Monday, April 19, 2010

Sailing in the Second Space Age

"By 2025, we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the Moon into deep space. So we’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history. By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow. And I expect to be around to see it."

President Barack Obama, 15 April 2010.

Wow! Land on an asteroid 15 years from now! Go to Mars and back 10 years later! I hope I'm around to see it too.

But what will our beloved sport of sailing be like 15-25 years from now? That's the challenge for this month's group writing project. Write about any aspect of the topic that interests you.

I've touched on one or two issue related to the future of recreational boating in recent posts, specifically the impact of rising fuel prices and social pressures on the the use of fossil-based fuels in boating. But there are many other factors to consider.

What kinds of boats will we be sailing on the waters on Earth when men and women are landing on asteroids and exploring Mars? What advances in technology will we be seeing, and how will they impact sailing? Will there be more spin-offs from the world of space technology that will be as significant for us as GPS and satellite phones? Will climate change have had a major impact on how we enjoy recreation on the water? Will we have more leisure and disposable income to enjoy our sport, or less?

What changes will we see by then in the Olympics, the America's Cup, in other major sailing events? What will have happened in the world of long-distance ocean racing?

What new formats of recreational boating will we see? What comes after kite-boarding? Will sailing reverse its decline? Will it be a mass participation sport, a spectator sport, or a pastime for a rich elite? In the age of travel to Mars and back, will sailing be seen as an exciting, vigorous sport or a nostalgic pastime for old duffers and history buffs?

You could write about what you think will happen. Or what you hope will happen. Or what you fear will happen. You could write about the sport in general, or one aspect of it; or you could tell us about your own personal sailing ambitions for 15-25 years from now.

Same rules as usual...

1. Write a post on your blog on the topic of the future of sailing (or whatever other form of recreational boating interests you) in the years 2025 to 2035.

2. Once you've posted your article, let me know about it by sending an email to including a link to your post. If you don't have a blog just email me the story and I will post it here. Please let me know about your post, or send me your article, before the end of April. Choose a unique title for your post please.

3. I will post here two links to your article. Every day or so I will write a post listing any new entries in the project. Then at the end of the project I will provide a summary post with links to all of your articles about sailing in the second space age.

Please participate in this project.

Let your imagination run wild.

Surprise me.

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