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  #1  
Old 03-14-2008
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Needing your advice: joining a club

I know most of you guys own boats....but does/has anyone belong to a sailing club where you have unlimited use of the boats for an annual fee.

One club I am looking at would offer:
1) basic keelboat class + certification
2) unlimited use of the daysailing boats (26/27 feet) for 1 year
3) participation in racing

for about $1600.

Does this sound like something worth it, do you guys have any opinions for me?
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Old 03-14-2008
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Compared to the cost of owning a boat, seems pretty reasonable to me.
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Old 03-14-2008
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If you don't own, and don't want everything that comes with ownership (maint cost, berthing costs, insurance, etc. etc.) it might be a good deal. I would check into how many club members vs. available club boats there are. "Unlimited" may be pretty limited if everybody signs up all the boats for every weekend throughout the season. "Unlimited" may then turn into one tuesday here and a few thursdays there. If you don't want the "headache" of ownership, but all the joys of sailing it may be for you.
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Old 03-14-2008
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Sound like what we were doing in CT before we moved (with the price adjusted for inflation ). It's really a great idea IF there are not too many members per boat. The sailing center that we were with focused on teaching classes more than increasing membership, so they had a fairly low member/boat ratio. If that gets too high, you'll find that you need to call 3 weeks in advance to reserve time. I think that the center we were at had about 5-7 members per boat, and I know that there were times I called on Thursday and was able to get a boat for Saturday. Your Mileage May Vary. (But I vote that you go for it, if my vote gets counted )
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"... the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my alloted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze." - Richard Bode, First you have to row a little boat (pg. 94)
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Old 03-14-2008
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/\/\ thanks for the replies, every vote counts

I want to gain more experience before I get into buying (and getting myself into trouble ;-) ), so this seems like a good way to do it.

I will ask about the ratio of boats/members today

Keep that advice coming!
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Old 03-14-2008
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Tradewinds

My club is like that, Tradewinds Sailing Club - San Francisco Sailing Lessons |Bay Area Sailing | Sailing school | Women sailing | Sailing lessons | Sailing classes | Sailing Instruction | Sailing club | ASA | Sailing vacations | Sailing Lessons, San Francisco, sailboat r , well I should say the one I belong to, sans the racing, although there are many opportunities. I pay a flat fee per month, much less than slip fees and can take out the boats as much as I want depending on which fleet size I am checked out on.

I believe it is the only club in the US structured like this. The ASA classes are pretty inexpensive also, and I have absolutely no complaints.
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Old 03-14-2008
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Which club are you looking at joining?
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Old 03-14-2008
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Have to admit I wish I'd done a club prior to purchase. Yearly maintenance on the boat comes in close to about half most club's yearly cost. For that extra money you're sailing perfectly maintained boats with all the gear they could need. You also get to experience different sizes/types/makes and decide what you like and what you should save up to buy.

Now that I do own a boat and I've done two seasons worth of repairs on it, I'm addicted and would never look back. But when you spend a perfectly good sailing day pulling your outboard off for a repair or going up the mast in bosun's to rewire something.... you'll be wondering why you didn't just hop on board a club boat and push off. Some offer great cert courses as well in decent packages that make sense.
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Old 03-14-2008
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Trust me Birdface... club boats aren't perfectly maintained... they're maintained, but it is often good enough maintenance, rather than perfect. On one club boat I went out on a few years ago, prior to buying my boat, the mainsail shackle was to short for the headboard on some of the sails, so it was a bit of a gamble on this particular boat whether the main you grabbed was actually going to fit. One sail, I had to fix it by notching the headboard slightly to fit.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 03-14-2008
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I started yacht sailing with a club that existed mainly to own half a dozen yachts which it chartered to its members at cost. So a half-way house between what you are looking at and conventional chartering. The charters were divided between skippered training sessions by instructors in the club, skippered racing, an annual long-distance cruise (picking up and dropping members along the way), and short bare-boat charters by members.

Just a couple of charters per annum was sufficient to make it very good value for money, though I usually got in four or five. It was a first-class method of gaining experience prior to buying. There was as Sailingdog suggests, an issue about maintenance. We paid for a club bosun to organise this and keep it under control, luckily we had a fairly dedicated core of members willing to help. With the yachts in use 48 weeks a year, it was occasionally an issue. But even so, it worked well.
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