Do men still outnumber women in sailing?

March 22, 2017 § 2 Comments

Got this email recently from Windy at US Sailing. Windy is the Youth Recreational Pathways Manager there.

Hi Nick,

Hope you’re doing well—we met briefly down at the SAYRA Conference in Hilton Head this past January. I’m working on a girls sailing initiative and read in your book that men outnumber women in the sport 7:1. We’ve been using that statistic pretty regularly and I was just wondering how you found it and if you know if it’s changed at all since the book was written.

Best,
Windy

Here was my response. Windy was kind enough to agree to have it shared here:

Hi Windy,

Those data came from a wide range of sources: my own interview demographics with a sample of over 5000 sailors globally, industry sources, and club reports from the period from 2005-2008.

The ratio of men to women is changing, but it’s important to understand how. Here is a summary of the current trend: http://sailingmagazine.net/article-1326-you-sail-like-a-mom:-it’s-a-compliment,-not-a-put-down.html

There really is only one fast-growing demographic in the sport today (as far as I can tell) and it is adult women. College programs are doing well, and hereto, the growth is coming from women. Growth among youth programs is tepid (although it’s also majority female). Of course, old while guys (like me) are dying off faster than we can reproduce.

My guess is that we’re only 10-12 years from a 50:50 gender tipping point.

Hope this helps,

Nick

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§ 2 Responses to Do men still outnumber women in sailing?

  • Alan Beatty says:

    I skipper a charter boat in the Great Barrier Reef Qld Australia and usually 65% women.

    • Nick Hayes says:

      Thanks for the observation, Alan. I’d love to be one of the minority (men) who have the chance to sail there with you. I’m sure if I did, I’d come with 3 female companions (two daughters and a wife), so your ratios would shift again.

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