Compared to the mid-late 90s when I took a sailing course program at the local downtown sailing/charter club there there is more interest in such clubs now than back then. And there are half a dozen such clubs today not just two back in the 90s.
IMO the reasons for general switch to club sailing compared to ownership
sailing are obvious. You have more busy younger crowd (why more busy that's another discussion), less affluent younger crowd (coming out of college with a mountain of debt, prohibitively high housing costs, etc) and much higher then before costs of owning and maintaining a boat.
Put these factors together and a club membership
costing a few thousands per 5 months sailing season is way preferable to sinking many times that for same short season yet having the headache 12 months 24/7.
When in early mid 2000s I decided that the club was not enough I broke out of that dilemma by having a firm goal of keeping my future annual ownership
costs at no more then what the club was charging
for same length class boats (25'-30') which at the time was about $3,000-3,500.
My first boat, a 27 footer, cost me a whooping $400 to buy and a trade
in of a car for which otherwise I was getting $1,500 max offer selling. so lets say it was $1,900. I sold that boat 4 years later for $1,100 so my total cost was $800 amortized for 4 years - $200/yr. My mooring
amortized by now 12 seasons of ownership is $150/yr and service
, harbormaster fees
, excise taxes
etc. were another $300/yr during those 4 years.
was always the biggest expense but there was no alternative as the harbormaster frowned on keeping boats on the moorings for the winter. Although I did manage to sneak in 2 winters on the ball. But these savings were offset by add'l hauling and storage
expense when I kept the boat on the hard
prior to launch as it was being fixed. So I'd just add the regular cost back then of $1,500 per winter. Add new to me used gear
etc came to about $500 per year with practically every fix being DIY
or getting a local boatyard guy to moonlite on weekends.
So overall we're talking less then $3,000/yr for 4 years of owning that first 27' sailboat. And by my 4th year of ownership the club fees
for that size class were well above $4,000. During those 4 years I was sailing my own boat way more then I was ever sailing club's boats. So per sail cost was also much less. Not to mention the pleasure of using the boat as a summer beach cottage with 360 degree view in an area where at the time such beachfront cottages rented for at least $2,000/wk.
Today when I get the usual aahhs and oohhs from friends and acquaintances concerning how high the boat ownership costs are I just laugh and tell people that yes they are higher then 10-15 years ago but still can be managed if one sets one's mind to it. Most people just shrug and are not convinced. If one thinks that the only cars worth owning and driving are Ferraris and Lambos then of course one will never own any car until one can afford such a car. You get what you can afford and go from there. And there must be something very wrong with either the economy or the people themselves if they can't afford $3-4K a year ($60/wk) on their hobby.