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An issue of perception.

Kukri

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23 Jul 2008
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East coast UK. Mostly. Sometimes the Philippines
The RYA is a significant export success, particularly in its partnership with the MCA and with nautical colleges and sailing schools. I don’t think even one of the professional yacht crews who have passed through its courses has been put off by the “Royal” in the title.

But consider how the “Royal” got into the name.

The RYA used to be the YRA - the Yacht Racing Association. Racing was what it did. It approved measurers, issued measurement certificates, published and revised the Rules and organised the appeal procedure for protests.

Then along came a retired naval officer who thought it ought to cater for everyone who goes sailing, and to represent their interests. Good plan. So it needed a new name, and because this shocking innovator was Philip Mountbatten, it got the “Royal” stuck on the “Yachting Association”.
 

Supine Being

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27 May 2011
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803
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Essex
The elitist yacht club cliche exists because it is or, at least, was true. Burnham Sailing Club exists because the working blokes that actually did the sailing for the members of the Royal Burnham and Royal Corinthian were barred from membership of those organisations, so they formed their own. And I never did manage to find out how to download the membership form for the Royal Yacht Squadron

Speaking as someone that wasn’t brought up around boats, came from a working class area and had never even set foot on a yacht prior to 2007, I had a very different idea of boating before I got involved. I really liked the idea of getting on the water and learning how to sail, always did, but I couldn’t imagine that the people with boats were my kind of people. Turns out you’re all a bunch of reprobates so we get on fine, but I had to take those first steps before I found that out. Every depiction of the boating life in the media is posh blokes in blazers. Howard’s Way didn’t help, and most newspapers can’t print the word 'yacht' without prefixing it with the word 'luxury'.

@johnalison makes a very good point that our marinas are gated and exclusive, especially in the Home of Yachting (tm) in the Solent. A canal boat is expensive, but people don't perceive narrow boating in the same way because they can walk down the towpath and meet the owners, and just ask daft questions as they go through locks... an infrastructure built for an industrial past. We yotties, on the other hand, can easily be perceived as apart and aloof, and all the jargon and messing about with ropes and flappy things is just witchcraft. We're just not a very accessible bunch.
 

dom

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The elitist yacht club cliche exists because it is or, at least, was true. Burnham Sailing Club exists because the working blokes that actually did the sailing for the members of the Royal Burnham and Royal Corinthian were barred from membership of those organisations, so they formed their own. And I never did manage to find out how to download the membership form for the Royal Yacht Squadron

Speaking as someone that wasn’t brought up around boats, came from a working class area and had never even set foot on a yacht prior to 2007, I had a very different idea of boating before I got involved. I really liked the idea of getting on the water and learning how to sail, always did, but I couldn’t imagine that the people with boats were my kind of people. Turns out you’re all a bunch of reprobates so we get on fine, but I had to take those first steps before I found that out.........

Back in the day, the RYS used to ban those who were "in trade"/"with trade" (?) from membership. So dad woz refused as he was engaged in the rough and tumble of making the dosh, whereas rich feckless and no doubt privately educated junior was good to go.

Like you I came from a modest background, and once ribbed a good friend of mine who has the misfortune of flying a white ensign about how much times have changed.

"Oh no!", he said, "you misunderstand, the upper and lower classes have always got along swimmingly; it's the bourgeoisie in the middle that create all the trouble!"

I think he was half serious, well maybe a quarter :)
 

capnsensible

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Atlantic
That could be the snobishness that doesn't exist in sailing.
Like 'If you don't cross the Atlantic you can never be considered a sailor.'
Doesn't matter where you sail or what you sail in or on. The RYA has helped hundreds of thousands of people over the decades. From paddle boards to super yachts. Even jet skis. There is no discrimination at all and its training schemes are highly regarded world wide.

Still, there are some that will moan about anything a successful organisation achieves over decades. Nowt so queer as folk.
 

capnsensible

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Looking back to my childhood, I wanted more than anything else to go sailing, but it never once occurred to me that all I had to do was knock on the door of my local sailing club, ask to join as a junior member and volunteer to do odd jobs.

Looking back, I missed several years of sailing.
I joined a local sea cadet unit. Within days, I was sailing, rowing and using power boats on lake and gravel pits around west London. And on the Thames. All for free! Loved every minute.
 

mjcoon

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18 Jun 2011
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Berkshire, UK
"Oh no!", he said, "you misunderstand, the upper and lower classes have always got along swimmingly; it's the bourgeoisie in the middle that create all the trouble!"

I think he was half serious, well maybe a quarter :)
It's a well-known viewpoint. You don't have to read all that much of Watching the English to get told repeatedly...
 

Gary Fox

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31 Oct 2020
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718
Corporations, charities, quangos and even marxist revolutionaries are rapidly re-naming their organisations to keep up with the prevailing zeitgeist, so may I introduce (drum roll) ..the new Republican Yacht Association, (RYA for short).
Anne, our lovely Princess Royal has, to the best of my knowlege, retired from sailing her custom Rustler 36, and younger pretenders to the throne, such as her brother Prince Andrew, seem already to be sailing rather close to the wind😛
 

V1701

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1 Oct 2009
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South Coast UK
Your average Joe or Joanna sees nothing of the back water boatyards with ordinary folk working away on their old boats unless thay have that on their doorstep but they may see "Sir" Ben Ainslee sailing his aerofoil flying machine on the telly. I don't think it's much to do with the RYA...
 

Gary Fox

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31 Oct 2020
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At least from the 1960's onwards, the mainstream media used to make a big story, splash headlines, about the most expensive yacht displayed at the Earl's Court Boat Show. The emphasis was on the price, rather than sailing qualities, what a surprise!
Verminous lefty reporter scum, ravenous for a neo-marxist class angle, continue to mention yacht possession and size as indicators of immorality, ill-gotten gains and evil exploitation of the honest taxpayer.
The Overton window has been forced so far to port that even I, at least in mixed social company, just call her an old sailing boat, which seems less triggering than mentioning one's classic yacht, old chap!
 

ryanroberts

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25 Jul 2019
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I downgraded 'yacht' to 'sailing boat' on dating profiles as it seemed to generate rather out of my league attention when passing through London,
 

TC Tuckton

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8 Sep 2013
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We are familiar with the image that boating is a upper class activity reserved for snobs. if you spend £25K on an MAB you are a toff, yet beach huts cost £30k and everyone knows beach huts are for ordinary folks.
Please excuse thread drift. In Christchurch we know that beach huts are for ordinary folks who can afford £240k for a shed with no toilet.
 
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oldmanofthehills

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Please excuse thread drift. In Christchurch we know that beach huts are for ordinary folks who can afford £240k for a shed with no toilet.
I used to live near Mudeford and ocassionally used to walk round Hengistbury Head past the said huts. We we always admiring of my sisters friends fathers hut. He was a lecturer with steady income but no great wealth. It was a bigger and nicer hut that my aunt & uncle had at Portland (both huts had some toilet facilities), but we were still astonished that it sold for the kind of sum you mentioned after he died.
 

Sea-Fever

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Port Solent
You are parking it in the wrong place.
I guessed at a Solent average. I have no idea if £6k is accurate and I actually pay a good deal less....some will pay multiple times more of course....

Exclusivity in yachting is, for many, the aim rather than the un-intended consequence. I suppose I'm happy that there is an economy/industry that will take copious quantities of money from people who have copious amounts of it to spend....having an expensive yacht bobbing about in an expensive marina for 348 days a year is better for the environment than spending the same money on jet fuel.
 

bitbaltic

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21 Nov 2011
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Boat in Milford Haven
We are familiar with the image that boating is a upper class activity reserved for snobs. if you spend £25K on an MAB you are a toff, yet beach huts cost £30k and everyone knows beach huts are for ordinary folks.

Is the underlying problem down to the social class associated with the main representative body, the Royal Yachting Association. In short would boating be considered more egalitarian if it was represented by the British Boating Association?
Bear with me on this one:

just before lockdown SWMBO bought a quite hideous dog. The dog cost a grand (as a puppy); I have it on good authority that due to lockdown inflation the same dog would now cost three and a half grand.

it is not impossible (difficult, but not impossible) for the knowledgeable gent to source a reasonable MAB in the 25ft range for that kind of capital outlay.

the dog attracts quite incredible maintenance costs. It costs something like 20 quid a month for the vet to worm the beast, about the same for some quite unqualified persons to shear the beast, and it eats its way through at least 100 quid of some ridiculously expensive dog food which looks undifferentiable from cheap dog food, and it goes through about 20 quid of waste leather turned into dog bones monthly.

these costs are roughly equal to the monthly cost of keeping my 30 footer in Milford Marina.

after 10 years of dog ownership my wife will have a dead dog worth absolutely nothing, if the money had been put into a 3.5k MAB she’d still have a yacht.

I’ve inferred that if you can afford a dog you can afford a modest yacht and will be much happier for it.

lots of people seem to have dogs.
 

Mudisox

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4 Jan 2004
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Dartmouth
Bear with me on this one:

just before lockdown SWMBO bought a quite hideous dog. The dog cost a grand (as a puppy); I have it on good authority that due to lockdown inflation the same dog would now cost three and a half grand.
lots of people seem to have dogs.
My sea dog [see avatar] cost a bottle of whisky and has to work and earn for a living.
£8 of working dog food lasts 6 weeks, and he is good on the boat that costs a lot to keep in/on the water. Well it isn't in a marina at least.
But I take the point.
 
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