Long Distant Voyaging

Discussion in 'Stability' started by Sean K, Aug 22, 2015.

  1. dsigned
    Joined: Aug 2017
    Posts: 179
    Likes: 12, Points: 18
    Location: United States

    dsigned O.R.C. Hunter

    It sounds like you and I are on the same side of this issue, but coming at it from different viewpoints. And to be fair, most of my understanding of sailing pre-90's is from my Dad.

    You sound like my Dad, although in a lot of ways he probably had as much in common with the blue bloods (my Grandfather was a lawyer for a big firm), my Grandfather was a tightwad, and so they didn't sail new stuff. For whatever reason, my Dad wound up doing much more DIY shoestring stuff (bought his first car for $50 at 15, then fixed it up and sold it for $250), and that continued into his adult sailing. I wound up going to sailing camp for a bunch of summers, helped by my uncle who oscillated between special ed teacher and sailing bum (he taught sailing in the summers) and my grandparents, who funded Optimist sailing for the grandkids (of whom there are many). For my part, I grew up overseas, and am perhaps more comfortable off the beaten path than on it. Actually, I'm most certainly more comfortable off the beaten path.

    I think your view of sailing versus powerboating does my generation a disservice. There's definitely a huge part of the market that gravitates that way. But there's also a huge subculture of simple living types that find the notion of getting from A to B without a loud *** engine to be somewhat romantic. For me, I look at the fuel costs for motoring around in a trawler and a little part of me dies inside. Plus they're not even that fast! And then there's the maintenance you have to do on the diesel(s), and there just winds up being a lot of feature creep that I think sailors have historically been better at avoiding. That sometimes the destination (e.g. the Caribbean) and the freedom to go where you want to go are more important than arriving with all 794 channels of Fox News intact.

    So, in short, I think sailing could make a resurgence in a big way with a little marketing, and a bit more willingness to embrace out of the box thinking.
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 473, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    With the current sailing market being below 10% (likely closer to 5%) of total pleasure boat sales, it gets the attention it manages. Trawlers are also not a big segment of the powerboat market. In the end, many sailing cruisers switch to power diesel simply because they can eat at it a little at a time, while on a sailing cruiser if you need new propulsion (sails) you need new sails. They find they aren't nickel and dimed as much, though do ***** about fuel costs, enjoy not having mother nature dictate course so much. I don't mind this, and have a 65' sailing cruiser, though I spend much more time on my 37' power cruiser, simply because I can fire the diesel and take off, while with the 65, there's considerably more involved. Don't hold your breath on sails resurgence. This has been coming for a very long time (about a century now) and it's guys like me that brought it. We took sailing sharpies and stuffed a 500 pound hunk of iron inside, for the 4 HP it provided and loved not having to work the rig. Our continued complacency over working the rig just got worse, as engine weights came down and power ratios went up. At this point is was a ever decreasing spiral, with power eventually taking over everything. Yeah, this sucks a little, but I couldn't raise the sails on my big cruiser without power or a crew of 10, hauling on hundreds of extra feet of line that aren't installed currently.

  3. Nick.K
    Joined: May 2011
    Posts: 328
    Likes: 24, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 103
    Location: Ireland

    Nick.K Senior Member

    I don't think so. The big explosion in interest in sailing happened post ww2 up until the mid seventies (from a European perspective). This was an era of high-seas adventure, record breaking and exploration. Taberly, Knox-Johnston, Tilman, The Hiscocks, Moitissier, Chichester and so on. They became household names and their books were best sellers. I was born in the mid sixties, in my teens in my home town the second hand book shops had literally shelves of sailing books, I amassed quite a collection whereas now you'd be lucky to find one or two. For the most part the heroes of this era were"ordinary" people. Yachting always has been the pursuit of the very rich but at this time there was a movement to make it accessible to anyone. Designers such as Jack Holt specialised in small boats that were simple and inexpensive to build and these dingy classes became massively popular.
    Recently I happened to be working in a harbour where there was an Optimist regatta It was well attended but the car park was full of new four wheel drives with non-local plates, the kids wore designer clothes and the parents strutted about with an air of self important purpose. I felt sad. How is it that such an unpretentious boat designed post war to be any boys sailing craft could become so exclusive? Where were the local kids? Where is the fun, adventure, romance and challenge.
    Sailing has become a victim of its own success. Increase in boat numbers has forced regulation and driven commercialism in every aspect of boat ownership. Moorings, marinas and winter storage in many areas are well out of normal affordability and in fashionable areas the mega-yacht trend is forcing out even the ordinarily rich. Some years ago I took a half a million euro 70ft yacht in to marina near Palma. They didn't want to give us a berth but the owner insisted and eventually we were placed hidden in to a corner between two motor yachts whose sides towered above us. With the entrance bar too high, entrants to yachting are often attracted to a social cachet, often already mature with too little time or energy to accumulate experience and little knowledge of the world they are entering. Marinas are stuffed with unused boats. Additionally, the ocean, once viewed as a vast arena for adventure and exploration now gets almost universally negative coverage. It is a threat. Rising sea levels, global warming, pollution, over fishing, coral die-back, refugees, piracy and on and on.
    It would take more than a little marketing to reverse this.
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