Mar 19, 2012, 11:05 AM
Post #5 of 13
From BJ Jones:
Re: [The Publisher] Yachting Australia research report
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Concerning the comment from Andy Zimbaldi about aging of yacht club membership, we made an attempt at Lake Norman Yacht Club several years ago to address this by drastically lowering the membership costs for younger prospective members. We are a lake YC on Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte, NC and are probably no different from many clubs trying to deal with an aging membership.
Previously we had an under 30 membership dues and initiation price and an over 30 price that were different, but not by much. We had maybe one or two under 30's in 5 years join. We then totally revamped our dues and initiation structure for the under 30's to make it much easier and enticing to join.
For a member just out of college, we made the dues $125 and initiation the same. The structure was then adjusted upwards each year by a bit until it got to where at 29, it was the same as before. Our reasoning was that we weren't getting any young members anyway, and we wanted them in the future so it wasn't really costing us anything to have them join now.
We definitely have more under 30's join than we did before and they are actively involved.
From Ken Bertino:
Steve Gregory's comments hit a chord with me. The amateur sailor and owner are taking this all a little too seriously.
I have, as have many others who've sailed with pro sailors. And while it is good, it is not always fun but we learn from it. We learn from the experience, but do we grow the sport because of it? Or do we take that approach onto the next boat we sail on with all amateur sailors and demand too much from the owner and crew? I am not trying to cast aspersions but ask, is this a part of the problem when it comes to racing?
The other issues about clubs, access, costs have been around for many, many, many years. Yachts clubs have their place and in my opinion are a good tradition for our sport. Public sailing is more available now than ever. And yes, boat ownership is expensive?
From Glenn Selvin:
Regarding the Australian survey that cites the cost of sailing, a close friend just spent a whopping $1300 on a Lido 14, and he can't wait for summer races to start! For bang for the buck, $1300 is a steal, and certainly isn't exclusive.
I, on the other hand sail a Finn, and yes, $10,000 is pretty stupid for a 15' boat. Indeed, the price of the boat is keeping people from sailing them.
But the best answer to people who think sailing is too expensive? Show them a picture of a small boat like a Lido, Sunfish, Laser, or even a Cal 20! And the old Ericksons, Islanders, Cals? A bargain!
From Rob McNeal:
I live in Bayshore Gardens, Florida, which is a small canal community with a neighborhood not-for-profit marina (no facilities - only slips). The marina was intended for residents only, but due to the economy and a lack of slip holders, it's open to anyone at this time.
Many of us who sail (and have powerboats) belong to the 52 year old Bayshore Gardens YC. This club is a relatively informal group averaging anywhere from 30 to 60 members a year, most of whom don't even have a boat. Our yearly dues are under $20. And we do struggle for membership.
When I talk to people about the fun we have and possibly joining us, I am careful to no longer lead with the phrase "Yacht Club". I have visibly seen the negative reaction when I use that phrase, which means I then have to try to explain how our little YC is not what they perceive a YC to be - specifically elitist and expensive.
No survey could be clearer to me. There is certainly a place for the formal YC to be - but there aren't many places for those that cannot afford it and want to be much less formal about it and still have a sailing experience.
We are lucky to also have the Sarasota Sailing Squadron in this area (which BTW has a tremendous kids sailing program). I suspect the choice long ago to use "Sailing Squadron" as opposed to "Yacht Club" may have been intentional there too.