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Discussion Starter #1
I started this thread in the hoipes of cleaning up the 2014 Cjesapeake Sailing one as we started a discussion on the merits of both

Many of you think that the young people are the key to the future of the yacht clubs. While I understand that the prevailing thinking may seem to be that, I dont beleive it is so cut and dry.

First lets differentiate between the RHSC and a full service yacht club. One is really just a racing association with an occasional function and some slips in most cases

A full service yacht club may have the same ammenities as the sailing one with the addition of paid professional staff, a clubhouse to maintain, possibly a pool, possibly a restauarant, possibly fuel docks and pumpout facilitiues.

I belong to one like the later. While I agree to some extent the racing programs, may help excite and entice future boaters and sailors in the long run, there is no way that they are even close to spending the $4-5 thousand a year to become a member of a full professional yacht club. Therefore in our case the future is not the 12 year old sailors, the struggling ( time and financial) young families who will not volunteer to help and be part of a full service yacht club.

As I stated in the other thread, the young family members of my and other similar Chesapeake full service yacht clubs for wahtever reason do not volunteer their or their familys time in the running or the upkeep of the full service club which it desparatly needs, just like a marina does. Therefore it fall on the other members to volunteer or pay more professional staff which inevitably would price it above the means of the younger families and force it to complete with business money making marinas.

Glibly speculating that the future is the young family looks at only one aspect the fact that people will age out of the club. The fact is the two groups have different expectations of what they want their "club" to be. I have seen clubs based on young families and they have a very difficult time getting volunteers when their kids are not involved in an activity to help with the ,maintainence of the club.

WE as a club are going through a transition and searching for a different paradigm to run our club as more of a business so it survives and therefore its traditions and structure survives into the future. The old model of uniformed commodores running the club has passed. The newer commodores and Boards of Governors are much more business minded and understand the different groups the club must pay attention to and attract in order to stay financially solvent for the club to continue to exhist.

The younger generations are less likely to volunteer ( this is a fact which has been studied) , which means unless their is a volunteer group aside from them it may not be able to sustain the club or its infrastructure. If the activities are run...they are geared toward the people who will volunteer.
 

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This has been an interesting discussion in the 2014 Sailing Season thread in the Chesapeake Bay sub-forum. There is value in splitting it out.

I've stayed in a number of marinas, been member of a couple of yacht clubs, and spent 2014 on a mooring ball.

I'd like to avoid the "my yacht club is bigger than yours" trap. I'll use an analogy instead. I belong to the Cosmos Club of Washington DC. After twenty years of membership I'm still on the young side. The average age of our membership is dead. <-joke I have been active on the Garden Committee, House Committee, and a special committee that managed the upgrade of electrical, plumbing, fire suppression, and fire alarm systems in our historically significant building.

Membership is by invitation only and vetted, so different from most yacht clubs in that respect.

We've done a lot of things to keep membership numbers up. We've succeeded in slowly driving the average age of the membership down. We very rarely lose members to anything except death, so that is an accomplishment.

We have reduced initiation and dues for younger people (<40). We go out of our way to reach out to younger people for events like Mother's Day brunch. Our special interest groups (travel, art, national security, law, politics, ...) are charged to consider our younger members and prospective members for some (not all) of their events.

Our particular club isn't looking for really young people. Members are invited to join on the basis of accomplishments. My Dad and I are among a very small number of related members.

Yacht clubs, in my opinion, should be working hard to retain the offspring of current members. Youth sailing programs are a good start (which work as well for grandchildren as children). I don't personally think much of the beauty contest component but for clubs that have social members it may contribute. The challenge is to maintain a connection while young people go to college and then establish their lives. There should be, in my opinion, a way to keep them engaged during that period. In Europe, many clubs have club boats that help keep people engaged. Racing programs help keep people on board. So do social crewing programs.

Many organizations treat volunteering as an all or nothing activity. We've struggled with this at SSCA. You keep going back to the same people over and over which burns those people out and intimidates other people from volunteering. My suggestion is to focus on volunteerism by getting people to take on very small efforts and recognizing the heck out of them. Turn your go-to people into recruiters, mentors, and organizers. Divide your needed efforts into small enough pieces that busy people can help with.

Any time you say "young people do this" or "don't do that" ask yourselves why and figure out what you can do about that. That would be what you can do, not them.

There are lots of clubs that are successful (off the top of my head Annapolis Yacht Club, Eastport Yacht Club, the Cambridge Yacht Club, NYYC, and Essex Yacht Club). There is nothing wrong with building relationships and getting advice. You don't have to take it. Different perspectives can be useful.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This has been an interesting discussion in the 2014 Sailing Season thread in the Chesapeake Bay sub-forum. There is value in splitting it out.

I've stayed in a number of marinas, been member of a couple of yacht clubs, and spent 2014 on a mooring ball.

I'd like to avoid the "my yacht club is bigger than yours" trap. I'll use an analogy instead. I belong to the Cosmos Club of Washington DC. After twenty years of membership I'm still on the young side. The average age of our membership is dead. <-joke I have been active on the Garden Committee, House Committee, and a special committee that managed the upgrade of electrical, plumbing, fire suppression, and fire alarm systems in our historically significant building.

Membership is by invitation only and vetted, so different from most yacht clubs in that respect.

We've done a lot of things to keep membership numbers up. We've succeeded in slowly driving the average age of the membership down. We very rarely lose members to anything except death, so that is an accomplishment.

We have reduced initiation and dues for younger people (<40). We go out of our way to reach out to younger people for events like Mother's Day brunch. Our special interest groups (travel, art, national security, law, politics, ...) are charged to consider our younger members and prospective members for some (not all) of their events.

Our particular club isn't looking for really young people. Members are invited to join on the basis of accomplishments. My Dad and I are among a very small number of related members.

Yacht clubs, in my opinion, should be working hard to retain the offspring of current members. Youth sailing programs are a good start (which work as well for grandchildren as children). I don't personally think much of the beauty contest component but for clubs that have social members it may contribute. The challenge is to maintain a connection while young people go to college and then establish their lives. There should be, in my opinion, a way to keep them engaged during that period. In Europe, many clubs have club boats that help keep people engaged. Racing programs help keep people on board. So do social crewing programs.

Many organizations treat volunteering as an all or nothing activity. We've struggled with this at SSCA. You keep going back to the same people over and over which burns those people out and intimidates other people from volunteering. My suggestion is to focus on volunteerism by getting people to take on very small efforts and recognizing the heck out of them. Turn your go-to people into recruiters, mentors, and organizers. Divide your needed efforts into small enough pieces that busy people can help with.

Any time you say "young people do this" or "don't do that" ask yourselves why and figure out what you can do about that. That would be what you can do, not them.

There are lots of clubs that are successful (off the top of my head Annapolis Yacht Club, Eastport Yacht Club, the Cambridge Yacht Club, NYYC, and Essex Yacht Club). There is nothing wrong with building relationships and getting advice. You don't have to take it. Different perspectives can be useful.
Well written and your points are right on in most cases.

Our club has been all over the place in years past and thus has not been good on retaining people who were there as it had no clear direction when the economy went south. Retaining current members as well as their families is important as you said. I have been in colsultation with the Commodores and business committtees of AYC and EYC as they are members of CBCVA and I see them at meetings. They have had similar issues and interesting suggestions we are trying. They are particularly happy to see us venture into the relm of racing and we have join the CBYRA as a sponsoring member.

We got away with the vetting process that was in place when I joined 10 years ago and it slowly lead to an element of membership which would have been better served to have been in a marina as they never really bought into the Club or the comnmradiere of the club idea.

Also by not vetting we got into a situation where members really couldnt afford to be members and were negligent or late paying bills constantly. Had it been treated like a business as in most marinas theyd have been booted, but they were allowed to stay at our Club and it dragged us down financially.

i and the others agree with your premise of incorporating a racing program, sailing as a means of enticing others to view the Club as a focal point north of the bridge for people to come to. We are extending our 2 week sail camp to an 8-10 week program next year and already have many inquires.

One of the reasons for the AYC success is its large social membership. We have been members there for a few years and they always have things going on for the social aspects and have a good restaurant to act as a central drawing place in the community as well as keep their finances afloat. Many make fun of its dress code etc, but it also is what mnany are looking for ina club.

You comments about the same people volunteering is spot on. It does burn them out. We have had a mentorship program for a few years and that has succeeded in many places to help regain incomming members. BUut our facts regarding younger (45 and less) members remain the same. No suggestions....just criticisms. No volunteering....just use. Maybe we just haven't had the right people become members ( our bad for not vetting properly) and we shoulkd accept the primary reason they say for joining the club is a place to keep their boat.

Our Club is more than just a marina and thats where we have missed the boat so to speak. Sounds like you have the perfect balance in your club. AYC has very few slips but is a vibrant exclusive club. Not for everyone,

We have reduced our initiation fees to $0 to attract new members.

All these are reasons why I decided this year to focus on our Club to try and volunteer and help improve it from within as one of the Commodores. We love the friendships we have developed, the commradiere present, the activities and programs. Donna and I were afraid we were goibng to lose it if the club wasnt managed financially better as well as its direction didnt change. We are the oldest continually active Club on the Bay operating 107 continuous years now. Thas a great history to build on.
 

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Maybe I can provide some perspective from the "younger" crowd. My wife and I are both under 35 and two kids below 5. Prior to kids, we were members at a sailing non-profit. I volunteered time to get the boats ready each spring (sand, paint, wax, rig, etc.) and as a skipper during open sails during weeknights. Maybe 30-60 hours a year. Once the little ones showed up, sailing the small boats became harder, it was either myself with a friend or we were finding a babysitter. At some point I realized we needed to make it a family activity which meant infrastructure ultimately implying buying a boat. Eventually we hunted down our Catalina 27. Affordable entry boat, plenty of space for our small family of four, and places for kids to nap and potty.

When we bought our boat it was at a marina about 55 minutes from our house. Simply too far to run out to the boat or make it out after work. We searched for a new marina, the primary constraints being locality to our house and cost. We eventually settled on a great working marina, no-frills, allows DIY. We looked at the various yacht clubs nearby and fancier marinas but couldn't justify the cost for our situation. I was also surprised at the pretentiousness and unfriendly attitudes that I encountered.

Realistically, we didn't and still don't spend that much time at the marina. We show up, haul stuff and kids out of the car, hop on the boat, and we are usually gone for the weekend. When we get back we are usually hustling to get off the boat and get home. Other than when I work on the boat, we don't hang out at the marina. We've met a few people and everyone is friendly, especially when they see the kids. Maybe one other family that we've seen. We put about 600nm a season on the boat from April-Nov. With all of the other commitments such as birthday parties, weddings, family events, work, zoo/aquarium/science center trips, etc. time on the boat is precious enough as it is. We do all of our own maintenance which also chews up time and the time I spend on the boat not with family is usually fixing/improving the boat. Volunteering at the non-profit was hard enough before kids, I can't even fathom how we would squeeze in volunteering at a marina without sacrificing boat time.

We contemplated a marina with more features such as a pool, beach, playground, restaurant, etc. Would love to get off the boat and hop in the pool with the kids, grab a bite to eat, burn of kid energy on the playground, or even splash on the beach. Problem is that we spend lots of our time cruising the bay and have a hard time justifying the extra cost just for those features. We know others (near retirement age) at nice marinas who participate heavily in the social scene with various happy hours, parties, crab fests, etc. We've attended a few of those events and usually are the only people with kids. I always wonder why everyone is at a social and not out on the bay anchoring in a nice cove and throwing out a few crab traps or splashing the kayak.

To attract young people/families to marinas, yacht clubs, etc., there has to be a value add which is some combination of facilities, other young people/families. I could imagine making friends with some families and rafting up together or buddy boating on trips. Could also see the fun of getting kids together for family-focused events. Maybe this is crazy but support kids sailing, turn the sprinklers on when its hot, maintain a playground, etc. Cost is going to be a driving factor.

I know nothing about the economics of marina operation. I could guess thought that the retired couple with the 47ft boat who pays for all their maintenance and eats at the restaurant is a much bigger revenue generator than the small family on their 27 footer who DIY their maintenance and grill their dinners. Maintaining a slip has a base cost and I can't imagine it being much higher from 30 ft to 50 ft however marinas can charge much more for the 50 ft slip. Much like boat manufacturers targeting the boomer population with lots of disposable retirement money and manufacturers make more money on the bigger boats anyway.

Summary:
1. Welcoming, friendly atmosphere
2. Family focus with activities and facilities for kids/families
3. Focus on vessels <=40 in length
4. Develop a community of younger people and families
5. Do not expect volunteer labor. Hire and fund a staff. If people spend time at your marina it should be because they want to hang out. If people want to volunteer, thats extra, not expected.
6. <others?>

I'm not sure the aforementioned items are possible but I do know that marinas and yacht clubs are not doing their best to attract younger sailors and families.

Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Maybe I can provide some perspective from the "younger" crowd. My wife and I are both under 35 and two kids below 5. Prior to kids, we were members at a sailing non-profit. I volunteered time to get the boats ready each spring (sand, paint, wax, rig, etc.) and as a skipper during open sails during weeknights. Maybe 30-60 hours a year. Once the little ones showed up, sailing the small boats became harder, it was either myself with a friend or we were finding a babysitter. At some point I realized we needed to make it a family activity which meant infrastructure ultimately implying buying a boat. Eventually we hunted down our Catalina 27. Affordable entry boat, plenty of space for our small family of four, and places for kids to nap and potty.

When we bought our boat it was at a marina about 55 minutes from our house. Simply too far to run out to the boat or make it out after work. We searched for a new marina, the primary constraints being locality to our house and cost. We eventually settled on a great working marina, no-frills, allows DIY. We looked at the various yacht clubs nearby and fancier marinas but couldn't justify the cost for our situation. I was also surprised at the pretentiousness and unfriendly attitudes that I encountered.

Realistically, we didn't and still don't spend that much time at the marina. We show up, haul stuff and kids out of the car, hop on the boat, and we are usually gone for the weekend. When we get back we are usually hustling to get off the boat and get home. Other than when I work on the boat, we don't hang out at the marina. We've met a few people and everyone is friendly, especially when they see the kids. Maybe one other family that we've seen. We put about 600nm a season on the boat from April-Nov. With all of the other commitments such as birthday parties, weddings, family events, work, zoo/aquarium/science center trips, etc. time on the boat is precious enough as it is. We do all of our own maintenance which also chews up time and the time I spend on the boat not with family is usually fixing/improving the boat. Volunteering at the non-profit was hard enough before kids, I can't even fathom how we would squeeze in volunteering at a marina without sacrificing boat time.

We contemplated a marina with more features such as a pool, beach, playground, restaurant, etc. Would love to get off the boat and hop in the pool with the kids, grab a bite to eat, burn of kid energy on the playground, or even splash on the beach. Problem is that we spend lots of our time cruising the bay and have a hard time justifying the extra cost just for those features. We know others (near retirement age) at nice marinas who participate heavily in the social scene with various happy hours, parties, crab fests, etc. We've attended a few of those events and usually are the only people with kids. I always wonder why everyone is at a social and not out on the bay anchoring in a nice cove and throwing out a few crab traps or splashing the kayak.

To attract young people/families to marinas, yacht clubs, etc., there has to be a value add which is some combination of facilities, other young people/families. I could imagine making friends with some families and rafting up together or buddy boating on trips. Could also see the fun of getting kids together for family-focused events. Maybe this is crazy but support kids sailing, turn the sprinklers on when its hot, maintain a playground, etc. Cost is going to be a driving factor.

I know nothing about the economics of marina operation. I could guess thought that the retired couple with the 47ft boat who pays for all their maintenance and eats at the restaurant is a much bigger revenue generator than the small family on their 27 footer who DIY their maintenance and grill their dinners. Maintaining a slip has a base cost and I can't imagine it being much higher from 30 ft to 50 ft however marinas can charge much more for the 50 ft slip. Much like boat manufacturers targeting the boomer population with lots of disposable retirement money and manufacturers make more money on the bigger boats anyway.

Summary:
1. Welcoming, friendly atmosphere
2. Family focus with activities and facilities for kids/families
3. Focus on vessels <=40 in length
4. Develop a community of younger people and families
5. Do not expect volunteer labor. Hire and fund a staff. If people spend time at your marina it should be because they want to hang out. If people want to volunteer, thats extra, not expected.
6. <others?>

I'm not sure the aforementioned items are possible but I do know that marinas and yacht clubs are not doing their best to attract younger sailors and families.

Josh
Josh great perspective.

Let me pick your brain and ask questions

Our club the smallest of the slips is 40 ft. Why should we try and get smaller boats?

Most of our members are not retired nor are they over 65. Most own boats from 35-45 ft. Most are not million dollar boats or new boats. We are 60% sail

What does family focus plus family activities mean? What are they specifically? What would attract you and your family?

If all you are going to do is just come down and get on the boat, and leave how do we convince you to join in activities? What would you join in ?

You want to watch costs, which usually means staffing things with volunteers, but you cant volunteer cause you dont have the time so we would have to have professional paid, which raises costs....kind of a catch 22 isnt it?

Many yachts clubs are run by members working...clearly if you visited one of them it would not fit in with your criteria...might you think it was unfriendly to families then?

Many yacht clubs are based on volunteerism for their events like ours combined with a professional staff. Because the volunteers are in the 50s and 60s at our club doesnt it stand to reason that the activities planned and worked be geared toward their interests? Why should they try and get younger families which dont have the time to volunteer? or similar interests

Many of our members do alot of boating and dont hang out in the marina. There are organized raft ups, hors devores almost every weekend to hang out for an hour or the evening. The thoughts that yacht club members are just hanging out in a marina may not be really be the correct one anymore than marinia boat owners ahng out in their marinas.

Many of our mermbers visit the club even after boating season is over to hang out,,,watch football games on the weekends, organize next years activities etc. Would younger members do this?

We are starting a racing program does that interest you or your family?
We are also increasing our sail camp from 2-8 weeks. Would you put your
kids in it? Would that attract young families to become members?

For younger families is it all about the boat...and nothing about the club.? What are you givng back to the club atmosphere and club community except your slip fees?
 

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My wife and I got into sailing about 30 years ago. We joined a sailing club when we had children because we recognized that we needed to be around other families to give our daughter some playmates out on the water. The club had a whole flock of kids at that point and we would cruise the Bay with other families. Many times there would be activities for the kids at the destination such as dinghy races or treasure hunts. Our daughter grew up with these kids and still remains in contact with one or two. I believe that this enabled us to get out on the water more and enjoy sailing more. It also got me to become more involved in my club.

Now my club is a non-landed club. We don't have a clubhouse or marina. There are no work details and no need for volunteers to maintain a facility. Your $75 per year pays for all of our activities during the year. We have a bunch of cruises throughout the season. We have difficulty getting new families to join. There are too many activities that young families are involved in such as soccer or lacrosse. As a result, my younger daughter didn't have the benefit of a peer group at a cruising destination as my older daughter did. It made it more difficult for us to get out on the water with our friends.

We would not like the constricting nature of the landed clubs with the work details and pompous attitudes. It's not us. We got into clubs for family sailing and as a result I have taken bigger roles in the running of the club. I've been Commodore for 3 years and Rear Commodore twice now (I plan the cruising schedule). We have a racing division (2 of them) and they are suffering from diminishing interest among the young. So we need younger people and young families to survive into the future. frankly, we struggle with how to attract more young families. We know there's marinas with pools and playgrounds that attract younger families but their costs are high and I think that they too are having difficulty attracting young families because of the cost factor. So this is a concern for the sport and industry for the future. by the way, my shameless promotion is of Glenmar Sailing Association (www.glenmarsailing.org) who sails the upper bay. PM me for more info.

I think clubs are good for the social part of cruising and add value to the experience. I don know how long the landed clubs can continue the way they are though.

Tod
 

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Well they certainly aren't all the same. My husband and I belong to the Rock Hall Yacht Club on Langford Creek overlooking the Chester. About as unstuffy as you can get.

While we do have docks, they are shallow and mostly suited to smaller boats and they are fairly exposed to the Chester - so we are not a marina. We have a crane for launching small boats and many small boats are stored on the grounds. We have a clubhouse, a pool, and a restaurant/bar that is open on weekends and more during the pool season. The club was established in 1937. Rock Hall Yacht Club

We host regattas several times a season - an income producer and have a small volunteer run beer can race series. We use club volunteers for our social events, regattas and some of the grounds maintenance. We do have a paid manager who oversees things and runs the resatuarant/bar.

We are also home to the Rock Hall Yacht Club Sailing School which promotes youth sailing. The sailing school has classes from Pee-Wees to Advanced/Racing, has kids enrolled from ages 5 to 18 and runs all summer. It attracts many younger families (who do not have to be members but it puts young faces at the club) and of course, the grandkids of members.

Our members ages are all over the map but the largest group are probably retirees. Membership is less than $1000 a year. Because of its affordability and friendliness, we do have seasonal people who have boats or second homes in the Rock Hall area as members. We also have members who just join for the social aspects. Our members have reciprocal privileges at other clubs and I believe we occasionally get visitors in larger boats who anchor out but use our facilities.

We keep our trailerable boat elsewhere during the sailing season but store the boat on the yacht club grounds for the winter (for a fee).

Best,
Mary Lou
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Maybe I can provide some perspective from the "younger" crowd. My wife and I are both under 35 and two kids below 5. (snip)
Shaddup. No one wants to hear from whippersnappers with a bunch of screaming crumb-snatchers running about! ;)

Just kidding shipmate.

I also do not want to get into the "my club is bigger and/or better than your club" argument.

Based on how C2S describes MYC, I would say that it is not the club for me. However, I don't think that all clubs should be the same. I think that MYC fills a need for people who are looking for a quiet environment with like-minded people. I think it's good that there are a variety of clubs out there, and we shouldn't try to change them to follow any one model.

If a club dies, well I guess their model didn't work and they weren't able or willing to find and adapt to a model that works today.

I agree that the future of clubs does not "solely" rest on the shoulders of young people. I feel that clubs with a mix of people have the best chance of survival, because they have a healthy mix of experience and people who "think outside the box". There will always be older people at a club. They join when they're younger, and they age into it. You're probably never going to have the "WYC" (Whippersnappers Yacht Club).

I was offered sponsorship and invited to join EYC (Eastport). Talk about flattered! Gorgeous new facility, really welcoming people and they have made an excellent effort to help people manage their fees and dues.
Their demographic is mostly big boat sailors (power and sail) and some "dinner club" people who joined exclusively for the view and dining facility. They do not own boats, nor do they sail or have any intention of ever sailing. EYC is trying to discourage this type of membership in the future.

I was also invited to join WRSC.
No marina facilities, older and smaller clubhouse. Much smaller membership, with a different demographic. (Dinghy and beach cat racing, and keelboat cruising)

I decided on WRSC because it was much less expensive, because it's in my sailing environment, and needs my membership more than EYC, and most of all, is worth belonging to. It has a unique history worth preserving and continuing.

I must admit, the current board really has me shaking my head.
Some of them think that the club is slowly dying because we're not spending ENOUGH money. They think we should hire professional sailing instructors, professional chefs to cook in our beautiful, renovated kitchen all year long, and hire some sort of PR expert. They want less volunteerism and more paid professionals that we simply cannot afford.

Well, I'm new and not on the board. I'll have to wait my turn before I can speak up on these issues.

It's still a good club. We'll see what happens in the next few years.
 

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My great aunt and uncle were members of MYC since before it moved to its current location (I believe in the 1930s) and they kept the original Spindrift there. My parents joined by the time they were younger than my current age (36) and spent the first 8 or so years of my life there before moving the boat to a marina. Although my dad did volunteer a lot of time and made it to either vice or rear commodore (can’t remember which) before leaving, they ultimately came to the conclusion that they weren’t happy maintaining that level of involvement and balancing their other interests and family obligations.

If I were to join I’d be happy to sit on and, if called upon, chair a facilities and grounds committee or similar. That would be right up my alley and I would bring a lot of effort to it. I’m sure my wife would find a way to become involved also. But as to the club social events, there is very little chance we could make it to more than a few per year. This is not because of a lack of interesting events or lack of desire to attend*, but more along the lines of what Josh said in terms of having a ton of different commitments and obligations to balance. From what I’m reading in these threads and based on my parents’ experiences, I’m not sure what we could give of ourselves would be “enough” to be fully accepted club members in some eyes, even though we certainly wouldn’t be “takers”.

There’s not much a club could do to entice us to more participation short of miraculously adding a third day to the weekend. If we can get out 2-3 weekends a month we’re really happy and when we do go out for an overnight as soon as we hit the dock on Sundays we’re in a mad dash to get the boat put to bed and head home so we can try to squeeze into a couple of hours the errands and chores that landlubbers have the whole weekend to attend to. It’s not going to be any easier once the baby is here. At this point it really is all about the boat which is why an inexpensive marina where we can just cut a check and walk away is the right fit for us. This isn’t to say that we don’t want to socialize with and make friends with other sailors, but we just kind of find those opportunities as they pop up in the course of sailing.


* Although I can’t ever see myself attending or participating in any club event that required attire more formal than jeans and a polo shirt and I would push very hard to relax or drop uniforms for officers and formal dress balls as I believe in 2014 they intimidate more people than they attract.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My great aunt and uncle were members of MYC since before it moved to its current location (I believe in the 1930s) and they kept the original Spindrift there. My parents joined by the time they were younger than my current age (36) and spent the first 8 or so years of my life there before moving the boat to a marina. Although my dad did volunteer a lot of time and made it to either vice or rear commodore (can’t remember which) before leaving, they ultimately came to the conclusion that they weren’t happy maintaining that level of involvement and balancing their other interests and family obligations.

If I were to join I’d be happy to sit on and, if called upon, chair a facilities and grounds committee or similar. That would be right up my alley and I would bring a lot of effort to it. I’m sure my wife would find a way to become involved also. But as to the club social events, there is very little chance we could make it to more than a few per year. This is not because of a lack of interesting events or lack of desire to attend*, but more along the lines of what Josh said in terms of having a ton of different commitments and obligations to balance. From what I’m reading in these threads and based on my parents’ experiences, I’m not sure what we could give of ourselves would be “enough” to be fully accepted club members in some eyes, even though we certainly wouldn’t be “takers”.

There’s not much a club could do to entice us to more participation short of miraculously adding a third day to the weekend. If we can get out 2-3 weekends a month we’re really happy and when we do go out for an overnight as soon as we hit the dock on Sundays we’re in a mad dash to get the boat put to bed and head home so we can try to squeeze into a couple of hours the errands and chores that landlubbers have the whole weekend to attend to. It’s not going to be any easier once the baby is here. At this point it really is all about the boat which is why an inexpensive marina where we can just cut a check and walk away is the right fit for us. This isn’t to say that we don’t want to socialize with and make friends with other sailors, but we just kind of find those opportunities as they pop up in the course of sailing.


* Although I can’t ever see myself attending or participating in any club event that required attire more formal than jeans and a polo shirt and I would push very hard to relax or drop uniforms for officers and formal dress balls as I believe in 2014 they intimidate more people than they attract.
Bryan,

The "takers" i was referring to were people who dont want to do anything but use the facility and not give back at all. And then complain with no suggestions. We are not set up that way. Its our bad for not icking this out in the interviewing process.

We have a myriad of activities....trying to hit many different interests of people. No one expects people to come to all or even a majority of them. No one looks down their nose at our club at how many you participate in. Goodness knows we would be stared at as we are out almost every weekend. You dont get 1500 nm a year on the Chessie attending club functions.

We have a very relaxed dress code at MYC our club. There is none really. NO one wears formal attire, jackets or anything like that except to 2 events a year. New Years and The Commodores Ball. Most of us wear shorts a T shirts all the time including in the restuarant.

As far as the officers wearing jackets....I am not for that. There is something to be said about the tradition of the Commodores wearing a uniform at the proper events. However we dont make the rest of the members wear anything specific. I dont think its too much to ask that people dress up for the Commodores Ball and New Years. MOst people drerss up at formal functions in the outside world like weddings and New Years.

Going back to the "accepted" statement, i dont see that issue at MYC. What I see is people who just want to use the Club as a marina, while the majority of us see it as a Club. Just like a country club, the Engineers Club. If it didnt have slips...the same demoraphics would occur I beleive. Memebers who join and even refuse to fly the clubs burgeee...the question must be asked...were you just looking for a cheap place to keep your boat?? If we had a lot of these types the club would fail.

Why should we strive to attract young families who dont have the time to volunteer, participate or even want to join in club activities. We understand all the excuses and reasons why. That doesnt make us snobs anymore than people who choose to live in 55 and over communities. Like Bubbles said there are many different types of clubs to pick from. Pick the one which best fits your lifestyle and personailty. We all want different things in life and want to relax and spend our valuable time the way we want. no value judgements being offered nor swhould they be put on people who want peace and quiet.

My fear is I will be seen as not wanting to hang aorund kids or families and nothing could be further from the truth. Bryan you know us and we have gotten together many times. After you have your girl...that wont change in our eyes. My wife and I adore children and she works as a nurse of newborns in Baltimore.

My comments are specifically reserved to the search for membership in a club which does not....nor probably will not cater to them. That doesnt make it snobby or the evil empire. I have treid to explain the reasons why we dont aim at families in broad sweeping general terms....which I knew would hit resistance from the groups who flet they were being excluded. The truth of the matter is our club IS a volunteer organizization in many ways and many of you have given all the reasons and excuses why you dont have the time to volunteer. It really serves to substantiate the point I am making and why our club does not cater to younger families.

We however are trying to figure a way to include this in our program and keep the current members children in the future.

What I see is that our club is for a specific group of people. Beleive it or not there are many of them. The club isnt dying...its iminent demise is greatly exagerated....We dont need an influx of families or younger people....just a mix. We need to design programs to attract them like the racing program....sailcamp lasting 8 weeks...etc. HOweveer these people will not finance nor keep the Club solvent, nor do they have the time to improve the club except through money.
 

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Dave,

I think we see where each other is coming from on this. I actually hope we can come to MYC at some point as it's an excellent location, easy to get to by boat and car, great pool, a good mix of activities. The camp sounds great and I didn't even know MYC offered it. Now is not the right time for us, but eventually it'll probably happen.
 

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We know there's marinas with pools and playgrounds that attract younger families but their costs are high and I think that they too are having difficulty attracting young families because of the cost factor. So this is a concern for the sport and industry for the future.
When I see high cost/high amenity marinas around 60% full (which is the case with a lot of the expensive Baltimore harbor marinas) my initial reaction is to think the place is struggling but lately I've wondered if they aren't intentionally overpricing to keep what they perceive as the the riff-raff out and their overhead low. In terms of gross revenue it's just the same to them to be 60% full at $150/ft than 100% full at $90/ft but the operating costs go down when there are fewer boats. This is one of the huge downsides of the increasing corporatization of marinas I mentioned in the other thread. Independent clubs and mom and pop marinas are good things and when one fails it hurts us all in the form of higher prices and fewer choices.

Luckily there are still places on the Bay where one can dock a 30 foot boat for under $2K/year. That can't be said for a lot of areas of the country and it's a shame. I hope those kinds of places don't go away any time soon as it would be a real loss for all of us.
 

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I've never been part of a yacht club. We have a classic full keel Alberg 35 and we keep it at Anchorage Marina in Baltimore. The marina has a considerable program of parties (which we rarely attend: they are mostly Saturday nights and I work on Sunday morning so that's out for us). People there have been very kind, very friendly. We are getting to be really great friends with out dock mates.

I know there are week night beer can races on the Patapsco and I'm curious about that. I've never done real racing, just read Sailing Anarchy and the magazines. It sounds fun and it sounds also like you have to part of a yacht club. So I did a tiny bit of prospecting. I talked to the Baltimore Yacht Club people. Eek! that costs a fortune. And it seems to be about a social program that just doesn't really interest us. We like to sail the boat; my whole interest in racing is more about learning to be a better sailor.

So what do you see as the advantage of the yacht clubs if you are not looking for a slip or social life?
 

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No need to be a yacht club member to race. Check out Baltimore City Yacht Association, North Point Sailing Association, and Rock Creek Racing Association for Patapsco racing. All are basically purely racing clubs with negligible dues and no need to join to crew on a boat.

We're at Anchorage also.
 

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It is nice that there is a choice of atmospheres at various boat clubs, enough to suit the varied types of sailors/boaters that are out there.

A little historical perspective of the Sea Cliff YC, in Sea Cliff, NY where I grew up.
When I was young SCYC had no pool but had active fleets of racers and sailors. At some point they expanded the snack bar to a restaurant and added a pool and the rates went up. Many of the local Sea Cliff sailors said phooey and joined the Hempstead Harbor club across the creek that was a member diy place and much cheaper (only sailors and no pool).

The club you choose has to fit your personality. Are you a check writer or a d-i-y boater? Have lots of money or a few shoe strings to finance your boat? Fine wine & dining or beer & hamburgers are ok with you? This is a personal choice that is above criticism that we all make. Hopefully we all like the choices that we've made. I am liking the club I chose.

My club (Nyack Boat Club) has a junior sailing program that runs 2 programs over the summer (July & August) that is open to children of members and non-members. It takes in approx. 90K with expenses of around 60K per year. It also gets new people to the club who are potential members as do the various regattas we sponsor. They start with Optis and can work up to the more technical 420's as the students progress.

Racing and fleets. Racing is a large part of my club. There are quite a number of 1 design fleets as well as us PHRF racing cruisers. We have Lightnings, Thistles, Ensigns, Lasers with regattas sponsored by each fleet.

All of these activities bring potential new members to our club.

Having a limited snack bar chit ($100) and no pool makes NBC a very affordable way to own a boat. And yes, our members are vetted.

I think MYC has let the cat out of the bag by not vetting members. MYC's yearly rates are also firmly outside the reach of my checkbook, which mostly stays home when it comes time for boat work. MYC has a niche though and I hope you guys continue to thrive.
 

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There seems to be two different problems being lumped into one: The future of Sailing as a sport/hobby and the continued viability of the Traditional Nonprofit Yacht Club as a business model.

Engaging young people is key to the future of sailing. I don't think anyone will argue with that.

Is a traditional full-service Yacht Club with docks, a staff, and a chef a practical model for future clubs? I don't know.

I work in the performing arts, where engagement of young audiences and donors is, shall we say, a very popular subject. One of the most interesting case studies done recently with real data from one of the country's largest performing arts centers came back with a very interesting result. Using real numbers, the analysts found that the lifetime of one family's engagement was worth more to the organization over time than a one-time million dollar donation.

So yes, young people may not be able to pay as much or volunteer as much as older members right now. But it is the lifetime of their involvement in the club that will be able to sustain the organization in the long term.

I'm not part of a club, but if I were, I would be pushing to take the hit in the short term even if it meant changing my business model to ensure I was was around 20 years from now.
 
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