An academic look at cruising

Bristol-Cruiser

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The study below was mentioned on CSF but is worth a more general look. It is a PhD thesis done in Oz in 1985 (pub date, likely several years research before). Be warned, it is more than 300 pages not counting the appendices that take its close to 500, but it has a lot of good insights in it. The author concludes that cruisers are social deviants but on the good side. He talks about how cruising is changing, remembering this work is almost 40 years old. One telling stat in the appendix is that the average age of the cruisers surveyed was 43! Might be more like 63 now. There is no doubt that extended cruising is easier today - navigation and self steering just to mention two areas. I think this has allowed more, and older, folks to be cruisers, often after 30+ years of hard work to get the means to cruise. Working so long and successfully suggests that they are a lot less socially deviant than earlier generations of cruisers. 

https://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/172/3/02Whole.pdf

 

TwoLegged

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There is no doubt that extended cruising is easier today - navigation and self steering just to mention two areas.
And esp sail handling.  For a couple, handling the headsails on a 1970s 40-foot sloop would have been a nightmare.    Now they just press a button to furl it.

Furling sails has allowed cruising boats to grow a lot in size.  The extra space is attractive to normies

 

Kris Cringle

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Without going through the 300 pages, what defines a "cruiser"?

The vast majority of sailors that own boats still spend all their sailing time within 40 miles of home(I think this is still the norm for the last several decades of data). 

Or is 'cruiser' a state of mind and not based on traveling abroad on the oceans? 

 

SloopJonB

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The increase in people sailing long distances in my life has been dramatic. When I got started sailing in the early 70's, Chichester had only recently been knighted for sailing around alone.

I was an adult at a time when more people had walked on the Moon than had done a non-stop RTW.

People who had sailed across an ocean were rare enough that most sailors had never met one.

Now it's so commonplace it hardly rates a mention.

 

toddster

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Hmm… I started thinking about cruising in 1985 (as a “plan B or C”).  I guess I should have done it.  Didn’t think about trying to get a thesis out of it, so props to the author.

Also don’t underestimate the advent since then of: Cellular phones, laptop computers, digital media.  They make the compact mobile lifestyle much more feasible for semi-norms.  

Much as it pains me to admit, 1985 was such a different world that it doesn’t have much relevance today.

 

Bristol-Cruiser

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Good question. World 365-day voyager? Seasonal coastal cruiser? Weekend/Overnighter? Day sailor with afternoon nap?
The paper defines cruising as a full-time activity, the central point of the lifestyle of those involved. There is an obvious question about timelines. I am not sure if we would qualify. We were full-time cruisers for five years but still owned a house in the Toronto area - a good thing considering what has happened to house prices locally. After the five years we moved back ashore, but kept sailing.

 

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