There was a time, in the not-so-distant past, that your local sailing club was a purely volunteer organization, run by willing parents, and knowledgable local sailors. While in many parts of the country, this is status quo, for the majority this is no longer the case.
Sailing in the US has undergone and is currently undergoing a radical shift in the way that it interacts with culture. Gone are the days of super yachts, and old-school J-class sailing miles off-shore. Increasingly, these are being replaced by cheaper, simpler, more accessible boats, and more accessible sailing venues. While the sailing programs of the past may have prided themselves on exclusivity (and many still do), this mentality has been overshadowed by the desire to grow our sport, to open the doors to sailors of all walks of life, and even non-sailors.
This community-culture shift has been instrumental in making sailing a viable career. We are seeing a massive increase in the number of people who have committed to bettering the sport of sailing, full-time. Where 10-15 years ago, coastal powerhouses may have employed only 2-3 year-round, this number has quadrupled.
More opportunities for sailors to make a living by sailing not only means that all of you can continue to engage in this sport for the rest of your lives, but it ensures the quality of the body of knowledge being passed down is substantial. The sailing program of the future is not one of sporadic leadership, full of part-time volunteers, but strong, consistent leadership, full of sailors who have dedicated their lives to the growth of out sport, full of the youth sailors going through our programs today.