Less than welcoming boat clubs

Bristolfashion

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So, we really wanted to visit this boat club in a small village - my FIL was evacuated there during the war & has very happy memories - we wanted to take a few pix & videos for him.

The website is friendly & welcomes visitors, the pilot guide indicates visiting is possible. So we email & phone - no response. OK, we'll go up anyway.

There's a space on the quay wall but ..... wait, a local on a boat (club member )forbids us the wall, refuses the use of a mooring & advised that there are absolutely no anchoring spots closer than the one we've come from, which is far too far for our little rowing tender.

So, we "hover" to take pics & videos (did I imagine that he was scowling at us?) and then head back down the river.

On reflection, as we were there 2 hours before HW (on a Wednesday) I'm sure that there would have been a temporary anchor spot or could have gone alongside on the wall (the bottom's uneven) or the pontoon (it's for club members to get ashore) even just briefly over HW.

But, more seriously, if that's the welcome they give, what should they expect when they come to my club? Or will we just have huge boats going between booked marina spaces.

We had arranged to go up on club night, so we could meet the club, pay the fee and spend a few quid in both the club and village shop.

Was this just the less welcoming member in an otherwise charming club?

We're now anchored up another river in an absolutely splendid spot - so all's well....

And, finally, should I name the club?
 

C08

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Yes name & shame - it could prevent anther boaty from a long wasted trip there. It may just be an individual cranky member acting without authoritym or planning to bring his boat to the wall so wanting the space himself. Anyway it may elecit a response from the club secretary clarifying the position for visitors which would be helpful to all.
 

ylop

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There's a space on the quay wall but ..... wait, a local on a boat (club member )forbids us the wall,
On reflection, ... ... could have gone alongside on the wall (the bottom's uneven) ... ... even just briefly over HW.
So did he forbid it or warn it wasn't safe? If he forbade did he provide a reason? like "you can't tie up there its for club members only". Did he speak to you or did you ask if it was ok to tie up? Did he know you were coming for an hour to take pics rather than overnight?
So, we "hover" to take pics & videos (did I imagine that he was scowling at us?) and then head back down the river.
To be fair - if you had an exchange with me where I told you something wasn't OK and then you started taking photos/videoing I'd probably Scowl at you too!
But, more seriously, if that's the welcome they give, what should they expect when they come to my club? Or will we just have huge boats going between booked marina spaces.
How certain are you that this is not the welcome people get at your club too? My experience is clubs are highly variable places and the people most likely to be lurking there are odd balls.
 

B27

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There are clubs in the West Country who have evolved a business model of catering for visitors.
There are others who've maybe tried that and found it's more bother than it's worth, or have limited facilities and have to put their members first.
Most clubs I can think of with any quay space have to be ultra strict with it, because everyone tends to push their luck to the detriment of other members.

Your average ordinary member you might meet at a club is not in a position to volunteer the club's facilities to random people turning up by boat.
 

Bristolfashion

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Well, we weren't doing the "something that wasn't ok", we were simply stationary in the river near to, but not endangering, the club moorings. I'm not sure any club has that kind of jurisdiction over navigation. It's hardly a high security military facility, it's a slightly run down looking, but rather historic boat club up a river, so I can't see how taking a few snaps & videos of the view is a) any of his concern or b) problematic.

Maybe his (or your) resting face is the scowl!😀
To be fair - if you had an exchange with me where I told you something wasn't OK and then you started taking photos/videoing I'd probably Scowl at you too!
 

Bristolfashion

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Your average ordinary member you might meet at a club is not in a position to volunteer the club's facilities to random people turning up by boat.
This club member certainly seemed to think he had authority to forbid things. Even saying exactly the same things with a friendly demeanor would have been a major improvement. His approach was certainly at odds with the welcome outlined on their website.
 

mrming

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A lot of smaller clubs don’t have anyone properly in charge of comms, so I can understand why you might have had no response when asking to visit. No excuses for the subsequent behaviour of the member though - it doesn’t cost anything to be nice. In my experience the days of the snooty yacht club are mostly gone. Outside of a few sailing hotspots, most clubs are in decline and need to do anything they can to attract interest.
 

Bristolfashion

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We've visited a lot of small clubs around the UK & Ireland over this trip and found them pleasant and helpful - and we are happy to pay the fees and, where possible spend a few quid in the local community. This is the 1st time we've had this response.

At one club in Ireland, when we arrived there was no space at all, but some club members arranged rafting & moving around AND showed us around the historic club house - we then visited the local pub, shop and had a beer or two in the club.

I cannot speak for everyone, of course, but I or anyone I know would do whatever we could to assist a visiting yacht.
How certain are you that this is not the welcome people get at your club too? My experience is clubs are highly variable places and the people most likely to be lurking there are odd balls.
 

Bristolfashion

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I agree - even a polite refusal would be fine. I do find it hard to believe that, in a wide, drying river with a mud bottom, there are no nearby anchoring spots known to locals.

We were a bit non-plussed by the approach - in retrospect we should have dropped the pick for a couple of hours where there was adequate depth and gone ashore to visit the village.

Interesting you mention "decline", from the state of most of the boats in the water and the "never gonna get launched again" specimens on the shore, I suspect that is the case here.

I wonder how welcoming they are to potential members?
A lot of smaller clubs don’t have anyone properly in charge of comms, so I can understand why you might have had no response when asking to visit. No excuses for the subsequent behaviour of the member though - it doesn’t cost anything to be nice. In my experience the days of the snooty yacht club are mostly gone. Outside of a few sailing hotspots, most clubs are in decline and need to do anything they can to attract interest.
 

Bristolfashion

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Well, it is a bit of a trip - and a slight challenge on the navigation. Let's put it this way - I was once VERY glad we came up on a rising tide.

I'll write a suitably factual trip report for my club anyway. I suspect that the trick is to leave loads of time for a response and/or phone on club night to check before leaving.
Yes name & shame - it could prevent anther boaty from a long wasted trip there. It may just be an individual cranky member acting without authoritym or planning to bring his boat to the wall so wanting the space himself. Anyway it may elecit a response from the club secretary clarifying the position for visitors which would be helpful to all.
 

RivalRedwing

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I'll write a suitably factual trip report for my club anyway. I suspect that the trick is to leave loads of time for a response and/or phone on club night to check before leaving.
Write your report and then send it to the 'club' by post and e-mail, addressed to the secretary, and offering them the right of reply to be included in your club magazine alongside your article.
 

B27

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The description could fit a few clubs I know....

If there were local anchoring spots, they'd probably have moorings in them by now.
some of the small clubs, many of the members don't have fin keel yachts, so it would be pretty foolish to take advice about where to anchor from some random bloke on the bank.

Sounds a bit like a lack of research and planning TBH.
Also a bit of 'expecting to borrow other people's stuff'.

One club where some friends are members, they have a structural issue with their quay wall, last I heard, even members couldn't use it.
 

ProMariner

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Had a read of a visitors policy at a south coast club recently, basically visitors welcome but going on to define a visitor as a yacht that was based elsewhere and that hadn't already been there during the last week. Kind of like a free parking space on the high street for maximum 1 hour and no return within 3 hours. I find it sad that such a definition was necessary, and guess it was necessary only due to wide boys taking liberties in the past. Face it, it's not the sport of kings anymore, for every real cruising visitor, there is some cheap bastard looking for a free place to dump their boat, maybe for ever.

I wouldn't judge or name and shame a club based on one interaction, every club in the country is struggling with the same sorts of problems, their volunteers need all the support we can give them, home or away. We'll miss them when they're gone.

Join your local yacht / sailing club, and give them all the support and assistance you can, we owe it to future generations, or we'll pass on a future of MDL / Yacht Havens hell, instead of the friendly welcoming bunch we all started with.
 

Baggywrinkle

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Many years ago (a few decades) I was taking my toddler out on our sailing dinghy at Ryton Water, a few weeks after having joined the club.

It was a Sunday morning and there was some club racing about to start - it was a half-hour before the start and a few boats were already out and floating around the start line .... toddler announces he needs to go to the toilet ... plenty of time before the start, distance to the clubhouse a few hundred meters, could easily get there under sail in a few minutes ... so off I went ... as I crossed the area of water over the start line some arrogant, loud and obnoxious ar$ehole starts yelling obsceninities and telling me I can't be there.

This upset my toddler and annoyed the hell out of me. I kept going, dragged the boat up on the shore and we went inside - the race was still nowhere near starting.

Cancelled my membership and left the club. Told everyone I knew who was interested in sailing to avoid the place like the plague.
 

Bristolfashion

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Eh? The club website offers visitors moorings for which there is a charge (which of course I was very willing to pay). The pilot guide refers to the moorings and that the quay wall may be available. The sign on the quay wall by the landing pontoon indicates that the quay wall is usable & available and gives some advice about ladders. Apart from a one spot, the quay wall was occupied by boats, so it must be in reasonable condition. I didn't expect - they'd offered.

Bearing in mind that I'm cruising and cannot visit by land to scope out the location, apart from consulting the chart, the current almanacs (we carry both Reeds & the CA) & pilot guide, the club website, any other information on forums, the CA Captains Mate and attempting to both phone and email the club, there's not that much more you can do. At some point, you just have to pop up there & check it out.
Sounds a bit like a lack of research and planning TBH.
Also a bit of 'expecting to borrow other people's stuff'.
Although , wouldn't you say that one of the positive things about small boat yacht cruising is "borrowing other people's stuff"? If I have a mooring or berth, I'd love to lend it to a cruiser, if I'm on a pontoon and someone comes in without a spot, I'm very happy to help them raft up on me, I'll happily share the best anchoring spots I know and any other local knowledge - not to mention showers, laundry, a meal or a trip to the shops or chandlery. I've both lent & borrowed tools. I've both given & received all of these things over the years. One, very kind, cruiser lent me an excellent pilot guide for the area we were entering & he was leaving with a cheery "send it back to me when you've finished". It would be a bit sad if we didn't both lend & borrow stuff?
 
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