If you look at the sailing industry in the eighties, many learnt to sail only when they started to work in sailing companies or related ventures.
Today there is a distinct profession for sailing and many can look forward to earning well if they can get into competitive circles. Greg Fisher was a model professional in this field in the mid eighties. He started off with races and helped his customers at his company Shore Sails to learn the techniques and compete in regattas. His sails were used for fast sailing and he developed a reputation in the area.
For those who were similar to Greg Fisher, many developed their careers in a similar manner. Many have started off being sailed makers after which they developed their skills of sailing. Many then started to steer and sail their own boats in competitions. It is a profession where one can tour several areas and meet people. One can also manage to have decent living off their passion with sailing. Indeed, there were not many who were in this industry and could hope to be able to make it as a profession as well as explore their love for the waters and the sport.
There has been much change in this industry, especially for those who are professionals and compete in sailing events. There are many who are outstanding and have made it in this profession, but for many it has become much associated with a certain prestige and reputation that makes the sport a costly one for others. Indeed, if you look at sailing as a sport, there are several investments to consider. One needs to get a boat or a sponsor for the same as well as having a crew and a coach. With so many services that need to be paid for, it has definitely become a costly sport for pros today.