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

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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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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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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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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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....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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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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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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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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I am on the committee of management of our 35 yr-old, self-help club on Lake Ontario- 132 boats/senior members, no for profit bar/resto though we do  social events and have trained servers who can sell alcohol under certain conditions. 

Fledgling youth sailing program provided by a qualified third-party, 2 -night/wk PHRF racing with 7-15 boats, 6-8 planned cruises to reciprocal clubs per season. Our ethos is as sportscar described it upthread. We work hard for what we've got. And are modestly proud. 

For comparison, our initiation fee is $4000. Annual dues average about 1100-$1500 ( ranges because members pay for their individual sling times during launch and haulout.)

We are by far the most reasonably priced club on our part of the lake, from a pool of about 15 clubs.  Our members love  our cost consciousness. I have never heard anyone discuss our fees as anything but tremendous (relative) value. 

I am shocked at the numbers  that others are throwing out here. Many of you have it very very good. And our season is at best 6 months a year, to boot. 

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I have belonged to the "Mystic Knights of the Sea YC"  since I was a young boy.  Low dues, great food and drink, and wonderful fellow members.

What more could you ask for?

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Our Local YC is $2000 to join and 400 a year dues. 

Membership is on the decline, its a lovely club, but the average age is 65+ as i am just 40 and my wife is 31, its really not that appealing as a social club. We would love to join but $2400 all in one shot is just too much. 

Like most clubs they are stuck in the past, I think that new blood gives now ideas, but for most people my age $2400 is a very hard pill to swallow, and when we look at the other options for that money it is already spent. 

oceaneer

 

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That age gap is a tough nut to crack. The same problem exists at my club, at least with the cruising fleet.

I'm 45 and probably the youngest of the keel boat sailors. I keep trying to convince people like you to join so that we can build a new age bracket, so that you can socialize with your contemporaries.  Don't get me wrong, the older folks are very nice and I do enjoy spending time with them but I also want to spend time with folks my own age, same as you.

A $2k initiation fee is a lot to pay if you don't think you'll get value from it.  Ours is much less, so I was willing to take a chance.

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Yes the 2K is the killer, 

And the boat its self seems to always need the 2k rather than my socal budget. 

For YC to survive in our age group and less we need to really think of new ways and new ideas. As when I go down to the club I feel very very young. 

And this is sad as when I was growing up it was all juniors running around and making a mess of the docks. now not so much

oceaneer

 

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28 minutes ago, oceaneer said:

We would love to join but $2400 all in one shot is just too much. 

oceaneer

 

I am really surprised that the Club doesn't allow new members to spread the initiation fee over time. That is just dumb.

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SDYC would charge me a $21,000 initiation fee, then $2300 per year dues,  plus I'd have to spend $600 per year in the restaurant.  Plus slip fees on the order of $16/foot/month (>$5000/year for my little 28 footer).    

They would have to supply hookers and blow for that to be a worthwhile expenditure to me.  They run races well, but I usually don't even go there for the after parties. 

On the other end of the scale, Cortez Racing Association doesn't have a clubhouse, also runs good races, and membership costs $120/year.  

 

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Kir,

SDYC is on a completely different social stratum, and that's ok. AYC performs the same function here on the Chesapeake.

Where the wheels fall off, is when a small club with limited amenities and limited racing charges exorbitant initiation fees and annual dues. On one hand, I'd suggest that Oceaneer visit the club and politely suggest that they might want to consider allowing new members to spread the initiation fee over the first year of membership. On the other hand, they don't seem to offer anything that he wants, so even if they agree to spread out the initiation fee it's just not worth it.

If the club is struggling, allowing the initiation fee in installments is smart business. If the club is near it's member cap, they have no need to accommodate prospective members this way.

Back to the member age gap, I only see two real ways that "Joe Member" could influence this-  Join, and then attempt to lure in same-age sailing buddies or, try to gather a cohort of a few same-age sailing buddies and join all at the same time and continue trying to build a demographic.  Hopefully the board realizes that its membership is aging out and is attempting to lure in new sailors.

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Our club here in Tampa has just raised its initiation dues the past year to $800 I think and then the dues are $60-70 a month plus a $12-15 minimum for the kitchen. (juniors and 'intermediate' sailors under 30 get a substantial break on the fees) Slip fees are low for the area and once you have one you do not let it go, there is a side-list for people out of a boat for a while but who can get the next available when they acquire another boat. After the recent dock re-build/expansion we are back to a small waiting list from a high of 2-5 years waiting. Dry slips and 3 hosts for trailer boats, mostly J24's, Melges 24's, a Youth Sailing pavilion for dinghy's, and of course hosting a variety of mid-winter events, 24's, J70's, etc. We have a club manager, kitchen and bar staff, and a maintenance guy. Most work around the club is done by the members during work parties (do it yourself club) which keeps operating costs down. When something major is required (like the new clubhouse bldg. years ago or the new docks that were required) then the funds are sought and a contractor brought in. On other small jobs we have the talent and individuals with the expertise/professionals for many projects that need work around the club, keeping dues and assessments low.

One of the considerations of membership is being an active sailor, whether owning a boat (preferred) or an active crew. The club is not big on 'social' members or those who only have powerboats, in fact there is a limit to how many power boats can be in the slips as a small percentage of the total. One consideration when the new clubhouse was built was not becoming a 'yacht' club, we did not want to lose the casual flavor that the club has developed over the years. The swimming pool is officially the 'sail cleaning facility' that allows members to swim in it. Again, having a pool to many of the old time members back in the day was seen as too 'yacht clubby'. We do have an active social events calendar and a number of formal and informal events, with only 2 per year that require coat and tie. (which usually are off after a short period of time)

I do not get to work at the club as much as I would like since I live out of town but plan to change that as soon as I can work it out. The club is on city owned property with a long term lease and has been at this site since the 40' or 50's. Part of the lease requires us to have certain events and activities open to the public to promote sailing in Tampa. Fortunately the city understands the visual of the club as people approach from the south and the club's visual against the backdrop of the towers, etc.

So, depending on your range of activities our club is a great value, depending on how much you take advantage of the opportunities.

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1 hour ago, Ajax said:

Kir,

SDYC is on a completely different social stratum, and that's ok. 

That's the part I don't get.  "If you ain't rich, fuck off" doesn't sound like an "ok" direction for the sport to me. 

 

$30,000 for the first year and "value" will never go together in my world. 

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16 minutes ago, Kirwan said:

That's the part I don't get.  "If you ain't rich, fuck off" doesn't sound like an "ok" direction for the sport to me. 

 

$30,000 for the first year and "value" will never go together in my world. 

well.., they are not saying "fuck off"... my guess is that they are probably pretty welcoming to visiting sailors - most clubs are. And, it's not a "direction for the sport".., it's a direction for that club.

i belong to a YC with annual dues that are substantially more than what was posted for SDYC. 

if there are a group of people who want a club with amenities and services that cost $2700/yr per member, or whatever, to deliver.., why shouldn't they have a club that suits their needs? 

why is it good for sailing.., if sailors who want those amenities, and are willing to pay for them.., can't find them in any yacht clubs?

what i think is good for sailing, is to have a wide variety of yacht clubs, at a wide variety of costs.., so that everyone can find one that they like and where they are comfortable.

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There is a constant refrain here that the sport of sailing is having trouble getting people interested, that it's considered exclusionary and only for the rich. 

To me, those exclusive, expensive yacht clubs are the epitome of the problem. 

But good for you rich people, you sometimes tolerate the likes of me for a few minutes on race day.  Heck, even Bushwood had 'caddies day'.

 

 

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Just now, Kirwan said:

To me, those exclusive, expensive yacht clubs are the epitome of the problem. 

They are also the ones that run the Etchells World Championships, the Farr 40 World Championships, the J-70 World Championships, the J-111 Worlds, the Pac52 Championships, the Star Worlds, 505 Worlds, etc. etc. etc. etc. And the ones that train and host the race officials, judges, umpires and other infrastructure that are necessary for world calibre events. And the ones that train, nurture and support youth sailors and Olympians. And that run events for aspiring women match racers. And so on. And so forth.

Please don't get me wrong; it is wonderful that there are inexpensive, casual and even "virtual" clubs that do a great job of promoting participation, and they are to be welcomed. However, I wish you good luck getting a "paper" yacht club to host an event like the Etchells Worlds or Big Boat Series.

  

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9 minutes ago, Kirwan said:

There is a constant refrain here that the sport of sailing is having trouble getting people interested, that it's considered exclusionary and only for the rich. 

To me, those exclusive, expensive yacht clubs are the epitome of the problem. 

But good for you rich people, you sometimes tolerate the likes of me for a few minutes on race day.  Heck, even Bushwood had 'caddies day'.

 

 

"only for the rich"?

clubs with dues like those of SDYC, or more, are relatively uncommon

most are probably on the order of a few hundred a year to, say, $1000/year

everyone has to make choices in life - plenty of people who are far from rich.., still manage to spend $1000/year on lift tickets to take their family skiing. 

 

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The $ isn't my issue, it's the scene...

I'm in my mid 30's but don't want to join a local club since there isn't consistent regulars own age. Sure there are a few but are wildly out number by the older crowd. While the older crowd can be fun and has it's place at any YC it's just not how I want to spend all of my time. For me I feel it's better to take the cash and go to local bars and restaurants with friends. If there is an influx of younger people at the local clubs I'll change my tune. I understand the chicken and egg approach. I just don't want to be an egg...

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1 hour ago, SF Woody Sailor said:

They are also the ones that run the Etchells World Championships, the Farr 40 World Championships, the J-70 World Championships, the J-111 Worlds, the Pac52 Championships, the Star Worlds, 505 Worlds, etc. etc. etc. etc. And the ones that train and host the race officials, judges, umpires and other infrastructure that are necessary for world calibre events. And the ones that train, nurture and support youth sailors and Olympians. And that run events for aspiring women match racers. And so on. And so forth.

The club that does this stuff in Seattle isn't a paper club, but is $35/mo and no initation fees.  There is a club house, they do more race starts than anyone in the country, but there isn't club dock space (it is located at the largest marina in Seattle).

Seattle also has Seattle Yacht Club which is more expensive, but also very nice. I was just out cruising and would have been happy to be a member to use their outstations. They do a better job at cruiser racing than CYC, have a really nice clubhouse, and do have member docks. It's out of my price range to join, but I'm glad that it exists. 

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I don't think the cost of yacht clubs is the problem, though I belong to one, which has its own marina, great club house, showers, parking, etc., and not too expensive.

Even if you do not belong to a YC and own a boat, you have the loan, insurance, slip fees (year round here in SoCal), maintenance and mods, etc.  A lot of costs.  I did not buy my first boat until my early 40s (71 now), and like many young people today, I was doing other things that did not take a lot of money:  surfing, diving, beach V-ball, back packing, skiing with some racing, road cycling with some racing, etc.  Gravitated to owning my own boat after crewing and racing for many years, and making more money.  Oh yeah, the aforementioned activities took their toll on my body.

 

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In my experience, when clubs have a membership drive with deep discounts on the initiation fees, or eliminate the fee altogether for a period of time, the people who join are uninterested in sailing, racing, fishing, or any other kind of boating that might take them away from the subsidized ( by dues) drinks at the bar.  They complain that the regatta awards ceremony interferes with summer league basketball on TV. They're the first to shout opinions at the annual meeting, rant about juniors hanging out on the lawn (Get off my lawn!) and sailors in salt-crusted clothing. They run away when dues are increased, drink prices are raised, or an assessment is called for because the roof is falling down.  In other words, they tend to be the biggest PITA, have no loyalty and make the least contribution to anything water-related. A cynic would suggest that this sounds like life-members, too, but I would never go there.

 

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2 hours ago, Pipe Dream said:

One thing that mystifies me is why clubs have an initiation fee?

What is the basic reasoning behind it?

I don't know about other Clubs, but at the two I belong to we separate operating expenses from capital expenses. The objective is that operating revenue (dues, regatta entry fees, junior program payments, restaurant and bar, etc) should slightly exceed the associated operating costs and depreciation. Capital expenses (once a decade harbor dredge, new regatta building, etc) are generally funded by initiation fees, capital dues and retained earnings.

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I have to say I am really happy with my small sailing club, untill I moved to Germany I was a member of MBYC in San Diego which was a great club but now am a member of Segelverein Biblis, we only have a small crappy lake, we have a small clubhouse with a kitchen you can use and a fridge with drinks and a little box to put your money in.  All volunteer work and everyone is required to pitch in, some go way beyond what is required.

For my 200€ a year I get boat storage, a little clubhouse and grounds which I can use when ever I want, a great place to camp with my daughter for the weekend, a 3 and a 6 Finn trailer I can use... 

We have a good youth Opti and Laser group. About 20 Finns maybe 10-12 who actively travel to regattas, 15 Lasers a few other assorted dinghies and maybe 10 A Cats and a few other cats (though cats seem a bit silly on our little lake) Finns followed by Lasers are the most active Our record is 43 Finns at our regatta, lasers usually 20 full rigs and maybe 10-15 radials. 

Our lake is too small to be much fun to just sail around on but when we get out for training or regattas it's ok, just have to sail lot's of laps.
We have 1 Finn, 1 Laser, 1 Cat, 1 Oppi and 3 Yardstick regattas a year. We have probably 10 regattas  a year on the lakes within about a 100 km. I tend to then do  a couple of bigger events, Masters, German Nationals, some other nationals and such maybe 2 or 3 times a year. Off to the Swiss champs next month :-)
We also meet to train Saturdays through the winter or until the lake freezes. 


 

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16 hours ago, us7070 said:

well.., they are not saying "fuck off"... my guess is that they are probably pretty welcoming to visiting sailors - most clubs are. And, it's not a "direction for the sport".., it's a direction for that club.

i belong to a YC with annual dues that are substantially more than what was posted for SDYC. 

if there are a group of people who want a club with amenities and services that cost $2700/yr per member, or whatever, to deliver.., why shouldn't they have a club that suits their needs? 

why is it good for sailing.., if sailors who want those amenities, and are willing to pay for them.., can't find them in any yacht clubs?

what i think is good for sailing, is to have a wide variety of yacht clubs, at a wide variety of costs.., so that everyone can find one that they like and where they are comfortable.

Precisely this, especially that last line.

Kir, why be upset that there are a handful of elite, high-end clubs so long as there are also plenty of lower cost, more casual clubs to cater to the rest of us?  It's no different than golf, or car or motorcycle clubs. There is a spectrum that covers most of the financial demographics.

I am not wealthy, not a member of AYC but I can understand and appreciate the function that high-end clubs provide. There are 3 or 4 (significantly) lower cost clubs that I can afford to belong to in my area. I'm not being shut out of the sport or the clubs.

"Caddie's Day?" No problem. AYC opens their after parties to the race participants so if you really, really feel that you should be able to spend some time at a high-end club, just sail in some of their races.

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6 hours ago, SF Woody Sailor said:

I don't know about other Clubs, but at the two I belong to we separate operating expenses from capital expenses. The objective is that operating revenue (dues, regatta entry fees, junior program payments, restaurant and bar, etc) should slightly exceed the associated operating costs and depreciation. Capital expenses (once a decade harbor dredge, new regatta building, etc) are generally funded by initiation fees, capital dues and retained earnings.

That's how my club does it.

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