• REMINDER - COVID-19

    Any content, information, or advice found on social media platforms and the wider Internet, including forums such as YBW, should NOT be acted upon unless checked against a reliable, authoritative source, and re-checked, particularly where personal health and liberty is at stake. Seek professional advice/confirmation before acting on such at all times.

    Users who are found to promulgate FAKE NEWS on the forum in regard to this issue, intentional or otherwise, may find their access terminated. It is your responsibility to provide references to bona fide sources.

    FAKE NEWS, in this regard, is that which is posited by organisations, media, etc., that is repeated on the forum, or used to support personal opinion/hypothesis posted by users - FAKE NEWS is not necessarily the personal opinion/hypothesis being posted in itself, any issues with such should be challenged respectfully.

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

jac

Well-known member
Joined
10 Sep 2001
Messages
8,731
Location
Home Berkshire, Boat Hamble
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....
I would agree with that. Clubs do need to identify what members / prospective members actually need / want and provide that. It will change from place to place but to my mind it has to be a combination of the practical ( car parking / tender storage / showers) the social ( Winter program / bar / restaurant) and the sailing ( cruising in company, rallies or racing)
 

Neeves

Well-known member
Joined
20 Nov 2011
Messages
6,413
Location
Sydney, Australia.
There is also the issue that sailing is fundamentally expensive, and the UK is not as rich as it used to be.
I'm sorry but when was that. I must have missed it - but maybe I'm too young or from the wrong social divide (north of Watford).
 

Babylon

Well-known member
Joined
7 Jan 2008
Messages
3,927
Location
Solent
I also think that the social divide is a thing of the past.
Ha Ha!

The defaced blue ensign YC I belong to is very averagely middle-class, with a good swathe either side, where in over a decade of membership I've never encountered any social snobbery or resentment - one way or the other.

By contrast, I left the inland dinghy club I joined for my young son's benefit after the commodore loudly referred to me, for no other reason than it was known that I sail a yacht, as 'Royal Yacht Squadron', then sent me a rude and ignorant letter after I didn't renew.

I've recently noticed a rise in petty snobbery in my village, which is ridiculous and tedious in equal measure. Its sad that a small place which was so integrated when I moved there fifteen years ago now has high gates erected by rather stupid people who once attended minor public schools.

But perhaps yacht cruising, where everybody has to put their arse on the same toilet seat ashore that the last person used, is the last vestige of a transient levelling that arose from a particular set of cultural and economic circumstances, which started twenty years after the most massive war in history and died when that double-speak "We're all in this together" was first uttered.
 

dom

Well-known member
Joined
17 Dec 2003
Messages
6,283
But perhaps yacht cruising .....is the last vestige of a transient levelling that arose from a particular set of cultural and economic circumstances, which started twenty years after the most massive war in history and died when that double-speak "We're all in this together" was first uttered.
An interesting thought. I hope you're wrong, but suspect you're not.
 

Kukri

Well-known member
Joined
23 Jul 2008
Messages
12,810
Location
East coast UK. Mostly. Sometimes the Philippines
Ha Ha!

The defaced blue ensign YC I belong to is very averagely middle-class, with a good swathe either side, where in over a decade of membership I've never encountered any social snobbery or resentment - one way or the other.

By contrast, I left the inland dinghy club I joined for my young son's benefit after the commodore loudly referred to me, for no other reason than it was known that I sail a yacht, as 'Royal Yacht Squadron', then sent me a rude and ignorant letter after I didn't renew.

I've recently noticed a rise in petty snobbery in my village, which is ridiculous and tedious in equal measure. Its sad that a small place which was so integrated when I moved there fifteen years ago now has high gates erected by rather stupid people who once attended minor public schools.

But perhaps yacht cruising, where everybody has to put their arse on the same toilet seat ashore that the last person used, is the last vestige of a transient levelling that arose from a particular set of cultural and economic circumstances, which started twenty years after the most massive war in history and died when that double-speak "We're all in this together" was first uttered.
Shrewdly observed. The same goes for me.
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,905
Location
SW Scotland
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.
True, but he does point out that participation in sailing overall seems to be dropping fast.

When hang gliding started becoming popular in the 1970s, the UK gliding movement treated hang gliders with a mixture of contempt and hostility. Ann Welch, who had been at the forefront of British Gliding since the 30s and who saw in hang gliding the same pioneer spirit she had known in the early days, was sacked as the British team manager and effectively expelled from the British Gliding Association for encouraging the BGA to include hang gliders. She later became president of the British Hanggliding Association. For gliding the results were pretty disastrous, and it has declined from a cheap mass-participation sport to a small one mainly for the retired and the wealthy. Of course other factors have been involved. Modern gliders can be fiendishly expensive (£150k including instruments, easily) and both gliders and pilots now come under EASA rules, which has greatly increased the complication since the BGA - rather ineptly - looked after everything.
 
Last edited:

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,905
Location
SW Scotland
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 failing organisations are quite happy with the way things are. It's one of the major reasons why they fail.
 

Tranona

New member
Joined
10 Nov 2007
Messages
32,180
Most failing organisations are quite happy with the way things are. It's one of the major reasons why they fail.
+2

It is difficult with a (usually) aging membership that has little interest in the future, only interest in what is in it for them.

However it is quite possible to accommodate those and be proactive about developing the future. Size and the need to maintain high value facilities helps as decisions have to be made. Small clubs, self managed with few facilities are vulnerable as they tend to rely on a small clique of individuals.

Gone are the days of long waiting lists to join and clubs who want to expand or at least maintain their status need to be proactive in finding new members or new activities.
 

lpdsn

New member
Joined
3 Apr 2009
Messages
5,467
Gone are the days of long waiting lists to join and clubs who want to expand or at least maintain their status need to be proactive in finding new members or new activities.
It may be slightly cynical but clubs do have to carefully think about what new members get out of it. For example, the days where moorings predominated are gone. These days better off owners keep their boats in marinas and moorings offer a lower-budget solution to the question of where to keep a boat. It seems to me that only racing provides any absolute need to join a club in order to pursue the interest. Other than that there's a social need to have somewhere to natter with likeminded people, but even there internet forums provide an alternative to sailors boring their family and friends senseless.
 

Resolution

Well-known member
Joined
16 Feb 2006
Messages
3,242
+2

It is difficult with a (usually) ageing membership that has little interest in the future, only interest in what is in it for them.
The different requirements of the different age groups are intriguing. In my club we have roughly the same number of members under thirty as over seventy. The youngsters pay much lower subscriptions, enjoy loads of subsidised sailing, and wreck the bar when they have a party (sometimes!). The VOFs (very old f***) spend lots more in fine F&B, sometimes invite youngsters out on their big yachts, and are able these days only to talk about when they wrecked the bar. Yet most of the VOFs are delighted to have the youngsters around, with all their energy and enthusiasm.

Gone are the days of long waiting lists to join and clubs who want to expand or at least maintain their status need to be proactive in finding new members or new activities.
I think you will find that some of the old leading "royal" clubs have been getting more proactive in the last few years.
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,905
Location
SW Scotland
However it is quite possible to accommodate those and be proactive about developing the future. Size and the need to maintain high value facilities helps as decisions have to be made. Small clubs, self managed with few facilities are vulnerable as they tend to rely on a small clique of individuals.

Gone are the days of long waiting lists to join and clubs who want to expand or at least maintain their status need to be proactive in finding new members or new activities.
Absolutely, and some manage to do it very effectively. They are generally not, of course, the ones who think everything is just fine. They're the ones who see problems and worry about them.
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,905
Location
SW Scotland
I think you will find that some of the old leading "royal" clubs have been getting more proactive in the last few years.
The Royal Northern and Clyde was doing a very attractive membership+mooring deal, but as their club house is up for sale I presume even that didn't save them.
 

Kukri

Well-known member
Joined
23 Jul 2008
Messages
12,810
Location
East coast UK. Mostly. Sometimes the Philippines
The Royal Northern and Clyde was doing a very attractive membership+mooring deal, but as their club house is up for sale I presume even that didn't save them.
Conversely the Royal Harwich - an old Club but one which never had a club house until after WW2 when Austin Farrar offered a Nissen hut - has recently built a new club house - and has its own marina. There is most certainly a waiting list for that!
 

Tranona

New member
Joined
10 Nov 2007
Messages
32,180
It may be slightly cynical but clubs do have to carefully think about what new members get out of it. For example, the days where moorings predominated are gone. These days better off owners keep their boats in marinas and moorings offer a lower-budget solution to the question of where to keep a boat. It seems to me that only racing provides any absolute need to join a club in order to pursue the interest. Other than that there's a social need to have somewhere to natter with likeminded people, but even there internet forums provide an alternative to sailors boring their family and friends senseless.
Depends on what the club is offering. Our club is unusual in that it owns a fairly big (400 berth) modern marina plus swinging moorings plus the usual wide range of activities.

As Resolution describes we have young and old members but the gap is in the middle. Very active training so lots of youngsters, active dinghies and cruiser racing so lots of opportunity for climbing the ladder and sailing on a wide range of boats.

However like many other youth activity this falls apart when youngsters reach late teens (just as in scouts/guides, big in our family) or when they go off to university. Remember nearly 50% of young people leave home, if only temporarily age 19, and the links are broken. Add to that the struggles of today's young in getting themselves established and you have this big gap in the 25-45 age group that does not own a boat, or engage in this sort of activity. So many family members are not boat owners, but belong for their children.

Add to this particularly in our club, older members dominate the boat owning sector, even though many rarely use their boat, and of course take up a berth because of their seniority. This makes it difficult to attract new family members who might buy a boat if they could find an economic place to keep it. As our berths are low price (£1300 pa for my 10m) we should have a queue, but the wait for dead man's shoes could be 10 years.

We recently had an open day and I took interested people out and one family would have signed up and bought a boat if they could have a berth. Like many now the boat was going to be shared with a father who could not justify a boat just for himself. Maybe they will join and use a swinging mooring until they get up the waiting list.

Although some of the above is particular to our club, the basic generational problems are the same and there is no simple solution. Certainly though clubs that want to grow need to be more proactive and show what they have to offer.
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,905
Location
SW Scotland
Conversely the Royal Harwich - an old Club but one which never had a club house until after WW2 when Austin Farrar offered a Nissen hut - has recently built a new club house - and has its own marina. There is most certainly a waiting list for that!
Sounds good ... but are you sure about that waiting list?

How to Join the Club
New Members Welcome
We are always looking for new members, at whatever level of sailing experience - including those who have never set foot in a boat before ! We are a friendly and inclusive club, with a fantastic Clubhouse and a busy calendar of social and sailing activities. Either call the Office or drop in to our Clubhouse to find out more.

http://www.royalharwichyachtclub.co.uk/club-information/join-the-club
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,905
Location
SW Scotland
However like many other youth activity this falls apart when youngsters reach late teens (just as in scouts/guides, big in our family) or when they go off to university. Remember nearly 50% of young people leave home, if only temporarily age 19, and the links are broken. Add to that the struggles of today's young in getting themselves established and you have this big gap in the 25-45 age group that does not own a boat, or engage in this sort of activity.
It's exactly the same in gliding clubs and railway preservation groups.
 
Top