You may have been a member of several yacht clubs over the years and know the ins and outs of yacht club membership well.
Or, you may be new to sailing and debating the benefits of joining a yacht club – and whether doing so will be worth your while at all.
Life is busy, and joining a yacht club with a jam-packed calendar of races, training programmes and social events might seem like just another demand on your precious free time.
Yet, there are so many benefits to joining a yacht club. Apart from getting to spend time outdoors on the water with other sailing enthusiasts, there is so much to gain from becoming an active member of your local sailing community.
You will have someplace to go where you can indulge your passion for sailing to your heart’s content. There will be lots of sailing-related activities and events for you and your family to take part in every year.
What’s more, you will get to know other like-minded folks who share your passion for sailing – many of whom will become your “sailing family” for years to come.
Read on for more information about the many advantages of joining a yacht club and becoming a member of your local sailing community.
Well, that depends on the yacht club you choose to join.
Much like people, every yacht club has its own unique “personality”. Some will be laid-back, casual and informal, whereas others might be more formal, with decades of heritage and proud traditions.
To put it simply, a yacht club is usually the epicentre of a local sailing community. Anywhere there is water, yacht owners and sailing enthusiasts, you are sure to find a yacht club in the area.
Most yacht clubs cater to people who own a yacht, have owned a yacht, or plan on owning one soon. Yacht club membership also often relies on you knowing someone who is already a member at the club you would like to join.
You'll be able to learn more about any specific yacht club by doing some online research, as well as making contact with the club you are considering. Ask the club for information about its history, rules, membership requirements and any other pertinent information you may require before making up your mind about joining – or not.
If there is a specific yacht club in your area that you would like to join, start by examining the club’s membership requirements. These requirements will usually be stipulated clearly on the yacht club’s website, along with all the necessary steps to become a member, with all costs and fees laid out.
Annual membership fees usually apply. Being a paid-up member of a yacht club will give you access to the facilities, social events and enable you to enter sailing races, cruises, training programmes and other activities on the club’s events calendar.
You will never have to wonder what to do with your boat on the weekend again. From races and cruises to training programmes to holiday parties and events, there’s always bound to be something fun going on for you or your children to join.
Regardless of the time of year, your yacht club is likely to have a packed calendar of fun, sailing-related events for the entire family.
If your property does not have a boat dock, you will need someplace to store and from where to launch your boat.
Yacht clubs provide a safe place to keep your boat, either via dry storage or in a boat slip. If your yacht club is in a prime location, it will also be a great place from which to set out on your yachting adventures.
When you are a member of a yacht club, you will have the opportunity of taking part in races for your club, and represent it on your boat.
Many yacht clubs have programmes to train children of members in various aspects of sailing. They also often offer activities and programmes to keep little ones entertained while their parents are enjoying other sailing activities and events at the club.
Many yacht clubs boast exceptional restaurants and bars that are only for members to enjoy. Some yacht clubs even have tennis courts and high-end gyms with swimming pools and personal trainers.
The majority of yacht clubs will allow members to dock in other yacht clubs and marinas around the country – or even elsewhere around the world.
This reciprocity benefit will give you the same access to other yacht clubs’ marinas and their facilities that you would enjoy at your club. This system is excellent if you plan on travelling around your home country – or the globe – by yacht. You’ll always have a "home" in every port.
Some yacht clubs even extend their membership privileges to golf resorts and other services.
When you join a yacht club, you will connect with new friends who share your passion for all things sailing. Through cruising together and enjoying the many social engagements at their yacht club, many members form life-long friendships, as do their children!
As you can see, the benefits of joining a yacht club are manifold. Much more than only offering you a place to keep your boat, it will open up a whole new way of life centred around sailing, with lots of social events and opportunities to spend time with others who share your passion for sailing.
However, yacht clubs can vary quite a bit in character and levels of formality, and it is essential to find a yacht club where you can be yourself and feel at home.
Take your time, ask around and do some research before deciding on a yacht club to join.
Ask yourself what made you choose sailing as a pastime initially. What do you value and enjoy most about sailing? Are you a stickler for traditions and formality, or are you a more casual, laid-back sailing enthusiast?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll know when you come across the yacht club that is perfect for you.