“Let’s go to the port, to see those megayachts of the rich,” she told her boyfriend, “they are huge, made for Arabs and Russians.”
“Why do I have to go look at the fortunes of all those bastards, most of them are criminals protected by their money,” answered her companion.
She wanted to go see a dream, a reality that was never going to become theirs. Her perception of large yachts, as shared with a large part of society, provided some of their general idea about the rich.
We are passionate about sailing and we live with and from it. Invented in England at around the time when the British flag (Union Jack, 1606) was forged from the flags of the Union and from the Dutch idea to create small, shallow and very fast boats to chase the pirates. With no internet or Netflix to amuse them, attacking coastal towns seemed good fun at the time!
In the 80s a 36m yacht was big. Today, 45m yachts are mass-produced, and more than 55 yachts over 100m in length appear on the international charts.
In most countries boating is generally elitist, like golf, horse riding and to a lesser degree, tennis. The efforts we have made to present boating as a “normal” sport to rulers have not yielded any results. Of course, in countries with a maritime culture, the majority of the middle class can own and enjoy a boat of up to 10m, sail or motor, at a cost no higher than that of a mid-level second-hand car. 85% of the pleasure boats in the world measure less than 10m, the popular nautical craft are small. Some countries (several from the third world) woke up to sailing later and generally follow the trends of the leading pack (EU – USA).
But what the world (including us) sees of nautical sports is not the family with a 6m boat in a trailer on their way to spend a weekend on the coast. The world sees the articles and news briefs in glossy magazines in which megayachts are shown as exorbitant costs to serve a group of 8 or 10 people. They also read about the America’s cup and the tens of millions they spend each season. Of course, soccer also moves millions and the players earn obscene amounts, but for a kid you only need a 15-euro ball and an empty lot and he can be Messi or Ronaldo all afternoon. Tennis can be played in a club. For the would-be nautical hobbyist, the possibility is light years away.
We must accept how we are seen, and continue to support athletes who represent us, not only us as a country, but also that incoming generation that seems to already have in their DNA a serious respect for the environment and an increase in personal values ( dedicate more time to themselves, not just run after financial success). Create places for the public in the sailing schools of the clubs, introduction to the nautical world in the schools, municipal nautical schools.
And the marinas. We have not evolved. The marinas allowed those who could not be members of a yacht club to use a mooring. It was the first opening of the nautical world for everyone. There are no marinas without yachts or yachts without marinas. They cover a need for the nautical development. They must be integrated into the community: visiting days, events, workshops. The nautical activity is concentrated in four or five areas of the world. We, the West, rule the waves. It is time to extend a hand out there and welcome everybody to enjoy the sea. It would be fantastic for them, and great for us. We have the knowledge and the experience. All this is possible, but we have to do it from within. And there is a lot to do.
Oscar Siches CMP , GMBA Spain
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Mobile:+34 667 494 858
N.B. Global Marine Business Advisors and its associated website www.gmba.blue are not registered legal entities. GMBA is a network of independent marine industry advisors.