Yacht clubs used to have the reputation of being exclusive organizations for the super-rich members of society. However, they are more open nowadays to those who can afford membership and are interested in sailing and boating.
Movies and TV shows portray yacht clubs as groups of rich individuals dressed up in either formal or boating attire and wearing captain hats. But there’s more to a yacht club than lounging on a boat and wearing polo shirts and Cisco shorts.
Before exploring the purpose of a yacht club, it’s important to first know what a yacht club is and how it’s different from other clubs.
What Is a Yacht Club?
Yacht clubs are private sports clubs where members can socialize and learn more about sailing. It’s centered around boating, attracting boat enthusiasts and yacht racers to mingle with other like-minded individuals.
Unlike a sailing or boating club, a yacht club specializes in hosting or promoting various activities such as cruising, racing, and sailing. The membership is typically expensive, depending on its location and the amenities it provides.
Most yacht clubs are by the ocean, but some clubs can be found next to a large lake or river, depending on your area. A section of the clubhouse is for members only, and it can include several facilities on the property, like a bar, cafe, or restaurant.
These facilities allow members to socialize in a less formal setting. The clubhouse may have its dining section open during certain hours for the public but typically closed during club events or activities.
Yacht clubs are referred to by their initials, such as the NYYC (New York Yacht Club) and SDYC (San Diego Yacht Club). Membership is exclusive, and each yacht club requires a different process for applicants to fulfill. Sometimes yacht clubs will also offer invitations to sponsored racers that are not yet affiliated with a club.
Purpose of a Yacht Club
Now that you have an idea of what a yacht club is, it’s time to look at the purpose this premier organization serves. It’s a great way for racers to connect with other sailors and travelers to socialize and get tips for future adventures. It also provides opportunities for members to go on organized cruises and even rent a yacht if they don’t own a boat.
A yacht club exists to:
- Promote Racing
- Allow Members to Socialize and Network
- Organize Group Cruises
- Provide Yacht Rentals
- Encourage Youth Sailing
The primary purpose of a yacht club is to promote sailing, cruising, and racing. They typically organize regattas during the summers that members of other clubs can compete in and represent their club.
Racing is one of the top reasons people decide to join a yacht club. Yacht clubs host races and regattas during the summer, but most members are usually interested in racing competitions all year.
Some yacht clubs may seek out high-performance racers and invite them to become members, while professional or amateur racers may seek out a club they can represent to compete at a higher level.
There are local, national, and international racing competitions that yacht club members typically hear of first. Individuals who race in the competitions typically use their yacht club’s US sanctioned burgee, which is the yacht club’s flag. This allows members to join national and international racing competitions that non-members cannot compete in.
Allows Members to Socialize and Network
Socializing is one of the main focuses of yacht clubs. It allows boating enthusiasts, racers, and recreational sailors to mingle, interact, and learn from each other with their shared interest in the sport.
Yacht clubs host weekend activities, summer events, and holiday parties which only members and their families can attend. These activities are all there to encourage members to network with those who may have more knowledge or have helpful connections in the boating community.
If you’re planning a trip, you can hear about the travels and adventures of other yacht owners and get an idea of where to go and how to take care of your yacht on the journey. You may also find other members who are interested in a group trip.
Cruising is another activity that yacht clubs promote, and some clubs center their membership around. Groups like the CCA (Cruising Club of America) provide information on ocean sailing and seek members who are long-distance cruisers or interested in voyaging on the seas.
Through the yacht club, you can learn how to travel on a yacht safely and get tips from other boaters who have already gone on several voyages. The club may also provide a newsletter or magazine that includes safety and travel guides or other boating information.
Some yacht clubs may even offer group trips if members decide to organize one. Other clubs may provide information or opportunities for longer or international adventures. Traveling on a luxury or fishing yacht allows members to socialize with and learn from other boating enthusiasts and discover new locations.
Provide Yacht Rentals
Unlike popular belief, you do not need to own a yacht to join a yacht club for most clubs. Sometimes you don’t need to own a boat at all! However, you do need to have extensive knowledge of sailing and a passion for the sport.
Some clubs provide rentals from the clubhouse or the marina. It’s a great way to get to know different boats and even take them on travels if the club allows.
A great way to get a feel for the yacht club before applying for membership is getting to know other members. You can attend racing events and get to know some of the regulars there. Eventually, they may invite you to the club as their guest, and you can get to learn more about the club.
Encourage Youth Sailing
Most yacht clubs offer youth programs to teach children and teens how to sail. Some clubs also have high-performance youth training programs for those who want to train as racers and show passion for the sport.
The High-Performance Youth Sailing Program is one such program where young sailors train to race competitively at the international level. Moreover, all experience levels can learn how to sail or race fleets through Junior Sailing summer programs.
These programs are typically offered at a discount or may even be free for the children or grandchildren of club members. Many yacht clubs focusing on developing racers may have legacy members willing to mentor young racing trainees.
Each yacht club has a different objective or focus, depending on its members. Some clubs focus more on attracting new members and offering rentals. Others may focus more on travel and cruising, while some may have members more passionate about racing and supporting high-performance racers.
Though each yacht club is different, they all center around boating and sailing and bringing together people with the same interests. Joining a yacht club allows individuals to get insider tips on the best yachts to invest in, go cruising with newfound friends, or find racing mentors and support.