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Old 02-07-2013
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Re: Criteria for choosing a marina/ yacht club

I suspect that geographic region influences choices. We live in an area subject to hurricanes. Accordingly, the relative exposure of the marina and the availability of near by "hurricane holes" or areas where one can anchor the yacht out with reasonable assurance that it will be where it was left after the event are important, if not the most important factor.

In Florida, the nature of the Club is also important. Whether it is actually a yacht club or simply a dining society (and "oh by the way we have a marina") that uses the marina to subsidize the eating/drinking habits of the non-yacht owner "members" that frequently out number the yacht owners is important. In fact, while desirable, one frequently finds that the more facilities/amenities (tennis courts, pools etc.) the more the place is like a country club/dining society and the more the yacht owners are regarded as nothing more than a revenue source.

Ease of access and proximity to sailing and home are then considerations. Fortunately for us, we've always lived in areas where one hoisted one's sails on the way out of the marina and could be/was sailing once one cleared the sea wall/breakwater. We also like to be able to get to the boat quickly. In San Francisco and later SoCal we could get to the boat within 10-15 minutes and so spent a lot of time at the Club even when not sailing. Here (South West Florida) we're about 30 minutes away and that's something of a pain in the neck and the Club is fairly remote such that if one needs a part, it's a bit of a hike to a marine outlet or hardware store.

Another factor that is often over looked is whether a Club has a good shop. Our Clubs in California--the Richmond Yacht Club in San Francisco and the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach--both had well equipped shops with good work benches/spaces that allowed one to make all manner of repairs "on site". Here that is rarely the case and, of course, non-yachting members cannot understand why one might want the Club to buy a drill press or grinder or whatever.

Lastly, speaking as a sailor, one needs to look at the ratio of masts verses Fly-bridges in the marina. With all due respect to power boaters, there is a decidedly different mentality in a club dominated by power boaters--and level of competence, unfortunately, (speaking as one who has had to fend off out of control power boats attempting to back into cross-wind slips in very narrow confines on more than a few occasions!).

There's more of course but these are a few of my/our considerations.

FWIW...
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