Dennis, and several other "big names" when they were *amateurs*, but most were guys driving their hobby boats.

Now most big name regattas have boats with program managers, unlimited budgets and airfare/salaries for crews.  I always thought it was cool when the owner took the crew out to dinner after a regatta to say thanks. Now they give you a W-2.

My 1/50th of a US$

This! We have hotshot young sailors who won't go to a regional challenge event representing our club because there's no financial incentive!

 

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The thing I noticed is that the population of people racing are a lot older than they seemed to be throughout most of my sailing career. Lately I have been starting to see some younger folks getting into the sport, but its not like it used to be.

Here on the Chesapeake, a couple years ago, the Cruising Class seemed to be taking off big time, but now they seem to have leveled off. CHESSS (Chesapeake Short-handed Sailing) has been doing well, but again, its mostly older folks racing older former raceboats, single-hand since they are tired of crew problems.  

The one-design racing classes which seem to be growing are the J-70's (which may have peaked already) and J-22's are making a come back big time as cheap thrill ways of going racing. Even strange way-past-their-use-date classes like the Cal 25 seem to have made a resurgence as a cheap way to go racing. There seemed to be a period in time when there were halfway decent handicap racers hitting the market, (Beneteau 40.7 & 36.7, J-109, Farr 395, Aerodyne 38, Cape Fear 38), which would seem to be boats that could remain competitive long after they were new designs. In the bigger one-design keel boat world, boats like the Farr 40 and Farr 30 seemed to have really long useful lifespans and still provide great race platforms. 

That does not seem to be the case anymore. Now, oddly there seems to be a new big one-design keel boat class launched every few months (J-111, C&C 30, Farr 280 and so on..) that all claim to be aimed at amateur skippers and crew, but which take near pros to sail well. 

On the other hand, as someone said after a CHESSS event this weekend, "the older I get, the better I was when I was younger." Its kinda like that. 

Jeff

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Why does this same question pop up all the time?

 

jfc- quit bitching about declines and go sailing, recruit new blood and stop wasting time online acting like you were witness to Hiroshima- 

 

quantuty doesnt mean quality/ I actually like sailing not being a mainstream activity- surfing used to be cool until quicksilver ended up in Macy's and now every kook with access to a board paddles out and ruins perfectly good sessions- 

as fkr pros- don't bitch about people who've found a way to make a living from the activity they love- you come off as jealous and resentful- if you were good enough to be a pro, you'd be a pro- 

 

so sick of these whiney threads- 

 

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18 hours ago, Last Post said:

Not enough kids entering the sport. I blame the internet. Time constraints have changed the sport since the 70s. Instant gratification expectations dictates that if you cant do the whole thing in 2.5 hours, you don't stand a chance of getting the family involved. If you don't engage with the whole family its unlikely you will get an individual kid from that family. Doesn't matter if its dinghy sailing or keel boat racing,  for most people you have 2.5 hours, that's it.

Why do you think the AC races ran for 20 minutes and the whole days racing was over in 2.5 hours?

IMHO you're dead right about the limited time available today, and the need to get more of the family involved. 

Many of us have rose-tinted glasses about how big the fleets used to be, though. If we actually go out and look back through old figures, the junior fleets were often pretty small - a lot smaller than a lot of memories indicate. 

There's plenty of things that people do today that aren't instantly gratifying per se. Many kids and young adults put enormous amounts of time into mastering a game like WoW and climbing up the rankings. Kids in Korea will move into a house with WoW pros so they can learn from them 24/7. What's interesting is that game designers use psychology and structured game design to achieve that sort of connection, and sailing just ignores that approach. We can't have very real and valid concerns about computer game addiction and then also say that kids have short attention spans.  

But yep, if we could address the time issue and bring the family in then we could find an answer to dwindling fleets.

 

3 hours ago, USA190520 said:

 

as fkr pros- don't bitch about people who've found a way to make a living from the activity they love- you come off as jealous and resentful- if you were good enough to be a pro, you'd be a pro- 

 

 

Not necessarily. Who wants to spend so much time sleeping in a hotel or flying to regattas? Who wants to make every sailing day a working day? Who wants to be at the behest of some rich dude who may want to steer when he can't? There's plenty of top-class sailors (ie 3rd in the Laser worlds, Olympic medallist, etc) who have decided it's not the life for them. There's also plenty of people who find that it's less fun to race against pros, and much less fun to sail in an atmosphere that revolves around money so much. And when owners have to find cash for a boat AND find cash to pay the crew then it's not surprising that many of them are giving up. It's perfectly rational to say you enjoy racing enough to spend $100k on a boat and $15k on maintenance each year, but not an extra $50k on pampering and paying crew.

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8 hours ago, sazx said:

RumLine, true, sailing is relatively expensive, but the decline is traceable to 1985 - extreme sports, jetskis, video games. High-stimulus alternatives have soared, but innovative dinghies in the US are only recently available. Commonly used boats designed pre-1970's - Opti's, Sabots, El Toros, Lasers, CFJs, C420s - don't have the modern attributes to compete well within the broader scope of modern consumer expectations.

Looking at it from another angle - the decline is traceable to about 1985, when much of the sport started to become obsessed with making the sport more extreme and less accessible.  The first major extreme televised pro events started around that time. The first part of the sport to become obsessed with "extreme" sailing was windsurfing, which has dropped much more dramatically than other disciplines even before kiting arrived as a major competitor. Leading figures in the plastic kayak boom said it straight up - going extreme killed windsurfing and let plastic kayaking in. Now top figures in windsurfing admit the problem. Why take boats down the same death march?

There's always been other 'extreme' sports to compete with. Surfing and skateboarding boomed in the 1960s, when sailing was also booming. The "ten speed boom" in road cycling and a motorcycle boom both occurred during the '70s, when sailing reached new heights. The MTB and BMX booms followed. 

One hundred percent agree on the fact that many modern boats don't have the ability to compete well with modern consumer expectations. People these days get their natural watersport kicks on cheap plastic kayaks or even simpler but slower stand up paddleboards. They ride road bikes which are easier to use and cheaper than '80s bikes. They use camping gear that is cheaper and less complex. And then sailing say "hey, spend shitloads of money on an extreme boat that takes longer to rig and that you can't sail in a lot of local waterholes" and wonders why it's not doing well.

Optis, Sabots, Lasers and 420s (and bigger "old style' boats like Js, Beneteaus and Hobies) are still enormously popular all around the world. The Opti is more popular than it used to be. The number of boats out there shows that the Opti/Laser/420 types are not the problem - they are the savior. Without them the sport would be almost dead on its feet. There's a new breed of craft like the RS Feva and Bic O'pen and Techno that are heavy, flexy, cheap and tough that prove that kids will flock to sailing if the gear is fun to use and not complex and fragile. 

Look at the 29er - great boat, lots of promotion by national bodies and big builders, and the lead-in to the skiff discipline. And yet in most countries in which it is sailed there are less than 40 active boats. Same with foilers - huge promotion but tiny fleets in all but two countries (where there are fewer boats than eons ago). Plenty of people have been promoting the extreme boats for 30 years now and they still have very few big fleets. How much longer will the sport suffer from people sticking to a concept that has been failing for three decades?

We're so lucky that classes like the Laser, 420, Opti, Dragon, Hobie and ORCi/IRC/PHRF cruiser/racers are keeping the sport afloat. Imagine how well the sport could do if we started to promote such boats rather than blaming them for the fact that fewer people sail high performance boats these days!

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, Last Post said:

Not enough kids entering the sport. I blame the internet. Time constraints have changed the sport since the 70s. Instant gratification expectations dictates that if you cant do the whole thing in 2.5 hours, you don't stand a chance of getting the family involved. If you don't engage with the whole family its unlikely you will get an individual kid from that family. Doesn't matter if its dinghy sailing or keel boat racing,  for most people you have 2.5 hours, that's it.

Why do you think the AC races ran for 20 minutes and the whole days racing was over in 2.5 hours?

No problem with 2.5 hours +/-  a tad.  We race in ELIS and the lower CT River from March til December, and they are never more than 2.5 or 3 hours?!?!  Spring and Fall Frostbite races are 1 to 3, with another hour of launching and hauling.  Summer Tuesday and Wednesday nights we leave the dock at 5:30 and back by 8:30.  Summer Sundays 1:00 to 3:30 start of prep to finish.  So, it can be easily done, hundreds of races a year in 3 hours or less total time, not including customary seasonal prep, spring launch, and winter storing

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2 hours ago, The Jay said:

Optis, Sabots, Lasers and 420s (and bigger "old style' boats like Js, Beneteaus and Hobies) are still enormously popular all around the world. The Opti is more popular than it used to be. The number of boats out there shows that the Opti/Laser/420 types are not the problem - they are the savior. Without them the sport would be almost dead on its feet. There's a new breed of craft like the RS Feva and Bic O'pen and Techno that are heavy, flexy, cheap and tough that prove that kids will flock to sailing if the gear is fun to use and not complex and fragile. 

Of course these archaic dinghies are popular because fiberglass doesn't rot. Don't get me wrong, plenty of classic boats are fabulous, Shields for example. The Naples-Sabot with a friggin' leeboard is a great little boat. But like the Opti, they are tubs when swamped, and neither can be effectively reefed underway. They are no longer strict One-Design which is a travesty because it creates a perceived check-book arms race to succeed, and discourages those who can't afford the go-fast kit.

There will always be champions that come from these fleets. But what the OP is talking about is the quantity of sailors. Hard data is scarce, but the fact that this discussion has persisted for eons, suggests retention is still a big problem. Like a frog in a warming pan of water, this slow decline is measured over several decades.

There is no shortage of kids age 7 to 11 who try sailing. In Newport Beach we have about 1000 kids sailing every summer, but only about 120 on high school teams. The post-college participation gap is certainly related to macro-econmics, but this is in the "too hard to change" pile. 

What is changing is affordable boats like the RS Feva, huge in Europe and becoming popular this side of the pond. It fills the gap for kids age 10-14 who want out of the tubs, but don't have the weight, strength and stamina to handle FJs or 420s. Popular with girls, this boat satisfies the "tweenage" segment who are much more sophisticated now than 40 or 50 years ago and represent the proverbial "low hanging fruit."

JSA LIS now has over a dozen Feva fleets and 8 annual regional regattas. The 10th Feva Worlds in Medemblik is a big deal with 170 boats entered. 2018 will be in Clearwater Florida. If you have a chance, get your butt in one of these "new breed of craft," pretty sure you'll see why change is needed.

 

 

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In the very post you quoted, I wrote "There's a new breed of craft like the RS Feva and Bic O'pen and Techno that are heavy, flexy, cheap and tough that prove that kids will flock to sailing if the gear is fun to use and not complex and fragile."  Since I've been a fan of the Feva for years and the post referred to it in positive terms I'm not at all sure why you appear to think that the post was negative to it. Yes, the Feva is a perfect example of the way sailing can go. It's fairly cheap, it's simple, it's pretty tough, it's not intimidating. It's like sailing's version of the enormously popular plastic kayaks.

But with respect to boats like the Opti, while there's not a huge amount of hard data the stuff I can find certainly doesn't show that it's the problem. The Uk nationals fleet, for example, has increased eight fold since the dinghy boom years of the mid '70s, and about six fold in the US since the '80s. The class is much newer in Australia and NZ but it's made a huge impact there, partly because while it does fill up and isn't a strict OD, it's less likely to capsize than other boats and it's a closer OD. Even parents who sail skiffs are realising that the little boat has some great points. There are fleets of 800 or so in places like Europe. The Laser and 420 are also doing very well among kids in many places. 

So yep, the Feva could be the style of boat the sport needs more of. It's not super fast (it's heavier and slower than the three 11 foot classes that my dad, my daughter and I had as our first boats) but it's super accessible. If we could follow the Feva's model and concentrate more on cheap, tough, fun and comparatively simple boats the sport could be looking much healthier.

 

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One day you wake up and decide, "I'm going to make buggy whips."  You buy a building, hire employees, buy machinery, set up a website and sales force, tanning supplies and tons of cowhides.  In a matter of months your business is bankrupt.

Why?

You did no market research. Had you gone out first to find what buyers want, you would have learned that automobiles replaced horse drawn buggies and there is little need for buggy whips.

Sailing Today - What market research is there to determine what the public wants?  Three years ago, a study was performed asking the general public what they thought about Sailing?  The response was simple - they think it is exclusive and it is expensive.

Our reputation precedes anything we try to do.  The public already believes that they cannot afford it, and doesn't care to join an exclusive club in order to go sailing.

The image of sailing has ended the entry into our beloved sport.

How did we get there? We have created this mess all on our own:

  • If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
  • What does B.O.A.T. stand for? Break Out Another Thousand.
  • I've heard people lie about what the paid for a boat.
  • I have hard people lie about what their yacht club dues are to impress their friends (and not embarrass themselves by telling the truth after inflating the costs of ownership for eons).
  • As small one-design boat sailing has dropped off (the most affordable way into sailing) and big boat sailing has become the place to be, absolutely the average cost has gone up.  If you want to get more people sailing, small boat sailing must be re-started and invigorated.  Alas, public perception is preventing this from occurring.

 

 

 


 

 

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Our club runs one of the more popular weeknight series north of Boston.  Participants are mostly PHRF boats rating 0 - 200.  We encourage one designs, though only have J/105 in recent years.  Our J/24 fleet, once significant, is gone.  J/70 never made it.  The age of participants increased dramatically over the years, though we are finally starting to see some youth entering the picture.  The chart, if it publishes, shows a roughly 30% decrease over the last 14 years.  You can argue participation is roughly level since 2007.  While not a great story, the faint signs of stabilizing and the appearance of younger racers offer some hope.

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I belong to a club that has a thriving J70 fleet and other notable OD fleets, an overfull drysail area, a harbor full of active racing and cruising boats, and an active Jr. Sailing program with racing and non-racing opportunities, but with all of that we're still looking to improve our offerings and grow the sport.  So when I look around my local area for clubs that seem to be getting the sailing part right, I see a few great examples of clubs that just nail it, they get the participation, they have multiple fleets of boats that range in affordability, and they are notoriously strong competitors at all levels.

http://www.cedarpointyc.org/

http://www.norotonyc.org/

http://www.ilyc.org/

It's a difficult balance, but if you're struggling to grow fleets in your area maybe you should take a look at what people can afford, what's available and what your clubs can handle.

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4 hours ago, RumLine said:

It's a difficult balance, but if you're struggling to grow fleets in your area maybe you should take a look at what people can afford, what's available and what your clubs can handle.

I believe everyone here has hit on a solid reason for their locale, but sadly there is no "single fix" bullet for everyone. I think RumLine hit the nail on the head above though, dig deep in your demographics...

I also believe TIME is a HUGE factor. Growing up in the 70's, the "dads" all worked 40-50 hr week and had short commutes; moms were home with the kids. Now it seems everyone I know is working more (~55-60 hr/wk) - and that's BOTH both parents -- and have a considerable commute on top of that; kids are dropped off at before/after care places until they are picked up by mom or dad. They also enroll their kids in these "advanced TRAVEL sports teams" that eat up severa evening a week and the entire weekend -- most are tournament style games, two on Sat, several hours apart as to rest, and as long as you're winning you are coming back the next day. The games are anywhere from 30-200 miles away, so it ain't like you are gonna be running back and forth; several games require hotel stays. During these weekends, the kids fill down time with portable electronics and DVD players in the SUV. The parents fill the gap by staying connected to their cell phone, either answering email, work email, and catching up on their sports teams. This is the norm for many parents my age in my area. I just don't understand putting your 9-12 yr old in advanced "travel" games at this age. I can only surmise they are hoping for a college scholarship way down the road???

I saw the light a few years ago, moved jobs to greatly shorten commute time, cut back expenses so wife could scale back from full time employment to be a teacher's asst at the neighborhood school, so she's home when the kids are home, especially all summer. You know what, in the end w didn't have to scale back much at all due to all the money we were saving in before/after care for the kids, gas, etc.

Almost impossible to get my friends sailing due to their schedules explained above. Even Wed night races are out because they either work too late or are playing ferry to take kids sports practices.

In addition to time, I also believe it is also somewhat tied to a "lazy" mentality as well -- the parents I know are 35-55 yrs old. They can drive their kids around to games/practices, hang in the background surfing their phones, sit and watch their kids play, all the while "relaxing" themselves. Same goes for when they park their butt on the couch to watch a pro game every chance they get.

Although sailing IS time consuming, I don't see it as any different than drowning your kid in sports. However, you may have a hard time convincing others of that mainly because it would require them to get up off their butt more often to wash the boat, perform some maintenance, and prep for the boat for an outing.

Unless people wake up and make a lifestyle change to free up time and WANT to get off their butt, there is very little any of us, or even a yacht club can do to promote our sport -- but a demographics study might prepare the yacht club if/when people do make the time to see what it's all about.

Side note, I know several families that have trailer motor boats and most are often too lazy to take those out as well. Could be due to overdue maintenance or cost of fuel, but I believe it goes back to they "think" they have to work all they can and then want to lounge whenever they can -- a boat is just too much work!

 

 

 

 

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people make less money relative to before (middle class)
everything is more expensive (cars, houses)
there are more ongoing high-cost 'necessities' (smart phone, laptop, 4K TV, cable, internet, netflix, gym membership, kids' school, kids' afterschool programs)

basically the middle class is changing and/or being squeezed out of money faster than it can make it, and the aspirational 'lifestyle' that is being actively marketed to it revolves around having gadgets, sending kids to expensive schools and being fit and healthy at a gym. there are no sailing ads on TV, or at least none that position it as an everyday thing to do, like running.

a middle-class salary covered a lot more in the past than it does now. housing is 10x more expensive where I live (Toronto) than 30 years ago, while salaries have maybe doubled. even 5 years ago I would've afforded a boat and a house for the salary I make now, whereas now I can barely afford a tiny condo - no boat in my future.

the way I see it, sailing made sense as a leisure activity when you had less lifestyle ads telling people what to buy, less technology to play with, and money and time to spend on stuff. now, it's back to being a luxury that even the few who actively seek it out have a hard time joining in (love sailing, but hate have having to crew on other peoples boats - I'm there for fun, not to be yelled at for some slower-than-utopic gybe on a 30 year-old boat sailed by 50-60 year olds in a 5 boat PHRF div 2 race in 10 ktn of wind).

my 2c.

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2 hours ago, mihnea said:

people make less money relative to before (middle class)
everything is more expensive (cars, houses)
there are more ongoing high-cost 'necessities' (smart phone, laptop, 4K TV, cable, internet, netflix, gym membership, kids' school, kids' afterschool programs)

basically the middle class is changing and/or being squeezed out of money faster than it can make it, and the aspirational 'lifestyle' that is being actively marketed to it revolves around having gadgets, sending kids to expensive schools and being fit and healthy at a gym. there are no sailing ads on TV, or at least none that position it as an everyday thing to do, like running.

a middle-class salary covered a lot more in the past than it does now. housing is 10x more expensive where I live (Toronto) than 30 years ago, while salaries have maybe doubled. even 5 years ago I would've afforded a boat and a house for the salary I make now, whereas now I can barely afford a tiny condo - no boat in my future.

the way I see it, sailing made sense as a leisure activity when you had less lifestyle ads telling people what to buy, less technology to play with, and money and time to spend on stuff. now, it's back to being a luxury that even the few who actively seek it out have a hard time joining in (love sailing, but hate have having to crew on other peoples boats - I'm there for fun, not to be yelled at for some slower-than-utopic gybe on a 30 year-old boat sailed by 50-60 year olds in a 5 boat PHRF div 2 race in 10 ktn of wind).

my 2c.

We'll put!

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With respect to time, it's interesting to see what some of the Brits do; by racing on tiny local waterways in boats that are designed for that sort of area, they can leave work or home, get down to the club, race and then get back without spending too much time. Of course, the boats don't have the official "cool" mark of approval, but it seems to work.

2008chippenham_collyer_3.jpg
 

In Australia there's another approach; most beer can racing is sailed without spinnakers. Less setup time, less need to have experienced crew.

 

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Glenn, the biggest impediment to small boat sailing is ACCESS.  A C C E S S.  A  C  C  E  S  S.

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On costs are a killer for the new sailor entry level keel boat side of the sport these days. Whereas not too long ago it used to cost just a few hundred dollars a year to park a boat on the local yacht club marina, the very smallest marina berths at my club now cost close to $AUS 6k a year and the cost increases exponentially with size. That's here in Melbourne, Aus and I know Sydney is a lot dearer than that. Paying $6k a year PLUS club membership, plus all the other costs associated with keeping and maintaining a boat is scaring off the first-time entry level used keel boat sailors who soon find the annual costs exceed the value of their boat, every year. And then they find they don't have as much time to devote to sailing because of all the other pressures of modern living and when they do want to sail, they cant get crew so the boat languishes in the berth until the poor sap decides to sell it. Then he finds the market isn't interested in his pride and joy for all the reasons he wants to sell it. As a broker, I have had boat owners in the situation I describe approach me  to help them give their boats away, free, gratis, nil, just take it away to stop the bleeding. Without those entry level keel boat sailors, the future is indeed bleak.

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Costs are getting up there, welcome to neo liberal politics where profit is king. Pretty hard to justify 4 piles and a floating pontoon at 6k or here in auckland, north of 8k per year for a 12m boat. On the bright side the capital cost of a keeler is cheap as chips, a boat that cost 100k 10 years age can be had for 30k in good condition, arguably better built than euro production crap.

The baby boomers sucking the life out of society as they age, strike again

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46 minutes ago, Gutterblack said:

 

The baby boomers sucking the life out of society as they age, strike again

the next generation isn't growing.....
...and the planet is melting......
.....and fiat currencies are structured on an inflationary model.....

.....while we operate in an increasingly deflationary economic paradigm. The cost of used sailboats is deflationary, too.....

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For some perspective, can anyone share what a j/24 was brand new in late 70's early 80's? 

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7 minutes ago, sousou said:

For some perspective, can anyone share what a j/24 was brand new in late 70's early 80's? 

Here in Australia we sold them new in 1980 for about $AUS10,500 including sails. IIRC, 4 sails back then were $AUS1000 - 1200.

You can find a sailable J24  now for half that and probably even less if you ask around.

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13 minutes ago, fastyacht said:

in 1979 dollars or 2017 dollars?

Either. Trying to determine what a J/24 cost relative to median income at the time versus Median income today ($57K) and what the modern equivalent would be for a keel / sport boat. 

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4 hours ago, fastyacht said:

Glenn, the biggest impediment to small boat sailing is ACCESS.  A C C E S S.  A  C  C  E  S  S.

There are other countries in which access isn't declining and they are suffering from shrinking fleets too. 

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According to the UK Annual Watersport Survey that has been conducted fro the last 15 years there was a 52% increase in people participating in small boat racing and a 32% increase in participation in yacht racing between '15 and '16.

Regatta numbers in Miami and Annapolis are up significantly this year.

The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in Ireland just had an entry only beaten by 2005(ish) at 475.

Today Y&Y ran an article suggesting that Cowes Week is on for a record entry, 10% up across the board on last year.

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Whaddaya doin' bringing facts to SA?

Good to see that the regatta fleets are up, and thanks for raising the issue.

 

 

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A discouraging thread, but after years of trying to figure out how I can help stem the decline locally, it's hard to be optimistic. Sailing is expensive today and that's not going to change. Many who can afford a nice boat and upper tier yacht clubs are still involved, though median age is much higher today, and elite clubs haven't seen the biggest decline. The elite clubs have middle aged members, but business networking (connecting with moneyed older members as clients) is as much of a draw as sailing for many of them. Lesser clubs don't have that draw.

Junior sail programs have held on, partly as daycare, that most kids grow out of quickly. But the bridge between juniors and adult sailors has been broken for decades. A local club takes juniors out on big boats on the last day of junior sessions. The juniors and instructors are also invited to come out and race with the adults - year after year there are ZERO takers. 

No amount of marketing is going to induce replacement numbers of people into "affordable sailing." People don't want small or old beater boats and they don't want to join clubs just hanging on by their financial fingernails where the median age of members is ancient, mostly dock bunnys who rarely go out on the water. Why would any 20-40 something be at all interested?

There are programs with encouraging trends, but all that I've seen require an unsustainable amount of work from their leaders and volunteers. Those people are burned out, or headed that direction.

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There is no doubt sailing IS expensive and more complicated than most other activities; think any "ball" sport...

It also requires some pre-planning and luck with the weather. "Ball" sports typically don't require pre-planning for most of the participants and provides instant gratification.

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38 minutes ago, MidPack said:

Junior sail programs have held on, partly as daycare, that most kids grow out of quickly. But the bridge between juniors and adult sailors has been broken for decades. A local club takes juniors out on big boats on the last day of junior sessions. The juniors and instructors are also invited to come out and race with the adults - year after year there are ZERO takers. 

No amount of marketing is going to induce replacement numbers of people into "affordable sailing." People don't want small or old beater boats and they don't want to join clubs just hanging on by their financial fingernails where the median age of members is ancient, mostly dock bunnys who rarely go out on the water. Why would any 20-40 something be at all interested?

There are programs with encouraging trends, but all that I've seen require an unsustainable amount of work from their leaders and volunteers. Those people are burned out, or headed that direction.

If you're going to bridge your youth/instructor program into adult sailing then trying to get them crewing on adult boats in that way is bound to fail. Sailing is a social sport. They want to be hanging round with their mates.

"The youth of today" -- I'm not talking about entitled millennials who grew up in the boom, I'm talking the Gen Z kids coming through after them -- are about 20,000% more serious and organised than anyone under 50 and, having come through structured training programs, about 40,000% better sailors. Training 2-3 times a week is not a dirty word.

The program needs to be something they own. They need to be given all the roles on the boat, including the helm, and expected to do the work. They need mentoring by people who know how to campaign, help with getting organised for events, incentives for success and then get told to roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty.

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I hate it when I see statements surrendering to the myth that sailing is expensive. Sailing is not free, but its not necessarily expensive. At least around here you can find decent used boats for around the same price as an Ipad and its cover. A quick look at charity offerings and Craigs list comes up with all kinds of boats for cheap; cartoppers like Ray Greene Rascal, GP 14, or Rhodes Robin, Tarilerables (with trailer) like an Oday Daysailer, a few Hobies for silly cheap, day racers like a Yngling (once owned by Stuart Walker), a couple J-24's for less than a grand, and Overnighters like a MaGregor 21 on a trailer, Precision 21 on a trailer, Catalina 27, a Bristol; 22 for free and so on. 

At least around here there are a lot of places that you can put down a mooring for almost free and store a dinghy for almost free. There are free launch ramps. Used gear and sails can keep an old boat going for not very much money. Even local clubs offer deeply discounted and affordable rates for young sailors. So, if unless you are going for a 'fine yachting' experience, there are a lot of ways to sail pretty cheaply and harping on the more expensive approaches to sailing only feeds into the idea that Sailing is an elitist past time. 

Anecdotally, I see young people actually buying these old boats and out there using them. I work one night a week at West Marine for the employee discounts as much as anything else. Almost nightly there will be one or two twenty-somethings coming in to buy supplies. They ask really good questions about how to do the project that they are considering doing. They seem anxious to learn, grateful for advice, and fearless about what they are taking on. They pull out there smart phones and look up how-to videos and price compare whatever is being recommended. Most chores on a boat require less know-how than operating modern computer software which these kids do in their sleep. 

And frankly that was how it was when I got into sailing in the 1960's. Back then we bought old wooden boats for next to nothing, fixed them up enough to go sailing, and sailed them. There were small groups of kids doing that back then. That is how it was then, that is how it is now. Our boats were stashed on improvised moorings, or simply anchored, or maybe tied up at some run down, back water marina or behind someone's home, in other words, wherever we could find cheap slips. For a dinghy We'd knock together a dory out of a couple sheets of 1/4" ACX plywood and a half dozen 1x2's or pick up a used Sportyak for $30. (I still have and use mine from that I bought used in the 1970's.) 

And back then there were the same complaints you hear now. Young folks aren't into yachting. The reality is that there were periods that were 'golden ages of sailing'. In the early 20th century sailing was covered in the papers the same way that baseball was. Small boat liveries were common and even lower middle class people would rent a boat for an afternoon. There was the boom of the 1960's when WW II era vets had matured and had decent jobs and took up all kinds of upper crust hobbies. There was the short-lived boom of the 1970's when the fuel shortages moved a lot of folks out of power boats and into sailing. In between there was this sense that the sport was dying, But somehow it never did. 

At least anecdotally, I do not see evidence that sailing's future is as bleak as some may paint it. To me, its more likely that the face of sailing is changing and only time will tell where it ends up. 

 

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Jay, thanks for your clarification on the Feva, sorry about the jibe. I take it you have first hand experience?

Age 10-14 is the fertile ground to grow participation and retention. The Feva does that because it is the right size to fill the gap between prams and high-school fleets.

rgeek, yep the UK has data, Yachts and Yachting does a good job with their annual surveys.

YandY-championship-table.jpg

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I kind of doubt the expense is the big deterrent here. I just did a quick run through the US BLS calculator so I don't know if this is the complete story but in 1978, the year my wife and I bought our first boat, I recall the base price of a brand new Ericson 35 was about US$38,500. That didn't include much of a sail inventory and electronics were in those days was a VHF. That was considered a hot boat at the time, never mind that we didn't buy one. I think a somewhat older and somewhat beat up used Cal 34 was about $25,000. In 2017 dollars that would equate to $150, 755 for the Ericson and $97,893 for the Cal. Keep in mind that they sold scads of these boats during the 70s and there were all those other manufacturers out there like Ranger, Pearson and Irwin turning out entries into the same market niche and at comparable prices. 

How does that price for the Ericson compare with something new today like a First 35, which is way more boat and probably a lot more fun ? I don't know but I'm pretty sure $98,000 buys you a lot more used boat today than that Cal. 

If I had to take a guess I'd say the bigger issue is that sailing is too gray haired and too white and the demographics today don't match up. Just my US$1/50th.

Just found a 2010 write up on the First 35-$225,000 sail away! Yikes!, Well, at least there are plenty more options in the used market for boats that beat that Cal hands down. 

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I thought I would throw in my 2 cents. I grew up racing sailboats, and while it's kinda fun if you have a good one design fleet, once I started kitesurfing, sailboats are just seem like a huge hassle.  Kiting is really fun and easy to travel with and set up.  There were 200+ kites out on the weekend of the 4th, from kids doing sick tricks, lots of old men, many women, and foilers racing around, one guy I spoke with covered 71nm in like 2 1/2 hrs!.  Then a nice social scene at the beach.  I've been used to pushing sailboats as hard as I can, but the kite has so much potential, you often have way more available than you want to use.  It changes your whole attitude towards that zen space between the water and the wind, and really leaves you wanting more.  Most recently, I bought a boat as a house to take me to great spots, I tried racing it, that wasn't fun, but I did like the social aspect.  If you had a yacht club with a good launch and good wind conditions, I bet you'd see some people become kiting members.  Kiting is certainly not perfect, besides all of the things that can go wrong, you can't get laid on a kiteboard, while with the big boat there does seem to be ladies interested in a sail.

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8 hours ago, sazx said:

......

rgeek, yep the UK has data, Yachts and Yachting does a good job with their annual surveys.

YandY-championship-table.jpg

There's context being those numbers,  too- the low attendance for the Oppies in '13 is because they rotate the event location around the country and many south coast families choose not to drive to Largs, Scotland for the event. Same in 2016 but with the added hit that they changed the squad qualifiers and the Nationals don't count for national winter training places anymore...

 Same with the Toppers  (GBR design plastic plank for teens)- the 2016 Nationals were in Scotland, so numbers were down. Entry for this year in Wales is already 172 and still open... will be up again when back in Weymouth on the south coast, because that's where most of the sailors are...

Cheers, 

               W.

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Every thread on this subject is the same stuff rehashed over and over. 

 

Generations with that had it easier with regards to more time(simpler lives), money and less chance for other social circles have refused to adapt.

Very few people my age want to hang out with un-cool 70+ year old white men. I don't think that seems too strange to understand. As for why theres often not many women in your average club? Same answer. 

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1 hour ago, bodega87 said:

Every thread on this subject is the same stuff rehashed over and over. 

 

Generations with that had it easier with regards to more time(simpler lives), money and less chance for other social circles have refused to adapt.

Very few people my age want to hang out with un-cool 70+ year old white men. I don't think that seems too strange to understand. As for why theres often not many women in your average club? Same answer. 

You just might learn something from that 70 year old guy jr.

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J70 worlds just closed its entry over a month before the event with 175 boats entered.

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The J70 class really dominates every regatta it shows up at such as BIRW, KWRW or BBS. It's tough to see the J70 as a big boat but the bar is full so who cares ?

The J24 class did the same thing 30 years ago.

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14 hours ago, bodega87 said:

Every thread on this subject is the same stuff rehashed over and over. 

 

Generations with that had it easier with regards to more time(simpler lives), money and less chance for other social circles have refused to adapt.

Very few people my age want to hang out with un-cool 70+ year old white men. I don't think that seems too strange to understand. As for why theres often not many women in your average club? Same answer. 

 

12 hours ago, Blitz said:

You just might learn something from that 70 year old guy jr.

Except when all the 70 years olds are done or gone, there won't be anything left of the sport. Going on two generations have mostly stayed away from sailing, thriving junior programs haven't helped. Yet the old guard keeps trying to figure out how to sell 80's sailing and wondering why it hasn't worked.

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I've posted this before, but the time difference (CPI-inflation) of money is often more than one would normally think.  In 1971, when I was 16 years old, I worked after school in a local boat yard, painting bottoms, for 10 dollars an hour, cash under the table.  A few years ago, when I was contemplating the 15 dollars an hour gross, that I was making at a Jet Engine manufacturing company, my curiosity was piqued.  So I added 15% to the ten dollars an hour to simulate a legit job, with tax withholding, and plugged that into a currency calculator on Google.  I discovered that at age 16, I was making the equivalent of around $72.00 an hour in 2014 dollars.  Remember when a new Ford Mustang was around 5 grand?

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30 minutes ago, billy backstay said:

I've posted this before, but the time difference (CPI-inflation) of money is often more than one would normally think.  In 1971, when I was 16 years old, I worked after school in a local boat yard, painting bottoms, for 10 dollars an hour, cash under the table.  A few years ago, when I was contemplating the 15 dollars an hour gross, that I was making at a Jet Engine manufacturing company, my curiosity was piqued.  So I added 15% to the ten dollars an hour to simulate a legit job, with tax withholding, and plugged that into a currency calculator on Google.  I discovered that at age 16, I was making the equivalent of around $72.00 an hour in 2014 dollars.  Remember when a new Ford Mustang was around 5 grand?

If you were making $10/hr in 1971 painting bottoms, you were grossly overpaid and Im guessing that yard dosnt exist anymore. Also had you been paying taxes on your income like most good Americans do, we wouldn't be in this mess. 

 

   

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billy backstay said: "I've posted this before, but the time difference (CPI-inflation) of money is often more than one would normally think.  In 1971, when I was 16 years old, I worked after school in a local boat yard, painting bottoms, for 10 dollars an hour, cash under the table.  A few years ago, when I was contemplating the 15 dollars an hour gross, that I was making at a Jet Engine manufacturing company, my curiosity was piqued.  So I added 15% to the ten dollars an hour to simulate a legit job, with tax withholding, and plugged that into a currency calculator on Google.  I discovered that at age 16, I was making the equivalent of around $72.00 an hour in 2014 dollars.  Remember when a new Ford Mustang was around 5 grand?"

For that matter, I worked in a boat yard doing painting and rigging work as a 15  year old in 1965. (I guess I am five years older than you.) I made $.50 an hour which was really good pay in those days for a kid. I worked for Direcktors in Florida in 1970 and made a whopping $.70 per hour before taxes working with the painters, fiber-glassers and riggers. I bought a mostly fully loaded Plymouth, brand new, for less than $3,000. The equivalent Mustang was $200 more.  A reasonably equipped brand new Pearson Vanguard was $18,000 in 1965. If your numbers are right that would put the price of a Vanguard at around $90,000. 

But its like everything else these days, and equivillent 32 footer would be wildly more spacious, much better equipped with things we seem to take for granted, pressure water, refrigeration, depth sounder, wind instruments, GPS, autopilot, multi-speed self-tailing winches, windlass, propane stove systems, wheel steering, tinned wiring, internal framing systems, jib and maybe mainsail furler(s), diesel engine, and the list goes on. And like the bigger and better insulated houses, pocket electronics, cameras or be-gadget laden cars, its not just inflation driving up prices. As a society we have come to expect a lot more out of everything that is in our lives than we expected even a few decades ago (anyone for going back to four TV channels...Thought not) 

Jeff

 

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2 hours ago, savoir said:

The J70 class really dominates every regatta it shows up at such as BIRW, KWRW or BBS. It's tough to see the J70 as a big boat but the bar is full so who cares ?

The J24 class did the same thing 30 years ago.

The SB20s hit Cowes for their World Championships at the end of August. The organisers are working out whether they need to cap the entry.

That one is the not to be missed regatta of the UK season. IF YOU HAVE ACCESS TO AN SB20 BE IN COWES ON THE 25th AUGUST. IT'S GONA BE YUGE!! (so big, massive I tell ya)

The big down turn in the US is currently in keel boat needing 6-9 crew. If you look else where then there is a bounce going on.

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I think you people are missing the elephant in the room. Sailing takes commitment to learning the fundamentals.  Competitive sailing takes a sort of ruggedness. Distance racing and offshore racing are mostly gritty and somewhat uncomfortable. Sailing can kick your ass in a whole bunch of ways.

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Actually one area of the sport that is on the up is offshore/coastal racing.

Inshore windward/leeward in 35-40ft yachts less so.

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15 minutes ago, rgeek said:

Actually one area of the sport that is on the up is offshore/coastal racing.

Inshore windward/leeward in 35-40ft yachts less so.

And you realize why. As owners/crews get older and older, sail handling and maneuvering get less and less 'appealing.' Hence the "growth" in port-to-ports, cruising sections, and JAM sections - former windward/leeward entries. And windward/leeward seems to be favoring OD vs handicap racing at least where I've looked.

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9 hours ago, BillDBastard said:

I think you people are missing the elephant in the room. Sailing takes commitment to learning the fundamentals.  Competitive sailing takes a sort of ruggedness. Distance racing and offshore racing are mostly gritty and somewhat uncomfortable. Sailing can kick your ass in a whole bunch of ways.

aso kites and boats that do 20 knots all the time. Fucking kids of today have never had it so easy. 

And get those fucking bikes of my lawn!

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5 hours ago, LB 15 said:

aso kites and boats that do 20 knots all the time. Fucking kids of today have never had it so easy. 

And get those fucking bikes of my lawn!

Sailing today must be so mind-numbingly boring for the kids of today without wire braces and wire halyards with reel winches, reaching struts / jockey poles, shy to shy dip pole gybes on races with actual reaching legs, gybe- sets and peels in the dark, dacron headsails that take 2-3 blokes to lift... on a 35 fter, level rating racing (way better than 1 Des), jockey poles, (reaching struts for the seppos) no GPS, just a compass, trimming bloopers and dazy staysails, hydraulic fluid all over the cockpit floor from the leaky backstay ram, I mean, hardly anyone ever bleeds in yacht racing these days. Where's all the fun gone?

 

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16 hours ago, MidPack said:

And you realize why. As owners/crews get older and older, sail handling and maneuvering get less and less 'appealing.' Hence the "growth" in port-to-ports, cruising sections, and JAM sections - former windward/leeward entries. And windward/leeward seems to be favoring OD vs handicap racing at least where I've looked.

Boomers do what Boomers do ... generally scorched earth

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12 hours ago, LB 15 said:

aso kites and boats that do 20 knots all the time. Fucking kids of today have never had it so easy. 

And get those fucking bikes of my lawn!

Get your lawn out from under my bike!!

:P

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23 hours ago, rgeek said:

Actually one area of the sport that is on the up is offshore/coastal racing.

Inshore windward/leeward in 35-40ft yachts less so.

With all do respect, I just transferred 30k from my checking account into my savings account, do I now have more money?

A shift in demographics does not growth make. While some older folks, those still in the sport, are settling into point to point or distance racing, that is not growth overall. The younger set, seems to me is less "outdoorsy" . Less "spray in their face, wet ass on the rail" type of person. I would say that is what the decline is all about. Sailing is a messy sport. It takes all sorts of effort and is seen as "little in return" for all that expenditure of energy. So regardless of easier to handle boats, while that may hold the attention of an aging populous, is not drawing in the masses. as one might hope.

 

If I may, look at the AC. Coutts bet that he could draw in the younger viewer, non-sailing types, by making the boats real fast and less complicated, in a traditional sense. No kites, up on blades whole time, are they beating or running, tacking or gybing.....who knows and who cares. It failed and it failed for the same reasons sailing is contracting. Sailing is inherently complicated. The internet world in which we live in some ways is less complicated than years and generations past. Even in a dumbed down, user friendly state, sailing still has little appeal to the "modern" world.

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With respect you are wrong about "the younger generation"

Shifting demographics sure. I'm just a little fed up with "my bit is shrinking, doom and disaster upon all our houses"

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Fuck you guys, I love this sport or rather the part I am involved with which is feeling the tiller in mah hand and cold salt spray in mah face while beating into an ugly winter wind and sea state trying to out think and out sail my opposition. Thats the whole thing right there, out think and out sail the opposition and winning. Fucking beach cats with hamsters pumping oil in 10 knots, yeah whateva,

 

1skpcn.jpg

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9 hours ago, rgeek said:

With respect you are wrong about "the younger generation"

Shifting demographics sure. I'm just a little fed up with "my bit is shrinking, doom and disaster upon all our houses"

Sailing is shrinking. And by your own example and admission, the long time older folks are settling back in point to point, distance and ocean racing. So if that is true, then which portion is causing the shrinkage? Which generation isn't buying big boats to race?

Read a little factoid the other day, somewhere on the order of a 40% reduction in boat registrations in the state on Connecticut over the past decade. Denial of such inconveniences do not make them go away. Sailing is dying because it is not particularly attractive to the younger generations.  Whatever jones they have are remedied on their smartphone in a few minute's time, not by going off for 30 or 40 or 50 hours and slogging about at 5 knots speed, tired, hungry, wet and cold.

 What was it Ted Turner once said about sailing, "....standing in a freezing cold shower tearing up hundred dollar bills".

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Plenty of millennials seem to be getting outdoors. Camping, hiking etc rate very high on the list of things they want to do and some sources say that they are moving into camping and hiking in big numbers;

http://thecabin.net/sports/lifestyle/2017-03-20/camping-us-millennials-seek-positive-impacts-time-outdoors

Interestingly, Outdoors says that millennials are being turned off by old brands being too hard core. "“Traditional outdoor-product development and marketing has focused on people who want to be at the peak of their sports,” says Scott McGuire, founder of the Mountain Lab, a brand-strategy firm. “That led to huge developments in gear, but things have become so specialized that they’re not welcoming to folks who aren’t hardcore.”   That sounds to me a lot like the problem that sailing is suffering from in some ways - lots of people are telling everyone else to go out and buy hyper-performance craft, although funnily enough very few of those who are making a big noise about the appeal of hyper-performance are actually buying a boat themselves. 

Another source says "If you look at the marketing messages of outdoor and adventure retailers, you may notice a shift away from high-octane images, like a solo kayaker traversing a waterfall, to images of groups experiencing a picture-perfect nature scene in a more leisurely fashion. This is the idea of adventure and the outdoors that Millennials are drawn to."  If sailing followed a that direction, the sport may be more about getting a plastic Hobie or an old J/24 and doing a passage race to somewhere people can raft up.

Millennials can actually be pretty damn committed - even computer games take an enormous amount of commitment at top level. It's interesting to read about game design and see how well the designers understand psychology and how they use it to get people hooked. The pity is that much of sailing these days is ignoring such subtle things in the rush to promote the extreme end.

One problem is all the angry guys who sit back on their couch or their old boat and say "fuck, those people who are actually getting off their ass and teaching kids are doing it all wrong..... I don't do teach kids, I don't own the sort of boat I reckon kids should have, I've never bothered to do any research, but I'm going to pour shit on the way other people are out there teaching kids". It does get quite discouraging to those of us who have actually run successful junior programmes.

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On 7/11/2017 at 2:07 PM, Glenn McCarthy said:

Three years ago, a study was performed asking the general public what they thought about Sailing?  The response was simple - they think it is exclusive and it is expensive.

 

 

 

 


 

 

Glenn, first I want to thank you for the tremendous amount of work you have actually done for our sport.

I think the problem is a marketing problem, as you mentioned.

However, I don't agree that exclusive and expensive are impediments, or even a bad thing at all. People aspire to expensive stuff. In my neighborhood, it seems every new car is a Maserati, Mercedes, or BMW. "Aspirational" is an attribute that successful companies spend a lot of time and money ascribing to their product and brand.

The marketing problem is that we have very experienced people running everything in the marine industry, including the product companies, the media companies, and the supporting organizations like US Sailing, ABYC, NMMA, yacht broker associations, yacht clubs, and so on.

When I took over Westlawn, it was very clear that the marketing was the biggest problem. The school was still marketing like it always had, to people who had already fallen in love with boats. Yet the world has fundamentally changed: only old people are already in love with boats. Hence, Westlawn was mostly attracting mid-career or even late-career change students, many of whom were in their 50s, 60s, or even 70s! Similar demographic as any yachting group.

So I brought in a couple of young people and they have made a big difference. When these young professionals -- 25 and 32 -- started our social media campaign, it took awhile but within months we had increased inquiries and enrollment dramatically: over 250%. So the younger demographic can be reached, but the message must be different. The expensive and exclusive aspect of the industry has been a big draw! Especially in attracting female students.

Perhaps the rest of the marine industry should learn more than Yacht Design and Naval Architecture from Westlawn.

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To be explicit:

If we only sell expensive floating condos, we should not be surprised that we only reach old people who have lots of excess cash for a rarely used floating bar or vacation home.

If we sell the exclusive and expensive, combined with fun, exciting, healthy, adventure, and freedom, then we certainly get results.

Hobie got results by focusing on everything in that list but expensive and exclusive. Today, the market likes expensive and exclusive, so that should be added and leveraged, not ignored.

Its the fun, exciting, healthy, adventure, and freedom that is not promoted, and is in fact directly squashed by our continued focus on horrible boats like Optimists and the helicopter parents and coaches. Freedom is sought by young people, and they put a lot of effort into that goal. They lie, ditch, do drugs, sneak out at night -- all those awful teenage behaviors we all did -- because they want freedom. Sailing is all about freedom. Leeway Sailing Club in Long Beach CA was all about freedom, and the beach and bay was covered with kids being free, and sailing. All you needed was a Sabot (cheap when new, and essentially free to borrow), and the ability to swim around a mark set off the beach. Do that, and you are free!

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To pile on to what carcrash says..I too agree the marketing part is all screwed up.  The only folks trying to market to "new" people is folks like ASA, and their marketing is so stovepiped, and is mostly in sailing mags, and targets folks who already are interested in some way about sailing...or targets folks who want to go Chartering.  I see almost no marketing by the sailing industry to the very people they need.  I see lots of young millennials at the ski hill. All day activity, healthy, adventurous, and expensive, but they are there!  So I don't buy the cost argument, nor the unwilling to spend that much time argument, nor the invest time to learn argument.  We just aren't reaching younger people in a way, and with a message that resonates with them.  Every try and do any research on sailboat racing/crewing opportunities in an area where you are new?  99% of Yacht Club/Sailing Club websites are oriented towards serving the existing fleet and providing them with the schedule and the results.  Perspective is that of someone who is doing it, not from perspective of someone who has no clue but wants to do it.

Sailing's other great asset is how scale-able it is.  From 8 foot dinghies to super maxis.  From sailing around in your local lake to sailing around the world. From daysailing to overnighting to extended cruising.  Racing is just as scale-able.  But that's not marketed either.

Then as carcrash says, when we do market and sell boats we market floating condos, where all the emphasis is on making handling sails and boat "easier" largely to the detriment of sailing performance...and show pictures of older guys with salt and pepper hair sailing along with a beautiful younger women sitting there looking beautiful.  Its all about "lifestyle"  and not "fun, exciting, healthy, adventure, and freedom." That's gonna attract a lot of millennials and women, I'm sure!

I think to some degree the return to point-to-point races is all about putting the "fun, exciting, healthy, adventure, and freedom" back into sailboat racing.  Sure there can be fun and exciting in a W/L sausage fest, but it's lacking on adventure and freedom...

Then once we attract them, we need to be open and friendly and welcoming to them.  So clubs are, many are not.  Not because they are actively trying to be unwelcoming.  But because they (and we sailors that are present there) are not actively trying to engage and involve them.

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7 hours ago, carcrash said:

Glenn, first I want to thank you for the tremendous amount of work you have actually done for our sport.

I think the problem is a marketing problem, as you mentioned.

However, I don't agree that exclusive and expensive are impediments, or even a bad thing at all. People aspire to expensive stuff. In my neighborhood, it seems every new car is a Maserati, Mercedes, or BMW. "Aspirational" is an attribute that successful companies spend a lot of time and money ascribing to their product and brand.

The marketing problem is that we have very experienced people running everything in the marine industry, including the product companies, the media companies, and the supporting organizations like US Sailing, ABYC, NMMA, yacht broker associations, yacht clubs, and so on.

When I took over Westlawn, it was very clear that the marketing was the biggest problem. The school was still marketing like it always had, to people who had already fallen in love with boats. Yet the world has fundamentally changed: only old people are already in love with boats. Hence, Westlawn was mostly attracting mid-career or even late-career change students, many of whom were in their 50s, 60s, or even 70s! Similar demographic as any yachting group.

So I brought in a couple of young people and they have made a big difference. When these young professionals -- 25 and 32 -- started our social media campaign, it took awhile but within months we had increased inquiries and enrollment dramatically: over 250%. So the younger demographic can be reached, but the message must be different. The expensive and exclusive aspect of the industry has been a big draw! Especially in attracting female students.

Perhaps the rest of the marine industry should learn more than Yacht Design and Naval Architecture from Westlawn.

Interesting post, but aren't Westlawn students coming from a very different direction to boat buyers? Surely Westlawn students imagine themselves as taking money from people for design (NTTAWWT) rather than giving money to people as boat owners do?

On the other hand, the aspirational appeal of the sport is something that may be ignored too often. I was reading the history of a club I used to belong to, and their efforts to build the clubhouse. That involved a lot of fund-raising, loans from members, and volunteer work and it's easy to think that part of the pay-off was having a comparatively prestigious building to enhance their social standing.

These days, of course, the people who created that clubhouse would be sneered at on SA and lambasted in Seahorse because they have "4 knot shitboxes", and we wonder why the sport is dwindling.

Your neighbourhood must be pretty high-toned, the average suburb isn't that deep in Maseratis!  :-)

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Do me a favour and pop down to the Royal Yacht Squadron -- probably one of the most elitist clubs in sailing -- and ask them why they are giving the SB20 class full and unconditional access to the club house during this years world championships.

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4 hours ago, rgeek said:

Do me a favour and pop down to the Royal Yacht Squadron -- probably one of the most elitist clubs in sailing -- and ask them why they are giving the SB20 class full and unconditional access to the club house during this years world championships.

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think this discussion is aimed more at the U.S.  Sailing may also have declined in Europe/UK, but it still seems orders of magnitude healthier than in the U.S. Your Fastnet comment supports that statement. Dude, I'd be positively giddy to participate in an event with that many keelboats.

The Chesapeake Bay used to be a hub of sailboat racing and activity. The St. Mary's College of Maryland Governor's Cup used to boast nearly 400 boats. Now, it's circling the drain. Only a threat from the college to kill it caused a brief resurgence that delayed its death.  It's the 44th year for this race and we're up to 48 boats registered so far.

I'll be surprised and pleased if we break 100.

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Which brings us back to the Annapolis NOOD contributed to handsomely by all fleets bar PHRF

 

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15 hours ago, rgeek said:

Do me a favour and pop down to the Royal Yacht Squadron -- probably one of the most elitist clubs in sailing -- and ask them why they are giving the SB20 class full and unconditional access to the club house during this years world championships.

Is that aimed at me?  I'm not surprised that the RYS is giving the SB20 class access if they are having a worlds. The NYYC is also very good at letting crew members who are not club members run around the Harbour Court clubhouse.

 

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11 hours ago, Ajax said:

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think this discussion is aimed more at the U.S.  Sailing may also have declined in Europe/UK, but it still seems orders of magnitude healthier than in the U.S. Your Fastnet comment supports that statement. Dude, I'd be positively giddy to participate in an event with that many keelboats.

The Chesapeake Bay used to be a hub of sailboat racing and activity. The St. Mary's College of Maryland Governor's Cup used to boast nearly 400 boats. Now, it's circling the drain. Only a threat from the college to kill it caused a brief resurgence that delayed its death.  It's the 44th year for this race and we're up to 48 boats registered so far.

I'll be surprised and pleased if we break 100.

I've updated the US national title information that Roger Jolly used to put up here on SA. There seems to be no real pattern in what is happening in the USA, by that measure.

Since the 1980s, the Opti fleet has tripled.  Compared to 2010-12, Interlakes (!), Lightnings, 505s, Melges 24s, E Scows, Hobie 16s are up by more than 10%. Sunfish, MCs, Lasers, A Class cats, Radials, are pretty steady. There have been big drops (15% or more) in F18 cats, V15s, 29ers, Flying Scots, CFJs, Butterflies, Interclubs, and Buccaneers. The biggest losers are Albacores and Formula Windsurfers. Moths have gained one boat since 2014.

Skiff types, once said to be the future of the sport, make up less than 2% of national title entrants. I can't find figures for lots of cat classes, but many of the fast cats (Prindle 19s, Tornadoes, etc) have died.

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Ajax said:

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think this discussion is aimed more at the U.S.  Sailing may also have declined in Europe/UK, but it still seems orders of magnitude healthier than in the U.S. Your Fastnet comment supports that statement. Dude, I'd be positively giddy to participate in an event with that many keelboats.

The Chesapeake Bay used to be a hub of sailboat racing and activity. The St. Mary's College of Maryland Governor's Cup used to boast nearly 400 boats. Now, it's circling the drain. Only a threat from the college to kill it caused a brief resurgence that delayed its death.  It's the 44th year for this race and we're up to 48 boats registered so far.

I'll be surprised and pleased if we break 100.

Same kind of numbers for Chicago. Regattas that used to have 250 entries now have 100 or less. And some of the smaller club races have disappeared after years of attracting 10-20 boats...

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5 hours ago, The Jay said:

Is that aimed at me?  I'm not surprised that the RYS is giving the SB20 class access if they are having a worlds. The NYYC is also very good at letting crew members who are not club members run around the Harbour Court clubhouse.

 

Normally some parts of the club and not others. The question was, why?

It's because their elitist image is not helping them attract the kind of fellow they wish to acquire as members and they recognise the need to soften the shirt collar (a little).

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Fair enough, but the RYS and their Castle sits at the extreme end of the scale of elitism (at least as far as image goes). I was talking about something made in the '60s out of concrete blocks, in a club where the biggest boat was a plywood 22 footer at the time, and where the biggest boats are now a pair of 27 footers. Very different stuff.

As you would have noticed from the AC thread, I'm normally dead against elitism in just about any form. However, reading the club history did make me wonder about the motivations that led the members of my former club to build a decent clubhouse, and it does seem that being able to take business  colleagues and family to the restaurant and bar, with the social cachet that may have brought, was a motivating factor behind their efforts.

My own current club, incidentally, has a one-room brick shed with a concrete floor. I'm not into elitist clubs or fancy clubhouses, merely musing that in some situations some form of social cachet may not be a bad thing for some clubs.

 

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Different strokes for different folks. Round here... The Royal Cork started as more or less a dining club for an element of Cork society. The Royal Alfred had Corinthian aspirations. The Royal Irish as a society venue. The DMYC was started by jews black balled from the other Dun Laoghaire clubs. The Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club stated as essentially the private boat club to the Guinesses new estate. Their main fleet (the IDRA14) came about after WWII when lower middle class (by the standards of the day) returnees wanted to continue the sailing they had enjoyed while on service. The Sutton Dinghy Club would be more the '60 concrete 22ft max affair, notably calling it's self a Dinghy club, the fashion of the time being to declare a new club as a sailing club in opposition to attitudes of the yachting establishment.

But for the society clubs the motivation seems to be that the founders wanted to get on the water but where barred from joining existing clubs.

It certainly has an attraction for some, but it seems less so.

Corinthianism was mentioned in the other thread, which is snobbery by a different name. I mentioned the Royal Alfred. Last year it merged with Dublin Bay Sailing Club (the cross club co-operation that runs racing in Dublin Bay), effectively going out of existence. Then there's the Royal Corinthian (Burnham) vs the Royal Corinthian (Cowes) .. .the latter having recently merged with the RORC.

May be it's "shutters up, recruit amongst our own, or those who wish to be among us" that's been a contributory factor to the areas of decline? In some regard the recession has been a good thing. It's forced clubs to go out and go after members out side of traditional circles.

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It's all about the people who do "stuff" to make sailing happen.  If your club has plenty of them at different levels sailing will thrive.  Sadly developments in society have seen the reduction in the numbers of "givers" and increases in "takers" ... I suspect that this applies on both sides of the pond.

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People, please. If you are going to postulate your theory about why sailing is losing so much participation, please think of reasons that didn't also exist during the 'boom' years of the 70s and 80s.

For example, if you want to claim that it's because there's assholes on the racecourse, that the rules are too complicated or that the boats back then offered close racing, stop, think about what you just said, run in through the filter than I posted above, then go back to your drawing board.

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1 hour ago, Nice! said:

People, please. If you are going to postulate your theory about why sailing is losing so much participation, please think of reasons that didn't also exist during the 'boom' years of the 70s and 80s.

For example, if you want to claim that it's because there's assholes on the racecourse, that the rules are too complicated or that the boats back then offered close racing, stop, think about what you just said, run in through the filter than I posted above, then go back to your drawing board.

Yes, I think Ajax first hit upon that back in post # 14.

Sometimes there is no explanation or solution - it just is.

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In the late 70's my local sailing club had to build 3 new docks (up to 7) to accommodate demand. Today the harbor is half empty.

Sunday races would routinely attract 60-70 boats. Now a dozen is a big turnout. As someone said here, it's like the old days of NASCAR. anyone could show up with their car and try to (and may times did) qualify. Now you need a manufacturer's support and a gazillion bucks. Just sayin.

 

 

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It costs me $4600 a year to get a slip for a 26' boat in Seattle.  What did it cost back in the 70s and 80s?  I imagine it was rather less.   The median price of a house in Magnolia has just topped $1mil.  That was certainly a hell of a lot less and left more disposable income for a boat.

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14 hours ago, 12 metre said:

Yes, I think Ajax first hit upon that back in post # 14.

Sometimes there is no explanation or solution - it just is.

Welllllll... I think we've identified some of the contributing factors. They're the same factors that most of us rail against whenever these threads pop up. Unfortunately, these factors are also something that the sailing community has no real control over, so a solution is elusive:

- Less disposable income

- Less disposable time

- Shrinking public access to the water

- Competition with diversions that are less expensive and offer instant gratification

What we can do, is focus on combating negative factors that sailing community does have control over:

- Develop a nationwide marketing campaign that combats the negative connotations associated with sailing. (Exclusivity, expense, lack of accessibility, etc)

- Expand free or inexpensive sailing education offerings to youth and adults

- Offer more "shared boat programs" that offer the experience of sailing without the hassles and costs of ownership.

- Develop boats that cater to the income and time challenged demographic. Develop boats that keep youth engaged in sailing where that transition from Opti junior, to 420 to high school/college fails.

 

I'm not entirely convinced that the "marketing key" is to sell sailing as something that is "quick and easy" to learn and do.  That certainly does cater to the instant gratification crowd, but I also think there's something to be said for selling sailing (especially the racing component) for exactly what it is-  An ancient and time-honored athletic skill to be honed and cultivated for an entire lifetime.  An analogy would be basketball. Any fool with $10 can run to the store and buy a ball, but you won't be sinking free throws from center court without some serious practice. Anyone can sit at a piano and bang out "Chopsticks" in 5 minutes but you'll spend a lifetime learning to play a flawless Chopin that makes listeners cry with joy.

There's probably merit to both marketing messages.

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women -

 

the big cultural change has been women & men hang out together on the weekends now. 

If your class does not market to the ladies, you will die. 

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