Sailing & Millennials that just don't get it.

North253

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My generation is, as near as I can tell, a bunch of entitled idiots (I'm 28). I love sailing, and was raised by sailors. But the truly unobservant things I have been asked about sailboats and sailing by people my age is mind boggling. I answer all of their questions tirelessly and patiently, because the more interest I can generate the better, and the slow decay of my favorite pastime especially among people my age and younger saddens me, because it is oh so cool. I bought a flush deck Cal 28 recently with the intent to take as many people as I can get sailing, because they clearly don't get it. (This is my second full size sailboat)

But this takes the cake:

I was recently asked by a 29yo lawyer friend, who is generally not a moron, "yeah they are cool but can't you only sail on rivers, you can't take sailboats onto like the ocean right?".

Other amusing questions include:

-"But sailboats can't have engines, so you're screwed when there is no wind"

-"can't you only go the same direction the wind is blowing"

-"is there a way to steer it? What happens when you hit land?"

-"what about sharks?"

While a fair question by the uninitiated, my favorite to answer has to be,"won't it flip over"

Christ, who raised us...

Apparently, I have work to do...

Maybe, just maybe I can recruit some new sailors.

 

North253

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I really am. That's what they taught me in school. And my mommy told me so. You should be thanking me, clearly.

Opening does come off a bit arrogant and unobservant myself perhaps, allow me to try again (simplified):

I love sailing, I am younger than most here. My friends think sailing is an alien thing. They ask me simple funny questions. I bought a cheap boat to share it with them. I wish it was more popular among my peers, they have not been exposed to it before. I hope they love it too.

 
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NORBowGirl

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While a fair question by the uninitiated, my favorite to answer has to be,"won't it flip over"
What was your answer? :)

I remember when I went to the isaf safety training, there was a married couple there and the husband wanted to take the course to make his wife feel better/safer about sailing. Clearly, he'd told her that the boat can't flip over.....so the look on her face when the instructor went through the topic of stability index and capsizing, was absolutely priceless.

I hope you will make your friends love sailing. Treat them nice and don't make them feel stupid. Take them for small races, the element of competition is usually exciting for newbies :)

 

SloopJonB

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65,115
10,607
Great Wet North
No-one is born knowing about boats & sailing. If they have no exposure their questions will oftentimes sound pretty clueless to us salty dogs.

That said, some of your friends & acquaintances sound more than typically clueless - perhaps cellphone radiation?

Your plan to introduce people to it is sound. Good choice of boat too - lots of cockpit and deck space for groups.

 
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Couta

Super Anarchist
1,075
767
Australia
My favourite question....."Can it go in really deep water?"

Keep at it...you're doing exactly what everyone who loves sailing should be doing - reaching out to new blood.

The ones that catch the bug will be appreciative friends for life.

 

North253

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While a fair question by the uninitiated, my favorite to answer has to be,"won't it flip over"
What was your answer? :)

I remember when I went to the isaf safety training, there was a married couple there and the husband wanted to take the course to make his wife feel better/safer about sailing. Clearly, he'd told her that the boat can't flip over.....so the look on her face when the instructor went through the topic of stability index and capsizing, was absolutely priceless.

I hope you will make your friends love sailing. Treat them nice and don't make them feel stupid. Take them for small races, the element of competition is usually exciting for newbies :)
My typical answer is, "if you try real hard, but there's a big pice of metal on the bottom to stop that."

 
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North253

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I guess my extended question is, in the day and age of cell phones and the internet and videogames, coupled with the lack of growth in the popularity of the sport (at least in the US) along with the monetary cost, both real and percieved. How can sailing become accessible and interesting to people in their 20's and younger?

 

olshitsky

Member
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good for you for taking the time to introduce and teach people about our sport.

even better for you for dialing back the smugness in your original post.

I don't think it's limited to millennials. as someone else pointed out, boats are quite foreign to most people and what may seem pretty obvious to you may be completely unfathomable to a non-sailor.

in Chicago, where the Mac race as an event is well known to all non-sailors in the city but the specifics are not, every racer has answered the following three questions plenty of times:

  • What do you do at night?
  • What do you do when it rains?
  • What keeps you from just turning on the engine when nobody is around you?
You answer as politely as you can without being condescending and are happy that someone is taking interest in what you do.

 

dogwatch

Super Anarchist
16,173
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South Coast, UK
I was recently at my club on a chilly November day and it was packed out with excited teenagers getting ready to sail and gossiping with their friends. It was not obvious that there was a problem prising them off their phones, for an hour or two at least. Why? Well the fact that it was 50/50 girls and boys might just have had a little to do with it.

 
OMFG, Some of those questions are more painful that the naked crawl through broken glass, while being douched with acetone... and then set alight at the end.
Did the guy in law school get his undergrad degree as a prize in his cereal box? The prof's which taught him should have THEIR degrees pulled! Damn.

When your patience falters, & your sense of humor fades, take a peek (or listen) to JOB: A comedy of Justice by Robert Heinlein. It was my 1st audiobook, ever, back in 1990, to keep me entertained on a solo cross country drive. Still have it, still makes me grin. Every time I listen.

 
I guess my extended question is, in the day and age of cell phones and the internet and videogames, coupled with the lack of growth in the popularity of the sport (at least in the US) along with the monetary cost, both real and percieved. How can sailing become accessible and interesting to people in their 20's and younger?
Where is the big issue with this? You can buy a decent (older) 30'er for $5k. One in good shape, & with lots of gear. So that the real cost is slip fees, & beer. As to cell phones, don't get me started :rolleyes:

 

Flatbag

Super Anarchist
Sailing takes far too long for the newer generations. They have limited attention spans and seek instant gratification in whatever they choose to do.That's why AC races are now so short, otherwise they won't watch them. Anything that lasts longer than a wank is way too long for them.

That's one of the key reasons our sport is dying off.

That... and the cost of Rum.

 

PeterHuston

Super Anarchist
5,892
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I guess my extended question is, in the day and age of cell phones and the internet and videogames, coupled with the lack of growth in the popularity of the sport (at least in the US) along with the monetary cost, both real and percieved. How can sailing become accessible and interesting to people in their 20's and younger?

Great posts! As for accessible, that depends on the location. Some places have great, supportive cultures and actually invite new people in, others, not so much.

The best way is to do what you are doing. A boat like yours is just about perfect to take newbies out. Big enough to have 6-8 people without being too crowded, you can manhandle just about any problem on your own. It's easy to teach people the fundamentals. Boat will have a safe, secure feeling.

Add decent weather, a very good stereo, a healthy gender mix and you'll be taking reservations to get on your wet pleasure party program.

 

joeording

New member
I sail with lots of newbs doing charters and I can confirm that being clueless about the physics and logistics of sailing transcends age/race/gender/whatever.

Studying for my teaching credential, they showed us a video where they interviewed Harvard grads on graduation day, and asked them, "Why do we have seasons?" A shocking number of them had no idea. Lots of people have knowledge that is deep but narrow.

Sailing is expensive. An old $5k boat is going to cost more to run than slip fees and fuel. Most people (of any age) aren't handy enough to change the oil in their car, let alone do DIY boat maintenance, and paying somebody else adds up fast. Ignoring shit adds up fast, too. So eventually you have a broken boat that you can't afford to fix that rots in the slip until you pawn it off on the next sucker for $5k. When you can get a bitching set of skis and gear for half that, it's hard to sell people on sailing as a sport.

Keep doing that you're doing, OP. It wasn't too many years ago that I was a clueless person who had never been on a sailboat.

 
I don't think it has anything to do with generation. In my life I have taken a lot of people sailing, some get it most don't. I don't think this is a bad thing, who wants sailing to become a mainstream sport?
An office mate of my dad took me out on his Hobie when I was 11, I never turned back. It was the same with climbing, a friend took me up a 7 pitch climb at Tahquitz and I was a climber from that day on.

It's either for you or it's not, but you do need exposure to find that out.

I once took the cousin of a girlfriend out sailing, We were kind of looking out for him as he was getting into trouble and heading down the wrong path. Though at the time our relationship was not so serious she and I stayed in contact for many years and we ended up getting back together and she became my second wife. Unfortunently she died unexpectedly 6 weeks after we got married and I met her cousin again as she was in the hospital in a coma. Well dispite our best intentions he ended up getting in a lot of trouble and had spent a fair bit of time in prison. It struck me though when he said that day sailing around Long Beach Harbor was the best day he ever had in his life, for me it was just a nice day on the water like many others.

 
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