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Old 07-03-2012, 08:07 PM   #21
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"A yacht club is the best accessory you can buy for your boat"

I'm in charge of our booth at the Seattle Boat Show, and this is one of the catchphrases we use when talking to prospective members. We currently have about 10 open memberhips - two other close-by clubs had 40 and 100 at the time of the recent show.

When I joined 30 years ago there was a waiting list for membership and a 10 year wait for moorage (currently it's about 3 years). And there are a number of 45' to 50' boats in the club that have been for sale for more than a year as the membership ages and more of them "swallow the anchor".

We have had some new members join with 40'+ boats, and some of them are already over 50 years old. Unfortunately, with an aging membership the programming is to suit them - that's why we have a Friday night "happy hour" in the bar, but there's no equivalent "family hour".

And this year the moorage committee tightened rules about boats in slips for summer sublets, and there are no jet skis, fun islands, or kayaks. And the people who let their kids use their dinghies have had to find something else to do. We have the best moorage on Lake Washington, and it's like a neutron bomb went off - it's completely silent. Not a situation that is very family friendly in my opinion, and I think it's going to become a real problem.
I looked into a club locally and found similar "Kid Restrictions" and walked away politely. My wife and I refuse to waste our time and money with groups like that. Our kids are well behaved and respectful but still have the need to expend energy.

When enough of the membership dies off perhaps they'll learn there is more to children than a monthly sailing school.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:14 PM   #22
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I see no shortage of children boating with adults at my marina or at the adjacent public boat ramp. They seem to be enjoying themselves.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:42 PM   #23
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I think to increase membership at a yacht club, a pool/playground area is a great attraction. Provide moms a place for sun and shade so they can socialize while watching the kiddies. Family friendly is the way to go. There can be adults only bars or areas, but bringing in families enlivens the whole club. Also, many yacht clubs in FL belong to the FL Council of YCs. Members have reciprocal privileges at all the clubs. One free nights dockage when visiting. That is a real benefit, and can almost pay for the membership.

One thing for sure. It is not business as usual anymore. Businesses and institutions that refuse to change will probably perish.
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:48 PM   #24
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Ours is great, Sailing camp for kids, 6 and up. Every weekend a movie at the pool. Great family atmosphere
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:21 AM   #25
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Don you're right it's easy to get a slip just about anywhere on short notice, except Memorial Day at Old Bahama Bay. None available.

My marina could not stay open if it were not for their rack storage. The wet slips are less than 50% rented and they are one of the cheapest in town. Nice landscaping and pool, but I guess the demand is just not there.

But I think it's the economy. When it comes back so will the desire for boating. After all it takes a bit of money to support a 30+ boat.

Lets hope the government doesn't destroy our hobby with fees and rules.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:33 PM   #26
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Doing my best here. My 35 year old has been sailing since he was 12, likewise the 32 yo. We all learned to sail together when I was mid 40s (very few transferable boating skills from a career in the submarine service). The 35 yo is in a partnership with a few friends on a J-45 and has a 17' Nomad. His kids (3 and 5) are already enjoying boats. The younger son is still working on essentials for his young family. I'm not sure where he is on boating - likes it, but I don't know if he likes it enough to put down $ on it. We'll see.

On this part of the Gulf Coast, I think boating is pretty much alive and well for all age groups, when you consider the overall economy.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:34 AM   #27
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I agree, even though my boys sort of lost interest in their teens and 20s, now my eldest has two kids of his own, at present over staying on a visit from the UK, one of the things they and the grandkids, (well, the one old enough to say so anyway), wanted to do most was go out in the boat. Sort of re-visiting the fun we had when on the canal boat when we were there about the same time last year. In fact I think the growing emphasis on the ecology may well make the up and coming generations seek simple, less polluting, past-times out on the water enjoying nature, more than ever...
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:18 AM   #28
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Define your terms of "Generation".. I am 43 and I purchased my first Trawler. Moved up from a Boston Whaler. So I suppose I AM the next generation?
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:51 AM   #29
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The next generation is out there already.

Right now they are raising their children, and working their butts off. They might have a ski boat, or even a small cabin cruiser, or they might not.

Right now they do not have the money to buy a trawler or other large boat.

But they're out there all the same. They are just like us when we were young, they're the trawler dreamers.

Sooner than we (the current generation) hope for, the next generations kids will be out of the nest, and they will be at the stage in life where big boat ownership is a realistic possibility.

Sadly, around that time we will be setting our anchors for the last time.

And the cycle will continue.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:35 PM   #30
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Yeah, Blue. What gets lost in the "generational" talk is the fact that "generations" aren't things, they're a continuum.

ksanders hit it right on the head.
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:47 PM   #31
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And the cycle will continue.
But I think it will be a different - smaller - cycle. 30 years ago the large boats in my club were mid-30'. Then there was a jump to many members having a 43' Tollycraft (the ostentatious boat was a 48' Tolly) . Then a jump to 45'/47'49' Bayliners and Meridians. Then, most recently, a bunch of 52' Oceans (with 52' Navigators for those with shallower pockets).

These are the same members for the most part, just cycling through ever larger boats.

And I think that particular cycle has ended. It was fueled by home equity loans, funded retirements, and the peak of the boomers - and I just don't see the younger generation(s) engaging in that cycle to the same extent.

But we also do have quite a few older 32' Bayliner "Explorers":
Bayliner 32xx

My gut feel is that we are heading back to the upper 30' range being the "sweet spot" in the PNW.
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:52 PM   #32
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Anyone notice that Nimbus filed for bankruptcy (apparently not reorganizing) yesterday?

Nimbus files for bankruptcy | Motorboat news | MBM

"The Nimbus Group includes the Ryds, Paragon and Storebro brands"
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:12 PM   #33
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But I think it will be a different - smaller - cycle. 30 years ago the large boats in my club were mid-30'. Then there was a jump to many members having a 43' Tollycraft (the ostentatious boat was a 48' Tolly) . Then a jump to 45'/47'49' Bayliners and Meridians. Then, most recently, a bunch of 52' Oceans (with 52' Navigators for those with shallower pockets).

These are the same members for the most part, just cycling through ever larger boats.

And I think that particular cycle has ended. It was fueled by home equity loans, funded retirements, and the peak of the boomers - and I just don't see the younger generation(s) engaging in that cycle to the same extent.

But we also do have quite a few older 32' Bayliner "Explorers":
Bayliner 32xx

My gut feel is that we are heading back to the upper 30' range being the "sweet spot" in the PNW.
What I'm seeing is even more scary. It used to be that boaters entering the ocean going cruiser market chose a 24-28' cabin cruiser. Pick your brand, Bayliner, Tolly, Uniflite, etc... These boats came well equipped with a nice galley, head compartment, and sleeping areas.

They would use that boat and the fun they had in it to move on up in the sizes over the years.

Now I'm seeing 24-28' alumanium boats being the "starter" ocean going boat. The problem is that these boats are coming out with no heads, no showers, and spartian interiors.

The boating wives are not going. They want a potty, and I can understand that. Because of this trend there is no love for boating being developed in the younger wives. This creates a situation where the men are being limited in their boating, or being pressured out of boating instead of moving up.

I've seen several friends that made this mistake. They made a bad choice in their initial cruiser, and ended up not getting the support of their wives. They are all out of boating as a hobby today.

The funny thing is that they all think my Bayliner cruisers would be loved by their wives, but they would never buy any fiberglass boat. They think bouncing over the waves in a 3,000 pound alumanium go fast boat is the way to go, with their air ride seats and a porta potty at best. They lost the boating game before they even started by not taking their wives needs into consideration.
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:41 PM   #34
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This is interesting on so many levels.

At the yacht club matt and I belong to, we are the next generation. Most members are in their sixties and up. We've had numerous long time members pass away in the last few years. New people just aren't coming in to replace them. Matt's dad was a member starting in the 80s and Matt's older brother took that membership when their dad died, then Matt joined on his own later. There are three other people around the same age or slightly older than us whose parents were members (actually all of the others parents are still alive and still members). two of those four second generation have kids who seem somewhat interested in the club and boating but also seem to have a zillion other things going on and therefore spend minimal time boating.

There are few young families joining the club. A few have and left after a year or two due to lack of family friendly activities at the club and the kids having so many other activities. Mostly the really active boaters in our marina are club members. Mostly we see only the men. There are maybe four other women around on a regular basis. Very rarely see kids around, except this time of year youth sailing is going on. Very rarely have I seen that lead to a long term interest in boating, but sometimes it does.

Anyway, it seems to me that kids these days have too much going on to want to tag along doing what their parents want to do-like go boating. We do have one 50 something friend who bought a ski boat (has a 42' sailboat as well) and that seems to be getting his kids interested. They are trying wake boarding and showing an interest in serving the boat and bringing friends. The kids are 16 and 18.

We were at an event the other day and were surprised by all the twenty something's with pretty darn nice ski boats. We talked to a few and they mostly aspired to own $500,000 cigarette boats. One said a "yacht" like our might be nice when he got old.

By the way I sold my car over a year ago. We are a one car couple and I take public or employer provided transportation to work. Not trying to be green really, just more practical in our situation. I plan to buy some ridiculously impractical car in the next year or so. Jeep, convertible, something fun that won't get driven much.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:15 PM   #35
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Jennifer, like you around our club we're the youngest of the trawler set by at least a decade! The upside is we're surrounded by members that have far more experience with these boats than I do and are always open to offer their advice when needed.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:25 PM   #36
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In the short term I think this is great because every person who stays home to experience the world artificially is one less person out cluttering up the world that I prefer to experience in person. In the long term, I think this trend will lead to the eventual demise of the boating/cruising world as we know it today as this form of recreation evolves away.
Marin...to some extent.. I agree with you....but on the other hand, no. The reason I do not agree on the other hand is because I think that to some extent for younger people (than most of us) who bought bought boats...it might have been a "keeping up with the peer group" thing... and they were not serious nor were they vested in the lifestyle even minimally, and once the fad wore off...oh well.

What I see for the future will hopefully be those people who are serious about boating, not in the least bit adverse to taking the time to take USPS or USCGAUX boating safety courses...and who think a great weekend is "working on the boat"....or just enjoying the company of fellow boaters, sans bling and nonsense...and a quiet weekend in an anchorage without TV or loud music...and who realize that there is more to life than "trendiness"....

IMHO...
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:28 PM   #37
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From what I see around us in our marina women participate as much in boating as men. Lots of couples, very few guy or guys only boats.

Interestingly, when we were up north the last couple of weeks fishing, a fair number of the folks going out at oh-dark-thirty in the monrning were couples. In fact there were a couple of couples in which the wife was the avid fisherman. The husband drove the boat and helped clean the fish. There was even a pair of retired women who fish together in a boat named "Fishin' Chicks." And my wife enjoys fishing, a legacy from the days she used to fish with her dad.

Up here, be it fishing or cruising, the distances and the weather tend to make either activity more of a committment than a quick, sunny day jaunt out in the boat. So the women I know who participate in either or both activities, including all the wives in our boating club, tend to be quite into the whole boating thing. In the years we have been members of the Bellingham-based club there have been women as commodores as well serving in other "bridge" functions.

The trend I've noticed is fewer new members, and almost no younger members, by which I mean in the 20-45 age range.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:35 PM   #38
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Define your terms of "Generation".. I am 43 and I purchased my first Trawler. Moved up from a Boston Whaler. So I suppose I AM the next generation?
Yes.... you are the next generation.... I believe they labelled you gen "X".....why I don't know..... You and my son are about the same age.... and I have to say that if you are married you are luckier than he.... A few years back...he the computer geek...bought a 62' sailboat out on the west coast when he was working there...lived on it, sailed it, got good with it...then his wife started whining about the kids.... Hell, they LOVED living on the boat...they spent months living in Mexico and the kids learned Spanish and had friends down there....but alas...she pined for "dirt"....now he is landlocked on a piece of dirt in Texas...nice as it is....its still dirt. Kinda a semi-middle of nowhere deal, but hey....I think you get the picture....

My "blushing bride" of many years loves living on our boat...and I am thankful for that, truly thankful....because I don't plan to live on land ever again...

Sorry for the rambling... I guess my point is: You have your head screwed on right and have made some wise decisions....
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:37 PM   #39
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In the San Francisco Bay Area at least, at one time it wasn't uncommon for yachting clubs to be established by college-age sailors.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:04 PM   #40
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JAT, Indeed Married with an 11 year old Son. Plan is to sell the house as soon as possible. Wife already states, "want to stay on the boat instead of going to the house" so sell it we will. Infact we are interviewing realtors this weekend to list by next week.

It took a while to leverage the house to get the boat. but the end game was to get the boat. A boat big enough to live on and downsize.. so we are planning on going from a 2800 sqft house on a bayou with waterfront access to the gulf, to a closer life in the marina to be able to eventually cast off lines and cruise south..

it is a simple matter of do and have a plan.. life is short..
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