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Thread: A rising Millenial market?

  1. #36
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    I am a little too old to be a Millennial, but FWIW like many I live in an apartment in a city.

    The kayak and SUP rental places on the river are jammed on a nice summer weekend. I mean hundreds of people (yes they have that many kayaks).

    However owning a boat is pretty close to a ridiculous thing for me. Two weeks ago I was seriously considering buying a pretty nice used CLC Skerry on a trailer for a good price. Then I checked the ONLY marina where you can keep a sailboat that is within an hour drive (yes it can take an hour to drive 10 miles around here): $1200/year in the yard on the trailer, dry stored boats are launched and retrieved over the bulkhead with a crane and sling apparatus. I doubt I’m going to drive an hour each way to go on 12 sails this summer: going out once a week would be a lucky year. Not going to buy a small wooden boat or any boat.

    I can’t keep one in the driveway. I don’t have a driveway. I can’t park a boat on the street. The fine for parking a boat or trailer on the street in D.C. is: $1,000. Seriously!


    Around here boats are for people with idle money, time, or suburban driveways. A lot of us water rats (Millennial or not) will be renting kayaks or shells and going on group sails with the local sailing club. I love small boats, I built a couple that I no longer own. Having a sailboat in a city... sounds nice.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Quote Originally Posted by callsign222 View Post
    You're not the only "millenial" (I hate that damn term) here, bro. There are more than you may think. I pay for high quality content across many of my interests and I'm happy to do it.

    As your Granddad probably said, "you get what you pay for."
    the death of skills is primarily a City person thing... traditional values and knowledge and ways of life are still passed down through generations of hardworking Americans... just not inside the filter bubbles.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    We here at the WBF may picture those millenials puttering about in lugsail prams to get started. My bet is that if anything catches their attention, it will be more like this, the UFO catamaran foiler, aimed dead center at young people who have $7,000 to drop and the urge to get out on the water in an easy-to-learn but fast and exciting state of the art foiler. Will the old-school yacht clubs embrace such a thing and support fleets and racing programs?


    is that the designer? Rube Goldberg at the helm?

  4. #39
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    My generation is looking to youtube to learn the skills of our grandparents. Many skills were passed from parents to children through the generations, but then the world changed, and my grandparents generation did not teach my parents all of those things. Some were taught but then lost as the world moved to the suburbs and disposable consumerism.

    Now my generation is rediscovering these lifestyles and skills through youtube, patching the broken link, so to speak. Just in the last few months I've learned how to can/preserve the products of my garden, save seeds for the next year, hew a log into a beam, form a standing seam roof from sheet copper, and splice a rope - all from the internet. These are probably skills my grandparents could have taught me, but I did not learn them growing up.

    I don't know how all this could apply to woodenboat, except to say that we are unlikely to pay for subscriptions like Off Center Harbor. Its just a mentality that comes from growing up where everything is open source and available. The Tips from a Shipwright series is quite popular and seems to derive its funding from product sponsors. I would love to see more stuff like that. I've never seen an experienced shipwright working in the real world, but I've apprenticed under all that I can find on the internet. You can truly learn a lot that way.
    Thanks for sharing your perspective. I've seen this "content should be free" attitude widely distributed among younger people these days, and I can see the obvious attraction.

    That said, I think it's an ultimately destructive attitude, and it strikes me as wildly unfair to writers, film-makers, musicians, etc. who put a lot of work into their art.

    Why should "content" (a horrible generic term I hate) be free? Would you expect farmers to grow your vegetables and raise your chickens and beef and hogs for free? Would you expect to walk into a Ford or Chevy dealership and drive away with a free car? Would you be happy to do your job if all of your customers decided not to pay you, so your wages suddenly stopped? Then why expect "free" from writers, musicians, and film-makers? And why should product sponsors pay for video production if you won't pay? Shouldn't it be "free" to them, too?

    How long do you think "content" providers can continue to make those nice videos and write those nice books and make those nice movies if they don't get paid for their work?

    This is a serious question, by the way--I'd really be interested in hearing your reply, I'm not using these questions rhetorically to scold you, but trying to understand a position I (right now) disagree with strongly. (I'm a writer, and I like to be paid for my work).

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    Jagular Goes Everywhere: (mis)Adventures in a $300 Sailboat. Book release November 2014.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    The nature of 'free online information' is interesting. We here at the WBF seem to subscribe to it happily and WB subsidizes it voluntarily. Likewise Youtube videos are posted voluntarily.

    The Herreshoff Catalog Raisonne is an amazing free resource, compiled over a decade and posted by a very generous soul: http://www.herreshoff.info/

    It's when users come to think of all internet content as an entitlement that difficulties arise.
    "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

    -Mark Twain

  6. #41
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    I'm not saying the free content thing is right or good, just that it is a common mentality. I also don't speak for everyone my age.

    There are different ways to monetize "content." I'm not an expert, but I have seen a lot of folks producing and making it available for free and then asking for voluntary support. This is different from the subscription model in that you can watch 10 episodes and get hooked and invested and then decide that you want to support them, rather than having to get there emotionally from just a preview. You then also feel like a part of the endeavor, rather than just a customer. Think public radio vs satellite radio.

    Many people also use sponsors and product placement to pay the bills. In both those schemes you want as many eyeballs as possible and work hard to get everyone to see it, rather than a select group of subscribers. It makes things more available rather than less.

    I have no idea if the end result is as viable financially. I'm sure it depends. Some people have made millions from youtube. I follow several groups of people sailing the world who completely fund their adventure this way.

  7. #42
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Youtube advertising supported, or you can subscribe to YouTube Red and skip the ads. Either way some of that money makes its way to the content producers. Not much, unless they're hugely popular whereby they can make boatloads. Personally, I never consider watching an ad "free." Ads use your time and are designed to create desire that may lead to you spending money. Personally, I find ads tedious, but I'll watch them if I'm pinching pennies. Otherwise, I'll pay to either not watch them or read a book.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    is that the designer? Rube Goldberg at the helm?
    The do-designer of the UFO has built more world-class boats and created more world-title winning boats that have won for your country than you can ever dream of. You are completely out of your league when you criticise them.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    How long do you think "content" providers can continue to make those nice videos and write those nice books and make those nice movies if they don't get paid for their work?

    This is a serious question, by the way--I'd really be interested in hearing your reply, I'm not using these questions rhetorically to scold you, but trying to understand a position I (right now) disagree with strongly. (I'm a writer, and I like to be paid for my work).

    Tom
    A bit off-topic, but a friend of a friend wrote a fine piece saying that scientists should stop writing articles for free. Like you, he thought that it was essentially destructive. A very well known on-line publication then contacted him and said "hey, we love your piece; can we run it."

    The punchline was that they didn't want to pay him for the article saying that writers should not work for free..... we're all still trying to work out how anyone could be that crass.

    Sadly, scientists of renown who are paid are currently being paid at the same rate per word that I was getting as a kid writing windsurfing articles in the '80s.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Chris,

    that's an interesting story. I admit having seen some of both sides (publisher/writer) I know that it's not simply a question of writers getting paid. Publishers also need to be able to derive some income from what they do. And sadly, many fine publications are not able to pay contributors. I don't know why peer-reviewed journals don't pay--I've written for them in my field (education) and it's no less work to write an unpaid article than a paid one, that's for sure. It'll be interesting watching how things evolve with today's technology making it realistic for writers, artists, musicians, film-makers, etc. to reach an audience without a middleman or "official" gatekeeper organization (publisher, record company, etc.)

    I do wonder why people don't expect the same kind of "free" service (or "if you want to support me, here's how you can send money--but it's voluntary" system) from their plumbers, electricians, etc. But somehow the idea that information or entertainment online should be free has taken root in our society.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    Jagular Goes Everywhere: (mis)Adventures in a $300 Sailboat. Book release November 2014.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    This is some major thread drift, but I'll add to it just the same...

    I worked for 37 years at a newspaper. The readers never really paid a penny toward my salary as a writer and editor. The subscription fees basically covered the newsprint, the ink and delivery. The real money and what made the editorial department viable came from advertising. The only thing that's changed is that news and other information and many entertainment organizations are no longer the only avenue for advertising. They've been cut out of the loop, and they haven't figured out what to do about it. So yes, writers, photographers, editors and many others are either out of work or working for next to nothing as result. I was lucky only in that I was able to retire as the system collapsed around me.

    It's a myth that people used to pay for newspaper and magazine stories that are now free. They paid to have them delivered, a costly necessity before the internet, but advertising really covered the freight.
    -Dave

  12. #47
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Tom, that particular mass-market publication had recently been purchased for several hundred million. A major player in the niche market that the article was referring to, Elsevier, makes a bizarre amount of cash from publishing peer-reviewed journals - a 25 billion plus turnover and a profit of about 35%. So the money is still there but there now seems to be an ethos that it shouldn't go towards those who create the content. It will be interesting to see what happens, that's for sure. Some of our kids, including ones working in tech areas like IT/robotics and 3D printing, are passionate believers in the concept that giving information away makes profit in the end, but they seem a bit fuzzy about the actual details.

    Wox, I spent a decade in sailing and windsurfing magazines, including being the editor of a national windsurfing mag in my early 20s, so I can only echo what you say about the way that advertising supported editorial expenses. It makes on wonder whether the old barriers to entering the media were actually a good thing in some ways. When you needed to get a significant amount of advertising to support a print publication, the field was not as crowded and advertising income and readership were high enough that it was actually worthwhile and possible for passionate publishers and staff to do properly researched stories, and to get people out there selling ads. These days many publications just can't afford to pay people to create well researched articles, and one gets the feeling that there are so many sailing websites that few of them make money.

    To bring it back to the topic; although I got out of sailing writing many years ago I do tend to feel that the lack of profit in sailing media has eroded the quality of the editorial in many publications and lead to them giving up on actual research in favour of getting into a frenzy over every exciting new toy that comes with an advertising budget. In the racing scene, the media now screeches with teenybopper enthusiasm every time an even more complicated and expensive type of craft comes out, and it neglects (and often derides) the sorts of boats that actually attract most sailors. That may have caused a lot of sailing's current ills, and maybe the millennials and a new style of promoting the sport could revive it. If enough of them are out there getting into old boats and learning how to fix them then maybe the sailing industry will realise that the "extreme sailing" the industry is currently promoting will never be more than a niche interest, and that the sport will revive if it starts looking after its grass roots.
    Last edited by Chris249; 03-03-2017 at 06:43 PM.

  13. #48
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    The more I read about the UFO the more I think these guys have a hit on their hands. The Clarks seem to have a good understanding of what to bring to market and at what price point so that people will buy it. If they can make a profit at the price they are planning to sell it they will sell a lot of them. It's worth listening to their thoughts on why sailing has lost participants and how it informed their design.

  14. #49
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Quote Originally Posted by cracked lid View Post
    The more I read about the UFO the more I think these guys have a hit on their hands. The Clarks seem to have a good understanding of what to bring to market and at what price point so that people will buy it. If they can make a profit at the price they are planning to sell it they will sell a lot of them. It's worth listening to their thoughts on why sailing has lost participants and how it informed their design.
    I really respect the Clarks, but it's possible to look at the same issues from another direction. For example, at one stage Dave asks "how can it be possible that sailing is in trouble when we have AC72s flying around on foils". Well, one answer could be that sailing is in trouble because of boats like the AC72 and the thinking behind them, not despite them; that is, the sport's current problems are caused by the popular ideal which is that high performance and "extreme sailing" are the way forward. When the NYYC chose a new AC class in sailing's boom time, they chose a class that had been established for decades, was smaller than the biggest active boats, and was essentially similar to the run-of-the-mill boats. They were also many people who were concerned that these boats (the 12 Metres) were too big and too elitist.

    These days we have our marquee events sailed boats that are far less accessible to the general sailing public, and sailing is not doing well. Coincidence? Unlikely, if we look at the lessons of the history of our sport and of other sports. Sports thrive when the gear the elite use is similar to that used by the average user. We will never get the average user to sail a foiling cat or mono; they are intrinsically too complex and expensive, and furthermore most people don't actually care about the fact that they are faster.

    You can take almost everything that has been said about foilers and change the words to "skiff", "catamaran" or "shortboard/funboard/high performance high-wind windsurfer", because just about all the same things were said about such craft; people talked about how racing skiffs were the future of dinghy sailing in the '90s. Those claims were all proven to be wrong; with the greatest respect to Steve Clark, no one bought his Vector skiff. Peter Johnstone of foiling cat fame said that concentrating on high performance killed windsurfing as a popular sport, so if we apply those lessons to boats we can say that foiling is not the way forward.

    Dave has copped some criticism for saying that people sailing old boats are not having any fun. To his credit he has apologised, but that does seem to be part of the elitism that is endemic in most of the industry. It's snobbish to assume that most sailors are too silly to know what boats they themselves should own. The Clarks also claim that people really want to go fast - but if that was such a motivation, why do more people sail dinghies rather than cats? Why do people sail cats rather that kitefoilers? Why do cyclists ride highly-restricted UCI/Tour de France type bikes instead of streamlined recumbent trikes that go 40 kmh faster? Speed is obviously not what most people are seeking, and it has never been what they are seeking.

    None of the above means that foilers, fast cats, performance windsurfers and skiffs and other high-performance dinghies are not fantastic; I've sailed them all and own most of them. But to claim that something is a fantastic niche product is very different to claiming that something is going to be the future of the sport or even of a large part of it.

    Kids appear to be sailing more than ever before these days. The fleets of slow-ish one designs (Optis, Fevas, Bic O'pens, Bic Techno windsurfers, Laser Radials etc) are enormous. It's when we try to shove them into expensive and tricky boats that most of them give up.

    At 31 minutes in, Dave makes the very good point that when people are expected to "trade up" to a new class as their skills improve, many of them instead drop out of the sport. However, the idea behind the UFO is that many people will be expected to "trade up" from a Laser etc to a UFO. By Dave's own account, that will knock many people out of the sport.
    Last edited by Chris249; 03-05-2017 at 08:46 PM.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Kids sail whatever they are allowed to. The kid's fleets are picked by old fogies(that's what a sailboat should look like, or, no way are the kids going to sail a fleet faster than my cruiser) price matters, but speed is good. As for kids moving out of sailing, unless very driven, kids move out of everything at a certain age. Sailing is good for kids and perhaps they be more likely to take up sailing as adults if they have had the kid experience. Personally I think people with clipboards and whistles take the fun out of sailing and I'm sure a lot of kids agree. For kids dropping out of sailing it is teenageritis and adults/race culture not boat choice. When I was a kid I'd float in anything, the faster the better of course.

  16. #51
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    What people want is simple, fun, fast and cheap. That is true for boats, bicycles and I'll just throw it in because the industry is dealing with a millenial problem as well, motorcycles. Freds ride UCI legal bicycles because they are UCI legal, and they all fancy themselves racers. Fully faired recumbents cost as much as cars. I know, because I've looked into them as a replacement for my car which I just don't use all that much because I commute by bike and my wife has a vehicle. PLus they have terrible visibility in traffic, take up a load of storage space, can't be carried up stairs or taken inside very easilly, and yet suck to secure outside. I'm now focused on e-bikes, a fast, modern, yet typically cheaper than a race bike option that is exploding in popularity. Motorcycling is solving its millenial sales issues by selling small, sporty, lightweight, inexpensive, easy to learn on but performance to grow motorcycles. I happen to think that bringing a small, lightweight, inexpensive, easy to store and transport, easy to learn on but performance to grow boat to market is likely to work. I don't think it's going to revolutionize sailing, but it doesn't have to. It just has to have enough sales to support the business. This alone would make them a big success in the boat manufacturing world.

  17. #52
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    The big dinghy fleets in Australia years ago were based on very basic craft that could be constructed at home - usually a father and son/daughter thing. Back then, kids did woodwork in schools and their fathers had done woodwork in school too. Not now. If boats could be built from Lego or 3D printed then perhaps they might become popular again. Happily there are nevertheless loads of kids wanting to learn and willing to get old boats going etc. too but any idea that there'll be a whole new wave of kids wanting to buy something like a plastic foiling cat for AU$10 000 is just nonsense.

    The sailing clubs too need to wake up. Clubs that seem to actually encourage members to buy a new Laser every couple of years, or Opti, or whatever, with their elitist mentalities, have gone a long way to restricting interest and membership.

    At the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, held every 2nd year, they always have a competition to build boats with kids in a couple of days. They produce these incredibly ugly, badly built boats. They might have fun but to me it's sending all the wrong messages and is a monumental waste of plywood and resin. Just once, I'd like to see the effort go into producing some good sailing dinghies and using the time to give people a go at sailing them and some tips on how to build them. It doesn't achieve the instant gratification of a complete boat in two days but it would be more worthwhile.

    Or a competition to restore Mirrors, MJs, Sabres, Mk II Moths or something - you have to bring your own restored boat and restored kid along for the event. That would be a more worthy event.

    I don't want to sound too negative, either. There are still big dinghy fleets near us, on Lake Macquarie and, just the other day, in Sydney, I came across a kid rigging a foiler Moth, on a windy day. I chatted with him about the boat and he very willingly showed me how it all worked. His enthusiasm for his craft was obvious and impressive. I didn't see him go out but I'm pretty sure he was a very competent sailor. I'm sure there are plenty of other kids like this one kicking around, and having lots of good, clean fun - outside!

    Rick

  18. #53
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    We must stop wishing things to get better. The real issue is that there is little socialization between millennial and older folks. Water access is being closed down because states, cities and towns would rather let developers take over valuable land and former marine business along the waterfront. boat yards, storage facilities and boat cranes are disappearing rapidly. There is little will to stop the trends. The real reason is no engagement as even the government and city planners no longer care to boat let alone sail or fish as we did even 20 years ago.

    Most yacht club sailing programs are for kids who's grandparents sailed and who's parents had some connections to sailing or small boat program. Moreover most sailing programs have shown a decline once the kids age out after 14. Tiger parents and those who seek their children "best interests" move on to other resume building directions. Most board people who run these yacht clubs rarely see the disconnect nor do they do anything to foster social activities for millenals and families with teens.

    Please note: Have you been to an american yacht club lately? Have you taken a look at those folks over 21 sailing in most local regattas? What about a simple walk on the docks and meeting those boat owners? Most of them are over 45 and stick to their own age groups or older. The growing regatta series i see on the San Francisco bay is about solo or doubled handed sailing events. Most beer can races are with men and women over 50. The parties that happen afterward rarely attracts those who we need most to grow as they rarely show up. All telltale signs of the current direction of boating.

    There needs to be a call to challenge this decline.
    I know that there are very few invitations offered by those who have boats and those who could do something about the situation can't be bothered. Millennials are in for new experiences and most likely do not even know they would be welcome to become crew, owners or let alone builders. I would ask Wooden Boat and its wonderful membership to initiate page or column that challenges boat owners to actively ask and recruit those under 30 to join them for a sail, row or fish. Millennials and many others no longer have reference points to boating or sailing. We only need to look as surfing as a model as we know surfing takes an introduction. Once one becomes a waterman, the other pieces of boat life become a natural progression. I suggest that there be a concerted call to action - it begins with directed social invitations and embracing a serious ambassadorship attempt to our world of sailing and boating to our younger folks. If the call is not made, the important access to boating and sustained recreational marine businesses will decline further away from most people's grasp.
    Last edited by Ted Hoppe; 03-20-2017 at 06:20 PM.
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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Well said, Ted.

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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    I'm interested in the idea of a 'petting zoo' approach which has been successfully used to introduce kids to musical instruments. The practice is mirrored by the John Gardner Workshop/Mystic Seaport livery at the WB Show.http://iampractigal.com/2015/03/20/t...t-petting-zoo/
    "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    As a later Gen X-er I'm lumped in with the millenials as far as age goes but, I'm more in group that J Madison is talking about... Wanting to learn those vintage/legacy skills that got lost in the years of the Baby Boomers and their get. That may be why a lot of us are coming back to wooden boats, for the connection to something older? I grew up around boats, mostly FRP but with a good helping of wood ones. I remember the days when Gannon & Benjamin looked like it was going to be shuttered (from the look of their facilities that is) and I remember my first ride on Pulsifer's Hampton at the WB Show in Newport RI. I suppose some of us are 'born' into wooden boats and some are drawn to them. And the desire for those older skills lend themselves to the kind of hands-on work that goes into one of these boats anyway. Someone said in an earlier post, 'like attracts like' and thats on point I believe.

    As far as the availability of information goes, YouTube and the WWW are nice but if I cant open a book and have something in my hand its no good. As an aircraft maintainer, I get funny looks at work when I wish for a paper maintenance pub to work on my aircraft because of this. The military has embraced the digital revolution (foolishly I believe-another rabbit hole) and that's only taken away from actual skills at anything except following orders.

    Of course I haven't even laid the strongbacks to build my first hull so you may discount or take with the proverbial grain of salt anything I've said here.

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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Interesting.

    The older one and his fiance are thinking they'd like to own a larger boat at some point.
    Advise them against that.
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad View Post
    Well said, Ted.
    Agreed. I think there's more to the situation as well, but my view gets complex. But I might pose this question:

    Where does boating fall in the hierarchy of needs for this generation?
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lew Barrett View Post
    Where does boating fall in the hierarchy of needs for this generation?
    It seems no one wants to give you the answer. So, with apologies to Maslow:


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    Default Re: A rising Millenial market?

    Hang on, you've got sex and boats at the opposite ends of the hierarchy? Somethings not right.

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