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Old 11-21-2014, 01:58 PM   #21
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I never thought I'd want anything to do with a yacht club. I wasn't interested in social clubs, fraternities, etc., and yacht clubs seemed snooty and stodgy. But when I got seriously into cruising a few years ago, several people pitched me on their yacht clubs.

It turned out the cheapest one for me to join is typically the most expensive in the area. Because I was under 23 at the time, I think initiation was $100. Dues are under $30/month, though they go up substantially as I get older.

What convinced me to join? Outstations, primarily. Reciprocals too. I've spent 25 or 30 nights at outstations or reciprocals in the last year. It's awfully nice to pull into an outstation and be able to stay for a night or a week without shelling out any more money. And often the outstations are nicer than nearby marinas.

The club also has kayaks and paddleboards at the mainstation for member use (free) and sail boats that can be rented for a nominal fee.

Membership has been useful in other ways, too. When I was purchasing my current boat I looked through the boat directory and found 4 or 5 other members owned the same model boat I was looking at. I called each of them and several offered me rides. Taking a sea trial on a boat with no salesmen aboard, hearing the honest impression of an owner, was useful in the buying process.

During summer I see lots of young families at our outstations, particularly the outstations in the San Juans. I think the larger clubs with lots of amenities are probably in better shape than some of the smaller clubs. Sure, it can be expensive to be a member of these clubs, but there are lots of benefits.
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:26 PM   #22
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Fascinating thread.

I'll throw another personal testimony into the conversation.

My wife and I looked into joining a yacht club a year ago. We are on our 4th 'real' boat, and another dozen or so dinghy's, canoes, kayaks and what not. We have a 9 year old daughter. We have some very dear friends that also own a boat, and have a 5 year old daughter, and they were interested as well. We were willing and able to pay the dues, even some of the higher ones.

We wanted to join a YC for the cruising - to meet people at a location, share a bottle of wine, and let the kids play on the docks. To have a set of resources available to help troubleshoot a problem, or help with a project. And to maybe go to a Christmas party or two. And of course, to return the favor, and help with a project, volunteer our boat for use in a sailboat race, etc.

I emailed and reached out to as many yacht clubs as I could find, generally to the membership chair, or to the generic email account for the club.

A very strange (to me) thing happened. Almost none responded. Only two did, one stated that they were a sailing club and while we of course could join, they didn't think I would like it. The other stated that I needed to be recommended by an existing member. Thanks. And FY2.

So my yacht club membership is now trawlerforum.com, and an email lists of puget sound boaters.
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:50 PM   #23
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A very strange (to me) thing happened. Almost none responded. Only two did, one stated that they were a sailing club and while we of course could join, they didn't think I would like it. The other stated that I needed to be recommended by an existing member. Thanks. And FY2.

For what it's worth, I know a Boat Captain up in Jacksonville that was a member of a sailing club, but had a trawler. Yearly, they used his boat at the annual regatta and was headquarters for many other events. He couldn't have had more fun. He loved the club until he moved a couple of years ago. Maybe being the odd-man-out isn't all that bad.
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:58 PM   #24
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I am not surprised at Matt's experience in the Tacoma area. We have a group of friends (made through boating) with boats in South Puget Sound and we are generally out at one of the numerous state marine parks each weekend from May through October. Our common experience is that the yacht club members we come across are overwhelmingly insular and not all that friendly with non-members while they too are sharing our state marine parks. It is quite odd actually. It never seems to occur to them that the membership death spiral could be alleviated by being just a little outgoing.
I will not name clubs, but it is not isolated to one club or two clubs. Our experience is that once members arrive at a dock, they set up shop and generally do not even say hello to those non-affiliated boaters on the dock. Our group actually became friends when as strangers at state parks, we openly discussed the bizarre dynamic of the club members and their generally antisocial nature. Oh well.
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:58 PM   #25
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For what it's worth, I know a Boat Captain up in Jacksonville that was a member of a sailing club, but had a trawler. Yearly, they used his boat at the annual regatta and was headquarters for many other events. He couldn't have had more fun. He loved the club until he moved a couple of years ago. Maybe being the odd-man-out isn't all that bad.
Our first two boats were sailboats. I crew every year on a couple sailboat races in the area. I would love more opportunites to crew, and I would be more than willing to donate my boat for afternoon races as the committee boat. And a traditional trawler is really more sailboat than fast powerboat IMO.

But in the end, the response was very clearly "thanks but no thanks" on their part.
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Old 11-21-2014, 03:02 PM   #26
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By the way, there is another great club here in SW Florida I'd highly recommend. "Larry's Yacht Club". To join, only 20 bucks and yearly dues are the same. No costly parties or receptions, no bothersome newsletters or e-mails, no frustrating member recommendation requirements, no obligatory attendance, and no election of board members or officers, no cumbersome membership cards, ...just pure boating enjoyment! Our burgee is a bilge diaper. Send 20 bucks (plus 20 bucks for first year) to begin your exciting new Yacht Club membership today.
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Old 11-21-2014, 03:34 PM   #27
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Larry does it come with at lest one bottle of wine or a 6 pack of beer ?
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Old 11-21-2014, 03:44 PM   #28
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By the way, there is another great club here in SW Florida I'd highly recommend. "Larry's Yacht Club". To join, only 20 bucks and yearly dues are the same. No costly parties or receptions, no bothersome newsletters or e-mails, no frustrating member recommendation requirements, no obligatory attendance, and no election of board members or officers, no cumbersome membership cards, ...just pure boating enjoyment! Our burgee is a bilge diaper. Send 20 bucks (plus 20 bucks for first year) to begin your exciting new Yacht Club membership today.
Capitalist!!!
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Old 11-21-2014, 04:19 PM   #29
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Larry does it come with at lest one bottle of wine or a 6 pack of beer ?
It comes with a six pack of Black Label or Pabst.



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Old 11-21-2014, 05:18 PM   #30
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A very strange (to me) thing happened. Almost none responded. Only two did, one stated that they were a sailing club and while we of course could join, they didn't think I would like it. The other stated that I needed to be recommended by an existing member. Thanks. And FY2.

So my yacht club membership is now trawlerforum.com, and an email lists of puget sound boaters.

For the most part ditto here. Similar effort to reach out, similar outcome. If yacht clubs desire larger membership roles they can try scooting the stick over to one side of their derrière.

Until then TrawlerForum is my yacht club.
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Old 11-21-2014, 05:26 PM   #31
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For the most part ditto here. Similar effort to reach out, similar outcome. If yacht clubs desire larger membership roles they can try scooting the stick over to one side of their derrière.

Until then TrawlerForum is my yacht club.
What you aren't part of the SF Yacht club?????
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Old 11-21-2014, 05:44 PM   #32
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A good word about Yacht Clubs. I miss mine. Was able to stop in for a drink or a meal and always knew someone. Now I do not see these people.
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Old 11-21-2014, 05:47 PM   #33
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my 2 yacht clubs this virtual one and the marina I am slipped at
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Old 11-22-2014, 03:31 PM   #34
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I'm having a hard time convincing my club that they need to attract people not exactly like themselves, and I ran across this fascinating piece:
Scuttlebutt News: What’s Really Wrong with Yacht Clubs
Most of the people I know, and not just in my age group but 20 to 40 something's, too, have little or no interest in joining anything other than perhaps a gym.

I suspect a big reason for this is the internet, particularly Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and so forth. These have replaced the social get-together aspect of clubs. Now, you can create your own "club" and get together with it whenever you want regardless of the "members" physical location.

I know people who are in hiking clubs, wine clubs, etc. who interact almost entirely via phone and tablet. They physically get together for activities like a hike or a winery visit, but other than that all social interaction is done on the web.

Personally, I think this is great because club "membership" has a minimal impact on one's own schedule.

We joined a boating club back in the early 2000s. They have a monthly potluck meeting which we don't attend because the meetings are on week nights and we live 100 miles from the clubhouse. They sponsor cruises in the islands during the boating season, of which we might participate in just one or two because of my work and travel schedule.

Dues are $70 per year. The membership seems pretty evenly split between power and sail. Membership gets one a not-insignificant discount at the large and well-stocked marine store in the harbor, and reciprocal privileges with a few other yacht clubs at their out-stations in the islands.

The club loses a few members every year and gains a few members every year. Most members are older folks.

We joined because good friends we boat with are members. Had we not had this connection we would never have considered joining a boating club at all. We, like most of the people we know, particularly younger people, are not joiners. We did not get into boating for its social aspect.
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:12 PM   #35
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We joined our Port Townsend Yacht Club two years ago. The impetus was to gain reciprocal privileges, especially as we were cruising the south sound that summer. However, after meeting club members for the first time at their annual open boat, we realized there were some real nice people who shared similar boating interests. And we were sold after hearing the unofficial club motto: "Until we eat again..." The PTYC also has reasonable fees: $150 to join, $200 a year. We have a modest club house, and a fairly active group of cruisers.

However, we have the same "problem". Although I'm 53, and my wife is 47, we feel like the "new kids". Of course, add in our 4.5 year old daughter and we do skew the median age a bit. The club's board as recently as a few years ago decided to reach out and try to get new members. It seems to be working. When we joined there were approximately 75 member/families, and now we are up to 96. Though the average new member is still our age or older.

I think what Sam said, about his yacht club having reduced prices for younger members, is a great idea. I'm going to bring that up to our club and see what they think.
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Old 11-23-2014, 12:14 AM   #36
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However, we have the same "problem". Although I'm 53, and my wife is 47, we feel like the "new kids". Of course, add in our 4.5 year old daughter and we do skew the median age a bit. The club's board as recently as a few years ago decided to reach out and try to get new members. It seems to be working. When we joined there were approximately 75 member/families, and now we are up to 96. Though the average new member is still our age or older.
Wifey B: Ok, one day i was asked by a kindly much older woman who were my parents. She thought they were probably the members. I felt complimented. We joined because they have great tennis courts. And reciprocals are good sometimes. We only go during the week and during the day so don't see many other people. But they seem like a friendly group.

It's like any clubs, some good some bad. Those we've been to other places have been the same mostly. Generally nice people. Now there is one high and fancy one not too far from us where basically those who live at the club do not like guests, transients, visitors, kids, or anything that disturbs their little world. It's almost worth it to go there just for the annoyance factor.
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Old 11-23-2014, 12:48 AM   #37
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Every yacht club has its own "drum beat". Before joining, you need to research them and find the right fit, find what's important to you in a club.

Some clubs have no amenities and low fees, others have lots of amenities and high fees. As like anything, those kind of things differentiate the membership.

Some clubs have an extensive screening process, and they have it for a reason - their members want it that way. You may think its to maintain some level of exclusivity, but its not. Its for reasons that may not seem evident. The members may have jobs that wreak havoc during the week with people and issues and they just want to go boating, decompress, and maybe have surface-scraper-level socialization (if at all). Which leads to another reason for a screening process- its about trying to avoid the "aggressive entrepreneur" who wants nothing but to walk the dock and network with other club members about having the next best thing since sliced bread. The members get that all week - they want none of that when they're on their boat, and so they shy away from the more aggressive conversationalists and keep to themselves.

To the older members, its about peace and quiet - unfortunately that conflicts with today's younger crowd maybe wanting to join a yacht club that has children. Finding that balance between old vs. young is the challenge - and if it was easy, everybody could do it.

One thing to remember about yacht club initiation fees and yearly dues - whatever assets the club has, it costs to keep the lights on. You can't expect to join a club and "come out ahead of the game". Maybe you'll be able to offset some of those costs with outstations or reciprocals, but its a losing (or diminishing) game - similar to a boat.
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Old 11-23-2014, 08:08 AM   #38
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Good thread, it got me thinking about our club.

I initially joined many years ago as a social member, because they had great facilities for kids, large heated pool bistro open all hours etc.There were a lot of young families,and being new to the area it was a great way to meet people.

The boat facilities are good, although expensive, about $9K for the berth per year, with membership on top, the wait list for a berth is about 12-15 months or so.The thing is though it's a really laid back & friendly club, especially the staff and that I think makes all the difference.

We have another large club about 500 meters down the waterway, mainly a sailing club for racing yachts and the atmosphere couldn't be more different, chalk and cheese, and I certainly wouldn't consider putting the boat there. Incidentally it's the home club of 'your' America's Cup skipper!

On balance I think it is the friendliness and acceptance that makes or breaks a club.
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:36 AM   #39
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Very interesting thread. This year I am the commodore of the Edmonds Yacht Club. We had been starting to decrease in size due to attrition but had a strong membership year last year. I attributed part of the lack of growth to the slowdown of boat sales. Reading this I see other issues as well.

Our active members love boating and we organize cruises throughout the year. Our club-sponsored cruises average around 40 boats and our casual cruises about a dozen or more. Most of our members make lifelong friends and the club becomes a second family.

What I really like about our club is the caring camaraderie. During our first year of boating there were always members to buddy boat with us. It gave us the confidence to cruise to the San Juan's and into canada. When we had boating problems there was always someone with experience to help us out.

The people who tend not to be interested or join and then quit are "self sufficients." They know what they know, don't make an effort to meet new people, and like to boat solo. The people in that group will join for our reciprocals and we get an annual check from them if they stay as members.

The folks who make our club great are the new members who throw themselves into committees, organize cruises, help cook a meal, decorate for a club party, or somehow find a way to pitch in. Each person that does that helps to make our club a little better. The other thing we find is that proximity is important. If you live more than twenty five miles from the club it becomes more difficult to pop in for a quick meeting.

The key is to attend a club meeting and see if you like the group dynamic. You will know when you find the right fit.
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:47 PM   #40
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I am about to quit a club I've belonged to for 13 years. When I joined it was a club of very active boaters. We had two major cruises a year and several impromptu ones on weekends during the summer. It was fun, the members liked each other and enjoyed each others' company. We had Friday BBQ's and several parties during the year.

Over the past 3-4 years the club has become much less active. I was cruise chair three years ago and couldn't get any interest from ANYONE in going on our annual spring cruise. Since then the parties have continued but the Friday BBQ's have almost ended. There are a few cliques in the club and none of them speak to the others. People don't like each other, nobody goes boating, etc. For me, it became time to quit. BTW, we don't keep our boat there because they have no covered moorage.

We have joined another club. It's fun, the people there are fun, they cruise somewhere every weekend, they have Friday BBQ's, Sunday football parties to watch games, etc. It is costing us about $300/year more to belong to this club but at least we're getting something for our money.
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