Why don't more young people get into cruising?...

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
Eastern NC
Yep. Things have changed and it’s not just a case of “same knock on the youngest generation.” I’ve been working with young people for almost 40 years. Most (not all) of the crew now have a lack of interest in acquiring job skills/knowledge that is sad to see in people launching their careers.

This is what I struggle with- the attitude that you don't need to know anything because you can google everything.


Super Anarchist
My son teaches sailing and loves passing on his passion to kids. I just wish he had more interest in having kids of his own. :confused: He mostly gets college kids and recent grads who realize somewhat late that there’s a huge opportunity for them going to school in San Diego. The percentage who stick with it beyond the basic skills level course is uncertain but, presumably, he’s planted the seed as my wife and I did with him.

I think part of the problem with getting more people interested with the sport is the obsession so many organizations have with certifications. I inquired of a local non profit that focuses on introducing disadvantaged youth to water sports if I could take some of their groups out on my boat. The first thing they wanted to know was what certifications I had. “Well, I’ve been sailing most of my seventy plus years and own a forty foot sailboat. Does that count?“ “Nope, but you could make a donation so one of our counselors could get the required certifications.” It also turned out that my being white was seen as a compounding problem but I sort of get that.

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
Let’s be clear. Every generation of young people is accused of being lazy, unmotivated, lacking respect for elders, and so on. You can find articles online going back to the early 20th century or earlier complaining about the “youts.” And once those generations get older, they complain about the new generations!

This conversation is not new.

View attachment 558576

I always called it Archie Bunker syndrome. :)


Super Anarchist
Social media and the modern digital age certainly has an impact. Growing up we had a black and white TV with 3 channels...assuming the antenna on the roof was properly aligned. So entertainment was more "self generated" outside with friends.

I still struggle with my youngest boy. He's 15, plays 2 sports in High School, has mostly straight A's, is a Boy Scout. Loves fishing, camping, mountain bike riding. Put every minute he is not doing something, he's either watching videos on his phone, or playing on his PlayStation with his friends...

And as any gander at PA will show, even us old timers will call each other names and accuse each other of high crimes and misdemeanors when hidden behind being anonymous on the internet. We would never act that way to each other in person. And kids can and are brutal to each other on Social Media...
Before social media, it was the internet generally. Before the internet it was rap music. Before rap music it was tv generally (complete with bunny ears). Before tv it was rock and roll music. Before rock and roll music it was jazz. Before jazz it was the radio generally.

None of you are making new arguments. Young people will always be different than older people and nothing is making them that way. But you sure can have a big effect by how you raise your kids.

You are not an objective observer of what kids were like when you were growing up, and you’re not an objective observer today. It’s all skewed by circumstances both in and out of your control.
Last edited:


Super Anarchist
I've been trying to stay out of this, but since it has turned to trashing "kids these days"... while I am often frustrated with my own children's desire to be on screens all the time, they are usually interested in learning about and helping with projects around the house or maintenance on the cars and I try to be patient with them and hopefully teach them something while I'm at it. I learned a lot from my dad, but also lots of other adults and friends along the way.

In the end I don't actually care if they end up being interested in sailing as long as they find something that they are passionate about and makes them happy. We've tried to expose them to a lot of different activities including sailing and hopefully they will gain something from those experiences.

I personally have bounced around with interests over the years and landed in sailing as a major hobby, but it could have easily have been mountain biking, rock climbing, back country backpacking, skiing, or a handful of other things instead. Sailing is the most expensive hobby I have, but that is because I made the choice to own a boat that I don't use anywhere near enough. I have my own excuses for not getting into cruising or even sailing as much as I used to; I work too much, I have kids, the kids have activities, I have other activities, I need a break, I'm overwhelmed, the boat is 45 minutes away, life sucks sometimes. Shit, I'm not going to fault anyone for making different choices.

I'm pretty sure the kids will be alright.

slug zitski


the comment about mobile phones is correct

these days crew get nervous and fidgety when we sail out of mobile phone range

it seems that they prefer life in social media life as opposed to what is happening before their eyes

Bull City

A fine fellow
North Carolina
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

― Socrates


Super Anarchist
You are a prime example of something I said earlier:

Young people want a large variety of recreational diversions. They will not devote themselves to a single passion. YOU choose to spread your money across multiple recreational outlets and then say that sailing is too expensive because it's not as cheap as kayaking.

I'm not criticizing you for deciding that you want more than one recreational outlet, I'm just saying that it's unfair to paint sailing as an expensive, elitist hobby simply because you can't "have it all."

If you want 5 or 6 outlets, that's fine but you must accept the financial and time related limitations of that without laying the blame at the feet of the sport of sailing.
100% and I think in my case it lines up again with the age consideration. Cumulative injuries make getting rad in the mountains harder and harder, but I have more money and maturity to support something like cruising, so I'm moving life in that direction. Phases and stages.


Super Anarchist
Edgewater, MD
I think there are hard statistics to back up that kids are less motivated and less respectful and that this isn't a rehash of the Socrates quote.

Look at obesity statistics for youth.
Look at crime statistics for youth. It's Socrates on steroids.
Look at the mental health statistics.

I do meet exceptional young people. When I do, instead of experiencing a feeling of satisfaction, I experience a strong feeling of relief.

My own kids are shockingly functional and relatively well adjusted. They are college educated, homeowners, in stable relationships with good men, personal finances on solid ground.

I'm dead serious when I say that I review my past performance and don't understand how I got so lucky. My kids actually thank me for specific things I did during their upbringing but I feel like a failure and that I short changed them.

Israel Hands

Super Anarchist
coastal NC
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

― Socrates
Oh come on Bull, I knew someone was going to dredge that up. :D
You are not an objective observer of what kids were like when you were growing up, and you’re not an objective observer today.
Dude, you are accusing us of having a biased worldview. But many of us older farts, in becoming older and our kids being out in the world, have a relatively detached and less emotional view of what's going on at this point in our lives. I'm not Homer Simpson's dad, railing about young whippersnappers. I'm involved enough to know how engaged young people are or aren't at their work. And I can definitely see that on average they are much less engaged than even 10 years ago. That's not a meme; that's a trend. We therefore work extra hard to retain the ones that are.

Maybe in the end this trend doesn't matter. I count myself extremely lucky to have kids gainfully employed and who seem to be energized and happy. But my son keeps reminding me that AI will be replacing human decisions at warp speed going forward. Have any of you looked at ChatGPT, temporarily released for public access by openAI? I spent just long enough playing with that for it to leave me in awe. Sure hoping that AI will be harnessed for good and not just for greed...it looks like it's truly arrived.

Fah Kiew Tu

Curmudgeon, First Rank
Tasmania, Australia
They're kids. They're the ones on the downhill side of the equation; if they have lost the desire for our approval then it's because we've never given them enough to show it's worth, or in all too many cases abdicated completely.

I disagree with you on this. IMO far too many get unconditional approval far too early and too often. Then it becomes worthless, so why should they seek it?

It's like respect. You don't get respect, you earn respect.

As for kids being lazy, unmotivated, sullen, insolent and plain disobedient - I certainly was. And cunning with it, so as not to get caught.

That's why I became a software designer.


slug zitski

Remember the backpacker scene ?

whole section of towns, special Hostal’s , bars ..a distinct social scene

I don’t see this anymore…can’t remember last time I saw a backpacker

perhaps real estate has driven the Hostal’s and bars out of buisness

new traveler types all seem to be rich …airb&b , sushi joint, types

Bull City

A fine fellow
North Carolina
Oh come on Bull, I knew someone was going to dredge that up. :D
It had to be done. Really. The last few pages of this thread read like a bunch of grumpy old Greek philosophers.

We have four children, born between 1977 and 1983, three doing better $-wise than I ever did, one doing almost as well, and all raising nice children. I'm sure most of you with grown children can say the same or better about them.

I worry about the almost unchecked power of technology and the internet, and its harmful effects (I don't deny the benefits) on young and old individuals, communities and societies.


Super Anarchist
I've been lucky enough over the last few decades to work with a lot of smart, talented, and hardworking younger people. A few have been under the age of 20 when I first met them, and are now in their late 20s, 30s, with more than a few now pushing past 40.

They were hard-working, cocky, and clever when they were 20, and they are equally hard-working and even smarter a few years or decades later. Sometimes they are still cocky, but mostly they are confident rather than cocky. They are confident because they are really good at what they do.

They all happened to be driven to work in high-performance sailing, as designers, builders, sailmakers, systems specialists....oh yeah, and sailors. Almost all of them started at the bottom of the ladder, and kept climbing. Some of them dropped out along the way, as the goal wasn't worth what it took to get there.

There is not a piece of dead wood among them. If there were, they would not last long in this game, for there are plenty of others eager and willing to step into their shoes.

What they almost all have in common is that they identified something they wanted to excel at when they were quite young, and figured out a way to fit into the jigsaw puzzle of opportunities that is professional sailing.

I'm not sure you can teach someone that.

I may the old man in the game--even the oldest of them is young enough to be my son or daughter--but they don't cut me any slack, and I'm grateful for that.

Keeps me on my toes and clicking along.

The point is that not all young people are cut from the same cloth, and there are plenty to good'uns out there.


Super Anarchist
Some of today's young people, those with a goal in mind, who are well lead, sure as hell work hard. Average age out here? 19 years old.




Latest posts