What Do the Wealthy Sail?

What Do the Wealthy Sail?

Wilmette Harbor is a quiet little place, it is circled by Evanston, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park and other North Shore  well-to-do communities.  There’s about 260 boats that moor and sail out of there.  To describe the harbor best, it is simply “quaint.”

Earlier this year the harbor was being threatened with closure, cooler heads prevailed and she opened, just a little later than normal, but with our cold spring, the tardiness wasn’t noticeable.

Dealing with one of my compadres in Wilmette while helping to get the harbor re-opened, I said to him, “I am going to take a guess that 90% of the boats in the harbor can be bought today for less than $7,000 a piece.”  He assured me that I had overestimated the price.

Reality strikes that those with money aren’t buying crazy expensive boats, they recognize that the sailing season, if stretched, is about 5-1/2 months in the region, and to get the “bang for the buck” they aren’t going to squander big dollars for something that doesn’t get nearly enough use 12 months a year.

This is the story I keep trying to tell.  Most people who sail are not spending ridiculous amounts of money doing it.  Crew hardly spend anything, 90% of boat sales are less than 26 feet in length.  When you stand back this makes a lot of sense.  The way the masses can afford their own boat, is to buy one within their budget and time availability, so they buy something that is less than 26 feet in length.  And many big boat sailors who grew up starting in small boats, will tell you that they were having more fun back when they had their small boat!

Adults fleets include Soling, Arrow, Thistle, Rainbow, Laser/Torch and J/24 while Junior fleets include 420, Pram and Optimist.

$7,000 or less, to purchase a sailboat, is much less than buying a third car in a household.  Sure there are mooring cost, winter storage cost, insurance, registration, title, and maintenance costs.  Probably not all that different than filling the gas tank, oil changes, tires and maintenance on a third car.  Skip the third car and buy a sailboat, and head out for many adventures on Lake Michigan.

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