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Old 02-07-2016, 10:45 AM   #1
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Yacht Clubs

The Admiral and I attended the Seattle Boat Show yesterday and talked to some very nice folks from a local yacht club. We have been looking for a club to join but do not know what others have used to decided if a particular club is right for them.
I would appreciate any information out there that helped you choose or not choose a club to join.
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:53 AM   #2
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It all depends what they offer and what you need. We wanted to join the club just up river and found out it would have cost us $850 just to join. Then there were hidden costs i.e. you are required to do 6 work parties during the summer or pay $80 for each one you miss. But the number one issue that disturbed us was the politics within the club and back door crap that was going on. We did not join. We finally found a club that was like us. Bottom line make sure it is a fit for you and the Admiral. BTW most other yacht clubs will let you stay at their facility at a reduced rate if you have a yacht club card from your club.
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:14 AM   #3
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^^^^ Correct.

I'm the Vice Commodore of our club, and ASD hits the nail square on the head. When we joined our club, we had a short list of stipulations;
  • reasonable dues
  • no "mandatory fun" (work parties, requirements to spend so much per quarter at the club, etc)
  • inclusivity- i.e., no hard division between power and sail
  • not the "cigar and single malt scotch" club
  • a good cruising schedule

Our club is $376/year dues- period. No monthly dues, no mandatory other obligations. We work on a volunteer basis for things that need to get done, and it's worked well since 1946 when the club was incepted.

Now, we also don't have moorage, or a full time restaurant- but we have plenty of amenities (great reciprocals and outstations, beautiful cruising waters, 2 fantastic clubhouses, and more) and it's working well.
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:21 AM   #4
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There is a YC in the Portland OR that is exclusive to men only. Yep that's right. If you are the Admiral and the Captain passes to other sailing grounds, the club gives the Admiral so much time to clear the moorage or put everything up for sale! They tried to recruit us until we found the above and man was it fun to watch the Admiral take this guy down a peg or two!! If you are in Pete's area, their club sounds fun and very reasonable.
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:33 AM   #5
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We joined our yacht club over 20 years ago because the club has their own slips and very active social and boating schedule. We have four raft-ups a year, and a trip to Catalina Island. The club has a live band every other week-end and a large dance floor. The galley serves three meals a day every day. We pay slip fees, dues, and a quarterly use it or pay it, bar/restaurant bill. The club is half power and half sail, with an active competition sail fleet and angler's group. Our yacht club consistently wins the club trophy for Predicted Log contests in San Diego. A great place to make boating friends.
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:54 AM   #6
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Many clubs are more about social, status than actual boating as most have a monthly meeting, social event and a cruise. So make sure you fit the financial, social, age, family, type and size of boat. Most clubs or any kind has a picking order and politic and may be difficult to brake into. So make sure you visit several clubs.

When we bought the boat and first moored on lake Union we joined at middle to higher social and status club, after several years we dropped out because of politics, finance and size of our boat. It's been 10 plus years and we have not joined another. So make sure the club meets your needs and you meet the clubs norm requirements.
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Old 02-07-2016, 12:01 PM   #7
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Clubs vary a lot. From the traditional expensive club with all facilities to cruising clubs that own nothing, charge little or no dues and meet at a restaurant but cruise together. Be cautious about paying large initiation fees at a traditional club until you verify their financial condition is sound. Membership decline has been a problem at many traditional clubs.
Some branches of the power squadron are very active cruisers. They are low cost and offer good boating education. usps.org


A benefit of the clubs without expensive facilities is that you can join several and see what you like without a big cash investment..
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Old 02-07-2016, 04:03 PM   #8
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We have been at both ends of the aforementioned spectrum of clubs. Our first cost $70 to join in 1977, had no physical facilities, did several long weekend cruises, with meetings at various cruising venues, monthly meetings in Vancouver where many presentations of general interest kept us coming back for more. That sufficed for our first 10 years of boating, but we found that with 3 kids under 10, there wasn't enough for us there, so we joined the bigger, more expensive club with lots of physical facilities. In our first 10 years there, we moved to club owned moorage (saving about 1/2 our annual moorage cost) took full advantage of 7 great outstations, used the restaurant/meeting facilities extensively and developed life-long friendships. There are definitely the snobs there, but there are also a majority of members who are absolutely not snobs. We have friends in both groups and would give neither up. In fact, today's Super Bowl agenda will have us at the winter home of one of our YC friends for the afternoon,where we are wintering in Southern Cal.
Our kids have enjoyed their club membership too, as our sons, age 38 and 32, each have a sailboat in club moorage and have, since we joined in 1987, developed their own networks of friends.
I consider the initiation fee and the annual fees of the better YC to be the best value for money that we have ever spent. Even better than the $70 for the first club we joined.
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Old 02-07-2016, 04:38 PM   #9
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A couple years ago we were in Washington, DC and stayed as a transient at one of the yacht clubs. Dockage was very reasonable and the place was nice. I happened to see the information about joining and it was several thousand dollars to join and quite a bit (I don't remember) each year.


There are yacht clubs and there are yacht clubs. You have to find out what's available in your area and decide if it fits your needs.
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:25 PM   #10
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There are a variety of YCs in the Seattle area. The most prestigious is the Seattle YC quite expensive to join but has the most outstations and services. Just across portage bay is Queen City YC less expensive and actively seeking members. You may not get a slip in either home base check the waiting lists. There are a few other clubs much cheaper with less structure but still affording social and cruising comradeship. We use a good number of the SYC outstations each summer and aside from the cost have been quite pleased with membership. One can spend a good deal of time with considerable involvement in these clubs or just pay dues and stay aloof its usually the members choice. Typically you get out in proportion to what you put in.
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:39 PM   #11
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Thank you all for the information so far, it seems that we can find what we are looking for, if we look for it. Being new to the trawler world has it's opportunities and limitations much like yacht clubs, so just as we waited and picked the right boat for us, we need to do the same with a club. Bob
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Old 02-08-2016, 01:08 AM   #12
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Just like finding the right boat. You need to clearly define what you're looking for in a club. There are all extremes of clubs and some would be very poorly fit to us. Meanwhile we belong to a club that has lots of families involved and isn't the stuffy club where old men come to get away from their wives and drink, but it's also not the party club for young people. We don't use many of the services of the club. We eat there and take friends just enough to meet our minimum. However, we get two great benefits. We use the tennis courts regularly and we benefit from the reciprocal agreements, even with clubs that don't have such agreements.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:36 AM   #13
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We are pretty lucky with our set up. Photo below.

We live on a fresh water lagoon with lock access to the Atlantic ICW.

While we have our own concrete dock, the POA also owns a marina where those without their own dock can slip their boats. We have a yacht club, but no need for a club house because we have a Club Corp Golf and Country Club right by the marina.
Annual dues are ~ 225 if I remember and a big chunk of that goes to subsidize the Commodore's Ball.
We have numerous formal trips (Six Flags Shrimp Festival up in Fernandina, July Fourth weekend in Palm Coast etc.). The numerous"wild cat" cruises. We host a couple of local clubs on a reciprocal basis for the Annual air show and Blue Angels. Then we have a number of land parties where we maintain our own moving bar and charge five bucks a head to keep that replenished. We just hosted a January land party and had over 80 people attend.

Great fun.
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:59 AM   #14
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To my mind the real import of a YC is their Junior Program.

With out sail events for the kids to learn boating , there will only be boats built for the unskilled that dock them selves.

True YC like Larchmont in New York , Ida Lewis , NY YC, have varied programs for all skill sets , as well as the usual resturant , bar room and model show place.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:11 AM   #15
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Before you join a yacht club have a look in the car park and garbage bins this will help you determine at what level you will fit in
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:55 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaston View Post
Before you join a yacht club have a look in the car park and garbage bins this will help you determine at what level you will fit in
Yep, some are downright scary to me.

I did appreciate back in the 70's a couple of the yacht clubs in the Miami area extended honorary memberships to active duty USCG Officers..while certainly no guarantee...the thought was there might be some quality added and might groom future members.

No chance of that happening in my neck of the woods...I believe the starting membership fee might be over $10,000. Plus, the club officers openly defy the USCG/COLREGS by letting little kids sail in without "permit" regattas where the course criss crosses the ICW in some of the busiest places at some of the busiest times. A miracle a child hasn't been hurt.

Maybe cubs I'm glad they don't want me a member of.


But I do wish there were some reasonable ones around.
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:16 AM   #17
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I think the more marinas around the more competitive and inviting the clubs are. In Fort Lauderdale, they aren't needed just for dockage or basics, so both Lauderdale Yacht Club and Coral Ridge Yacht Club are extremely active with youth programs, sailing and tennis lessons. They also appeal heavily to non-boat owners who live in the area. This is a plus for boat owners as it gives a larger base of members to cover the expenses of the club and to support and encourage the programs of the clubs. LYC averages about 7 regattas a year. It has sailing teams for 4 high schools. It has lessons for all ages.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:24 AM   #18
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I belonged to a nearby club for many years and when I joined it was a boating club. A few weekend cruises and two longer cruises that usually had a dozen or so boats involved. Over the years it changed from being a boating club to being a club full of bitchers and politicians and back biters.


I stayed for a couple of years and tried to get it back to a boating club but had no luck. Everyone hated everyone else so we quit. Many other members felt the same way and have left like rats abandoning a sinking ship. Many of their slips are open and rumor has it that they're hurting for $$$. And none of the people who still belong use their boats.


The club we belong to now is very boating oriented as well as family oriented. Lots of activities including 2-3 parties every year aimed directly at kids. It's a very welcoming club and the membership is growing an getting younger as time passes.


Our dues went up this year to $850 and that's a bit high, but when we figure all of the friends we've made, trips we've taken, parties we've enjoyed, we feel it's worth it. No "Cigar and single malt" snobs here, just other boaters like us.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:29 AM   #19
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Ask for a copy of the meeting minutes, will give you a little insight as how the club is run, or better yet attend a meeting as a guest first. If you hear a bunch of people whining about this or that then at least you know what you are getting into.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:13 PM   #20
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More than a few of the comments above are right on given my 40+ years around yacht clubs. More important than the $$$$ and facilities is, in my opinion, the club culture and the character of its active members. Avoid clubs with a reputation for a lot of internal grief, bickering and the like. Cliques within the club (also a clique, of course,) is another indication of a troubled club. If you are an active boater, seek a club with an active cruising calendar. Some of the best clubs might not even have a clubhouse, just an active group that corresponds by email and puts on terrific on the water activities. With the economic downturn of the past 8 years or so, many clubs with high overhead costs suffered and more than a few bellied up. Others took on a lot of debt to keep going. Saying all of this, I believe that our yacht club involvement added immeasurably to our overall boating enjoyment. Wouldn't have it any other way.
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