We started our sailing life at the little marina next door to the local Yacht Club. it was super cheap… like $400 a summer with hydro and water cheap, but it was three sailboats and about ten power boats. No one talked to each other and people weren’t very friendly.
We would look over toward all the masts in the Yacht Club next door and wish we could afford to keep our boat with all the other sailboats. We also had a little fear of fitting in at a fancy Yacht Club. We like to have fun and can get kind of loud. We figured the yachties wouldn’t like us anyway.
It wasn’t until the next year that we started talking to the sailors next door that we figured out they weren’t as snooty as we had wrongly suspected. On the contrary actually. Turns out they were just like us!
We also found the price of the club yearly wasn’t much more than our current routine when you factor in winter haul out and summer launch. The yachties all went in together to rent a crane and launched every boat all in one day.
We joined the club…
A Yacht Club, to correct anyone who thought the way we did, isn’t always a snooty place with rich retired folks who have no tolerance for sailor shenanigans. It’s actually a bunch of sailors doing sailor shenanigans together! We have dinghy races, a motorized picnic table, huge fires, and of course consume unreasonable amounts of alcohol.
The club has big parties all summer and a Christmas party even though the boats are out of the water.
Our club is like our family now. We totally ditch a lot of our old friends in favor of these folks because we just fit in better. The car guys will try to get me to go to cars shows like I used to and faced with a choice, I’d much rather go kick back with the yachties.
Don’t get me wrong, life isn’t perfect. There are arguments from time to time and not everyone gets along but pretty close!
Plus by far the biggest bonus for new sailors is the knowledge and help available when we need it most. If there is a question, someone in the club will know the answer. There is so much sailing experience and I have to say, we wouldn’t even be thinking about sailing off into the sunset without the wisdom and help of these folks.
A quick story…
A few weekends ago we had no plans so we got a few work friends together and went to the boat. The lake was super windy and rough so we went up the river instead. We anchored a few miles up river and within a few hours, our solo sailboat was joined by two more club boats!
We strapped the hammock between two boats and got to the shenanigans! We had our old dinghy with us so the kids ripped around and did tons of swimming. We had the tunes on and beers cold and it was a blast!
But alas, our fun was interrupted by a distress call!
“Thames River Yacht Club, Thames River Yacht Club, Thames River Yacht Club. This is Sails Call, over.”
I answered the VHF call from Sail Call, a boat that has been in our club for a lifetime but is under new ownership with some people that just joined the club a few weeks earlier.
“Our engine died and our sails are stuck. We’re drifting in the mouth of the river!”
Not a good place to be powerless. The channel is only about fifty feet wide and very shallow on either side. Not to mention the hoards of boat traffic.
We were way to far from them to be of any immediate help but just as I thought it was hopeless, we reached the club via cell phone. Two club members quickly sprung into action taking a small fishing boat out to the channel double time. They were able to rescue Sails Call in time and everything was safe. They even stuck around to help fix Sails Call.
That’s what the club is all about 🙂