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      A Few Simple Rules   05/22/2017

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stayoutofthemiddle

The Yacht Club - Do you get value from your dues?

65 posts in this topic

Random topic to through out to the masses...

Is Yacht Club / Sailing Club membership declining and is it hard to justify the spend with against the "value" provided?

Small Sailing Clubs may only be $400 / year but large Yacht Clubs can run $4500 / year...
You get a restaurant, bar, generally no gym for your dues, but outside of a Saturday or Sunday most clubs don't have a "scene" unless you live in a small town with nothing else going on. It's also usually the 65+ crowd that can be found in the Sunday Roast buffet line, the "scene" if it is there skews older...

Any thoughts or comments?

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Yes, YC/SC is declining. "Membership" in general, is declining across the spectrum, it's not limited to sailing.

I served as president on the board of my neighborhood beach club, I'm Rear Commo of my sailing club (WRSC) and attend Fleet Reserve Association board meetings in Annapolis.  I also started a paper sailing club called "CHESSS" for shorthanders in the Chesapeake.  Four total clubs, three completely different types of clubs and they are all sounding the same alarm.

Even worse, my sailing club (WRSC) is heavily volunteer oriented. It's how we keep our annual dues so low. The club's "core" volunteers (the 20% of members who do 80% of the heavy lifting) are aging out. Literally dying, or becoming too frail to do the work they've been doing for 20+ years. Younger members (I'm talking about the 40-60 age bracket here) are not stepping in to fill the void and have totally unrealistic expectations that when they show up, club facilities and equipment will by shiny, clean and fully functional. Finding race committee is becoming a real bitch.

Joining, belonging, "social capital" or whatever you want to call it, is in serious decline across the country for a variety of reasons that could be debated to death. All I know is, I have yet to hear of a viable solution to this.

There's a book that discusses the problem called "Bowling Alone."   It seems my members want to "sail alone."  People show up, rig their boats and blast off the beach. Socialization is declining and a lot of these people don't have any interest in coming into the clubhouse after sailing to socialize over a sandwich and beer. They stow their boats and blast for home without a word to anyone.

I have been struggling to engage our members, find out what services they're looking for, and convey a sense of camaraderie and community but it's been a hard struggle.

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Only if it's a Moose Hall

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Interesting commentary on "Bowling Alone", I'll have to check this book out.   Kind of ironic that SOCIAL media is breeding incredibly anti-social behavior.   The faux outrage online is out of control and certainly affecting people's "real" behavior.

I would much prefer people to bowl/sail "alone" versus every activity requiring a smart-phone as a life-support system.


 

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Lengthy Wikipedia piece on Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone.  His subsequent work refutes some of what he argued in Bowling Alone.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_D._Putnam

As for value received for yacht club membership, my situation might be illustrative of those of us in our senior years.  I've been a member of my club for more than 35 years.  Originally joined to go racing.  Did that for some 20 years.  Served several terms on our board of directors.  Heavily (and I do mean heavily) involved in trying to make the club more friendly to kids and junior sailing.  Moderate success.  My kids essentially grew up at the club just hanging out and sailing on OPBs when they got too good for mom and dad's 4ksb.My kids are now adults with families of their own.  My younger son is looking for a club to join; one with an active and supportive juniors program as he wants his daughter to grow up sailing.  He lives 90 miles from me so joining our club is not a viable option.

As for me, I seldom go to the club any longer.  Don't race any more, sold the boat years ago.  Not a barfly and our galley, while better than it has been in years, is not high on our list of things to do.  As a senior member my dues have been reduced and other obligations in terms of work, bar/galley spending have also been reduced.  So I keep my membership since it is not a financial burden to me and when my younger son comes home to visit he always wants to go to the club and see old friends.  Club membership is also useful when one travels and can use the services of such places as San Diego, St. Francis, etc.

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1 hour ago, Ajax said:

Yes, YC/SC is declining. "Membership" in general, is declining across the spectrum, it's not limited to sailing.

I served as president on the board of my neighborhood beach club, I'm Rear Commo of my sailing club (WRSC) and attend Fleet Reserve Association board meetings in Annapolis.  I also started a paper sailing club called "CHESSS" for shorthanders in the Chesapeake.  Four total clubs, three completely different types of clubs and they are all sounding the same alarm.

Even worse, my sailing club (WRSC) is heavily volunteer oriented. It's how we keep our annual dues so low. The club's "core" volunteers (the 20% of members who do 80% of the heavy lifting) are aging out. Literally dying, or becoming too frail to do the work they've been doing for 20+ years. Younger members (I'm talking about the 40-60 age bracket here) are not stepping in to fill the void and have totally unrealistic expectations that when they show up, club facilities and equipment will by shiny, clean and fully functional. Finding race committee is becoming a real bitch.

Joining, belonging, "social capital" or whatever you want to call it, is in serious decline across the country for a variety of reasons that could be debated to death. All I know is, I have yet to hear of a viable solution to this.

There's a book that discusses the problem called "Bowling Alone."   It seems my members want to "sail alone."  People show up, rig their boats and blast off the beach. Socialization is declining and a lot of these people don't have any interest in coming into the clubhouse after sailing to socialize over a sandwich and beer. They stow their boats and blast for home without a word to anyone.

I have been struggling to engage our members, find out what services they're looking for, and convey a sense of camaraderie and community but it's been a hard struggle.

Maybe you do and just forgot or don't realize you do? 

It seems true that belonging to something bigger than one's self is declining. But think back to when it trended the other way. Why was that? What was the element back then that was common to all men (not sexist; just a sign of those times). 

I think you actually served in such an organization.  Where color or creed or religion or age didn't matter.  Where it was not about you but something bigger than you. Where a person could make a difference. I think you know what I mean.

The question of course is how to translate that experience/organization to this problem.  Not easy but clearly requiring inspirational leadership.

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My club did a major restructuring a few years ago to make it easier to join and stay as a member. This got a ton of new members and it's healthy again. 

The big changes were going to monthly membership via cc (vs annual by check) and dropping all initiation fees.  It is $35/mo which makes it pretty affordable. The clubhouse is open 2-4 days of the week plus for events and has cheap food and good drinks. The membership is a great mix of racers and cruisers. The bar is heavily volunteer run but there are paid staff too.  It isn't the fanciest club around, but I like it and get lots of value out of my membership. 

The other club in town with weekly racing is $75/year, so I belong to it as well.  Its one of the best deals around and they pit on some really fun events. 

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1 minute ago, Alex W said:

My club did a major restructuring a few years ago to make it easier to join and stay as a member. This got a ton of new members and it's healthy again. 

The big changes were going to monthly membership via cc (vs annual by check) and dropping all initiation fees.  It is $35/mo which makes it pretty affordable. The clubhouse is open 2-4 days of the week plus for events and has cheap food and good drinks. The membership is a great mix of racers and cruisers. The bar is heavily volunteer run but there are paid staff too.  It isn't the fanciest club around, but I like it and get lots of value out of my membership. 

The other club in town with weekly racing is $75/year, so I belong to it as well.  Its one of the best deals around and they pit on some really fun events. 

I have a question about your model-

At $35/month, that's $420/year which is not terribly far off the mark from my club's dues.

Who maintains your facilities (clubhouse, grounds, waterfront)? Who maintains your committee boats?  Is the club volunteer based, or does the club pay upkeep to outside contractors for all of that? How do you manage a budget that can vary greatly from month to month depending on the ebb and flow of members?

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You guys are talking about $s and value and bang for the buck.  Like its a business and a business decision.

  * Is a club a business?

  * Is joining a club a business-like decision?

If yes, could that be part of the problem with what the club is or has let itself become (and does it have to stay that way)?

 

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8 minutes ago, Wess said:

Maybe you do and just forgot or don't realize you do? 

It seems true that belonging to something bigger than one's self is declining. But think back to when it trended the other way. Why was that? What was the element back then that was common to all men (not sexist; just a sign of those times). 

I think you actually served in such an organization.  Where color or creed or religion or age didn't matter.  Where it was not about you but something bigger than you. Where a person could make a difference. I think you know what I mean.

The question of course is how to translate that experience/organization to this problem.  Not easy but clearly requiring inspirational leadership.

As far as I can tell, our club is open to all colors, creeds, religions and ages.  I've never heard any member make any utterance against people of color, any religious group or sexual orientation.  That doesn't mean that some of the members aren't harboring bad feelings internally, but I've never seen or heard anyone acting prejudiced. Everyone has an "inner asshole" that they usually keep sequestered. Some better than others.

Yes, it's true that our demographic is predominantly white same as most other clubs but we do have minority members and they seem satisfied. We have one LGBT couple that I'm aware of, and they have voiced no complaints. As rear commo, "Social Activities" are one of my areas of responsibility, so I'm constantly walking around, shaking hands, asking members if everything is to their liking.  If people have a bitch, I should be their prime target for airing complaints and no one has voiced that sort of issue to me.

I think one of the biggest obstacles is technology. We are so interconnected today, that there is simply no reason to go anywhere to see people anymore. Why go to your high school reunion when you can see what all your old chums have been up to, via Facebook?  Clubs also require a personal time investment that many people can barely commit to, today.

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I get value for money for sure at CRYC (Corsica River Yacht Club)

For $250/yr we get:

A nice swimming beach, a nice pavilion with showers, a place to keep a boat on a mooring for free (you put down the mooring), cheap land storage for small boats in racks, a crane to get boats onto trailers, nice property to relax under trees, local ospreys and eagles to watch, and a junior program for the kids. We share the same issues as other clubs. We have the same people doing all the work and we are not getting younger. Fleet sizes are pretty much somewhat to WAY off historical norms. Getting enough kids to keep the junior program alive was hugely problematic - working parents have no ability to transport kids and kids will sail for a week or two and then do something else.

We have allied ourselves with the YMCA for sailing to get their marketing reach and before/after care. This is working so far and we hope to expand it. We have added kayaks and canoes to sailing for general water adventures.

RE club as a business. We are most certainly not this, but some country/yacht clubs did or do have significant membership from people looking for a place to entertain business associates.

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12 minutes ago, Ajax said:

As far as I can tell, our club is open to all colors, creeds, religions and ages.  I've never heard any member make any utterance against people of color, any religious group or sexual orientation.  That doesn't mean that some of the members aren't harboring bad feelings internally, but I've never seen or heard anyone acting prejudiced. Everyone has an "inner asshole" that they usually keep sequestered. Some better than others.

Yes, it's true that our demographic is predominantly white same as most other clubs but we do have minority members and they seem satisfied. We have one LGBT couple that I'm aware of, and they have voiced no complaints. As rear commo, "Social Activities" are one of my areas of responsibility, so I'm constantly walking around, shaking hands, asking members if everything is to their liking.  If people have a bitch, I should be their prime target for airing complaints and no one has voiced that sort of issue to me.

I think one of the biggest obstacles is technology. We are so interconnected today, that there is simply no reason to go anywhere to see people anymore. Why go to your high school reunion when you can see what all your old chums have been up to, via Facebook?  Clubs also require a personal time investment that many people can barely commit to, today.

No, sorry.  I was too vague.  Didn't mean that at all.

Didn't you serve?

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Ajax, apart from the modern family time poor scenario nowdays, i do think the wider issue is that smaller families and kids being the centre of the family unit, rather than a gang of kids pitching in with a pecking order to keep things neat, is now almost 3rd generation.

Even without social media distraction the modern individual seems to prefer solo or small group adventures, that in general are at odds with a club/ community scenario.

Consumerism has indeed played a part & as noted above, the business of spending leisure cash the walk in walk out & let the others wipe up afterwards adventures seem to be prefered.

These times of letterboxing beliefs into left , right & whatever, has also erroded much real community spirit, where previously all would want to pitch in

...however now sees folks want to pitch fork freekin ( insert faux outrage hate group) ! :)

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2 minutes ago, Wess said:

No, sorry.  I was too vague.  Didn't mean that at all.

Didn't you serve?

I am not sure how making a club like the Navy is going to help, but I may not be clear on this. In case Ajax is off doing something, AFAIK he was a submariner.

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Wess,

Yes, and I get what you're driving at but I'm not sure you can draw a direct line between military service and a voluntary social/sport club.

You are correct to point out that some of the more desirable traits of military service are also desirable in a club, such as inclusiveness, pride/esprit de corps and some others.

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Yacht Club membership has repaid my dues time and again. Totally worth it.

A place to hang out with your friends: Show up any random time and there is most likely someone that you know there. Settle in for a drink, some conversation, etc. My club has outstanding Super Bowl parties, Holiday parties, gatherings to watch America's Cup racing, etc.

A built-in support network: Need advice on what truck to tow with, which gen-set you should buy, which radios are worth the money? Nothing like sitting down with actual users over a couple of cold ones and hearing what they have to say.

Reciprocal Privileges: This is a big one! You can pop into a local club when you're traveling--anywhere around the world--even if your club does not have explicit reciprocal privileges with that club. Dress in clean clothes, wear your home club member name badge, meet new people and socialize. Locals who share your same interests can steer you toward local activities that are not in the tour guides. Who knows, you may even get invited out for a beer-can race in Cannes, France, or Rio de Janeiro. I have met royalty, billionaires, captains of industry, heads of state... all by wearing a clean polo shirt or tropical shirt, khakis and a yacht club name badge. 

Cool place to bring out-of-town visitors: Who wouldn't enjoy a waterfront view with no pressure from waiters to free up your table for the next customers?

Moving? Jump-start your new friends network: As soon as I got settled into my new house I was over at the local yacht club, making myself available as crew and volunteering for Race Committee. Within a month or so of moving 1,500 miles from my old home club, I already had a dozen new friends who were ready to sponsor me for new membership. Nothing beats showing up at an out-of-town regatta where you basically don't know anybody and be greeted by your new friends from your new club!

The list is endless.

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5 minutes ago, Modernrate Buai said:

Ajax, apart from the modern family time poor scenario nowdays, i do think the wider issue is that smaller families and kids being the centre of the family unit, rather than a gang of kids pitching in with a pecking order to keep things neat, is now almost 3rd generation.

Even without social media distraction the modern individual seems to prefer solo or small group adventures, that in general are at odds with a club/ community scenario.

Consumerism has indeed played a part & as noted above, the business of spending leisure cash the walk in walk out & let the others wipe up afterwards adventures seem to be prefered.

These times of letterboxing beliefs into left , right & whatever, has also erroded much real community spirit, where previously all would want to pitch in

...however now sees folks want to pitch fork freekin ( insert faux outrage hate group) ! :)

I honestly don't think national politics has any effect on our club social scene, we have all types. That said, I think  a lot of people presume a "yacht club" consists of Thurston Howell types debating the best way to beat their servants or something :rolleyes:

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While i'm not on the membership committee, i'm pretty sure that our club is growing as we have added nearly 100 members to get us to over 600 since i joined 8 years ago.  My annual dues are about $600 a year.  What do i get?:

1. I race a small one design and can sail every Wednesday and Thursday evening as well as Sunday afternoons in the summer.  All club race fees are included in our annual dues.  RC is all volunteer and it requires me to due my civiv duty and serve RC a few times a year.

2. We have an all volunteer run bar which is open Wednesday through Sunday.  Most mixed drinks and beers are $2-3 because our bar operates at cost.

3. Our food service is order at a counter and food is brought to your table.  Pretty standard YC fare, sandwiches, seafood, salads and a few dinner options.  Dinner is much cheaper here than if I were to take my family to a similar restaurant.

4. Because we have small boat fleets, we get a pretty good mix of ages.  It's not just a 65+ crowd in the evenings.

5. Social functions - Our club hosts a handful of parties each year with live bands as well as racing seminars, holiday events, etc.

6. Guest privileges - We love to entertain guests at our club.  It's got a great view and a fun atmosphere.

7. Locker, locker room and clean showers.

 

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11 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Wess,

Yes, and I get what you're driving at but I'm not sure you can draw a direct line between military service and a voluntary social/sport club.

You are correct to point out that some of the more desirable traits of military service are also desirable in a club, such as inclusiveness, pride/esprit de corps and some others.

Agree no direct line.

But some overlapping elements.

And its not just military.  Think any volunteer organization.  I believe people are good.  That people want to be part of something bigger than themselves.  Now I don't mean a yacht club or sailing association could or should be all about that but when it just becomes about "what's in it for me" then it become a business.  That model might work for the AYCs of the world but maybe not the WRSCs or PSAs.  And if it is a business model then you have to figure out how to get new customers just like any business or you die.  For a YC new customers means junior sailors and cool sailing.

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The junior sailor = new member thing is mixed at best. We do get members that way, but not a lot. Some parents love the club and join, but for many others at our club and many other clubs it is just one thing of many they drive their kids to.

Wess, one thing you are fighting is with two busy parents and scheduled to death kids, free time is incredibly valuable. This upcoming regatta we have will cost me a vacation day or two. Many people today would donate an organ before their vacation...just sayin

This was us back in the day: http://www.cryc.org/migration/skipper_mag/skipper.htm

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For me, the main thing is TIME. It takes me 45min to get there, 45 min to water, 2-2.5hr sailing, and reverse = 6 hr door-to-door

In today´s life, 6hrs is a lot, and needs pushing other activities, before and after. If I had the time to hang the whole day at the club, I can see socializing, then you get bored and conscious of the club´s problems and start helping out, etc etc.  

 

Regarding club´s dues, yes it is totally worth it just to have a waterfront lawn and trees and my dinghy 10m of the ramp.

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I hear you Joe.  But many people donate their time, money, vacation (and even organs, LOL) to what they believe are worthwhile causes. They generally don't donate those same things to a business. That's kinda my point.

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Just now, Wess said:

I hear you Joe.  But many people donate their time, money, vacation (and even organs, LOL) to what they believe are worthwhile causes. They generally don't donate those same things to a business. That's kinda my point.

Agree. If the club is AYC, you could feel like you gave them enough cash to handle things for you with paid staff. I sure would. For $250, we are DIY or it doesn't get done.

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2 minutes ago, Joe CRYC said:

I honestly don't think national politics has any effect on our club social scene, we have all types. That said, I think  a lot of people presume a "yacht club" consists of Thurston Howell types debating the best way to beat their servants or something :rolleyes:

OK, your rolley eyes is exactly what i pointed out above... re letterboxing!

My comment & observation is based around visiting many clubs around the world and similar trends. An exception is the Royal Ceylon Yacht Club that went from a magnificent "fuddy duddy"colonial expat friendly place that took me back to the Changi YC in the last days of the Brits being a thing in Singapore. It became a trendy family place to do sundays, reminded me of my own club in the mid 1970s ( captive wives & kids not non sailing parents ferrying around between soccer & tennis so do not have time for sailing anymore).

My main club has become a niche place and we have a stand alone restaurant that is open 6 days for dinner & lunch plus weddings & events, a trade off, that after lots of fine tuning, hopefully will see our 136 year old club see another 100 or so years!

Our Royal clubs have responded and in some cases thrived by embracing the wants and needs of the five star types, who pay enough to indeed get those five star results.

The smaller mostly yacht river type clubs have suffered, as some lost or never gained waterfront property, so to pay the National dues ( your US sailing sorta thing) plus insurance etc, even with volunteer commitee, have a hard time grabbing a lot of annual.dues for what on the surface apears for not much.

 

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Letterboxing? What exactly is that?

I can assure you that if you ask 100 random people what happens at a yacht club, probably 99 think it is people on 120 foot yachts ordering more drinks and 1 person knows it is someone scraping barnacles off the Whaler and fixing the lift.

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6 minutes ago, Joe CRYC said:

Letterboxing? What exactly is that?

I can assure you that if you ask 100 random people what happens at a yacht club, probably 99 think it is people on 120 foot yachts ordering more drinks and 1 person knows it is someone scraping barnacles off the Whaler and fixing the lift.

fer shure.. like totally, barf me out with a spoon! ( valley girl FZ 1979) haha

I think location would play a big part. If i ask 100 Aucklanders that question V 100 folks hanging around Arnold Ziffels Hootersville general store, the results will vary... bigly = letterboxing * wink emoticon*

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13 minutes ago, Joe CRYC said:

Letterboxing? What exactly is that?

I can assure you that if you ask 100 random people what happens at a yacht club, probably 99 think it is people on 120 foot yachts ordering more drinks and 1 person knows it is someone scraping barnacles off the Whaler and fixing the lift.

Letterboxing= "pigeonholing" or labeling people.

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1 minute ago, Ajax said:

Letterboxing= "pigeonholing" or labeling people.

I tend to think of it as labeling anything as much as people. As soon as one wears long hair & flared jeans, crotch around knees pants & bling chains or even ( online) just the verbage they espouse, will dish up an instant label of "that thing- idea", that the person has currently adopted.

 

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....I do think dressing up in white jackets and attending officer meetings and flag raising ceremonies is hilarious and cringe worthy, especially to outsiders. I don't get that traditional at all. Only Naval officers deserve to where that dress.

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37 minutes ago, Ajax said:

At $35/month, that's $420/year which is not terribly far off the mark from my club's dues.

Who maintains your facilities (clubhouse, grounds, waterfront)? Who maintains your committee boats?  Is the club volunteer based, or does the club pay upkeep to outside contractors for all of that? How do you manage a budget that can vary greatly from month to month depending on the ebb and flow of members?

Our membership may be larger than yours, it is 500-600 members.  There isn't a lot of ebb and flow, the monthly payment actually makes that more stable than annual payments did (that is my understanding from talking to people who were around before and after that change).

There are no grounds, the clubhouse is a floating building.  This has it's downsides, in the next couple of years there is going to be a very expensive haulout (I think it is hauled every 20 years).  The club is primarily volunteer and has a volunteer board, but does have staff covering a lot of day to day duties (as well as summer sailing coaches for teaching sailing camps).  For instance the committee boats are maintained by volunteers for minor to medium impact stuff, but major projects like an engine replacement would be contracted out.

Sometimes members help out with costs for major projects.  For instance the club just got 6 Vanguard 15s (a really nice improvement) and I offered an extra donation to help with the costs of acquiring and maintaining those.

I'm very close with one board member and friends with most of the rest.

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There was a time before WW II when some yacht clubs seemed to be like being in the Navy from what I have read. They had all kinds of military-like ceremonies and some of the upper classes from the better clubs managed to donate their yachts for coastal patrol duty and get commissioned in the Navy as the skipper of their donated yacht too when the war started :D

Kent Island Yacht Club *used to* do all the uniform stuff, but either they quit doing it or the photos got taken down.

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Yeah the optics aren't very appealing to new would be younger members! It's almost like watching a Civil War reenactment including the part where the people acting are REALLY into it and take it seriously!

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Part of the "value" one receives for Club membership lies in making one's  

locale a better place - teaching water safety & sailing to vets, the disabled, at-risk kids and others,  

is part of our Club's mission statement, and it probably is for your club as well. 

". . the promotion and encouragement of sailing and seamanship . ." 

A solid reputation in the community has come in mighty handy on the several 

occasions when greedy developers tries to grab our grounds and facilities. 

Yes, it's worth it. 

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IMO in no particular order of importance:

 

1)  Good place to meet and hang out with like minded individuals

2)  If you are a boat owner you need somewhere to moor (or launch/recover)

3)  Reciprocal agreements with other yacht clubs around the world (limited to better known clubs or those listed in Yacht Clubs of America.

4)  Winter haul out and/or storage space

5)  Bar and or restaurant

6)  Club racing

7)  Racing OPB's from time to time.

8)  Often a place to BBQ after a cruise or race

9)  Regattas where other club members come and race at your club  (See #8 too)

10)  Clubs often offer storage for your boat maintaining equipment

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We belong to a YC and a golf club.Both sports seem to be in membership decline. Mostly  + 60 so the clubs'  financial viability into the future is shaky. Both clubs run active and cheap Junior programmes but retention once the Juniors leave school is poor. Both our kids are into different sport like snowboarding and car racing both of which they do without needing a club. Main reason I see for declining club participation is a big fall off in drinking away from home and elitism and club politics. Most clubs are clicky and the "in "group rules to the exclusion of newbies. Also paid staff cost heaps and volunteers drop off because of paid staff. Consequently club not open often enough to save $$$ so why join ? A self fulfilling prophecy. You generally don't need a Clubhouse to run a yacht race.....just a start a finish and results. There is no instant fix it here it seems

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29 minutes ago, armchairadmiral said:

We belong to a YC and a golf club.Both sports seem to be in membership decline. Mostly  + 60 so the clubs'  financial viability into the future is shaky. Both clubs run active and cheap Junior programmes but retention once the Juniors leave school is poor. Both our kids are into different sport like snowboarding and car racing both of which they do without needing a club. Main reason I see for declining club participation is a big fall off in drinking away from home and elitism and club politics. Most clubs are clicky and the "in "group rules to the exclusion of newbies. Also paid staff cost heaps and volunteers drop off because of paid staff. Consequently club not open often enough to save $$$ so why join ? A self fulfilling prophecy. You generally don't need a Clubhouse to run a yacht race.....just a start a finish and results. There is no instant fix it here it seems

This.....  I remember my dad driving us home from the YC, about 20 mi, beer in hand after a day of racing and an evening at the bar/keg...  Now days that just doesn't happen without major consequences....  Used to be that on any given wed night the same thing happened..  Well, not so much any more.  People mostly hit the dock and run home....  Sad really, but uber and lyft may be having an affect..  Have to wait and see...  

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Those individuals seeking a hobby which requires only a start, a finish and a result might do well to consider a pastime other than sailing - perhaps one which does not value camaraderie, lifelong friendships, sportsmanship, giving back to the community, sharing a love of a sport with parents and children, meeting fellow devotees in distant locales and so forth.  Things like Solitaire, Angry Birds, porn and other online pursuits would allow these people to get a start, a finish and a result without having to leave the comfort of their own bed or interact with any other humans or risk getting wet or enduring the potentially damaging rays of the sun.

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A club/group/party/organization is only as good as its members. If its too expensive get involved and change it. If it doesn't do enough get involved and volunteer to make it happen. Sitting on the sidelines complaining just makes you sound like a whiny little bitch.

Our Club is what it is due to the volunteers that make it happen. I took my turn as RC chair one year. Did a 4 year stint running the chairs and feel like I gave back as much as it has given me. We have an active racing group and cruise program. The social functions on Friday night are well attended. But it takes people stepping up to make it all happen.

 

WL

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The comradery is great, I get that, but is it worth $200 / month? $300 / month + drinks / food? The question was are you getting the "value" out of your dues...

Can't you get the same experience going to dinner or having beers with your friend's at a local establishment? Food is often better there too....

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One important function that the clubs serve- Water Access.

Sure, you don't need a clubhouse to have a start, a finish and recorded result but you have to *get to the start* from somewhere.  If we abandon our clubs, it's a sure bet that developers will swoop in to buy the land and the access will be lost. Then you'll be limited to public boat ramps, which may be nowhere near the preferred racing venues, or even just decent sailing conditions.

This is going to be one of those things where people don't realize what they had, until it's gone. Then it will be too late.

I'm a fan of history. My club is 87 years old and has a cool, quirky history. It was always pretty laid back compared to larger, more powerful yacht clubs, but it has a great back-story. We had 110 boats/kids at our junior regatta this year.  I towed a decorated 420 in the village (it really is a village) July 4th parade this year.  I've served on the board for 3 years now and I figure I have 2-3 more to go before I rotate out.

Sure, I'm tired of the lack of volunteers and the general lack of "give-a-damn" but I feel like it would be a tragedy to let my little club and all of its history and memories disappear. I'll keep hacking away at the problem, trying different methods until I find something that works.

 

Edit- To answer the original question, yeah I guess I feel that I get value for my money. Our dues are only $600/year.

For $50/month, the food is pretty good, the facilities are decent, the view and venue are fantastic. There's a mooring or dock space available whenever I want it. The racing is good...when properly organized.

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38 minutes ago, stayoutofthemiddle said:

The comradery is great, I get that, but is it worth $200 / month? $300 / month + drinks / food? The question was are you getting the "value" out of your dues...

Can't you get the same experience going to dinner or having beers with your friend's at a local establishment? Food is often better there too....

I can't moor my C&C36 at a restaurant.  And their regattas are hard to find.  :) 

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I can't speak for your club but many clubs do not own the slips. It's the city marina and the YC is just a building. That's certainly the case here in Chicago...

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We have clubs around with no property that cost around $50/year. We have clubs that essentially also run a marina, like EYC, SSA, and AYC that cost a lot, but commercial marina space in Annapolis costs a lot too.

CRYC is kind of unique in having water access and property while being on the cheap side, but we are on the other side of the world (AKA The Shore) from Annapolis.

If all the clubs with property go away, running a boat race won't be impossible, but it will suck pretty hard compared to now.

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1 hour ago, stayoutofthemiddle said:

The comradery is great, I get that, but is it worth $200 / month? $300 / month + drinks / food? The question was are you getting the "value" out of your dues...

Can't you get the same experience going to dinner or having beers with your friend's at a local establishment? Food is often better there too....

Fair enough, I will bite. I am a non-resident member of RHKYC which is kind of a special case so I will largely leave that aside for the time being (no dues once you leave therefore by definition worth it) although it is highly recommended as a fantastic Club with three great facilities and a active racing and social programs and a great deal else. If you are ever there visiting on business or pleasure I highly recommend a visit.

More to the point, I have been a member more or less my entire life of two local YC's neither of which is a paper club and are, at least nominally, cross town rivals. Both have dining rooms and bars with full time staff, active sailing, racing and social programs from youth through adult learn-to-sail activities, racing and cruising events, World Championships and America's Cup challenges as well as great calendars of social stuff like Easter Brunch, Halloween parties, New Year's Eve, Father Daughter and Mother Son dances, Winemakers' Dinners, Commodore's Balls and all the other traditional stuff (which, by the way, binds together the members and generations and is not just an excuse for drinking although it is that as well). I believe one of them runs more on-the-water races than any other Club in the US if not the world. I am not a passive member; I am at the Clubs all the time and suppose I am in the 20% that does 80% of the heavy lifting as, over the years, I have served as a frequent volunteer and on House, Membership, Finance, Audit, Nominating, Race, Protest, Youth Development, Young Adult Development and other committees.  

In return, the Clubs have served as the center of not only the sailing life but also the social life for my parents' generation, for my wife and myself and, increasingly, for my boys. Every job I have ever found I found through the Clubs; nearly all of my closest friends I have met through the Clubs; I met my best man and all my groomsmen through the Clubs, and my wife met her maid of honor and all her bridesmaids through the Clubs; our boys' godparents all are fellow Club members; I guess you get the idea.

Could I duplicate that experience by going to dinner or having beers with your friend's at a local establishment? Not a chance. Combined dues are somewhere are on the order of $600/month. Is it worth is? Absolutely, unequivocally yes. If I were going broke I would stop paying for gas and water before I would resign from the Clubs. 

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"Could I duplicate that experience by going to dinner or having beers with your friend's at a local establishment? Not a chance. Combined dues are somewhere are on the order of $600/month. Is it worth is? Absolutely, unequivocally yes. If I were going broke I would stop paying for gas and water before I would resign from the Clubs."

 

***********Do you really believe that?! It always comes down to your network and circle of friends. The YC is simply one avenue for that but certainly not the only one. 

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8 minutes ago, stayoutofthemiddle said:

"Could I duplicate that experience by going to dinner or having beers with your friend's at a local establishment? Not a chance. Combined dues are somewhere are on the order of $600/month. Is it worth is? Absolutely, unequivocally yes. If I were going broke I would stop paying for gas and water before I would resign from the Clubs."

 

***********Do you really believe that?! It always comes down to your network and circle of friends. The YC is simply one avenue for that but certainly not the only one. 

Of course it is not the only avenue. But the question was whether I thought I was getting value for my dues, and I answered based on my experience. Certainly other people's experiences will be different.

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It's worked well for my wife and me (SDYC). Discount on our slip compared with public slips in the same basin offset the initiation fee years ago. My wife races senior sabots there at least once a week and this has become an important part of her social life. Plus many other benefits to us over the years. No question  that it has been (and continues to be) well worth the expense for us. And we probably use the club 1/5 as much as many members do. I guess it depends on the club and the person. SDYC is devoted to getting people on the water--just what a YC should do, and is a great club for us.

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2 hours ago, stayoutofthemiddle said:

I can't speak for your club but many clubs do not own the slips. It's the city marina and the YC is just a building. That's certainly the case here in Chicago...

Chicago is a bit of an oddball in that regard - the vast majority of YC's across the US have some marina and/or drystall facility

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9 minutes ago, Christian said:

Chicago is a bit of an oddball in that regard - the vast majority of YC's across the US have some marina and/or drystall facility

I think this is highly regional and depends on the club. Most Puget Sound area clubs seem to be a building or floating building associated with a larger marina. There are exceptions that have their own docks (like Seattle Yacht Club), but they are less common.

The yacht club with private docks seems to be more common on the east coast.

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My club is also on Lake Michigan.  We own the buildings, piers, slips, etc.  We sit on land owned by the local water utility.  Not sure how long our current lease is good for.  Small piece of property that is of little to no use to developers until such a time that the boatyard/marina next door to us becomes available for development.  Every attempt to develop the property south of us falls flat on its face. 

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On ‎7‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 11:08 AM, Ajax said:

Socialization is declining and a lot of these people don't have any interest in coming into the clubhouse after sailing to socialize over a sandwich and beer. They stow their boats and blast for home without a word to anyone.

Kids these days!

Social media is wreaking havoc on real-life interactions and friendships.  I've mostly checked out of Fb and have killed Twitter, with the intent of spending more time with real-life friends and less time giving a shit about social media 'friends.'  You gotta come to this conclusion yourself; I have no idea how to tell a 23 year old bowman that.  I started parking the boat in front of the sponsoring YC post weeknight-races and making the post-race social a priority there and on weekends - to make friends with other sailors in the community.  We don't make the party but 8-9 knuckleheads showing up and drinking a few beers fills up a table at the tent and helps (along with a couple dozen other boat crews) give the impression that the event is fun and worth attending. The crew seems to like that more than simply heading home post-race. I prefer it too.  (Not sure if anybody likes having us around, but oh well, that's their problem.)   

My wife and I aren't in a proper YC right now - the YC's in our area *do* things and we don't have a ton of time to do additional stuff given that our kid is hitting prime sports & activities participation age and we are trying to enjoy that while it lasts.  My wife and I are both involved in a couple volunteer groups that eat up our non-sailing, non-kid-centric spare time.  So for now we're in a training & cruising-oriented sailing club.  We go to 1-2 socials each year and I volunteer a couple weekends to help teach ASA 101/103 classes, we make roughly one out of every four twice-yearly club boat maintenance days.  That's all I have time for. We'll join a quality YC in a few years when the kid goes to college and we have the time to properly invest in it. I can't stand the "takers" in our other groups; they burn me out and eventually cause me to leave.  I don't want to *that guy* at one of our great local YCs that does a lot for the sport.  We'll join when we have the time to be givers rather than a drag on the organization. 

So asking whether you're getting enough back from your YC is the wrong question, IMAO.  The right question is, "what are you doing to improve your local YC and sailing scene, and do you and those around you find your efforts rewarding?"  And maybe, "are my efforts actually helping improve things?"   

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Club serves well made, top shelf drinks, check.
Very good restaurant with a nice view, check.
Has a complete rebuild on the way making the bar and restaurant even more desirable, check.
Adding a tiki bar and pool, check.
Has space for my powerboat, sailboat, and racing dinghy, check.

Seems to be firing on all cylinders as far as I can tell.  Racing is not what it used to be and too many J/70's, Etchells, and H20's pollute the yard, but otherwise it's a nice place with good racing.

 

Now the other club I belong too, nice people, small fleets, but otherwise it has no long term plans and thus no future.  A basket case waiting until the day the fickle landlord doesn't extend the lease.  Then poof, what club?

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Related: would it be worth the $ at my age by forking over $62,000 to join the local _____ ___ Yacht Club?

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6 hours ago, stayoutofthemiddle said:

I can't speak for your club but many clubs do not own the slips. It's the city marina and the YC is just a building. That's certainly the case here in Chicago...

That's because Chicago is assbackward. 

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I'd love to be able to join one of the local clubs, but joining SDYC for example requires a sizeable initiation fee ($6K IIRC) and has monthly dues in excess of $1500 a year just to fly the flag. Plus I'd have to know a bunch of people before my membership application could even be considered? No thanks, I can use that money for a lot of other things. I realize that running a club costs a ton of money and SDYC has a really nice setup in premium location on point loma, but no the value just isn't worth the hassle for me.      

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If you belong to your yacht club on the basis of what you can get out of it you seriously need to re-think your priorities. A good yacht club is a vibrant community of like minded people of all ages with a common interest in the sport of sailing/boating. Contributing to that common interest is not just restricted to sailing but takes many forms, participation in the myriad of social events, mentoring, coaching, mark laying, rescue boat driving, race management in all its forms, serve on a committee,  contribute to communications by way of editorial or photographic content for Club publications, canteen assistance,  introducing and welcoming new-comers and beginners are just a few ways to add value to your yacht club experience. Like so many things in this life, you get out of it what you put in. With few exceptions, all the best people in my life I have met at yacht clubs.

Sitting in the bar or at your keyboard pissing and moaning about your club's club activities, club management or policies while not contributing is not going to add value to your yacht club experience.

To paraphrase JFK, ask not what your yacht club can do for you...

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7 hours ago, SPORTSCAR said:

If you belong to your yacht club on the basis of what you can get out of it you seriously need to re-think your priorities. A good yacht club is a vibrant community of like minded people of all ages with a common interest in the sport of sailing/boating. Contributing to that common interest is not just restricted to sailing but takes many forms, participation in the myriad of social events, mentoring, coaching, mark laying, rescue boat driving, race management in all its forms, serve on a committee,  contribute to communications by way of editorial or photographic content for Club publications, canteen assistance,  introducing and welcoming new-comers and beginners are just a few ways to add value to your yacht club experience. Like so many things in this life, you get out of it what you put in. With few exceptions, all the best people in my life I have met at yacht clubs.

Sitting in the bar or at your keyboard pissing and moaning about your club's club activities, club management or policies while not contributing is not going to add value to your yacht club experience.

To paraphrase JFK, ask not what your yacht club can do for you...

OTOH some clubs truly are pretty much commercial operations. You can see the various threads on the life cycle of clubs where they mutate into a country club and the sailors end up being seen as a nuisance. So.....get involved to make sure your club doesn't go this way.

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Quote

So.....get involved to make sure your club doesn't go this way

Definitely get involved !    (but I have a feeling most members of SA are active in their local clubs)

I joined our club in the mid 90s, when there was no waiting list and we'd accept anyone with a pulse and a wallet.  When the economy picked up, our quaint tourist city began booming and membership rolls quickly filled.... but most were "social" members with little interest in boating (though claimed otherwise on their applications).

Suddenly we were trending toward a "dinner club", and some members were complaining about the nuisance of all the racing activity... "do you have to fire off those loud cannons when boats finish a race ?  It's disturbing our dinner".    Fortunately we filled the Membership Committee with racers/sailors and are vetting our applicants much more thoroughly.     The social folks are slowly withering on the vine and the club is back on track.

To the OP question, our dues are about $100/month with a great bar and decent restaurant.   Slips are extra and are slightly below market rate.    For an extra $100/yr you can use paddle boards/kayaks/sunfishes and for another $100 use some club-owned J/22s.     Best view in town from our deck.     While no club is perfect, I am amazed at the skillset and experience our members have;  proud to call most my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, SPORTSCAR said:

If you belong to your yacht club on the basis of what you can get out of it you seriously need to re-think your priorities. A good yacht club is a vibrant community of like minded people of all ages with a common interest in the sport of sailing/boating. Contributing to that common interest is not just restricted to sailing but takes many forms, participation in the myriad of social events, mentoring, coaching, mark laying, rescue boat driving, race management in all its forms, serve on a committee,  contribute to communications by way of editorial or photographic content for Club publications, canteen assistance,  introducing and welcoming new-comers and beginners are just a few ways to add value to your yacht club experience. Like so many things in this life, you get out of it what you put in. With few exceptions, all the best people in my life I have met at yacht clubs.

Sitting in the bar or at your keyboard pissing and moaning about your club's club activities, club management or policies while not contributing is not going to add value to your yacht club experience.

To paraphrase JFK, ask not what your yacht club can do for you...

Umm... I'm not quite *that* altruistic.

Sure, I absolutely believe that members should contribute to club community in the manner you suggest, and I certainly do. I also believe that there's *nothing* wrong with expecting something in return. It should be a symbiotic relationship.  I don't think there's anything wrong with the original question of this thread- "Do you get value for your dues?"

Also consider that "Value" comes in many different forms. It isn't all about food service, the bar and shiny clubhouses. Value also comes in the form of a fun and healthy community to be a part of. If you're paying dues and the community/culture is toxic, you're not getting your money's worth and I wouldn't blame you if  you left. (This is just one small example)

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My first post here on SA, so.... My club has its share of issues. It seems as if there are at least two ways to look at this. One is from the perspective of any organizing and guiding principles of the organization. Another seems to be that whatever sells is the guiding impetus. The notion that there is a way to facilitate the former without the demands of the latter looks to be the challenge.

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20 hours ago, SPORTSCAR said:

If you belong to your yacht club on the basis of what you can get out of it you seriously need to re-think your priorities. A good yacht club is a vibrant community of like minded people of all ages with a common interest in the sport of sailing/boating. Contributing to that common interest is not just restricted to sailing but takes many forms, participation in the myriad of social events, mentoring, coaching, mark laying, rescue boat driving, race management in all its forms, serve on a committee,  contribute to communications by way of editorial or photographic content for Club publications, canteen assistance,  introducing and welcoming new-comers and beginners are just a few ways to add value to your yacht club experience. Like so many things in this life, you get out of it what you put in. With few exceptions, all the best people in my life I have met at yacht clubs.

Sitting in the bar or at your keyboard pissing and moaning about your club's club activities, club management or policies while not contributing is not going to add value to your yacht club experience.

To paraphrase JFK, ask not what your yacht club can do for you...

I'm looking at a club on the other side of the island--about 40 minutes away.  They have cheap slip fees, but a 10-year wait for our boat length, and no liveaboards.  Food and bar prices are like LA restaurant prices--cheaper than Hawaii restaurants, but not heavily discounted.  We have friends there and routinely crew on another boat for the club's weekly races.  Although we would like to join, I can't justify it.

$2500 initiation fee, $160 application fee, and $110/month dues.

At that rate, I HAVE to ask what the club can do for me--not the opposite.

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On 7/11/2017 at 1:14 PM, Somebody Else said:

Yacht Club membership has repaid my dues time and again. Totally worth it.

A place to hang out with your friends: Show up any random time and there is most likely someone that you know there. Settle in for a drink, some conversation, etc. My club has outstanding Super Bowl parties, Holiday parties, gatherings to watch America's Cup racing, etc.

A built-in support network: Need advice on what truck to tow with, which gen-set you should buy, which radios are worth the money? Nothing like sitting down with actual users over a couple of cold ones and hearing what they have to say.

Reciprocal Privileges: This is a big one! You can pop into a local club when you're traveling--anywhere around the world--even if your club does not have explicit reciprocal privileges with that club. Dress in clean clothes, wear your home club member name badge, meet new people and socialize. Locals who share your same interests can steer you toward local activities that are not in the tour guides. Who knows, you may even get invited out for a beer-can race in Cannes, France, or Rio de Janeiro. I have met royalty, billionaires, captains of industry, heads of state... all by wearing a clean polo shirt or tropical shirt, khakis and a yacht club name badge. 

Cool place to bring out-of-town visitors: Who wouldn't enjoy a waterfront view with no pressure from waiters to free up your table for the next customers?

Moving? Jump-start your new friends network: As soon as I got settled into my new house I was over at the local yacht club, making myself available as crew and volunteering for Race Committee. Within a month or so of moving 1,500 miles from my old home club, I already had a dozen new friends who were ready to sponsor me for new membership. Nothing beats showing up at an out-of-town regatta where you basically don't know anybody and be greeted by your new friends from your new club!

The list is endless.

the list is endless, but me thinks the list doesnt need to include some hokey member "name badge", lol

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How can you put a price on endless dirty looks from the old people crowding the bar ?

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9 minutes ago, Great Red Shark said:

How can you put a price on endless dirty looks from the old people crowding the bar ?

You don't have to put a price on it; once you are a member the endless dirty looks are free!

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