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Old 04-10-2003, 05:32   #1
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Angry Social aspects of club sailing

The options listed below by Gord for learning the sailing process are very good ones. I have, however, some reservations about his reccomendation of a sailing club. I had the joy of observing a definate clique-ness in the one I was a member. In other words, the "we are superior, you are inferior.But-sigh-we are tolerant"outlook. Most of the people in the club seemed to be of a higher earning level than myself. And about 2/3 rds of them displayed a subtle reticence of interacting ( boy, what a word) with me in various ways. Now, I don't want to get into details here. And my personality may have rubbed them the wrong way. But I just want to let any New people into the sailing experience know that this stuff is real. I dealt with it, it won't kill you if it happens. You are actually better off NOT dealing with these folks. This can happen anywhere any people get together. But don't just figure that because we all enjoy being blown about by the wind that we are brothers and sisters united.
This experience was a " Pricking of the Happy-Happy Bubble" that I was in when I joined this club. I did go on to become a treasurer of this orginization, did some volunteer work when the committee boat needed serious restoration, but even after all that, the exclusion was still felt. People do have a right to exclude people with whom they do not feel comfortable, so with time, I lost the resentment . The club was the only sailing club that was available in my area at the time, otherwise I might have went elsewhere. I did enjoy the racing, but the feeling of being outside still lingered.The old thingy of the rejected teenager rares its' ugly head. Just wanted to let people know that people are people everywhere, so don't expect a round of drinks bought for ya when ya show up.

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Old 04-10-2003, 06:21   #2
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Yachtys

"Yachtys" are a Species of the Genus "Boaters", themselves of the Family "Humanity"

These subdivisions all share several common characteristics; including the ability to be "Jerks" - itself implying a sub-set of the species.

29Cascadefixer makes a good point. You are much more likely to become a satisfied sailor, if your early experiences are pleasant. I too, carry some unpleasant memories from a yacht club - but (like Cascade...) I persevered, and ultimately benefitted from that association.

The "snobishness" that can be encountered at some Yacht Clubs (where most race crewing opportunities lie) could be discouraging. I have found, though, that most clubs will have some circles and groups that I find welcoming and pleasant, as well as the cliques that (Cascade cites) are less gratifying.

Likewise, I’ve noted that many first-time cruisers find it difficult to “get over” an early bad experience. If you get beat up in a really bad storm on your first month “out there”, it’s much more difficult to accept philosophically, than were it to occur a year into your cruise.

I’d advise patience. Don’t get carried away (up or down) by your first experiences. If sailing is what you really thought you’d like to do, it’s worth another try.

Not all racers are jerks, and not all jerks are racers - you’ll find us (jerks) everywhere, so don’t let them/us spoil your day - and “don’t expect a round of drinks...”

Regards,
Gord
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Old 04-10-2003, 17:38   #3
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While we're on the subject of people.

I would like to relate an experience I had when I was moving my boat from Bay City Michigan to my home. I had enlisted the help of two friends who loved sailing. Neither fellow had met the other. John had graciously loaned me his heavey pickup to tow the trailer and chaffuer the rig. Don was a mechanic as was myself and so we loaded up my pickup with spare wheels, heavey floor jacks, tools and a cutting torch in case anyhing broke down on the trip home. We met at the yard and I couldn't believe it. These two guys it seemed like, instantly hated each other ! It was as though they were two tomcats after the same she-cat. Don't get me wrong, they didn't get into a fist fight or anything, but the tension was there. It kind of put a damper on the occation for me, and made it harder to concentrate on doing everything necessary to get her home. We did the trip, but I made sure I kept them apart the rest of the time. That had to be one of the strangest things I've ever witnesed.
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Old 04-10-2003, 19:05   #4
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cliques

Not having been there I can’t comment on anybody’s personal experiences here but I’ll share some thoughts. Cliques within groups just happen. Most of our personal experience with this starts in grade school or earlier & broadens out from there. We all remember the high school cliques of different types of people, the so-called nerds, the jocks, the socialites, the burnouts, etc. Some of us mingled with one or more of those groups or just stood apart from all of it, both types being “types” of “cliques’ of their own.

The same thing happens on every college campus on the planet, just about any work place small or large, churches, volunteer groups (anything from the United Way to something as small & insignificant as the amateur symphony that I played with for just over 25 years) & yes … private clubs, even yacht clubs.

The very nature of a club is inclusion on the one hand & exclusion on the other. How many of us had tree houses or club houses as kids where some were allowed & some weren’t ? “No gUrLz AllOwEd” … right ? Mine specifically did allow gUrLz & that in itself altered the “membership” making some feel excluded & set apart & others embraced & welcomed.

While it doesn’t especially surprise me that this dynamic would absolutely run amuck in a yacht club it was a bit of an eyebrow raiser to see reports of this in the only club available within a given area. There are “po’ foke” yacht clubs out there, and there are more prosperous & formal yacht clubs & everything in between. In an area where there is only one there should be a pretty good mix within that one club for all hands available.

For those that are having problems with some single option … I’m assuming that nobody’s applying a literal interpretation to “poop deck” (thereby inciting said problems) … there’s always the option of starting another club. This could be as few as two like minded people & nothing would prevent you from continuing to race with the other club while establishing your own.

I’m well aware that the higher brow clubs can be a pain, but I’m really hoping that most will be more broadly scoped than all of that. I’m thinking now of the Experimental Aircraft Association, roughly 175,000 members worldwide with chapters large & small, worldwide. There is of course a “cliqueishness” within the ranks. There are the doers that keep chapters & the association running & there are those that won’t volunteer for anything. There are leaders & there are followers. There are builders, there are flyers, there are ultra-light people & classic, & warbird & homebuilder people & low-buck & mega-buck & sample sized kid people & old people & sub-groups & “cliques” within each.

Yet, with all of this diversity, one of the best things about it is that when it comes down to hanging out around the airport & enjoying what we all have in common, we for the most part are able to share that common ground. We also seem to be able appreciate the cross section of people that the association & chapters represent.

This doesn’t mean that the classic tube & rag driver who’s been living on Ramen Noodles in an effort to support his passion won’t harbor some occasional resentment toward the Bonanza driving attorney that approaches flying with a much more casual & cavalier attitude. I myself have cussed such “lawyer killers” as my down wind approach was cut off by some completely oblivious Hotrod Driver on a 5 or 10 mile straight in approach. Worse than that, I’ll have to admit that my use of the term “lawyer killer” or “doctor killer” was more often hopeful than accusatory.

The fact remains that we have a common interest & can find the common ground. Even better, we can appreciate a broader scope of people than those that look & live like “us”, whoever “us” may be. For those that find it impossible to accomplish this, there remains the option of establishing a more inclusive club.

Troubledour
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Old 05-10-2003, 08:23   #5
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I've had two club experiences and both were great.

The first club was a sail club where you paid a yearly dues for access to the club boats on a reservation system that worked well. Folks treated each other well and the organizer of the club (the marina) was great too. This was the first time sailing for me and my wife. I think we could not have picked a better way to start sailing. Lots of boats to sail and no work<g>.

My second experience is a traditional Yacht Club here in southern Virginia. Seaford Yacht Club is a mix of sailors and power boaters held together by a common link of the water and having fun. They even have a bridge club (as in card playing).There is nothing that prevents the groups from enjoying each other on cruises and it comes in handy when putting together committee boats for the club races. We do have special sail and power fleet captains and activities too. The members do almost all the work associated with the clubhouse, grounds, and docks. Members contributed 40% of the labor on a new clubhouse addition. We also cook the meal and serve it ourselves at the monthly dinner meetings where a high percentage of the membership shows up each month of the year for a good meal and a good time.

There are supposed to be a few "yachty's" in the club but I can't say I've met them. Clubs create a tradition of behavior and often the tradition is not so friendly. I think ours has held to a different tradition and it seems to keep those other types of people away.

I've been told that no application for membership has ever been denied though it appears some time this year we will have a waiting list for the first time in 25 years. We have reached the limit on the capacity at the clubhouse / parking lot and don't want to overload the facility. The annual dues run $325 per year per family and slips will go for about $70 a month if you want one. This is not an expensive club to join and there is no inititation fee. If you stay at a marina in part of the country it will cost you more for an annual slip contract than it will to be a member of our club.

Not all clubs are the same and I know of a few country clubs on the water in the area where they are a lot more snobby, arrogant, and everything is expensive and not as much fun. Some are only about racing and a few are more social. Most of them are at least friendly.

Clubs are not themselves good or bad.
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Old 05-10-2003, 10:56   #6
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Hear, Hear

This is the kind of thing I wanted to see. A large factor in my desire to get out on the water fulltime is social. Due to the financial ravages of divorce & serious personal injury, combined with my own obstinacy in preserving something for a “change of life”, I currently live in a neighborhood toward which my attitude can best be described as “felonious intent”.

Though it’s at first glance a nice enough area, I have a number of neighbors that Jerry Springer wouldn’t permit to grace his stage. Full well knowing my typical threshold of patience with foolishness & full well knowing that I consider a 300 yard shot to be a point blank affair, friends & family are becoming seriously concerned about just how they might get me off the roof when I’ve finally had my fill of it.

I’ve lived on or very close to water for most of my life but until I lived here I never even considered actually living in the water on a boat … a boat that could just go elsewhere when I find myself in an objectionable environment ... without packing, hauling moving & unpacking.

Since I started thinking along these lines I’ve read a great deal about living aboard in general & cruising in particular. What keeps shoring up my resolve to get the hell out of here peacefully is that for the most part the people living aboard are happy people. They’re doing what they want to do & I want (need) to be among such people. The basic problem with the people that are around me now is that they are very not happy & seem to be hell bent on seeing to it that others know far more about it than anybody needs to.

Please excuse the rant, but after more than 3 years of patiently not nesting on the roof (& yet another night of drunken belligerence, cops & no sleep) I’m more than ready to get out there. Reports of positive social opportunities are heartening.

Thank you both !

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Old 06-10-2003, 10:34   #7
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I deleted my original post on this topic because I had only mentioned the negative side of the club that I'm a member of.It wasn't an accurate description, and so I thought a more fair representation was in order. At our club,we do have an "inner circle" of doctors and lawyers that can typically be found tied up to the main dock in front of the clubhouse. They rarely sail, but usually just sit in the cockpits of their boats sipping cocktails,and socializing. I don't get to take my boat out as near as often as I would like to, so it seems like kind of a waste of time to me.But, I figure "to each, his own." Our club is similar to the one PBlais described,where the members maintain the clubhouse,docks and grounds. We also just added an addition on to the clubhouse with the members doing the majority of the work. As a whole, we really have a great group of sailing members.Our club is a sail only orgainization.Most of them will do anything they can to help a fellow sailor.Our club has about 100 boats at the docks.Unfortunately,only about 1/3 of them go out on any type of regular basis. I understand how things can keep you away from boating,and I'm sure they would rather be sailing if they could. During the various sailing trips I've done,I've met some really friendly people,and some not so friendly people. Just like on shore though, it's easy to recognize the ones that you'll fit in with.It's always so interesting to hear the sailing stories that others have to tell. One of my favorite aspects of sailing is the comradery that sailors share.
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Old 07-10-2003, 02:23   #8
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Well here I go again - analyzing the subject to death.

It’s been said that “people are people”. I disagree.

I’ve always found sailors and cruisers to be “better” people than average - at least while they are sailing/cruising. The same might be said for campers, hikers, & etc.

As sailors we share a common bond that connects us together, much like a family or other close kinship. As members of this “family” we tend treat our brethren much better than we do outsiders.

Beyond this mundane “clannish” bond, we also share “extraordinary” experiences - the unique dangers, risks, and rewards associated with our avocation. We share things that mere non-sailors can never dream of.

I am a much nicer, better person when I’m sailing (or just involved somehow), than I am ashore. No matter what a jerk I may normally be, I am less so when afloat!

By way of example:

Thunder Bay (my current anchorage) is an island of (so called) civilization, within a large wilderness. If I get a flat tire (or something) on the local freeway, not a single soul is likely to stop and offer assistance. I could be there, hood up, tire off, cones out for weeks!

Now, put me on a bush road, trying to catch a nap (or take a leak); and any vehicle passing will assuredly stop, to see if I need help. I’ll never get any rest!

I think the difference lies NOT (so much) in better people being out there, as in people BEING better out there.

I know that I (at least) AM a better (tho' maybe still not 'good') person whilst hunting, camping, climbing, or SAILING. I just can’t help myself - and I think this is true of most of us. It's not an absolute, but a matter of degree.

I'm willing to bet that Stede's "not so friendly" were still more friendly than they would have been elsewhere. I'm also willing to bet that we all cherish the "cameraderie" that he cites.

Of course, some of us still are'nt worth the effort, even when "improved" by getting away sailing.

Regards,
Gord

Quote:
[i]Stede once whispered in the wind:
"... During the various sailing trips I've done,I've met some really friendly people,and some not so friendly people. Just like on shore ... One of my favorite aspects of sailing is the comradery that sailors share." [/B]
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Old 07-10-2003, 06:57   #9
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Hi everyone,

This post isn't directly related to the social aspects of sailing,but yet I feel it indirectly is. I write it with a heavy heart.This last Sunday,I attended a funeral for a young man,32 years of age that had taken his own life.His wife (my wife's niece) and 5 year old daughter were killed 5 years ago in a head on collision with a teenage kid that had fallen asleep at the wheel.The accident happened as Miranda was headed over to give her Grandmother a ride to church early one Sunday morning.Scott, had forgiven the young man for the tragic loss he had suffered,but he never could overcome the sorrow that tormented him.During the last years of his life,Scott had worked as a medical technician treating the handicapped and elderly. The church was over filled with men,women,and children (both black and white) that had come to pay tribute to this young man. As I sat in the pew of the church, it tore at my heart watching as twisted bodies made there way on crutches down the aisle to pay their respects to Scott,and his family. What an impact Scott had made in this world with the many,many,lives he had touched. It occurred to me that the most important thing you can do in this life is to give of yourself to others. I knew this previously,but had lost sight of it while trying to deal with my own problems.My hope is that as you are reading this,that this thought will occur to you also. I believe we are our "brothers keeper." I encourage us all to reach out and call that person that you feel may need help, mend a fence with someone that you have wronged or has wronged you,lift up your brother or sister in any way that you can, and we will all make a difference,as Scott did.
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Old 07-10-2003, 14:52   #10
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Unhappy A tragic loss indeed.

I can relate to your feelings of loss , Sir. A person who has the ability to relate to so many people must be missed by all who had encountered him.There are few people who can allow themselves to be totally so non-self oriented that they encapsulate the outlook of the people they encounter. I had a brother-in-law that was like this. All people in trouble, when they encountered him, came away with a feeling of being worth something. It must come, I figure, out of personal pain suffered at a tremendous cost. I am saddened that your Scott could not find someone that would be to him what he was to others.
I wish I knew words that would give comfort to a person who feels and recognizes the loss of a person with the ability to lessen the pain of others, but I do not . Maybe the words , " God keep ya all", will suffice.
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