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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I will second going with the local non-profit sailing center where the focus is on Sailing and not the Bar or Lounge. The founder of ours mentioned that he realized the folly of having the bar and lounge at the first club he founded when people started complaining that somebody had to do something about the boats and people in sailing shorts with their life jackets spoiling the place. He thought it was great to see so many especially whole families there to sail while the Lounge Crowd saw them as a nuisance that had to be eliminated.

If your in the South East then ignore those Northeners and wear clothing appropriate to Southern Weather in light colors and be sure to wear briefs under your sailing shorts (I shouldn't need to explain why). Many of our members wear light colored twill shorts and a vented cotton long sleeved shirt to better deal with the sun. Its hot and the sun beats mercilessly here in the Sunshine State.

Don't wear greasy lotions either or footwear that will leave a mark. If you carry a multi-tool, etc be sure its in a case that will not leave a mark on every thing you pass by messing up cushions, lazeretts, etc. Belts that can leave marks should be avoided too along with excessive jewelry. You may be required to go and retrieve any of your fingers that you loose in the rigging due to wearing a large gaudy ring along with clean up any stains.

Synthetics that can react with body heat/sweat leaving you smelling like you've been stewing in them for several days after a few minutes in the sun should be avoided. Had one guy that did not believe in deodorant so he was usually the one left at the dock and had to sail solo. Nobody wanted him to show up for a picnic sail or event with a cookout.

If the sailing center does not provide life jackets then be sure to bring your own. If you are using sailing center/club equipment then be sure to follow the rules about cleanup and stowing them afterwards. Many will require members who take out the smaller boats to flake the sails and stow them in the facilities sail lockers along with rinse and hang to dry any of the loaner life vests that they put on. As other mentioned be sure to offer and be available to assist with these tasks even if your just the guy turning the spigot on the hose on and off and reeling it up afterwards.

Pay attention to who's around you and watch the salty talk and humor. Some loose track when its a family type mixed crowd event taking place and then find they have some apologies to make. Really just common sense.
I will definitely keep that in mind and keep an eye out for the presence of a Lounge Crowd at the clubs I visit.

Thanks for the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
You made an insightful comment when you said "if it's a good match for me". Here on Long Island Sound there are lots of yacht clubs. Some are more formal with a fancy building, bar, restaurant, pool, tennis, etc. Others (like mine) are more low key where the members pitch in to make the thing work and keep costs down. I have been a member of my club since 1979. When I retired, the club was one of the major reasons I decided not to move. My summers revolve around the club. Fellow retired club members go out daysailing together (alternating boats) any during the week when the wind is good. Add in low key club racing, club cruises, dinners on the club porch, and you have a lot of the reasons why I feel very lucky to have found "my" yacht club.
Sounds like you've found the dream club!
 

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Southeast, Actually where are you?? Most of us in the US of A assume that's where you're at, it may not be the case.
 

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Most clubs have informal weeknight "beercan" racing, i.e. 6 or 7PM, one race, weds or thurs night. And especially for those races, someone ALWAYS needs crew. So look into that. If there is more than one local club, often they pick different days. Sailing gloves are very useful, and if you're doing evening races they usually end around sunset, so a small flashlight in your pocket or bag can be useful. Sometimes there's a buffet afterwards, or drinks. Sometimes not.

If the boats are on moorings and there is a launch that runs people out to them? Tradition is to tip the launch driver on the way back in to the docks, and while that's often the skipper's job, if you have a couple of singles in your pocket there's usually a need for change and it is appreciated.
 

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S2 7.9 Bear Lake, UT
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I've not been able to find any sailing clubs in my area and the sailing schools are outside of my budget at the moment. So a yacht club seemed like my best bet. If none of the yacht clubs work out for me I will probably try pacing the docks with some beers like you mentioned in your second post :)

Thanks for the tips!
A yacht club is a recurring expense, just to belong. I have nothing against yacht clubs but I try to avoid all recurring expenses, unless I get something significant for it,. An ASA 101 or 103 is a one time expense that will leave you knowing how to sail and make you a better guest on people's boats, meaning you will be more likely to be invited back, especially if you bring beer. Joining a yacht club is akin to joining a country club. I can't see any reason to join if you don't have a boat or are not rich and want to hang out with yachties.

It is possible the schools are expensive in your area because of lack of competition. Take a vacation somewhere warm and take a sailing lesson there.
 

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In all honesty I can't see myself spending much time at a bar or lounge if the yacht club has one.
If you have no interest in hanging out at the yacht club bar and you don't have a boat then YC membership would truly be a waste. Most racing is just a warmup to sit around drinking and talk about sailing for hours. A yacht club bar is the best place to meet other sailors and find more opportunities to sail other boats, drinking is optional.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
A yacht club is a recurring expense, just to belong. I have nothing against yacht clubs but I try to avoid all recurring expenses, unless I get something significant for it,. An ASA 101 or 103 is a one time expense that will leave you knowing how to sail and make you a better guest on people's boats, meaning you will be more likely to be invited back, especially if you bring beer. Joining a yacht club is akin to joining a country club. I can't see any reason to join if you don't have a boat or are not rich and want to hang out with yachties.

It is possible the schools are expensive in your area because of lack of competition. Take a vacation somewhere warm and take a sailing lesson there.
I agree with you on recurring expenses. It's just that the majority of what I've read online about how people got started with sailing said it was a relative or friend who introduced them to it, or they just grew up around boats. If the club can get me in contact with a few likeminded sailors and show me the basics I will think it worth my time - even if I just stick around for a few months. For all I know I could hate being out on the water :) Paying for formal lessons seems like an expensive way to find that out. One of the clubs here have dinghy lessons for young people like me who are interested in sailing which will probably be my best bet. I'm not sure how else I can get a taste for sailing.
I will definitely keep in mind what you said about the worth of lessons though, for future reference. Thanks!

If you have no interest in hanging out at the yacht club bar and you don't have a boat then YC membership would truly be a waste. Most racing is just a warmup to sit around drinking and talk about sailing for hours. A yacht club bar is the best place to meet other sailors and find more opportunities to sail other boats, drinking is optional.
Sorry for the misunderstanding, I wasn't being clear! I meant this more in the sense that if the bar/lounge is a place where people don't even talk about sailing or if the focus of the club is on the bar more than actually sailing, it's not something I would be interested in. But if the lounge is a good place to make connections, that is good enough for me :) Other posters mentioned clubs vary greatly so I am still hopeful I will find a good match, even if just to get me started.

Southeast, Actually where are you?? Most of us in the US of A assume that's where you're at, it may not be the case.
I'm based in South Africa.
 

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Here a Sailing Center can be a very simple venue with any or all of the following: Kayaks, Paddle/Sail Boards, Hobie Waves, Hobie Getaways, 420's, Lasers, Sunfish, Sailfish, Optimists and possibly a few Daysailers 1 or 2, Capri 14.6, Sunbird 16s. Memberships will include showers, access to all boats you are qualified to sail, life vests, sunscreen, basic first aid and access to basic tools at an annual membership of around $400 for an individual, $525 family and $190 youth under 18 years old. Many will have boat storage available and will have retrieving from the storage yard and launching assistance included with the storage fee. Launching your personal trailer sailor will usually be assisted with too however many will not allow power boats or jet skis to be launched from their private boat ramp unless its a coaches boat or one of the centers rescue boats.

A Sailing Center can be a great value if your looking to get some time on the water on something that can be single handed and still have some options for an occasional crowd such as a GetAway.
 

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I didn't read through all the posts, so this may have been added. Yacht Clubs come in every way, shape and form. Some are highfalutin social clubs for the uber wealthy to congregate among their peers and have a common bond, where they aren't going to be criticized for their 1% status. Others are just a not for profit club, where members are expected to put in work hours, to keep the costs low for everyone. Then there is everything in between.

Be sure you know what you're getting yourself into. The financial part can be deceiving. Some of the wealthier clubs can have the cheapest dues. That's because any time they need anything done, they just tag every member with their share, which I've literally heard of those assessments being in the 6 figure ranges. More commonly in the thousands. Of course, no one gets in those highfalutin clubs, without either knowing someone who sponsors them, or is vetted to know that kind of tab isn't going to be a problem.

You need to vet them too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
A Sailing Center can be a great value if your looking to get some time on the water on something that can be single handed and still have some options for an occasional crowd such as a GetAway.
Thanks for mentioning that. I'll have a look if we have something more akin to a sailing centre in the area.

I didn't read through all the posts, so this may have been added. Yacht Clubs come in every way, shape and form. Some are highfalutin social clubs for the uber wealthy to congregate among their peers and have a common bond, where they aren't going to be criticized for their 1% status. Others are just a not for profit club, where members are expected to put in work hours, to keep the costs low for everyone. Then there is everything in between.
I am finding that 'yacht club' is indeed a very broad concept. Hopefully I will find the right fit for me. Thanks for your input!
 

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I'm based in South Africa.
That little tidbit of info, makes a big difference. You should fill out the rest of your profile, it would tell us more about you, and there just might be another South African onboard willing to take you sailing or tell you how to get onboard a boat. People on here are from all over the world but mostly from the U.S and Canada, where things might be different. I have joined a yacht club for $100 before that had no facilities but was just there to facilitate racing. Most yacht clubs in the U.S. cost as much $500-1000 to join and $1000+ a year to be a member of. The nice clubs cost $10,000 or more to join, obviously they want to keep riff-raff like me out, by outpricing me. In comparison you can take a sailing class for $3-400.

Do you have a link for the yacht clubs you are looking at? It would be interesting to compare the yacht clubs of ZA.
 

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How new are you? Like zero days on a sailboat? On top of all the other great comments, it would be a welcome relief to the skip if he/she didn’t have to teach you vocabulary right from the get go. So if you don’t already know, find a big picture (just reading what it is might not be enough to identify it on boats, seeing it helps) of a sailboat that has the name for everything. Having Someone that doesent even know a main sheet from a fore stay, can get kind of tiring explaining all the time. So studying all the terminology will get you learning faster and the skipper giving you more helpful things to do
 

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getting back to the important topic, even at the snottiest of clubs with the strictest and most formal dining rooms, most people sailing on the boats and roaming the grounds who actually race boats will be wearing something like this:




you don't have to wear that of course, if you want to be a different fish, you've got to drop out of the school
 

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I must admit, I havnt spent much time in Yacht Clubs. The last time was a pretty fancy place in Tampa with my sister and apparently wealthy BIL. But a quick Google search for yacht club attire brought up these helpful looks:
 

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I have no idea how it is in south africa, but at least here in the US every sailing school I've looked at had a "try sailing" option, usually something like a 2-4 hr quick lesson on a small boat showing the absolute basics. Costs $100 or so? That was my first time on a sailboat, using a groupon deal for one of those with my wife (checked my email; paid $150 for 2 people). Perfect date activity.. Not cheap, but cheaper than yacht clubs.
 
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