You have just joined the navigation suite. Perhaps you are renting a beauty to get a taste of life on the high seas, or perhaps you have successfully figured out how to buy your first Super Yacht. Whatever your reason, it makes you curious about other services and aspects of the nautical world, particularly the yacht clubs.

How yacht clubs work

A yacht club (also called a sailing club) is not like a boat club where you pay a monthly fee to use one of the club’s boats during the month (although some have boats for rent). Some cater to high net worth individuals, while others cater to a broader range of boat owners. Some are largely for people who compete, while others have a more country club feel. “The term ‘yacht club’ is probably out of date, confesses Sandy Curtiss, a board member of the Chicago Yacht Club, to which he has been a member for 31 years. The yacht club or yacht club is probably more appropriate. Members must have sufficient disposable income to support the hobby, but many upper-middle-class workers are not very wealthy.

Kim Stuart, a veteran sailor who has served on the boards of the leading yacht clubs, notes that “some clubs, like the New York Yacht Club or St Francis Yacht Club, are very exclusive and may need a jacket to dine in the dining room formal, they refuse to allow men to wear hats inside the building, and so on. Most of these clubs also have informal areas. Usually, the changing room, which may have a sauna, weight room, swimming pool, tennis courts, etc. available, depending on how well funded they are. Other clubs, such as the Berkeley Yacht Club, the Kona Sailing Club, or the South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club, are located in smaller, older facilities.

Why join?

Stuart gives five reasons why people can join yacht clubs.

  • The possibility of obtaining a canister on-site or dry storage
  • US navigation is the ability to compete under a bourgeois sanctioned (a flag is denoting membership in a club). Membership in a qualified club is required for national or international competitions in higher-level races.
  • Access to facilities such as a dining room, an exercise room, meeting rooms, etc.
  • Access to junior programs for children. Programs sometimes have a free or reduced-price that is not available to non-members.
  • Access to organized cruises and other planned activities.

Then there is the social component. Often yacht clubs host parties and gatherings exclusively for their members, networking cocktails, or sailing-related events.