The Young and the Restless

This article originally appeared in the December 2009 issueLook around a skippers’ meeting at a typical regatta and you’ll see all the usual suspects: seasoned salts, their families and a smattering of recent college grads or young adults sampling the sailing culture. The same folks populate most charter bases and destinations, which makes sense, considering the means and
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

This article originally appeared in the December 2009 issue

YoungTRY

Look around a skippers’ meeting at a typical regatta and you’ll see all the usual suspects: seasoned salts, their families and a smattering of recent college grads or young adults sampling the sailing culture. The same folks populate most charter bases and destinations, which makes sense, considering the means and experience that chartering requires.

You can imagine the surprise, then, of the folks at TMM in Tortola, BVI, and again of Brian Blank at Barefoot Charters in Newport, Rhode Island when we showed up. Fresh out of college, our motley crew arrived in tie-dyed shirts, flippy-floppies and provisions from Costco. We were bursting with excitement as we gripped our sailing resumes, which were deemed sufficient, but barely. A couple of our crew had been on charter boats dozens of times and everyone else was keen to learn. I’m sure our charter directors had their misgivings, but like a hesitant father handing over the keys for the first time, they crossed their fingers and set us loose.

Thank goodness. Both trips were full of excellent sailing and fantastic memories that will serve as a jumping-off point for many charters to come. But in watching Blank’s attitude toward us turn from nervous to proud, I was reminded of the chasm between college sailors (where our crew met) and more seasoned seafarers. There are many ways in which the sailing community could bridge this gap, and encouraging young people to charter boats is a great place to start.

Chartering doesn’t have to be for the thick-walleted or the super-experienced. As Andrew Waters at Conch Charters points out, a charter boat comes at a set cost, so the more friends you’re willing to squeeze onboard, the cheaper it is for everyone. He even suggests rigging a two-man tent on a catamaran’s trampoline to optimize sleeping space. “If a group of young people is willing to be flexible with their sleeping arrangements, we’ll help them get the right boat at the right price, and they could get the holiday of a lifetime,” says Waters.

As for the experience part of the equation, Sunsail’s Josie Tucci reminded me that there are many ways to make sailing less intimidating for young charterers, such as flotillas, sailing schools and captained yachts. “Sailing on a flotilla is an easy way to enjoy a sailing vacation with the freedom to do as you please, but the comfort of knowing there’s help on hand,” she says. “It offers a balance of independence and support.”

My crew and I are lucky to have stumbled upon chartering at such a young age. The more we charter, the more we see how delightful (and doable) it actually is. If you or your kids have been searching for a way to narrow the age gap, this holiday season is as good a time as any to send them on their first trip and watch as they fall in love with chartering.

Tell them to look for the boat full of tie-dye shirts and flippy-floppies. We’ll be awaiting their arrival.

Related

NightWatch-01

Night Watch

Robert Reeder is a seamanship instructor for a series of online courses through Boaters University. His course, Fundamentals of Seamanship: Rules of the Road, is a great way to get a full understanding of how to interpret the USCG rules of the road and how to apply the rules in ...read more

BinosOnDeck-02

Binoculars for Lookouts

Robert Reeder is a seamanship instructor for a series of online courses through Boaters University. His course, Fundamentals of Seamanship: Rules of the Road, is a great way to get a full understanding of how to interpret the USCG rules of the road and how to apply the rules in ...read more

01 Landing Page

Volvo Race: Bound for Newport

It’s a very different kind of sailing from what the fleet experienced in the course of a windy Leg 7, as the Volvo Ocean Race wends its way north from Brazil to Newport, Rhode Island.As expected, the St. Helena High, which dominates the weather in the South Atlantic, has made for ...read more

North Sails 3Di - What you need to know

North Sails 3Di - What you need to know

3Di Outlasts The AdventureFrancois Gabart and his 30-meter trimaran Macif broke the solo around-the-world speed record in December 2017 with a 3Di mainsail that had 45,000 miles BEFORE the start of his record run. 3Di powered all three around-the-world speeds records currently ...read more

01-Hanse_Emotion_6

Hanse’s E-Motion Electric Rudder Drive

When news that Hanse Yachts had launched a new form of electric-powered yacht first broke in the winter of 2016, it was widely reported. After all, Hanse is one of the world’s biggest builders of sailing boats, so this had the feeling of a breakthrough to it.After nearly a year, ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comDefusing the Run It’s been said with justification that gentlemen don’t boast about how windy it was, but the shape of my ensign in the photo will give well-informed readers a fair idea. They will also ...read more