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Old 07-05-2009, 23:38   #1
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Yacht Clubs

Been cruising off and on for 12 years, my sailmaker asked me earlier this week if I would help him and his friend crew a boat for a race last wednesday. I went, had a ball, and when I got back to the yacht club I met many many sailboat owners who loved their boats and that was by far their favorite hobby. When asked about my experiences about my sailing history I mentioned the cruises Ive made every winter for the past few years and about the single handing I have recently done. I have never raced before wed and I didnt know much about the subject so I couldnt say much on that topic. Well to get to my point it seemed cruiser sailing was an aboar and there wasnt one person out of 100 that new anything about cruising or how exciting it can be. These guys seemed to be bs-ing about everything when it came to their experience and knowledge...Tell me all yacht clubs arent like this and that there are some with actual cruisers. There were also people from the adjacent yacht club who seemed worse. I always stayed away from these places but thought about giving it a chance. I would like to know what everyone does at their yacht club or everyones opinion. Or am I just looking to far into it?

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Old 08-05-2009, 03:45   #2
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I am not a member, don't go any. Most are social clubs. There are good ones and bad one cheap and very expensive.

Belonging gives privileges. Most exclude non members... some don't.

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Old 08-05-2009, 04:49   #3
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I have belonged to a yacht club for over 25 years. We have quite a racing program, two nights a week and also the various regattas on Lake Ontario. Many of our members are cruisers with some having single-handed across the Atlantic a few times. A few years ago six of our members were in the Bahamas at the same time. We also have a cruising program with weekend cruises all over Lake Ontario to other clubs. Our members are very interested in cruising and all the winter seminars on cruising are very well attended. So don't judge all clubs by your only experience. Check out our website ABYC
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:59   #4
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We belong to two clubs. One is a traditional Yacht Club, the other is a down and dirty Sailing Club. Both clubs have many fine members that we are friends with but like everywhere in life you associate with those you like and are comfortable with. The sailing club is more of a racing club while the yacht club is more of a cruising social club.

Sorry you had a bad time with some of the folks but glad you enjoyed the racing, I hope you stick to it and continue to enjoye the racing side of sailing. It will make you a better sailor.
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:10   #5
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The club we belonged to in Virginia was a really nice balance between cruising and racing. The socializing was great, too, but it was always built on the common ground of our love of sailing in all it's forms. The clubhouse was modest and the dues were, too. There was no snobbery of any sort, and we actively sought to bring in new members from all sorts of backgrounds. We even had some power boaters as members! One important focus of the club was to encourage young people to sail. One my favorite memories is of heading up the Junior Regatta a couple of years in a row.

My wife and I both agreed that joining that particular club was one of he best things we've ever done, mainly because of the warm, enduring friendships we made there.

You just need to find the right sailing club for your personal interests.
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:22   #6
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Originally Posted by irwin28 View Post
I have never raced before wed and I didnt know much about the subject so I couldnt say much on that topic. Well to get to my point it seemed cruiser sailing was an aboar and there wasnt one person out of 100 that new anything about cruising or how exciting it can be. These guys seemed to be bs-ing about everything when it came to their experience and knowledge...Tell me all yacht clubs arent like this and that there are some with actual cruisers.
You may have been in the wrong yacht club for your interests, but I wouldn't be too quick to judge. Your experience was right after the race, when the adrenalin was still flowing, and it's natural that racers want to talk about the race. And it doesn't take many beers before the lies start flowing, that's also a part of racing.

I race much more than I cruise, and even though there are many experienced cruisers that I race against, the after race parties are always about racing. If you wanted to talk about cruising, I can understand that not many may have joined in. My bet is that if you returned to that club on a non-racing night there would be many members interested in your cruising experiences.
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
- William Arthur Ward
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:56   #7
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I think most yacht clubs are a mix of folks, and usually a nice one. My club, which I visit only a few times a year as it's far away, is very pleasant, filled with great, friendly people. It's a mix of power & sailboaters, with an emphasis on evening beercan racing. We cruise every summer for a couple of months, getting further afield than most other members simply because we have more time. When we do show up, everyone is wonderful, we are invited aboard other's boats, and stories flow. The regulars are wonderful to my young son. These are nice people, and I respect them all.

None of us do it any "better" than another. We just enjoy the water in different ways. Most people lead very busy lives, and weekday evening races with weekend overnight cruises are reality for most sailors. I'm sure they love to hear the stories of a more experienced cruiser in their midst, but nothing sounds better from any human than a little humility. Unless you've solo'ed around the Horn, there's always someone in the room with a bigger resume.

I raced for many years, and I see a lot of poor sail trim and poor sailhandling on cruising boats, probably because, having never raced, they may simply not know any better. Give it a chance, and you may find that you learn as much from these BS'ers as they learn from you.

I'm a firm believer in Yacht Clubs and, in particular, youth programs.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:11   #8
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If you hit the yacht club after a race then likely the folk their were those who were big into the racing side of boats - if for no other reason than those with no interest in racing would have likely avoided that day like the plague

I have been a member of a YC since 1979, I average about 2 visits a year - but only with folk I know outside the YC. and because they have a Bar - and for me a Bar is for talking about Politics, religion and women - not the racing of boats. But folk no doubt vary on that one.........

Funnily enuf I also went on my first race last week - and in my old Corribee (walking along the dock, spied the owner. and invited myself out ).....we were never going to win (real racing boats and folk taking things seriously) but I enjoyed myself immensley. Closest I have ever been to a Yacht race start - and no idea what was going on - but all good fun, nearly won our class (of 2 ) but we lost an inner shroud and had to retire. Possibly broke due to race stress, or being original circa 1973

Hit the YC (not mine) afterwards. way too much racy boaty talk for my liking - but racing folk in Cars or on Motorbikes pretty much not my cup of tea either.

Still not bitten with the race bug, but might do another one - but definately up for some "race training" to learn some more from. I await the invite.........
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:30   #9
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Hey Vasco/Rick, you're just next door. I'm at THSC.

Our club has just about the same mix as ABYC -- some cruisers, some racers, some people who never leave the dock (no one has mentioned them -- and they can be fun too) and a few powerboats.

I bet that's pretty common. To my mind, the advantage of a yacht club is that there is a mix of people and you get the camaraderie that (I suppose) you don't get in a marina.


PS...this is post 300. Is there a prize?
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:45   #10
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I think you've received a lot of good replies, irwin28. There are a lot of good YCs, but within any of them there will be people you just can't relate to.

It's a bit like high school: Racers are, maybe, the Jocks, basking in the glow of their latest victory, while cruisers are the good-looking, popular, motivated kids from good families who can see beyond the insignificant glory of being the starting quarterback on an average team at a mediocre high school from an underachieving conference in a minor town in a backward state.

"Your vision becomes clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks within, awakens."
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:23   #11
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Originally Posted by Connemara View Post

PS...this is post 300. Is there a prize?
Yes can now enter into a FREE prize draw.

Readers Digest
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:43   #12
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I've belonged to several yacht clubs...

...and can assure you that no two are alike, even in terms of how folk involved in the racing program go about it. One common element among YC racers, however, is the great tradition of "palm sailing" back in the lounge after a race. This is what you most probably encountered.

Visualize it this way: Skipper A hold up his left hand, palm perpendicular to the floor, and says, "So there I was, clearly on starboard, and then along comes Wind Dancer..." Now the right palm comes up, indicating an unsuspecting victim who is about to be slam-dunked.

Palm sailing is as much a part of the sport as instant replays are to football. It's a way to reflect on the event after it's happened, a way to celebrate both the good and the bad, and a way to teach newbies how not to get stuck in a strategic situation next time they're approaching a mark or a crossing.

Anyone who doesn't appreciate palm sailing ought to stay away from the YC bar after a race. Head to the bar after a cruise-out, and you'll experience a whole different scene.
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
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Old 12-05-2009, 16:25   #13
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The club that I currently belong to has a good racing program and a cruising progam that was brought back to life last year. Also, we have a few stink potters and those that used their boats for a waterfront condo, also we have the social non boat owners. (restricted in number bt our charter) Most cruisers that I know, know more about navigation than racers and conversly racers know more about boat balance, and sail trim. We have a combination of folks that both race and cruise, makes for interesting tales over adult beverages at the raft ups.
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Old 20-05-2009, 21:15   #14
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My sailing experience has involved yacht clubs ever since I was a kid - there were no marinas in the area I grew up.

After moving to this area, I stuck with the club until getting the most recent boat, when I decided to see what marina life was like.

I tried a couple of marinas over the last two seasons. The idea was that I would not have to be responsible for anything except my own boat - no work hours, could launch and haul out when I wanted to and not when the crane was booked, and have lots of support staff when I needed something.

Well...we're back at the club.

The first marina we were at was like a high-end trailer park. Lots of powerboats. I don't think I ever saw one of them leave the jetty. They should have gotten smaller boats that they could afford to fill up.

The second one was like a not-so-high end trailer park. Primarily liveaboard sailors and trawler people.

Most of the staff were nice if you could find them. Service was not their strong point though. Wasn't actually able to figure out what their strong point was - certainly not facility maintenance - but on the odd occasion when we encountered them they were nice enough.

At the club we have some friends, lots of acquaintances, a huge knowledge base to draw on and never have a problem finding someone to help when we need an extra set of hands. There are enough members that the racers and the cruisers and the powerboaters and the social members all have their own groups, but there is a lot of interaction and commingling as well.

I like knowing about the club's financial picture and being able to have some input into the management of the facility. The food is better and the prices are more reasonable than the marinas.

Then there are the reciprocal agreements with lots of other clubs on the Great Lakes and the eastern seaboard - I don't think that marinas have arrangements like that.
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Old 20-05-2009, 22:10   #15
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As others said, just find the right club for you and your interests ...

My local (Mana Cruising Club) has a lively mix of racers and cruisers; most do both. Good relaxed bar, and we were made welcome as unknown's only minutes after crossing the Cook Strait from the South Island (NZ) and tying up outside. Yachties & launchies get on well together.

Really well set up for cruising ...

The club co-owns a network of around 60 buoys for cruisers, and many people meet rafted up at the moorings as much as they meet in the Club. Which is absolutely brilliant when you have no fridge on board. A ready source of chilled wine. With so many great buoys and anchorages around, in 5 yrs I have paid less than $100 to stay in other harbours.

The club (which celebrates its 50th birthday shortly) set up the marina, hosts the local lifeboats, owns the travelift and yard, runs (free) group cruises, and wrote the cruising guide for Fiordland. Pretty cool ...

(P.S. I do solemnly swear I have no pecuniary interest in the club, receive no advertising fees, etc, etc.)

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