"Free Boats" and Sailing Aging Out

Santanasailor

Charter Member. Scow Mafia
1,451
799
North Louisiana
This is your fucking problem…..Look at this picture

THREE, repeat THREE People are sailing and the rest are sitting on the fucking rail!

They don’t even have a good view. Just sitting. I can get just as much joy sitting on the boat dock in front of my house looking at others out having fun.

Can’t understand why people arn’t more interested in sailing. WELL GET THEM SAILING, instead of sitting on their backsides, doing nothing, contributing nothing more than a couple more inches of lead couldn’t do better.

6878E779-8AB0-410C-9EB0-2761F0B31573.jpeg
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
29,327
7,021
Kent Island!
This is your fucking problem…..Look at this picture

THREE, repeat THREE People are sailing and the rest are sitting on the fucking rail!

They don’t even have a good view. Just sitting. I can get just as much joy sitting on the boat dock in front of my house looking at others out having fun.

Can’t understand why people arn’t more interested in sailing. WELL GET THEM SAILING, instead of sitting on their backsides, doing nothing, contributing nothing more than a couple more inches of lead couldn’t do better.

View attachment 594933
The average sailor could not afford to get that boat hauled out and painted nor replace even one sail on that boat.
iu

Are any of those people even out there for fun or all they all getting paid? This has about as much to do with local club issues as Formula One racing has to do with your local parking lot autocross. If only Ferrari would make the clutch on their latest F1 car easier to work, we'll get all the n00bs out in our cars and sell hundreds of them :rolleyes:
That said.........we'll just imagine everyone at the club can afford these boats and the docks and moorings are full of them. Not everyone on the rail is ONLY sitting on the rail. many of them have other jobs when not sailing in a straight line. So if you are a total n00b, you can walk the dock and get a spot on one of these boats as moveable ballast. Your job just might be sitting on the rail at first, but show up enough times and you'll be grinding or tailing and so on. That is how people got into the sport, bodies were needed. Rail Meat - Snacktician - Tailer - Grinder - Foredeck Union - and so on all the way up to helm, nav, and maybe owner.
Boats that only need 3 people to sail don't have room for any random dock walkers. They may be good for the owners who have a hard time getting crew, but they aren't making it easier to break in as crew ;)
 

TUBBY

Super Anarchist
Three people doing manual jobs in that picture.
Try a gybe in a bit of breeze and see how many are busy, or drop the 2nd reef in in 30+, even a take down has plenty of jobs to do particularly if there is a mark rounding thrown in.
 

Aquila11

New member
31
14
MA
I think part of the problem is actually slip scarcity. People who had to wait 10 years to get a slip are reluctant to sell their boats and lose it. I understand the same thing happens with hangars at airports. People end up using the hangar as storage for unrelated junk, don't fly, and the airplane in the hangar is no longer airworthy.

The days of dredging lagoons and building marinas are mostly over in California. The marinas we have are, for the most part, the only marinas we are going to have. If we could get the non-sailing boats out of them, maybe there would be more room for boats that actually would be used.

I don't know. Santa Cruz, the closest harbor to my home, has very few slips for sailboats. Maybe I am just frustrated by that.
I completely agree this is a huge problem.

In my local harbor there are two options to get into the water. A 20+ year wait on the mooring list, or you literally camp in the harbormaster's parking lot (sometimes for multiple days) to get in line for first come first serve slip openings on August 1st. I went the camping method a few years ago and now have a slip, but it cost me almost $1000/month for our 5 month season. Most younger people aren't going to (or aren't able to) absorb that kind of expense.

The main problem is the moorings are not turning over. A huge number of boats sit on their mooring unused all summer and the rules either aren't in place or aren't enforced to turn them over.

Easy and affordable access to the water is the biggest barrier I see to new boat owners. It also explains why there are 100 20ft center consoles at the ramp every weekend. Storage in your driveway is free, ramp is free. Much harder to trailer launch and step the rig on a sailboat every weekend, even harder after work for a wednesday night race...
 

Sisu3360

Anarchist
705
334
I have yet to be convinced that boatspeed draws a significant number of people to sailing. If I wanted to go fast, I would have played a different sport. The appeal of racing for me is figuring out the tactics and strategy and making the boat sail as fast as it will go (maybe 6 knots). I've had no trouble building a team of 30-somethings on my 1970 full-keel MORC boat who feel the same way.
 

Sisu3360

Anarchist
705
334
Fact #1: Wages haven't kept up with costs

Fact #2: 40 years ago folks weren't paying $500-$2000/month for medical insurance

Fact #3: $400-$1000/month student loans are another huge hit to young families and singles alike, 2(x) for some families as both mom and dad have these as well

It's a different world, you can't go back again.
It's not just money, it's time. I have enough money to run my modest little beercan boat, but as a homeowner with both spouses working demanding jobs, maintaining the boat is exhausting. There are virtually no pros in my area so all maintenance work is DIY. If we had kids I really don't know where the time would come from.
 

Santanasailor

Charter Member. Scow Mafia
1,451
799
North Louisiana
please forgive my less than polite response of this morning.

I see two issues.

One is expense. It is an expensive sport.

Two, the point I so inappropriately tried to make is a lack of participation, a lack of involvement. I simply don’t believe sitting on the gunwale and running to the other gunwale on a tack is participation.

Getting people involved. That is a big key. Make them feel that they are doing something important, contributing in an active manner. It actually means less people on each boat, and more lead on the keel. Boats have lots of strings to pull (quoting Bob). Get the crew manning the winches, handling the lines even hand tending those lines where the load is workable. Actually Sailing the boat.

Getting smaller boats. Sure, riding on a 5 million dollar boat with a six figure mainsail is supposed to be fun, but wouldn’t it be more fun to tending to the genoa, or manning the helm on a 35 footer.

Last thought…I did not mean to pick on an individual boat. It was the first picture I could find of a boat with a large crew, almost all doing nothing but sitting on the rail. So to the owners, sailors of Alfa, I apologize.
 

NeedAClew

Super Anarchist
7,281
2,329
USA
The average sailor could not afford to get that boat hauled out and painted nor replace even one sail on that boat.
iu

That is how people got into the sport, bodies were needed. Rail Meat - Snacktician
"Snacktician" love it. So much better than "thanks for bringing the food now come sit back here by me"
 

Lark

Supper Anarchist
10,380
2,296
Ohio
I don't know man, there's at least 6 new owners (of sailboats) on my dock.
Exactly. My little sailing association in powerboat territory is helping train two new millennial families. Both bought boats this year (one has already replaced his first with a more structurally sound upgrade). Both are making essential repairs and working to learn. Another (end of the boomer era) may return to sailing after four decades, if we can coach him past the repair stage into the 'good enough' stage. These are all trailerable boats with bad shrouds, blown sails, broken fittings and other deferred maintenance being returned to the water, not expensive boats requiring a top 1% income. Since there are no sailing classes around and no knowledgeable shops less then 2 hours away, its just a fellow sailor and myself on the same lake trying to supplement YouTube and reddit for mentoring purposes, helping them learn painlessly.

It will astonish some here, but their goal isn't to sail around buoys as fast as possible and return to the bait shop before anybody else (its an Ohio state park, so there is no fancy clubhouse or anything nice). One wants to camp out with as a family, another to daysail.
 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
64,856
6,923
De Nile
It's not just money, it's time. I have enough money to run my modest little beercan boat, but as a homeowner with both spouses working demanding jobs, maintaining the boat is exhausting. There are virtually no pros in my area so all maintenance work is DIY. If we had kids I really don't know where the time would come from.
When you have kids, you stop sailing for a few years, unless you have a nice little daysailor. Then you get you kid in a program at about age 8, and you volunteer. By the time they are 16 you can't keep up with them... Or they say it's not for them, but they enjoy the memories. I have one of each.

last weekend, 3 17 year olds on an upwind delivery at 5am. 30 year old 6 knot shitbox.

1685721306277.png
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
29,327
7,021
Kent Island!
When you have kids, you stop sailing for a few years, unless you have a nice little daysailor. Then you get you kid in a program at about age 8, and you volunteer. By the time they are 16 you can't keep up with them... Or they say it's not for them, but they enjoy the memories. I have one of each.

last weekend, 3 17 year olds on an upwind delivery at 5am. 30 year old 6 knot shitbox.

View attachment 594943
Or not. By the time our son was 5 we figured he had spent 10% of his entire life on the boat. He was born in June and on a 4-day cruise in July ;)
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
29,327
7,021
Kent Island!
please forgive my less than polite response of this morning.

I see two issues.

One is expense. It is an expensive sport.

Two, the point I so inappropriately tried to make is a lack of participation, a lack of involvement. I simply don’t believe sitting on the gunwale and running to the other gunwale on a tack is participation.

Getting people involved. That is a big key. Make them feel that they are doing something important, contributing in an active manner. It actually means less people on each boat, and more lead on the keel. Boats have lots of strings to pull (quoting Bob). Get the crew manning the winches, handling the lines even hand tending those lines where the load is workable. Actually Sailing the boat.

Getting smaller boats. Sure, riding on a 5 million dollar boat with a six figure mainsail is supposed to be fun, but wouldn’t it be more fun to tending to the genoa, or manning the helm on a 35 footer.

Last thought…I did not mean to pick on an individual boat. It was the first picture I could find of a boat with a large crew, almost all doing nothing but sitting on the rail. So to the owners, sailors of Alfa, I apologize.
I am a bit confused here.
What people do on the boat is 90% up to the skipper and 10% up to the design of the boat. On a 5 million dollar boat you do what the owner tells you to do or find another job. Those people are not out there as a hobby ;)
For the rest of us, some boats love new people and try and get them doing as much as they can handle. They are willing to lose a few boat lengths to let a new guy steer or trim. Some boats are serious programs and you have a serious job and don't do anything else and the last thing they would do is lose even 5 seconds with training the new crew.
This is not even vaguely related to ballast issues, it is a philosophy of the sport issue. Are you out there to win or die trying? Are you happy because a 4 course meal and a nice bottle of wine are headed up from below decks and as long as you finish before the party ends all is good?
 

kinardly

Super Anarchist
I can only speak to the conditions in my neighborhood, Southern California and more specifically, San Diego. All of the land surrounding our bay is owned by a public agency (Port District) which leases the waterfront to commercial and recreational enterprises and requires hefty rents to continue filling the coffers of the municipal governments whose boundaries fall within the port confines. The cost pretty much guarantees the marinas and yacht clubs have to charge usurious rents to the fortunate few who've persevered through the multi-year waiting list to get a slip. Add the dues required to build, upgrade and maintain the various dockside facilities needed to support boat owners and you've got another layer of denial to middle class families looking to stretch their recreational dollars. But there is more than a financial issue here. Clubs with all white, middle aged and older memberships don't look appealing to younger, more racially and ethnically diverse families that represent the demographic we all need to bring to the sport. For example, say you're a black pediatrician who's wife manages a local investment firm and you can presumably afford the scratch to participate in boating, would you and your family choose to be the only black faces in the club dining room on Saturday night or your kids to be the only ones in the junior sailing program? Or would you throw your time, energies and money into youth soccer or basketball programs along with other families that look more like you, maybe buy an RV and start traveling to out of town tournaments instead? I don't believe there is any significant discriminatory sentiment in my club's membership but, if we don't make an overt, concerted effort to recruit more families who represent the younger, more diverse, and perhaps less affluent demographic we need, the result will be the same. We will be doomed to progressive irrelevance until one day the voting public decides public port lands shouldn't be allocated to the exclusive, white and wealthy few.
 

Alan H

Super Anarchist
3,922
1,180
SF Bay Area
Every 4-6 months here on SA, a thread about how sailing is dying crops up. They make for great entertainment here on this sailing forum and website.

But you know, while I posted in it, I don't much care. The world changes all the time. Things come and go. Masses of regular slobs didn't go sailing for "fun" before the 1940's and "the sport" survived. It wasn't until plywood boat construction developed and then fiberglass came along that sailing reached "the masses". If the cycle winds back to where people, generally aren't all that interested, or it's too expensive, or whatever-it-is, then so be it.

This all sounds rather like whining that the younger generation doesn't like Disco, to me. Regular people who want to sail will find a way, if they really want to. Blisteringly rich people will still blow preposterous amounts of money on boats, like they have since the 1800's. The inventory of old 60's and 70's plastic boats will slowly shrink as they get chainsawed and dumpsterized.

....And the sun will still come up in the morning.
 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
64,856
6,923
De Nile
I am a bit confused here.
What people do on the boat is 90% up to the skipper and 10% up to the design of the boat. On a 5 million dollar boat you do what the owner tells you to do or find another job. Those people are not out there as a hobby ;)
For the rest of us, some boats love new people and try and get them doing as much as they can handle. They are willing to lose a few boat lengths to let a new guy steer or trim. Some boats are serious programs and you have a serious job and don't do anything else and the last thing they would do is lose even 5 seconds with training the new crew.
This is not even vaguely related to ballast issues, it is a philosophy of the sport issue. Are you out there to win or die trying? Are you happy because a 4 course meal and a nice bottle of wine are headed up from below decks and as long as you finish before the party ends all is good?
Yep, our program is definitely the latter. We took 4 extra bodies on that race just to train them. But the program is focused on getting this team up to speed for next year.
 



SA Podcast

Sailing Anarchy Podcast with Scot Tempesta

Sponsored By:

Top