Trends in the Sport

Published on July 23rd, 2013

In a recent interview with Shoreline Sailboats, Scuttlebutt’s Craig Leweck was asked about the major changes or trends in the sport since the publication was launched in 1997. Here was his reply…

The trends in the sport have paralleled similar trends in society. We keep raising the bar, but as the level of competition increases, many people decide the effort is not worth the reward. This has not helped our sport grow. Parts of our sport now require a significant commitment in time and money, so we must remember that for the vast majority of sailors, this is supposed to be about recreation.

The good news is there are so many choices is sailing; each person must find what best suits them. However, at the same time, organizations that administer the sport must recognize they establish the landscape for how the game is played. The more open the rules, the further people with resources will push. The focus should be on the needs of the middle of the fleet, not on those at the front.

The other trend has to do with youth sailors, which in many regions have become a separate part of the sport. They have their own boats, and they race against their peers rather than with and/or against adults. This trend has been a huge success in attracting more young people to sailing, but in many instances, it has limited their sailing experiences to just the youth boats.

The concern is what happens to the young sailor when they have aged out of the youth/school events. If they have had no connection to the sport outside of the youth events, they may struggle to remain connected to sailing. We must recognize this and seek solutions that fit the needs for each region.

Click here for complete interview.

More: Can you think of other trends in the sport? Email them to Scuttlebutt.

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