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Old 10-06-2012, 09:37   #1
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Yacht Club Membership

I have seen some folks claim it is well worth while to join a yacht club if it has reciprocal agreements with other clubs for things like mooring, access to showers, and the like. Not to mention the advantage of meeting folks with local knowledge.

On the other hand there is an expense involved and the costs may not justify the benefits. I would also be interested personal experience on which clubs seem to offer the most advantages.

Any opinions welcome.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:59   #2
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

I think that it is a deal if you pick the right club for your needs. I belong to the CYC in Bellingham, WA. The club only cost $60 for the first year and $45 for a renewal. We sponsor weekly races, about 10 cruises, sport local boating organizations and we meet once a month. Unlike many clubs we rent space for meetings and do not have the expense or the benefits of a club house. We currently have 81 reciprocal agreements with clubs from San Diego to Alaska. Just a two night stay anywhere in one of the reciprocals more than pays for the membership and everything else is free and it a great way to make new friends and to meet others in the boating community.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:37   #3
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

Most real yacht clubs, ie those with clubhouses, pools, their own docks, etc are listed in a yacht club registry. Being a member of one of those clubs allows reciprocal privledges, but those priveledges vary from a free dock to discounts on dock space to just allowing you to charge drinks to your home club account.

If you stay at a lot of marinas along the way and you use your home yacht club to get some value from it, then belonging may make sense. It doesn't for me.

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Old 10-06-2012, 11:40   #4
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

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Originally Posted by Gybe View Post
I think that it is a deal if you pick the right club for your needs. I belong to the CYC in Bellingham, WA. The club only cost $60 for the first year and $45 for a renewal. We sponsor weekly races, about 10 cruises, sport local boating organizations and we meet once a month. Unlike many clubs we rent space for meetings and do not have the expense or the benefits of a club house. We currently have 81 reciprocal agreements with clubs from San Diego to Alaska. Just a two night stay anywhere in one of the reciprocals more than pays for the membership and everything else is free and it a great way to make new friends and to meet others in the boating community.
If I understand your post correctly, your club has no facilities to offer in these reciprocal agreements? How does that work?
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:41   #5
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

It really depends on the club, where you are etc. There are clubs like mentioned above that are plenty fun and are a good deal.

In contrast, there are also clubs like Cal Yacht Club in marina Del Rey, that charge something like $7,000 to join and you have to have a few $120 dinners each month.

But I'd say they can both be a deal actually. The expensive clubs usually have dock space available to members at a discounted rate, sometimes there are long lines for a slip, but then again sometimes those are the only slips you have a chance of getting

My problem with the 'rich' clubs is that frankly I don't want to socialize with "those people"
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:50   #6
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

Yacht Clubs around the world have different rules for accepting the membership cards from other clubs. Each is different but calling one a "real" yacht club because it has moorings, slips, showers versus one that doesn't is like calling a church a "real" church because it has a big building with a steeple.
It is the members that count, not the real estate. If you like the members of the club and enjoy their company and what they do then it is a good club for you.
My Pearl Harbor Yacht Club Card (fee of $25 a year) got me into the Yacht Club in Monaco and it got me into many prestiges clubs throughout the states. It depends on the accepting club and its members.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:51   #7
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

If you find the right club it can indeed offer the advantages you mention. Friend of mine who is the antithesis of blue blazer, gold braid yacht club just joined one that fit his lifestyle and budget for just those reasons.

You should check to make sure the club you join does have the reciprocal rights, not all do.
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Old 10-06-2012, 16:54   #8
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The whole reciprocal thing I think is very common in the US. It's of little use in Eu'rup.

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Old 10-06-2012, 17:07   #9
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

We joined our club for the reciprocals and discovered that the fellowship and friends were equally if not more important. Now we figure that we break even between our membership fees and the reciprocals - what we pay in fees we get back in dock space. The fellowship is just a huge bonus.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:45   #10
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

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Originally Posted by tomfl View Post
I have seen some folks claim it is well worth while to join a yacht club if it has reciprocal agreements with other clubs for things like mooring, access to showers, and the like. Not to mention the advantage of meeting folks with local knowledge.

On the other hand there is an expense involved and the costs may not justify the benefits. I would also be interested personal experience on which clubs seem to offer the most advantages.
If you're looking to quickly join a community of like-minded people, get into racing, be part of a group cruise, attend social events with other sailors and/or just find a nice place to hang during the summer, a yacht club is a good choice.

Here in Toronto there are many, many boat clubs for anything from windsurfing to megayachts. I'll restrict my comments to the several yacht clubs. Again, there are several choices, ranging from simple clubs offering little more than a mooring field or docks, to top-line clubs offering a prime downtown location and all the amenities of a 5-star resort (a pool, tennis courts etc)

We're members of a large but friendly and unstuffy yacht club where the facilities are good, but costs are reasonable because it's a self-help club; members are expected to contribute a minimum of 30 hours towards the upkeep of the club. We've found that most people find an area they like (eg gardening, maintenance, race committee) and so the effort is enjoyable. Our club doesn't have a full-time restaurant but we do have a staffed bar, and caterers usually come on the weekend.

Re costs - most clubs require a debenture (usually refundable) and/or a one-time initiation fee. These can be sizable, but after that the annual costs are usually quite affordable. In fact it's my experience that it's less expensive to keep a boat at a yacht club than a marina... so I don't know where you get the idea that it's more expensive, unless you're thinking of just the posh clubs.

The reciprocal thing is great; most clubs treat you like one of their own.
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Old 12-06-2012, 15:55   #11
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

Many yacht clubs post their reciprocal privileges on their website. In considering a yacht club, it is a good idea to check how many days stay, whether they accept reservations and/or charge per foot/day fee. Often the reciprocal days are equal to the days the club offers. I was very surprised to find that CYC members are afforded only 2 days, while some of the paper clubs have more! Pick your favorite destination yacht club and query the days.
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Old 12-06-2012, 16:05   #12
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

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Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
It really depends on the club, where you are etc. There are clubs like mentioned above that are plenty fun and are a good deal.

In contrast, there are also clubs like Cal Yacht Club in marina Del Rey, that charge something like $7,000 to join and you have to have a few $120 dinners each month.

But I'd say they can both be a deal actually. The expensive clubs usually have dock space available to members at a discounted rate, sometimes there are long lines for a slip, but then again sometimes those are the only slips you have a chance of getting

My problem with the 'rich' clubs is that frankly I don't want to socialize with "those people"
We've been looking at yacht clubs in S. Calif primarily for slips and reciprocal slips - CYC's initiation fee is $2500, monthly dues $203, with no dinner/bar requirement. Slip fees are comparable with other marinas, though on the high side for MDR. Dock and facilities are some of the nicest in MDR, nice facility, excellent youth sailing programs, sponsor the Wed night Sunset Series,..... Overall, a first-rate club. A mid-tier club is PMYC, with $400 initiation and $75/month. Equally active with cruising and racing, nice facility, nice people, no slips. The paper clubs, at $60 - $120/month, and Del Rey, which you have to buy an equity position, though slips are very reasonable.
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Old 18-06-2012, 20:51   #13
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

Even those clubs that don't formally grant reciprocal privileges will often give you access to the facilities for a period of time. And with one exception I have been welcome everywhere with my New Orleans Yacht Club membership.

I have also found that a yacht club bar is going to be the best place to find any help you may need. From decent mechanics, to sail repair, electricians, divers, ect. Most of the members will know who is good, bad, expensive, and cheap, and be happy to fill you in on all of the local gossip for the cost of a beer (either bought for you, or by you).

Heck I have walked into some of the most expensive yacht clubs in the world wearing cut off shorts, smelling like days at sea, and wearing old beat up foulies, dropped my membership card on the table, and been immediately asked to dinner to talk about where we are from, and where we are going. I am not sure the clubs would have been quite so welcoming if I had just handed them a credit card. One way you look like a sailor just off a rough passage, the other you look like a local bum who doesn't belong.

I even had the commodor of a 5 star yacht club lend me his car to go grocery shopping, so long as I promised to show him around the boat I was delivering at the time.
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Old 19-06-2012, 07:16   #14
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Re: Yacht Club Membership

We are fulltime cruisers and have belonged to Yacht Clubs for over 15 years.

The thinig not mentioned is MOST Yacht Clubs will allow their members a Cruiser's Membership at a reduced cost when you are fulltime cruising. Our's is $75 per year, instead of the $135 normal monthly charge.

The reciprocal priviledges paid for themself the first mont we were on the water as we stayed at various clubs along the California Coast as we made our way to Mexico.

We have used the membership a couple times in Mexico, once in Alcapulco, which normaly charged $200 per night dock fees, provided three nights free to other Clubs.

We are working our way down Central America now and of course the YC's are few and far between. One in Costa Rica offered some priviledges, including a couple of nights on a mooring ball.

I guess in my opinion, the cost of our cruisers membership has more than paid for itself using reciprocal priviledeges.
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Old 19-06-2012, 11:47   #15
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Quote:
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We are fulltime cruisers and have belonged to Yacht Clubs for over 15 years.

The thinig not mentioned is MOST Yacht Clubs will allow their members a Cruiser's Membership at a reduced cost when you are fulltime cruising. Our's is $75 per year, instead of the $135 normal monthly charge.
Our club does this as well and you can be a "country" member for up to three consecutive years. Clubs love having cruisers as members, we have many who also do talks as well. It is a great resource for other sailors and adds color to the group as well.

Don't get too caught up in the stuffy image of clubs, they are a lot like large countries, they have many different types of people some stuffy, some racers, some bullshitters, some cruisers, etc. just look for a group you like.
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