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NCountry 01-22-2009 12:36 PM

Newbies and Yacht Clubs....
I know I'm fixing to get flamed but there's something I want to point out.

I been reading that interest in sailing seems to be on the downslide. Just not many new people getting involved. It occured to me that maybe sailors are our own worst enemies.

I recently was in another city and took the opportunity to visit a local club. There were a lot of sailboats and lots of people around them. But, the security gate was closed, no one answered the intercom AND despite trying to flag down some of the people that were coming and going NO ONE stopped or even made an attempt to be friendly or acknowledge that I was there. I was actually there to pass along information for a regatta I promote but that is another story.

I've read multiple times where the advice given to someone that was interested in learning to sail was to head out to the local "club" and ask to crew on someones boat. Ask questions and respectfully roam the docks looking for people on their boats. By this adivce we are led to believe that sailors love to talk about their boats. My experience with this particular club has been repeated a couple of times at other places and is contrary to the advice given to people that are interested in the sport.

With the regatta I promote (totally a non-profit deal) you wouldn't believe the trouble we have getting the area clubs to even acknowledge that we have an event. There are a few that do manage to put it in a news letter but there are a lot of others that won't even respond to an e-mail to say "no thanks, not interested."

With that being said I'm beginning to wonder if maybe we are our own worst enemies when it comes to sharing our sport with new people? If I had not already been a sailor with my own boat I would certainly have been turned off of EVER wanting to get a sailboat or learn to sail by the way the club members have acted towards me when I was around these various "clubs". I'm also wondering if others have had similar experiences when away from their home ports and just wandering around trying to make friends with the local? Shouldn't we have a little more respect for people when they inquire about our favorite passion?

WouldaShoulda 01-22-2009 12:41 PM

Get Lost!! ;)

tommays 01-22-2009 01:04 PM


It is a bit different wondering around a private club with out and invite Vs looking around at a public dock

It is really not that hard to look on the crew wanted section of a club and get to know the members buy sailing with them

As far as putting on and event i dont see how you would really do it without a club and at least around here they allready have there pet charitys and 2009 is allready FULLY planed out

sailingdog 01-22-2009 01:19 PM

There's a difference between marinas, sailing clubs and yacht clubs... the ones with the snooty officers, blue blazers and such are often very insular and not worth dealing with. :) Most of the other ones are far more open... Maybe it is the area you're in... I've noticed the smaller the boats, the generally more open and friendly the people... :)

SailKing1 01-22-2009 01:22 PM

I think most yacht clubs and public marinas for that matter have already established regattas. At least thats the way it is in my area.

In the case of many private clubs you have to make contact by phone to speak with a representative before entrance. Hence the reason for locked gates. Private is private you know.

As for the local marinas they seem to be mostly friendly talkative sailors where I live. I walk docks to look at boats regularly and find most I meet not only willing to discuss their boat, but usually will invite you aboard to show it off.

boatpoker 01-22-2009 01:34 PM

There seems to be a significant difference in yacht clubs depending on geo-location. I have probably visited 90% of the yacht clubs on the Great Lakes by water and have received reciprocal priveleges without question even when my club (Port Credit Yacht Club) was not on their reciprocal list.
Most GL yacht clubs will also offer priveleges to to non-GL boats ie. east coast boats on the great circle route however, the reverse is not true. On our trips south we tried many times to visit east coast and ICW yacht clubs looking for reciprocal priveleges and were turned away every time.

NCountry 01-22-2009 02:15 PM

Just to clarify. These are inland lake "clubs". They don't even have any boats bigger than 25 to 30 feet. One "club" in particular is on a lake that you can see the entire lake from any point on the shore. It's not a private lake and even has public parks all the way around it. I'm really not concerned with the event so much as I'm bothered by their lack of interest in promoting sailing. One club I visited even had a bunch of boats lined up along a fence with "
For Sale" signs on them but not a one had a number written on it. How dumb is that?

smackdaddy 01-22-2009 02:32 PM

78 Attachment(s)
You know, your point about sailing itself not being very open to newbies is a good one. As mentioned it's often a fenced marina, or a club of some sort, or expensive lessons, or even a regatta - all of which really limit who can play.

Are there any "programs" or whatever out there where newbies can hook up with willing, capable sailors to just go out and see what it's about? When we started, we just wanted to see what it was like - as would any newbie. But we didn't want to drop hundreds to do it (although we did anyway). The options are really limited as pointed out above.

Probably not an answer here. I mean who wants to take strangers out on their boats? But it might be cool for clubs, etc. to have "opens" if they don't already offer them so more people could be exposed to the sport. Because, you're right, it's dyin' unfortunately.

blt2ski 01-22-2009 02:37 PM

Sounds like your area. Locally for me, ie puget sound, we have a freebee rag that is handed out at the local WM's, marina's etc, and you can get your regatta in the calender for free, and sometimes a write up. Along with there are online calenders with that yrs races on it. With 1-3 meetings in the late fall for the different clubs to get together, schedule so there is not an overlap of the BIGGER races.

I went around last fall with posters for my clubs BIG regatta, and not one club/store/marine type establishment turned me down if they had a buliten board to hang things like this.

Also, some clubs require that you own a boat to belong, others are time share styles, where they own the boats, you pay or as a member can use theboats.


AE28 01-22-2009 03:22 PM

Ya mean like this?


Originally Posted by WouldaShoulda (Post 436136)
Get Lost!! ;)

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