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  • Please delete for me Damon

    Edited by bradinjax on Nov 08, 2020 - 10:46 AM.
  • bradinjaxAll the above are true but not the biggest reason (in my opinion) for the decline in participation in the sport of sailing in the United States.

    The problem is that the US still relies on the Yacht Club model for development of new sailors. Most of the rest of the world uses the Sailing Club model. Here is a breakdown of the differences between a sailing club and a yacht club:

    Yacht Clubs
    1) Expensive. Membership required plus possible monthly minimums.
    2) Emphasis on social events over sailing
    3) Some youth sailing but not emphasized
    4) Generally has a few large annual sailing events
    5) Handicap system for scoring competitive events
    6) Bring your own boat

    Sailing Club:
    1) Inexpensive. No membership required, pay as you go
    2) Generally supplies boats
    3) One design fleets
    4) Emphasis on competitive sailing over social events
    5) Emphasis on youth and developmental sailing programs
    6) Hosts a lot of sailing events targeted to different age groups and skill levels

    In my part of the country (North Florida) there are 9 sailing organizations. All require a membership of some sort, some modest others quite exclusive. Three (maybe four) have some sort of youth/development program. None offer a true one design fleet or pay-as-you-go type option as in a sailing club.

    Over the last 40+ years I have watched the Yacht Club model get more expensive, members get older and do less actual sailing but the organizations that operate more like a sailing club are less expensive, have a much younger membership and get more time on the water.Edited by bradinjax on Nov 08, 2020 - 10:47 AM.

    Agreed with all points Brad
    your points, my points and Bob's points = a LOT of barriers

    Our Community sailing center which has lots of the items you mention at the both levels is not outragious for kids to join but damn expensive for adults and cat storage is crazy


    Family Membership: $525
    Individual Membership: $400
    Youth Membership: (18 and under): $190
    Seasonal Family: (4 consecutive months): $375
    Seasonal Individual:(4 consecutive months): $325
    1 Month Individual: $250
    1 Month Family: $300

    Catamaran up to 16’ – $630/year (PLUS membership)
    Catamaran over 16’- $840/year (PLUS membership)
  • Another problem is the resistance at all levels to modernize.

    The usual progression for youth sailing in the US is something along the lines of:

    Finn, 470, 49er

    All of these are very old designs. The 49er, the most recently approved Olympic sailing boat is based off designs from the late 1800's.

    Other countries that use the sailing club model use mainly the RS sailing boats. These boats are much cheaper, more durable, built to very high tolerances, and have modern rigging sail and hull designs.

    RS is the dominant dingy manufacturer for the rest of the world but is rarely seen in the US. Their market is sailing clubs, not yacht clubs.
  • This may be an old thread - but definitely a very current topic. I had sold my Hobie 18 back in 2012 and now want to get back on a cat. I just sold my Mastercraft which was the family boat in the intervening years while my sons grew up. Neither of them have the time or interest for boating at the moment (going to college, work etc).

    I want to sail with others but I'm finding that I will have to join a yacht club of some form here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Well, to do that will take an initiation fee that ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Also, monthly dues of, at minimum, $100 - plus a monthly "minimum" charge of $40 for food and drink. Honestly, although I can afford this I can see why there is a dearth of younger people in the sport/hobby.

    My thoughts were confirmed when I browsed the photo albums of several yacht clubs in the DFW metroplex area. Estimating ages of the participants was easy - few I would say were under 50 years old, and most were well into grey hair and middle-sixties. Myself, I am 58.

    My two sons do not have the finances at this stage in life to support a $200 membership to which one would add boat storage fees, regatta entrance fees and so forth. One club had an additional $50 per month tacked on to their dues for capital improvements.

    The other thing worth noting as I have been researching a boat to purchase: Other than a Hobie 16, it is really hard to find a new beach cat in the US. It isn't just a product of COVID - there aren't any manufacturers! Almost everything I have been looking at requires an order amongst other orders so that a container can be imported. Also, I'm not really finding a lot of used beach cats for sale either.

    Anyway, there won't be any fixing this until an organization such as US Sailing get behind a new methodology and we leave a pure profit driven motive to a secondary position.

    By the way, as an avid motorcycle racing fan, the same thing is true here too. In MotoGP, the US doesn't have a contender in that sport. While some of the causes are different, overall it is a decline in local support, reduced access to locations to race, and the huge cost of participating driven by entities that own the facilities, the rights, the rules and so on.

    I am now concerned that when I buy my boat, that it will be expensive just to hang out with like minded cat owners on some local lake.

  • Used cats are available - you just have to do a regional search including areas outside Texas, though I got the model I was looking for in Texas. Not a ton, however I'll have to admit. The market isn't exactly "hot". For the reasons you mentioned, I trailer-sail for now. And, yes there's actually a sailing club by me that's looking fairly attractive for mast-up storage but the fees are about the same, I think. All more barriers to entry for the newbie. I have to admit, however down here in Houston/Galveston, Texas City Dike Yacht club counters all that, but you have to trailer your boat to the Texas City Dike.

    What about DFW Beachcats @ "Hobie Point"? Also trailer-sailing, but I think that's the only way to reduce costs for those so inclined to do so. I personally like having my boat in my back yard so I can do maintenance on it whenever I get some free time to tinker.

    Chuck C.
    H21SE 408

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