5 factors in picking the right sailing club

November 3, 2015

Joining a sailing club allows you to enter a collective of other sailors, learn more about the sport and gain access to a fleet of boats. Here's what to look for in finding the right club for you. 

5 factors in picking the right sailing club

1. Fleet

  • Owning a boat is expensive, especially for the casual sailor who may only go out on weekends or special occasions. Because of this, most sailing clubs have a fleet of sailboats, catamarans, and other crafts. All members share the boats and are expected to help with maintenance and cleaning.
  • Smaller fleets mean less maintenance work, and often less expensive membership rates, but it may be difficult to secure a boat on popular weekends. Look at the size of the fleet, as well as its state of repair and what kind of boats are offered.
  • Other sailing clubs have no dedicated fleet at all. Members supply their own boats, and the club simply provides a slip to store them.

2. Training and classes

  • Most sailing clubs offer a range of classes for different skill levels and types of craft. These classes should be accredited under the nationally recognized CANSail program, which provides classes from boating basics to advanced skills. Some sailing clubs also offer classes for race training, as well as Junior Classes for children and teens.
  • Look at class schedules to find instruction that works with your schedule. Be sure to ask about costs, since some clubs include class admission as part of membership fees, while others don't.

3. Races

  • Sailing clubs were first formed as a way to foster friendly competition among sailors, and this continues to be a focus for many clubs. Look at the upcoming race schedule for an idea of the variety and frequency of races, including the level of competition and the type of boats involved.

4. Membership duties

  • Most sailing clubs are cooperatively run and ask their members to take part in improving the club. This can include a range of duties, from helping to maintain the fleet, to administrative work, to teaching and mentorship.

5. Personality and style

  • Each sailing club has its own distinctive personality, attracting a specific clientele and type of sailor. It's difficult to gauge this without meeting some club members.
  • Thankfully, many clubs have social events that are open to non-members. Here, you can meet your potential fellow club members and get a sense of whether you would enjoy spending your time with them out on the water.
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