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A paper on the history of yacht clubs and their prospects now

laika

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Whilst the guy undoubtedly knows an awful lot about yacht club history it's a shame he segues off into quoting the watersports participation survey from a secondary source and then entering into what appears to be a socio-economic rant masquerading as axioms on which he bases his conclusions. Putting speculation into a table doesn't give it a quantitative basis. Not only are his axioms unsupported they appear (to someone actually *in* work in the gig economy) wrong. Where is a retired academic getting his views on corporate culture?
- Minimum (legal) annual leave at the end of the 90s was 20 days. It rose to 24 days then to 28 days. So how do people have less holiday? Zero hours contracts? Yer man clearly is not aware of employment law.
- Employers demanding flexibility? Everywhere I've worked increased flexibility cuts both ways, facilitated by technology. Yes more people check email on the weekend but we can do that from our laptops and mobile phones on the boat. More people are working for home some days a week. Tomorrow I'm working from the boat thanks to 4G and a mobile. Flexibility allows us to spend more time on boats.

The notion that we have fewer holiday days and less free time thanks to increasingly being corporate slaves to inflexible employers is intiutively nonsense and there's no evidence presented here to support the assertion.

I don't believe his axioms so his conclusions are meaningless. Nice historical review in the first part though
 
Last edited:

davidej

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West Mersea. north Essex
What about MOBYC?

As I understand it, Sir Thomas Lipton, as a mere grocer, was refused entry to the RYS.

To challenge for the America's Cup, he formed a club in the west country (I can't remember where) which was subsequently known as "MOBYC" - My Own Bloody Yacht Club.
 

jac

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10 Sep 2001
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8,693
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Home Berkshire, Boat Hamble
Whilst the guy undoubtedly knows an awful lot about yacht club history it's a shame he segues off into quoting the watersports participation survey from a secondary source and then entering into what appears to be a socio-economic rant masquerading as axioms on which he bases his conclusions. Putting speculation into a table doesn't give it a quantitative basis. Not only are his axioms unsupported they appear (to someone actually *in* work in the gig economy) wrong. Where is a retired academic getting his views on corporate culture?
- Minimum (legal) annual leave at the end of the 90s was 20 days. It rose to 24 days then to 28 days. So how do people have less holiday? Zero hours contracts? Yer man clearly is not aware of employment law.
- Employers demanding flexibility? Everywhere I've worked increased flexibility cuts both ways, facilitated by technology. Yes more people check email on the weekend but we can do that from our laptops and mobile phones on the boat. More people are working for home some days a week. Tomorrow I'm working from the boat thanks to 4G and a mobile. Flexibility allows us to spend more time on boats.

The notion that we have fewer holiday days and less free time thanks to increasingly being corporate slaves to inflexible employers is intiutively nonsense and there's no evidence presented here to support the assertion.

I don't believe his axioms so his conclusions are meaningless. Nice historical review in the first part though
Agree entirely. The trend in large companies is to force employees to NOT work in the office. To do this, there are fewer desks than people with 1.4 or 1.5 people to 1 desk ratios. All of sudden your 3 floors of an expensive office building becomes 2 floors and 1/3 of your property costs disappear.

Two key factors I think he ignored 1) the change in the role of women. GO back 40 years and fewer women worked and would instead look after the house. That leaves the weekend free for both parties to have leisure time. Now, the weekend can often end up being used to catch up on chores, do the food shopping etc. the fact that the money now isn't exclusively earned by the man gives the wife more say on spending it which may make buying a boat a bigger decision.

2) Is the change in leisure opportunity. As has oft been quoted on here - 30 years ago if you wanted to sail you needed a boat or a friend with one. If you owned one you may as well use it a lot. That made clubs useful. Now, with more opportunities to just rent one for a week somewhere warm, why have a club and indeed Why have a boat at all and be tied to just one past time when you can use your annual holiday to sail this year, do more skiing the following year, then a long trek in the andes the year after.
 

Kukri

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23 Jul 2008
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East coast UK. Mostly. Sometimes the Philippines
What about MOBYC?

As I understand it, Sir Thomas Lipton, as a mere grocer, was refused entry to the RYS.

To challenge for the America's Cup, he formed a club in the west country (I can't remember where) which was subsequently known as "MOBYC" - My Own Bloody Yacht Club.
Actually, all his challenges were made through the Royal Ulster Yacht Club - which he did indeed refer to as "My Own Bloody Yacht Club" - but he didn't found it. He was just a proud member. It's a fine club and it has a fine Model Room...

He was elected to the RYS shortly before he died - and is said to have quipped "What club is that? Where is its club house?"
 

AntarcticPilot

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4 May 2007
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6,857
Location
Cambridge, UK
I felt that, while his conclusions concerning yacht clubs are clear and probably correct, he fails to acknowledge that for a lot of us, yacht clubs are redundant. The decline of clubs doesn't necessarily mean a decline in sailing, just a decline in a particular model of sailing. I have absolutely no interest in racing, and yet most clubs have requirements to participate in a certain number of races a year, and impose club duties such as OOD and manning of safety boats. I have no particular interest in organized "cruises" - I'd really rather head off on my own, or at most participate in an ad-hoc event organized through meetings on the pontoon, or through a forum like this than through an organized club. For me, "cruising in company" means that two boats whose crews have some acquaintance simply happen to be travelling in the same direction! Organizations like the Cruising Association provide "added value" so that I would probably join if I were venturing far afield, but they are far from a traditional yacht club.

Rather than mourning the demise of a particular model of sailing, wouldn't it be better to consider how to promote sailing in a more individualistic, less time rich society?
 

Mark-1

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22 Sep 2008
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...and for the Cruising sailor in the over-crowded UK a decline in participants is a positive benifit.
 

jac

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Home Berkshire, Boat Hamble
...and for the Cruising sailor in the over-crowded UK a decline in participants is a positive benifit.
I think though we need to not hope for too much of a decline.

Whilst it may reduce waiting lists or prices or crowding in some areas of high demand, it may also lead to some organisations going out of business or reducing their investment.

SO we may get old / tired facilities. Marinas / boatyards etc being closed and turned into housing / "leisure developments" fewer of the ancilliary trades available. Perhaps one less rigger round the Hamble may not be an issue but if there ends up being no specialist mechanic or electronic engineer in a county then that's more of an issue.
 

Neeves

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20 Nov 2011
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Sydney, Australia.
I think though we need to not hope for too much of a decline.

Whilst it may reduce waiting lists or prices or crowding in some areas of high demand, it may also lead to some organisations going out of business or reducing their investment.

SO we may get old / tired facilities. Marinas / boatyards etc being closed and turned into housing / "leisure developments" fewer of the ancilliary trades available. Perhaps one less rigger round the Hamble may not be an issue but if there ends up being no specialist mechanic or electronic engineer in a county then that's more of an issue.
It might have been said - slightly tongue in cheek.

But yacht clubs do need to up their game. Possibly they offered a decent support structure that is no longer necessary (the development of marinas being one diversion for owners from clubs). As has been said - many of us do not want to race, do not want to sail in 'organised' company (in fact run away from it) they need to actively (with the emphasis on the actively) embrace youth and make it easy, cheap and welcoming to join. They need to change and quickly
 

lw395

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16 May 2007
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42,088
There's always lots of people telling clubs what 'they' need to do.
On the whole the clubs I've been in are fairly happy with the way things are.
Most clubs are stable and viable.
It's not the boom years any more.
Sailing is the not the craze that it was when huge numbers of otherwise sane people felt the need to build mirrors etc.

I can remember when lots of opionated people were telling clubs that they needed to change to accommodate board sailors.
The clubs are mostly still here and the board sailors are not.
One of the few clubs I can think of that's actually disappeared is Southsea Board Racing Club or whatever it was called.
 

Neeves

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Sydney, Australia.
I think that's the problem 'clubs are fairly happy with the way things are'. But if you talk to others they will mention that younger people are not participating as they used to - and without new blood yacht clubs will die, after the complacent members have moved on.

We are not opinionated, or no more than you - we just have a different take.

Jonathan
 

duncan99210

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Winter in Falmouth, summer on board Rampage.
As long as clubs offer either facilities that commercial operators do not (racing, social activities etc) or offer a lower priced alternative, then they will survive in one form or another. Failure to provide one or the other will inevitably lead to falling membership and the demise of the club.
In my own area (Falmouth) there seems to be a thriving club community with a varied set of options from the RCYC to gig clubs. And frankly little sign of a social divide....
 

Kukri

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For the cruising boat owner I think that, for as long as a swinging mooring was the only option, clubs had the minimum function of providing a place to store ones's tender oars, and outboard, with less risk of theft or vandalism, to which was often added the ability to have a shower and a pint.

If the boat is kept in a marina, there is no need to store the tender somewhere safe, and there will be a shower, but I notice that many marinas have a club associated with them, so the "pint" function still has value...

As it happens, I took up dinghy sailing in late middle age, so I now have an extra reason to belong to a club.

I also think that the social divide is a thing of the past.
 

lw395

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I think that's the problem 'clubs are fairly happy with the way things are'. But if you talk to others they will mention that younger people are not participating as they used to - and without new blood yacht clubs will die, after the complacent members have moved on.

We are not opinionated, or no more than you - we just have a different take.

Jonathan
People outside clubs are giving their opinions about what clubs need to do.
If you want a club that does things differently, there is very little to stop you starting one.

My current club has a very good level of youth involvement. Both teenagers dinghy sailing and crewing in racing, including bigger boats.
There is an issue that people drop out of sailing in their 20s. A lot of that is lack of money, but it's also competition from other forms of leisure and the fact that many people have to move towns to work.
There is also the issue that sailing is fundamentally expensive, and the UK is not as rich as it used to be.
But there is a danger in comparing yacht buying habits now with boom periods when people were making lots of money out of houses and cheap finance was more readily available.
Then there's effects like many of the people who might have considered buying a yacht have bought a holiday home instead.

Clubs and so forth operate quite differently in some other countries. It would be more positive to look outside the UK and maybe suggest other approaches that are succeeding. But when you do that, you often find that the UK is not doing so badly after all.
 

davidej

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17 Nov 2004
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West Mersea. north Essex
Actually, all his challenges were made through the Royal Ulster Yacht Club - which he did indeed refer to as "My Own Bloody Yacht Club" - but he didn't found it. He was just a proud member. It's a fine club and it has a fine Model Room...

He was elected to the RYS shortly before he died - and is said to have quipped "What club is that? Where is its club house?"
Thanks for correcting me. We stopped at scores of yacht clubs on our Round Britain and had forgotten which one MOBYC referred to.
 

lpdsn

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3 Apr 2009
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Actually, all his challenges were made through the Royal Ulster Yacht Club - which he did indeed refer to as "My Own Bloody Yacht Club" - but he didn't found it. He was just a proud member. It's a fine club and it has a fine Model Room...

He was elected to the RYS shortly before he died - and is said to have quipped "What club is that? Where is its club house?"
I thought it was the RNIYC at Cultra that was the breakaway from the RUYC that he financied? His 1930s challenges were through the RIYC at Dun Laoghaire I believe (maybe he called it Kingstown).
 
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