• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Hope for the next generation of sailors?

Sep 15, 2016
614
Catalina 22 Minnesota
I saw this ad today and I must say dang! This ad makes sailing look like so much fun perhaps other young people will start sailing. The real question will be whether or not they will want to own their own boats with maintenance and custimosation; or simply be a part of a coop type thing like this. So lets start a fun winter conversation. What do you think the future of recreational sailing will look like?

 
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore
Oct 26, 2008
4,994
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Sailing is a great fit for a lot of young folks. I find that many are attracted to outdoor pursuits that appear to have an environmental conscience. Ads like this may start a whole new wave of young sailors.
 
  • Like
Likes: TomY
Mar 26, 2011
2,918
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
They claim sailing is "changing, getting younger." But I don't think so. In fact, the conclusion was that the same group of guys keeps boats and the kids charter instead.

More likely the future is older owners, younger charter customers, and bigger boats.

I wonder, looked at 50 years from now, if there will be a "bump" in cruising boat ownership as the baby boom group (enough money but also per-internet and with mechanical skills from working on 60s-70s cars) moved through, followed by a return to more historic levels. There will always be small boats, and the charter trade will continue to grow.

The real question is, do charter-only skippers EVERY really become skilled? I kinna doubt it. The skilled sailors will be either paid crew, or as always, dinghy sailors.

(Boat manufacture trade show presentation. They also determined that the size is going up, in part because of charter demand and in part because that is where the profit is.)
 
  • Like
Likes: Parsons
Jan 19, 2010
9,954
Hunter 26 Charleston
@thinwater

That is an interesting chart. I can't help but wonder if part of the trend is driven by the fact that society does not allow young people to become full adults until they are about 26 years old. So they don't have the disposable cash. When I was a kid, you turned 18 and moved out of the house, got a job or went to college (or both). I remember renting a car for a road trip when I was only 18. Today, most car rental places won't let you rent until you are 24 or so. And so many young kids continue to live at home until they are closer to 30 than they are to 20.
 

Gunni

.
Mar 16, 2010
5,937
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
You want to create a sailor? Take a kid out show them how to generate power from wind and manage 10 tons of complicated machinery while exploring facinating places. Allow them to get dirty, allow them to get skinned up, allow them to get scared. Leave mom at the dock. Give them responsibility, insist they deliver. Make them work as a team. Make them stand the watch. Let them learn how, if just for a brief time how they can control their world through skills they have learned and experiences they have earned. Bring them back in one piece. They’ll find a way to become sailors.
 
May 25, 2012
3,809
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
what gunni said, plus, sailing is booming in new zealand and australia. why, the kids are trained in 15 mph plaining boats. not 60 year old totally slow and boring designs. prams, juniors, and the famous flying sidewalk, the flying scott. boring, and the kids know it. the modern training system here is way behind the times i think.

....yeah, i said it. just my opinion, nothing more

all my kids are sailors and still love it
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,918
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
... But will the interest in fast dinghies translate into slow cruising boats and ownership? Not in the US.

I believe an increasing number will cast off and cruise, but that is a tiny, tiny portion of the boating public.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,871
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I think we will find it will be a mixture of @Gunni self reliance character building experiences along with the speed/adventure thrill moments in @jon hansen videos along with sex appeal sprinkled liberally in the Australian Virgin Sailing videos of @LakeShark .

Will the future sailor be a boat owner? Not initially. The current trend is to be a user not an owner. That way I can use the equipment or type of equipment that my ownership based parents or grand parents have with the monies I have to spend.

The current income levels of the youth astound me, just about as much as the spending they do to enjoy themselves. Is their a growth market for the fun oriented charter system. I suspect yes. But they aren't going to be happy with the 20 foot wooden boat. They are going to want to experience the boats they see being used by the YouTube popular crowd. They will want the experience but not want to have to spend a lot of time getting there, if they don't have to.
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,996
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Youthful sexy people can sell just about anything.
From what I hear around here the boat clubs are doing pretty well. Those are kinda shared ownership but I don't think there is any equity interest. You pay club membership for the right to charter. The club does the maintenance, moorage, insurance and financing. The members pay per diem and get a generous share of time on the water. It's expensive on a per day basis but cheap on a seasonal basis. Locally the club I'm thinking of uses Hinckley's, a hired Captain and I think catering can be included. From a club member's point of view it's no muss, no fuss. Drop a couple grand and have a nice day.
It fits the millennial's lifestyle. Small footprint. Pay for the experience. Out of there.
By that model you have to wonder how many of this group will put in the time and effort to learn the traditional arts of sailing and seamanship. They are just not wired that way. They more or less regard tradition as an impediment to disruptive technology and change. They don't seek to learn the ways of the past. They want to create a new future. I'm not sure the up and coming generation has the attention span for sailing. That's why sailing video's feature extreme speedsters and rock music. You won't see many with the subtleties of a perfectly executed tack, or the beauty of bringing a sail into trim and feeling the boat respond.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,871
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
By that model you have to wonder how many of this group will put in the time and effort to learn the traditional arts of sailing and seamanship. They are just not wired that way. They more or less regard tradition as an impediment to disruptive technology and change. They don't seek to learn the ways of the past. They want to create a new future.
Well said. Clearly it is not all of the youth, but it seems a large portion of today's generation. George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." While many of the traditions from the great age of sailing are but distant memories, the information discovered is still relevant in today's sailing theories even as we move from square rigs to foiled boats.
The tradition of ownership be it a car or a home is still a value to consider even if you use/rely on Lyft and AirB&B.
Time will tell the story.
 
Dec 28, 2015
1,350
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
... But will the interest in fast dinghies translate into slow cruising boats and ownership? Not in the US.

I believe an increasing number will cast off and cruise, but that is a tiny, tiny portion of the boating public.
I've sailed dinghies all my life with the last 10 being a Laser. I know have a 30' hunter. Going from 15 knots/planning to 6 knots was a concern for me. Having 7 months into it and now sailing single handed in 15-20 knots winds.....its a different excitement but still exciting. I feel fortunate to have the dinghie experience. Now if I can just keep my hands off the sheets for a minute or two....
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,871
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
So true @MikeHoncho. Holding on to the Main sheet is a difficult habit to give up.
Not constantly trimming the sails and letting the boat run with the wind takes a bit of adjusting.
It is a learning process. It is also a change in understanding. A change from moment by moment sailing to sailing over a journey.
 
  • Like
Likes: MikeHoncho
Mar 26, 2011
2,918
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Some of you may remember that a little over a year ago I sold my cruising boat and intentionally moved back down to something more sprightly. I wanted something fun to tack and jibe, and easy to jump in. Speed is the thing!

If I even live near some protected water again, I'll be back in a dinghy again. Frankly, the fun-to-suck ratio is higher. But strangly, chartering holds no interest for me. I've sailed big boats and I've sailed blue water and visited islands. I'm done with that.

(FWIW, I'm right in the middle of that age bump.)
 
Dec 28, 2015
1,350
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
That graph represents all boats. The younger side of the curve is fishing and rec boats I would guess. To be honest people need to learn to be responsible adults within their means and start planning for retirement and kid college funds (if that is in the future) prior to buying boats and toys. Nothing worse than seeing a boat sitting outside a duplex/rental with new cars in the driveway. Have fun but keep your eye on the prize.
 
Oct 10, 2011
619
Tartan 34C Toms River, New Jersey
If it doesn't have a keyboard or screen in front of them, most will not be interested. The newest generation is a very different breed, much different then the past.
Sailing is the smallest part of the boating industry, and will most likely stay that way.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,648
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I saw this ad today and I must say dang! This ad makes sailing look like so much fun perhaps other young people will start sailing. The real question will be whether or not they will want to own their own boats with maintenance and custimosation; or simply be a part of a coop type thing like this. So lets start a fun winter conversation. What do you think the future of recreational sailing will look like?

Based upon the young people sailing today on my coast, the future is here now! Not only are they integrated in the fabric of sailing in this world class sailing area, today's young adults have started sailing at a younger age, and it looks to me that their generation could be better sailors than the last.

I'll predict a few changes based on my area and young sailors that I know personally, about how they will sail (which could predict what boats they will and won't own).

Cruising, the lifestyle that started in the 60's, will continue to decline. I think that trend started a few decades ago before the new generation had any effect. Witness our Cruising Sailors forum. That used to be one of the most popular but today, 'Cruising' is taking a back seat to 'Sailing'. What happened to the popularity of cruising? The only thing I can think of is the 'back to the land' that drove so many baby boomers out of their parents living framework has lost it's steam. Sailing on the other hand has endured albeit still as an obscure pastime that will never be mainstream.

Chartering: I don't know enough about that industry to make a prediction. It's not the huge industry on the NE coast that it has become in the islands. I suppose it will always lure a few people into the sport. Will it start young people sailing? I hope so. But back in my reality, the young sailors I see started the same old way, they grew up sailing recreationally. Some hard core, most with families and friends.

Sailing Co-ops: Maybe in the cities, which is great. But I don't think Sailing Co-ops will spur a new phenomena of late start sailors around the world.

Finally, will they own their own boats? Heck yes! They already do in my neighborhood. But these are very young kids taking advantage of very cheap boats in a world they grew up in. Will the OP video drive a new wave of young boat buyers, like the past?

Heck no! Young people never were new boat buyers, that's where middle age comes in. Young people will buy old used boats, just like the last generation.

Outside of the latest phenomena, "I'm going to live aboard, what boat should I buy?" Large tired cruising boats will likely keep dropping in value. This sailboats becoming dwellings - phenomena, I don't think is sustainable(although we'll have a lot of boats to convert first).

Lighter (in maintenance, cost, footprint) used boats will likely be more popular. Good for sailing as a priority. And classic boats will endure, as they always do. :)

What does all this mean? Not a heck of a lot if you're looking for a new bell curve of the future of sailing. Not even Youtube will make sailing a mainstream rec.

I believe if nothing else, sailing - which took the back seat during the cruising years of the boomer gen., will get a boost from the new gen. At least seeing what I see on my coast, I can hope.
 
Last edited:
Sep 15, 2016
614
Catalina 22 Minnesota
Some very interesting thoughts here. It would seem from comments thus far that the success of sailing is largely regional. This begs the question though if thoes regions like @TomY lives in which sees a large mix of classic wood yachts that are out of the reach of most see the increase simply because of the culture. I would agree with thoes that say the next generation is largely after experiences not ownership. However I am not sure that is all bad.

Charters and Co-ops drive sailing education as without them most would never pursue ASA certification etc... sailing used to be something you learned in a dingy and then perhaps even moved up when you got older. With this new generation I think we will have more educated sailors the question will remain though if thoes educated ones will purchase larger boats of their own or remain charters. You must admit there is something appealing about flying to a location and sailing where you want to sail for your vacation as opposed to taking a few months to get there. Schedules these days are full and vacations short so only time will tell I suppose. Still I am encouraged that there is enough interest to target thoes young sailors with an ad.

This leads to the expansion of the discussion though; if the target is cruising for fun And recreation will the next generation become racers? What should yacht and boat clubs do to encourage racing if they want? Or will we see a shift toward weekend warrior clubs where people sail and the raft up just to hang out? Finally who will own the boats? Will the yacht clubs need to purchase their one design fleets to keep their programs going and just "rent" them to crews? It is an interesting idea so what do you all say?