Who goes sailing
“Taking charge of a yacht lifts you out of your everyday life more comprehensively than any other form of recreation. The experience can be relaxing, exciting, exhilarating, perhaps occasionally even daunting. No two trips are the same, but whatever combination a passage delivers, it will ask you to dip into the three major factors that contribute to who you are. That is why skippering is so absorbing.”
–Tom Cunliffe, “The Complete Day Skipper”
Those who go sailing with Let’s Go Sail on the York River cross all demographics, but they tend to skew more affluent than less. They are slightly overweight vs. obese, and they generally hold a college degree. My own experience breaks down by who actually chooses to go sail by five other metrics.
20% Young Couples
They are often newlyweds on their honeymoon in Williamsburg. Others have just gotten engaged or are about to get engaged on the boat. Multiple couples make it a day’s outing to get away from the kids. Too many couples are going for their last fling before a spouse is deployed overseas. The last cohort is simply out for a good time, with beer and wine to assist.
20% Families with Kids
Next, parents aged 30s and 40s find sailing a challenging and fun adventure for their children. Kids ranging from 10 to 15 do just fine on the helm, where they get to run a boat that’s bigger (and more expensive) than the family car. Teenagers put down their smart phones to take in the air and hoist the lines for physical activity. Everyone enjoys a picnic lunch on board. It’s all about family bonding.
20% Take Lessons
Couples, families, solo sailors and others enjoy a set of informal lessons that can be fully learned in three hours. Guests get to “see” the wind like never before while tacking with it for speed and maneuvering. They get to appreciate how the boat heels, or leans with the wind. Lessons are a great gift to Dad for his birthday or Father’s Day. Teens enjoy the lessons as creative and physical. It’s a useful grounding for those going on longer cruises who want to get their sea legs.The Lessons Cruise tees up the sailor for accredited classes by the American Sailing Association.
40% Older Couples
Finally, people in their 50s and 60s enjoy sailing because it’s relaxing, intimate, adventurous and comfortable. Two or three couples who travel together on vacation will find it a nice break from touring museums or shopping. Break out the Bloody Marys and the hors d’oeuvres. Many couples are returning to Tidewater after decades away from their military service. Others are seeing the Historic Triangle for the first time and its abundance of open water. Other couples are grandparents with the grandchildren, giving the grown-ups a break for the afternoon. They all like to sail, even though they haven’t tried it before. Memories are engraved here.
Incidentally, Tom Cunliff’s three major factors that contribute to who you are: physical activity, demands on the intellect, and achieved wisdom.
Let’s Go Sail, demographically
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