SAIL

The Kids are Alright

I’m sitting in a yacht club, having dinner with three other members of my crew, all of them men 40 years my senior. They’re lamenting the tragic state of sailing. “Look around us,” one of them says, gesturing to the other patrons. “Where are the young people?”

Another turns to me, “Why don’t people your age sail anymore?” I didn’t know it then, but it’s a question that I would be asked again and again over the next few years.

Today, America’s yacht clubs, and sailing in general, appear to be experiencing a population crisis. There are many reasons for this. Sailing’s reputation for posh exclusivity has gone out of style. There’s also the question of cost. Based on 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data, on average Millennials (currently ages 25-35) make 20 percent less than their parents did. Women make even less, and women of color even less than that. Finally, there are the many other roadblocks to sailing: social barriers, informational barriers, geographic barriers. Race, sexuality and socioeconomic status are all factors.

Fortunately, in recent years a

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