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Old 28-12-2008, 18:29   #1
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Yacht club membership - advantage or not?

Hey all -

Not sure if this is in the right place; this forum seemed the best "fit" for this topic. My apologies if this should be elsewhere...

Those of us that have read and re-read the tales of world cruising by Eric and Susan Hiscock, Hal and Margaret Roth, Larry and Lin Pardey, etc., may recall that many of them were members of a local yacht club that served as their home base. As such, they were granted "reciprocal" priveledges at other clubs around the world - priveldges such as free or reduced dockage or mooring, transportation in the area, club facility use, etc.

We're wondering if such is still the case in today's world of blue water voyaging.

Is there a benefit to being a member of a modern yacht club, if that club is recognized by other clubs in one's planned cruising grounds?

-or-

Is the money spent on club fees/dues better off in the cruising kitty?

Thoughts?
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Old 28-12-2008, 19:12   #2
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The answer is yes. www.hilo-sailing.org can get you started. $25 annual associate fee or $50 regular membership.

Again, if you'd like to search the web on this subject then please do so. You'll see a lot of discussion.

Kind regards,

JohnL
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Old 28-12-2008, 19:13   #3
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It doesn't hurt to have yacht club credentials and one can still take advantage of reciprocal privileges. How far those might extend depends on the yachting club one chooses as 'home' base. One pays considerable sums for some of the really high class clubs and these often have the most extensive reciprocal agreements. Shop around and see what suits your needs.
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Old 28-12-2008, 19:21   #4
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Thanks - it never ocurred to me to do a web search on this topic...will check out the link too...
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Old 28-12-2008, 20:34   #5
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Quote:
may recall that many of them were members of a local yacht club that served as their home base. As such, they were granted "reciprocal" privileges at other clubs around the world - privileges such as free or reduced dockage or mooring, transportation in the area, club facility use, etc.
As a yacht club member that has used reciprocal arrangements it mostly works like this. For the really sweet deals you need the commodore of your yacht club to exchange letters of reciprocity with the desired yacht club. This is for getting the really nice places that are hard to get into. Our club has agreements with Hampton Yacht Club (Hampton, VA) and Capitol Yacht Club (Washington, DC) those clubs require a letter.

Mostly none of these clubs will exchange letters unless your club has facilities too. They don't always have to be equal but they are not all going to buy into a paper yacht club with none though many of those groups have a lot of fun even without a facility.

General arrangements usually include a free slip with perhaps a nominal electric charge for one night only. After that they may take a small fee if space is available. Some club privileges might include ability to buy meals but only if they take cash. Many clubs don't handle money but bill members so won't extend all privileges. Some clubs in FL share billing and can bill your home club (usually part of the same group of clubs).

Some other notes. More clubs are friendly than unfriendly but some are not. A club that is part of the Yacht Clubs of America may have a standing reciprocity agreement. Our club would take that. If you wanted to bring a group of boats that would take a letter.

Some basics are required. It's space as available so don't be thinking some member is going to be out of a slip because you came along. It's by prior arrangement as guests usually don't show up unannounced. There is this level of formality at least until they welcome you. Being nice always matters and your clubs prior reputation usually speaks for itself. Most good cruisers know what being nice means and you can expect a reasonable amount in return.

For best results when you don't have an exchange of letters of reciprocity if you know a member of the club that can usually get you past any other requirements. It means if you screw up they will pay for your misdeeds. Many club members cruise though many don't. You usually find them where you find other cruisers.

You could show up on a doorstep and try to do a little begging and it might work too. We have had folks anchor in front of the club and screw it up so bad we called them over to the T dock and had them spend the night. If you really are in trouble most clubs will lend a hand. If you want to just wing it it helps if you show up with a club burgee and ask to speak to the commodore even if they may not be there. Then offer to exchange your burgees. We've bought lunch in a few clubs doing that. It helps if you have a nice burgee too
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Old 28-12-2008, 20:45   #6
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I'd never be a member of any club that would have me. . . .
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Old 28-12-2008, 20:56   #7
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I don't know much about clubs from the inside - never joined one. The one near where I moore in the summer is expensive and you need someone to recommend you. From what I can tell they have sailors, a sailing program for kids, and lots of non sailing socializing members and lots of 'tude.

I know the manager and he's helpful as he can when needed, but he's always worrying about the folks who pay him and keeping them happy so you don't want to be asking him to do "favors" of any sort for non members. Members like their privileges, don't they.

I suppose when you get away from the New York Yacht club and their ilk the smaller ones, are more down to earth and salty as opposed to simply just plain snotty. Frankly I think they give sailing a bad reputation. Fishers Island is a particularly snotty one if I recall correctly.

I've had some decent hospitality (a meal in the dining room) from yacht clubs from from home; in Maine, Bermuda and even Massachusetts, but since I don't use moorings and docks except for fuel and water I have no use for yacht clubs or their bars or club races which are usually held wherever they want and everyone else be damned and stay off their race course.

I suggest you become self sufficient and if you are in trouble it would be criminal not to be helped by a yacht club or anyone else called upon to do so. Leave them to their games and get on with sailing.
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Old 28-12-2008, 21:00   #8
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Paul sums it up nicely. I'd add a few thoughts.

"Yacht Club" - Can be pretty hoi faloi. Memberships can be expensive and the "top" clubs share reciprocal rights around the world. However the people that join this kind of club aren't really looking to save $3 a night on moorings. It can be about being seen in the right places.

"Marina" - Some clubs to me are really not more than marinas. Some of these can be reasonably priced and they have reciprocal rights. There isn't much of a "club" atmosphere. Usually well serviced spots with all the ammenities needed to rekit the boat.

"Sailing Clubs" - We are a sailing club. We aren't after mega yachts and high end folks. We welcome cruisers and our moorings are some of the cheapest in Singapore. We have a real "club" atmosphere with lots of member activities. Visitors are always invited to join in.

So, yes there are reciprocal memberships and it may be useful to join a club if you know there are reciprocal rights in the places you plan to cruise. Personally, joining a club simply for reciprocal rights wouldn't be high on my list of things to do.
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Old 28-12-2008, 21:18   #9
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However the people that join this kind of club aren't really looking to save $3 a night on moorings. It can be about being seen in the right places.
Sorry, they all like to save a buck. We have some members that can afford it and still do too.

Clubs really do go across the whole spectrum. Club members I don't find to be that different at least if they cruise. People that don't cruise get a lot more diverse and complicated.

Our club has no paid staff so we have to do all the serious work except those few jobs we contract like cutting grass. We do have a building and a marina too and it takes a lot of labor. It sort of keeps the atmosphere from getting too "better than some other people" when the members do most of the work. I would use it as a good test to finding a nice club to join. It keeps things from getting socially out of hand when you have to show up and get dirty once in a while.

I do think clubs are a great way to learn and have a serious good time at it. We also have about 50/50 powerboats and sailors so it mixes well that way too. We do eat and drink a lot though and have a decent group that cruises and anchors even if not a majority. It is also a 50% discount for a boat slip if you need a place to keep a boat and that is after you pay annual dues.
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Old 29-12-2008, 12:15   #10
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Yacht Clubs, Sailing Clubs, etc.. Each is very different. Not all are snooty. I enjoy it because I find people there who know boats and want to learn and work. Not all clubs are like ours and some don't even know what boats are.
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Old 29-12-2008, 12:25   #11
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svjobeth --

Most of the above replies seem to be directed at cruising locally in the USA, and I thought you were directing your query at foreign destinations. Our experience in the South Pacific has been that club membership has never been an issue. We've been made welcome at all the clubs that we've encountered, and our last membership expired over twenty years ago! A membership in the SSCA might serve you far better... not for reciprocal privileges, but for useful information in their monthly journal.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone Qld Oz
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Old 29-12-2008, 12:46   #12
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The Yachting Club of America has a registry of yacht clubs that may offer reciprocal services. You can look up the individual member clubs here: YCOA Member Clubs. If you join a club that's a member of YCOA, you can order a copy of the registry and look up the reciprocity status of clubs along the routes you'll be cruising.

I couldn't tell from your initial post if you were thinking about joining a yacht club solely to be able to use reciprocity. That wouldn't work out well at all, for a variety of reasons.
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Old 29-12-2008, 16:12   #13
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svjobeth --

Most of the above replies seem to be directed at cruising locally in the USA, and I thought you were directing your query at foreign destinations. Our experience in the South Pacific has been that club membership has never been an issue. We've been made welcome at all the clubs that we've encountered, and our last membership expired over twenty years ago! A membership in the SSCA might serve you far better... not for reciprocal privileges, but for useful information in their monthly journal.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone Qld Oz
Thanks all -

Yes, I was speaking more about foreign clubs. We are SSCA members; my question was born from curiousity more than anything else.

More thought for the planning -
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Old 12-06-2014, 22:04   #14
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Re: Yacht club membership - advantage or not?

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Sorry, they all like to save a buck. We have some members that can afford it and still do too.

Clubs really do go across the whole spectrum. Club members I don't find to be that different at least if they cruise. People that don't cruise get a lot more diverse and complicated.


I do think clubs are a great way to learn and have a serious good time at it. We also have about 50/50 powerboats and sailors so it mixes well that way too. We do eat and drink a lot though and have a decent group that cruises and anchors even if not a majority. It is also a 50% discount for a boat slip if you need a place to keep a boat and that is after you pay annual dues.

Clubs are social, and some people aren't.
My step-father was a military flyer and joined clubs in where ever he was ensconsed. My uncle was the skipper who was a member of the San Francisco Yacht Club in Tiburon -- figure that one out.
The whole exercise is to belong to a group of people, socially inclined who have a mutual interest and in most cases are willing to help a person.
The formality of yourself is the formality of your social pier, and thus the club of your attraction.
To have an affiliation to mutual friends and a willingness to help people in this case sailors can in no way be a bad thing. If you're wondering about it, join; and if you reject it don't join.
It's a social thing, so either you are or you are not. Th, th, that's all folks.
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Old 13-06-2014, 01:38   #15
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Re: Yacht club membership - advantage or not?

Hi Steve,

Pretty sure the OP did or did not join a club. That thread was from 2008 - LOL.

However the topic is interesting enough that you posted and if you're saying one's gotta find the "right" club for one's personality you are spot on.

There are high end clubs here where the air is rare and snooty. I belong to a drinking club with a sailing problem. Much more up my (dirty l'il) alley.

Hope you are enjoying CF
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