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

giegs

Anarchist
909
451
Arid
The other thing is, young people don't grow up with any mechanical skills, or at least very few that I've encountered. Don't know a Phillips head from a soldering iron, literally. Not trying to be judgemental, they just don't have any experience. I worked with youth sailors teaching basic repairs and maintenance, to the point we could do so with limited time and no exposure to toxic chemical.

I think it's lack of confidence in these tasks holding them back as much as anything.
I do a lot of environmental conservation work with young folks and their experience/familiarity with manual labor is still all over the place, but there's been a clear trend of that skillset declining in favor of other skillsets like digital media or whatever else. Varies a lot depending on if they grew up urban/suburbs/rural and their class. They're usually very receptive to the idea that there's a correct form or technique or particular tool which can make teaching easier, but they don't have the foundational knowledge or muscle memory so there's a lot of hammers locating fingers and such as they get up to speed.

Looking at my own community, a lot of people contract out basic manual labor jobs. They don't do their own landscaping, so they don't do small engine repair. They hire a handyman for the most basic of home improvement projects. They pay someone to deal with the snow. If something breaks just order a new one with same day delivery.

The lack of confidence is a huge issue. Taking the perspective of "I don't know, let's figure it out together" goes a long way to supporting growth, but you're often starting from a very very basic level. There's a real fear of being "wrong" or getting "in trouble" that's just misplaced.
 

Fah Kiew Tu

Curmudgeon, First Rank
10,377
3,470
Tasmania, Australia
Or not. At least a dozen 14~15 years olds have told me how goddam stupid and pointless it is to have 3 different sizes of Phillips heads/tips, of course they're total models of patience and probity in everything else...

Philips head screws are inventions of the devil (or a sadist) anyway. Might be better than slot head screws for sheet metal screws but anyone who uses them for threaded fasteners instead of socket head screws deserves all the shit that they are GOING to get down the track.

Which is one thing I point out to people. Spend more money on better screws, use Tefgel and nylocks, there's a good chance you'll be able to get it apart again later, under less than ideal conditions.

And carry AT LEAST 2 hex wrenches of the common sizes, because when you drop one and it bounces overside.....

You *can* teach them but probably need to either start young or wait until they're 25 or so and can put ego and fear of showing ignorance aside. My kids literally grew up with me building a house, playing with machine tools and showing them stuff from when they were toddlers onwards. They knew I'd not ever belittle them or give them shit for asking questions too.

FKT
 

robtoujours

Communist
654
421
Undercover
Young people have completely disappeared from the waterfront

when I was a kid , after school i would ride my bike to the shipyard to work …all those kid jobs like wash boats, pick up trash , coil hoses …

the most common job was to patrol the waterfront with a long handle dip net and scoop up trash

many kids, roving gangs of them , would always be around looking for after school work
Unfortunately the USA ploughed ahead with nuking all their cities and waterfronts in the 70s and left a desolate Hiroshima like wasteland most places… 🛣

Kids got trapped in the new burbs and then in a cubicle and then in a phone

It’s sort of like if all anchorages were replaced with race courses for jetskis

Very bad vibes
 

Israel Hands

Super Anarchist
3,172
1,863
coastal NC
I did mechanical projects with my kids, and they were outdoorsy, learned to sail, etc. But as adults, neither sees the need to do much mechanical work. I’ve given them tool kits and helped them with apartment projects to encourage self reliance and some confidence in that area, but so far it ain’t happening. I always figured that building small-motor skills by using their hands to repair things, they would take to it. Not yet.
At least they still like to sail.
 

Cruisin Loser

Super Anarchist
My son is an IT geek, knows his way around tools. I'd not let him loose on my 'new' DS&G lathe but that machine is more than capable of tearing off an arm if you're careless. But the smaller lathes etc, yes, he can operate them safely.

My daughters, their request for a housewarming present when they moved out, a set of battery power tools. My youngest daughter is far more capable than her husband, something he cheerfully admits. I bought her a nice powerful 240V hammer drill last year when she was complaining that the battery powered one wasn't doing the job.

One thing for sure, if my kids express the need for a tool to get something done, it'll arrive in short order. Decent tools and the knowledge to use them make building/maintenance a pleasure instead of a shit-fight.

FKT
So is mine. Her husband is pretty useless, not handy at all, but he loves her and is a good dad, so he can live. My daughter wanted a new drill press for Christmas last year. Love that girl.
 

Crash

Super Anarchist
5,195
1,100
SoCal
My oldest, a boy, is coming up on 31. He's married now, has a kid, is a good dad. He loved sailing with me, taught him how to do foredeck, and he did that for years till we moved out west to Socal. Now he's given me my first grandchild (something is wrong here, I can't be that old!). Growing up, he occasionally helped me with projects, oil changes, brake changes, etc, he never really was all the into working with his hands. He has a bunch of tools I bought to renovate a ski condo in the Blue Ridge Mts, and recently decided he wanted to renovate his guest bath, and do it himself (with me) so he could learn and save some money. So I spent almost 3 weeks back in VA helping him redo the guest bath...It came out really nice, he learned a bunch of things, still needs to work on his patience and prep work, but hey, its a huge step forward for him, and that makes me happy....
 

Buzzook

New member
i get what you are saying but im going to build it cus for me its like 50% of fun
im actually interested in working with composite materials
If you haven't already seen it, there is a ex-Navy guy building a 14' scow bow ocean cruiser in a San Diego garage on You Tube here in foam/glass.
Interesting project!
https://www.youtube.com/@oceancapablesmallsailboat2774
Or if you want to go the 'bigger is better but loads more work' route, try this young guy rebuilding a 60ft ex-racer in BC.
https://www.youtube.com/@TheDuracellProject
 

Buzzook

New member
Big time.
When fiberglass happened there was an avalanche of new boats; by now the harbors are filled with boats that are owned but not used any more; no market for many of them...but not as cheap as they might seem. Start going through the list of stuff that has to be replaced or upgraded to return the boat to being an attractive sea worthy vessel. The better designs of the older boats can be worth the cost and work of restoring because what you can end up with is an excellent nearly new boat at a much lower price. But there are many boats not worthy of that effort. Guys with knowledge should help newbies pick worthy boats for restoration.
This is especially true for areas like mine where mooring fields are strictly limited, and all full, with waiting lists.
The '2nd-hand old keelboat boat on a mooring' is the cheapest option to get into a larger boat, but interestingly, the most recent State survey of moorings found the average length was 28' - meaning there's lots of boats on moorings that are smaller than this.
But a boat on a mooring is a bit harder to get to easily, requiring a dinghy on shore or a ferry boat from the nearby marina. So having a boat in a slip is easier to access, but not cheap.
A trailer sailer somewhat limits the scope of sailing - like blue water is trickier and not so safe - but it does open up a lot more cruising grounds, as a car can tow a boat along way a lot faster than it can sail on it's own bottom.
So cheaper (no mooring fee or slip fees, and maintenance in the driveway, close at hand) and more options for cruising grounds, so more variety of destinations.
Also, there are almost no small sailboats that are 'cost effective' to purchase new, as they once were. A cheap, new boat these days is as much as a luxury car. So buying new is not so accessiible an option as perhaps it might once have been.
In the end it's what works for each individual or couple.
With the cost of housing what it is, most young people are skint, so spending $2500 a year on just owning and maintaining a boat is not as attractive as going overseas for a week to somewhere exotic - and no effort to do so.
Perhaps if flying got seriously more expensive (again) as it was in the Sixties and Seventies, then sailing might be more appealing on a cost-benefit basis.
My personal feeling is it's a combination of a lot of the factors others have mentioned:
- so many more options (that are easier or cheaper)
- the couch/gaming lifestyle
- lack of practical skills/fear of failure
- lack of cost-effective options
I don't think anyone is saying that LESS sailing is going on, overall, so that would tend to indicate that 'opportunities' are part of the problem.
With the increase in population since the Seventies, for exasmple, there are loads more people doing stuff, but the number of moorings, slips and ramps is limited, so overall, while the same number of folks are still sailing, the proportion is not increasing due to lack of growth in opportunities.
Also in the same survey recently done in my State, the fasting growing boating category was small power boats. essentially, peiople are going fishing instead of sailing, becasue it's easier to get into, takes less time on maintenenance (annual service of the outboard and that's about it), and you can easily get to a ramp and get on the water quickly - no stepping masts, managing sails, etc.
And most outboards these days have decent alternators for powering the fridge and all the other electronic devices.....
So fishing, or power-boating, is a lot easier for the time and resources poor, as the boat is kept in the garage or on the driveway at home.
And that always pre-supposes the young person has got the home.....
Reckon these days most are struggling to achieve that option first....
And other 'outdoors pursuits' which are cheaper, and easier, get the nod for that 'safety valve' experience.
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
85
54
For years sailing was my thing, that my wife wasnt really into. Finally got her hooked. (Got some lessons from an amazing teacher in Baltimore that effectively activated the sail bug better than I was able to!). That was 6 months ago, and now we are the proud owners of a 36 foot sailboat. We have made a lot of friends and have made it a point to try and introduce people to sailing, here are some observations. While we have had some great times, we have also been surprised by folks who weren't interested.

1) Fear: My wife had it, about 1/2 the people I talk to find either water scary, or are happy to go out on a single engine power boat because they think they are safer. (Funny aside...we ran into them out in the bay aboard their powerboat....they were getting knocked aroud by some rough water, while we were having appetizers and listening to tunes while chilled out. Afraid of how sailboats heel without understanding the physics).

2) Hard work: A 28 year old we had on the boat loved it, but moving the ropes and working the winches was too hard.

3) Time/Excitement: We had a 29 year old on the boat, picked up the concepts and found it interesting, but was surprised at how slow it was.

The funny thing...these are some of the things that I love most about it..that pinch of fear when the wind gusts and you have to fight weather helm, the relaxing sunsets, and getting sweaty brining up the main are the things I actually enjoy....Maybe we are all just a weird ass bunch.
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
85
54
I love all the comments, especially those that report positive interactions that have opened one or another part of the world to a young person(s).
Recently, I looked into starting a "Sea Scouts" chapter in our community. Sea Scouts is part of Boy Scouts but exactly what it is is highly diverse, from one chapter to the next. There are no formalized "merit badges" but I could see how a particular chapter could make teaching and becoming competent at the whole series of expertise ez that have been listed above. It could be a way that individuals or groups of sailors could create a variety of entry pathways for young people. I must say that here, when I tried to create interest in it by the Boy Scouts I couldn't even get to a call back. But on the positive side, the organization could provide some general guidance that would give credibility to a program. It could provide an avenue to reach young people who would be interested from a broader cross section than just children of local yacht club members.
 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
3,261
2,895
I learned that stuff from my father. Whose fault is it they don’t know?
After teaching construction skills to countless young people, this is my conclusion as well. Many were never able to climb the steep curve of the work.

The ones that grew up with hands-on parents were lightyears ahead of the rest. Working with your hands is not genetic.

This is my daughter pointing out her tools and supplies on her sailboat. She and her boyfriend are doing all the work themselves and making some huge improvements in the boat.

She grew up doing these things (as did her boyfriend) with me. I gave her a toolbox with basic hand tools (she still has it) when she moved to NYC nearly a decade ago. Our son is the same way of course.

IMG_4726 (1).jpeg
 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
7,089
1,465
worldwide
Unfortunately the USA ploughed ahead with nuking all their cities and waterfronts in the 70s and left a desolate Hiroshima like wasteland most places… 🛣

Kids got trapped in the new burbs and then in a cubicle and then in a phone

It’s sort of like if all anchorages were replaced with race courses for jetskis

Very bad vibes
The town that I grew up in is pretty much the same as when I was young

more cars and people, a few nasty strip malls , but the same

no young people work

white picket fences are common…whitewashing these picket fences was kids work ….pocket money

presently you must hire “ contractors “ to whitewash them
 

robtoujours

Communist
654
421
Undercover
After teaching construction skills to countless young people, this is my conclusion as well. Many were never able to climb the steep curve of the work.

The ones that grew up with hands-on parents were lightyears ahead of the rest. Working with your hands is not genetic.

This is my daughter pointing out her tools and supplies on her sailboat. She and her boyfriend are doing all the work themselves and making some huge improvements in the boat.

She grew up doing these things (as did her boyfriend) with me. I gave her a toolbox with basic hand tools (she still has it) when she moved to NYC nearly a decade ago. Our son is the same way of course.

View attachment 558550
Might give her a can of Brasso and a rag while you're at it?
 
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efrank

Member
342
167
This is my favorite gripe to laugh at.

I'm 50, fat and gray and I relish whatever physical demands sailing places upon me. I want to exert myself. Sailing is like piano- it is a skill that you can spend a lifetime refining that you can take pride in. Listening to some millennial bitch about the effort involved always makes me laugh.

Non-sailors only see the effort, not the reward.
This is not my experience, and I don't think this is a generational thing. There are unenergetic people of all ages.

Last time I took my daughter (Gen Z) sailing with her friends, we blew a tack badly and had the big 150 to crank in quite a ways. I offered to help and she made it clear it was "hell no, I got this". Her friends were equally engaged.

A lot of us grew up active and remember ourselves being active with our friends. What we forget is that there were plenty of others spending most of their time laying on the couch, watching TV and reading comic books.

Kids these days don't shy away from hard work any more than previous generations. As they mature they figure out that learning a skill takes time and is rewarding. I'm obviously biased, but I find my daughter and her friends brave, ambitious, and hard working.
 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
7,089
1,465
worldwide
After teaching construction skills to countless young people, this is my conclusion as well. Many were never able to climb the steep curve of the work.

The ones that grew up with hands-on parents were lightyears ahead of the rest. Working with your hands is not genetic.

This is my daughter pointing out her tools and supplies on her sailboat. She and her boyfriend are doing all the work themselves and making some huge improvements in the boat.

She grew up doing these things (as did her boyfriend) with me. I gave her a toolbox with basic hand tools (she still has it) when she moved to NYC nearly a decade ago. Our son is the same way of course.

View attachment 558550
It’s not really possible to train kids.. only pass on handy life skills like discipline , chain of command ……

im pretty handy with mechanical stuff simply because I was constantly fixing the old lawn mower …nothing wrong with sharp blades
 




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