Yacht clubs are a popular way for boat owners and sailing enthusiasts to socialize. However, a club membership requires a hefty investment of both time and money. Yacht clubs are known for being both costly and exclusive.
There are about 2625 yacht clubs worldwide, with hundreds just in North America. Most clubs are located by the coast, though you may find some next to large lakes in landlocked states like Colorado.
Even if you enjoy sailing, yacht clubs may seem like an expensive and time-consuming investment. So why become a member of one?
If you are willing to invest in a yacht club membership, joining has many opportunities and benefits. It’s a great way for you to learn more about yachts and other boats as well as meet other enthusiasts who can talk about their sailing travels and help you plan boat trips.
Let’s look at some of the other benefits of becoming a member of a yacht club.
Networking & Social Activities
Social activities and camaraderie are two of the major benefits of a yacht club. It’s a great way to network with like-minded people and learn more about boating and different traveling experiences.
You can talk to other boat experts and hear their stories if you’re new to sailing. They can give you tips on how to take care of your yacht and the places you can go with it.
Yacht clubs also have weekend activities and lavish holiday parties. Yacht clubs also host racing events where members can compete during the summers. The club board typically plans these events, and participation or attendance is exclusive to yacht club members and their families.
If you own a yacht, you want to make sure the yacht club can store it properly either in the marina or in a dry storage area if it is too large. The storage facility should be easily accessible for members and allow you to obtain power, water, and some kind of sewage access so you can easily refill your supplies and get your boat ready to get back on the water.
Many yacht clubs also have other facilities available only for club members in addition to the marina. They may have gyms, with a few offering personal trainers, rental halls for weddings or other large events, high-end restaurants and dining halls, tennis courts, and pools.
You can typically find these other amenities in older yacht clubs that were once exclusively for extremely wealthy individuals. Some newer yacht clubs may not have as many facilities to offer, so make sure to look at what features are included with your membership before joining a club.
Some of the activities planned by the club include group cruises that only members can join. Group cruises are a great way to travel with a smaller group in a less-confined space. These cruises are more relaxing because you get to travel in luxury with friends and other club members.
Through the yacht club, you are also allowed to plan a group cruise for your family and friends. You can borrow a yacht from the marina at most clubs if you don’t have one or need a larger one.
Some yacht clubs may offer local group trips, while others provide opportunities for longer or international adventures with other members. They are typically centered around visiting a destination or fishing, and traveling on a luxury cruising yacht allows you to relax without worrying about your comfort.
Racing is one of the biggest reasons people decide to become yacht club members. Yacht clubs host races during the summers, but most members are typically interested in racing competitions all year.
Many yacht clubs seek out racers and invite them to join their club if they are good or have a sponsor, while those who want to become yacht racers seek to join a club they can represent.
If you are interested in racing competitively, there are several factors to consider, such as which boat class, race type, and level you would be in. There are local, national, and international competitions as well. Racers need to be members of a yacht club to participate in the national and international races.
Racing with a yacht club allows you to use their US sanctioned burgee, which is the yacht club’s flag. That means you get to race for the club and join more serious competitions.
Many yacht clubs now offer junior educational programs for members with children or grandchildren, where kids can learn a myriad of things and participate in different kid-friendly activities. They can learn how to sail and become trained in various boat-related topics. These programs are discounted for members or may even be free at certain yacht clubs.
An example of such a program is the High-Performance Youth Sailing Program, where young sailors train to race competitively at the international level. Additionally, Junior Sailing summer programs teach all experience levels how to sail or race fleets.
The programs differ between yacht clubs depending on their size and facilities, but most clubs offer training and education opportunities for youths. Some older yacht clubs may even have legacy members willing to mentor the younger generation.
Access to Other Ports
Many yacht clubs offer members of other clubs the opportunity to dock in their marina or visit their club’s facilities. That means your membership can give you access to other yacht clubs and their facilities.
Depending on the club, you may have access to fewer facilities than others, but overall you’ll be sure to feel comfortable at any port or marina around the world. This can be very useful when planning a longer yacht cruise with friends or family. You can make various stops at different ports and know you will experience the same comfort you would enjoy at home.
Some yacht clubs even offer access to golf resorts or other services. Make sure to ask what reciprocity benefits they offer in your membership before joining a yacht club.
Becoming a yacht club member requires both an investment of time and money, but there are major benefits to joining. You get to meet other like-minded individuals and attend exclusive events.
Not only do you have a place to store your yacht and meet others, but you can learn about travel opportunities and partake in group cruises, activities, and races. You also get to receive service discounts, have your children join educational youth programs, and get access to exclusive facilities.
Yacht clubs often focus on different aspects of sailing. Some focus on boat rentals for members who don’t own a boat, while others focus on cruising and travel. Before joining a yacht club, make sure you get to know what your membership benefits will look like and what your club promotes. Most often, you can learn this information by talking with other members.