Author Topic: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?  (Read 8178 times)

PoutineLover

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Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« on: June 20, 2017, 11:56:17 AM »
So I recently got invited to sail with a friend at his yacht club. I went out for the first time the other day and loved it. I am very excited to learn more and already looking into getting my boating license (friend sent me a deal for $50). I can be part of the crew and race with them, the first few times are free. I've already met a bunch of world class sailors and Olympians, which was pretty cool. The skipper of the boat I'll be on is an Olympian too, so I'm learning from the best.
Now this is my dilemma. I want to join the club. They have a few sailboats that members can use for free, so I don't need to buy a boat. Obviously I want to go out a few more times and learn the ropes, but I can see this being a hobby I'd love. However.. they don't list prices online, and I bet membership is expensive, it's an exclusive club. I know I should just ask, and I will, but I'm wondering if this is going to be a cost I can justify. Obviously not if it's 10k, I just don't have the cash. But my membership to my curling club is almost $800, and I get so much enjoyment out of it that I don't question it (plus, I can coach and it reduces my balance owed, so last year I basically coached a few hours a month to curl for free). Is this a form of lifestyle inflation? Is joining a yacht club ever a mustachian proposition? Are there any sailors here who might know what other costs I can expect? I've always thought of sailing as such a rich white people thing but I also love being out on the water and I would love to do some sailing expeditions, so this could be a great opportunity that is worth the expense.

ixtap

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 12:53:06 PM »
Edited: on re-reading your post, you may be referring to a different kind of club, I will leave my original comments in the end.

If this is the kind of club where you are basically paying for rental access to boats, it is easy to do the math. Every time I have checked, they are absolutely cheaper than ownership. Whether or not they are a good deal depends on how often you will use the boats and if they give good discounts on education. For the US, check out the Power Squadron and US Sailing for price comparisons on courses. If you can get on someone else's boat as often as you want, why pay to rent? Certificates, on the other hand, can come in handy if you choose to charter a boat down the road.

On country club style yacht clubs:

Most yacht clubs have an up front initiation fee, a monthly fee and a possibly even a bar/ restaurant minimum spend per month or quarter. The real kicker is the initiation fee. However,  they may have specials or age based scales for that. Ie, ours was running a general (no actual boat) special when we joined, but since I robbed the cradle, it still made sense to get the flag (boat owner's) membership.

Can it be justified? It is actually a professional expense for me, but it has 100% been the right choice for us.
1) If we can ever get a slip there, we will be playing less than half our current fees. The live aboard fee itself is 25% of where we are now.
2) We get free guest slips at our current club and hundreds of reciprocal clubs.
3) My partner has learned to play Mahjong and I have learned to play Ukulele
4) They regularly have bands that we like. We can use our galley minimum to have dinner and dancing, or we can just show up without feeling the typical pressures to support the venue.
5) We get a "free" education from all the experienced boaters.

PoutineLover

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2017, 01:06:57 PM »
Ixtap, thanks for your response. For now, I will be learning to sail and only participating as a crew member, but I think my friend says you can only be crew 5 times free, so I might have to join if I want to keep going after that, but I will ask more about it. This is a country club style yacht club, it's pretty fancy. My curling club is also kinda like that, with membership fees, an initiation fee and minimum bar spend, but I'm in the younger age category, they just phased out the initiation fee and I was too young to pay it when I joined, and the minimum spend is very reasonable. This yacht club does have age categories, so I would benefit from that. The friend who invited me is basically someone I know from curling, but he's a lot older and has kids my age, so I can't just ask him to take me out whenever, but I'm very happy that he invited me out to the club and he's a great guy. If I joined, I could bring my friends out on the boat I think, it would be a fun summer activity with networking opportunities galore and a skill I could potentially use when I travel. I think the main question is the cost, once I find that out I can make an informed decision and decide if it's worth it.

AlanStache

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2017, 02:01:47 PM »
You sound really excited now and thats great but I would just caution to take it slow and see if you really like sailing (and can afford it) or is this just something shiny and new that will get old in a few months. 

Also think about how much time you have, do you have time in your week to sail and curl and do everything else in life?  I would like to try some martial arts but I know I cant make the regular time commitment; its hard to get better at something if you only do it once or twice per month.

PoutineLover

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2017, 02:11:53 PM »
AlanStache you're right, it is very new and exciting right now. However, curling is only a winter sport, and sailing would only be in the summer, so no overlap. In the winter I curl 3-4 times a week, and in the summer I need activities to replace that or I get bored. I love curling for both the mental and physical aspect, and I can see some of the same traits in sailing. I currently only work 3-4 days a week so I have long weekends to sail. The yacht club is a bit far (about 20k) but I'm going to try to bike there to see if that's doable, its actually a pretty scenic route. I won't be joining immediately and I'm definitely going to learn as much as I can and use whatever free opportunities I can get, but I'm considering it if the math works out.

MrsDinero

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2017, 02:12:29 PM »
I think it really depends on what your want to do.

A week ago you said:
"I'm at about 40k gross, ~30% savings of net income. I want to increase my income to save more, because I've optimized as much as I can without sacrificing my quality of life too much."

Today you're talking about joining a fancy club while already a member of another fancy club.  What are your goals?  How will this impact those goals and your desire to FIRE?  You also mentioned you are looking for another job, have you found one?  Have you changed your mind about not having roommates?

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/what's-your-income-level-and-savings-rate/msg1587916/#msg1587916

honeybbq

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2017, 02:20:51 PM »
How high of priority is it for you? I have several expensive athletic hobbies - but I think that's part of what makes life worth living for me. I save money where I can, but I'm not sad about spending my money on it, honestly. Life is too short to not have fun.  If you can make friends at the club, have great experiences, and a blast, - why not? If you can afford it without sacrificing any of your other goals, that is.

PoutineLover

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2017, 02:50:41 PM »
MrsDinero, you bring up some good questions. I am somewhat torn with my goals. Yes, I would like to retire early, but on my current path I'm still about 21 years away. I figure if I enjoy my current life enough, I won't mind working longer, so that's why I don't cut out all unnecessary expenses, but I do try to find savings where I can. There's no monetary cost to belonging to my curling club, I coach a few hours a month and that covers my membership fee and all drinks/food/events there, so it's just my time and I spend a lot of time curling anyway. I don't know if I could find a way to work off this yacht club membership, but I'd be willing to if it was possible. Right now I'm not trying to find roommates, I think it could maybe save me $250 a month but I currently have a very easy bike commute, a relatively nice apartment, especially for the price, and I really like living alone. I would like a higher paying job, and I have been looking and applying, but no luck yet. One of my issues there is that I currently work only 27 hours a week, with 6 weeks vacation, and I live 15 minutes by bike from my job in a city I really like. The work/life balance I have is great, the only downside is that I need to earn more if I really want to retire early. So if I sound a bit indecisive, lost or confused, it's because I don't know exactly what I want and what I'm willing to do to get there. I'm leaning more towards enjoying my life even if it takes me a bit longer to FIRE, and also being at a point in my life where I don't know if I'll find a partner, have kids, etc. all those things are game changers so 21 years in the future is way to far to plan for. If joining this yacht club means reducing my investments, I won't do it, but if I can transfer some of my "fun" spending there (eating and drinking out that I'd do anyway) and I can reduce other things in my budget, then it would be more feasible.

LifeHappens

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2017, 02:52:36 PM »
I used to crew on racing sailboats and was never expected the join the yacht club that hosted the races. Before you commit to any ongoing costs, confirm that your friend's information is good.

PoutineLover

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2017, 03:05:23 PM »
LifeHappens, I definitely will be getting more information. If I could just crew for races for free all summer, that would be great. It seems like the main difference is that if I join I have access to the boats so I could go out with friends, but I'd need to find out more about how it works. They probably don't let you do that until you have more experience anyway, obviously I'd need to know how to sail. The course they offer is 10 sessions for $433, so I could do that first then maybe join the year after. I'm going out again tomorrow, will see what I can find out.

Righty

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2017, 03:16:36 PM »
It's really all over the place - depends mostly on how desperate the club is for new members.

We looked at a club recently with a special going on for new members under 30 - $3k initiation, $100 a month and $300 per quarter in food. Would have been an ok deal given there is a nice pool and family scene but we ended up moving before we signed on.

You're just going to have to ask.

Kwill

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2017, 04:06:55 PM »
You might also look around to see what other options for sailing might be in your area. An area with a yacht club seems like the sort of place that may have another yacht club, another one in the next town over, and some community boating options. If you can find prices for other places before you ask about this one, you may have a better idea about whether the cost would be worth it to you.

ixtap

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2017, 04:28:48 PM »
Check meetup.com, sailing anarchy and other sources for local racers looking for crew.

PoutineLover

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2017, 07:50:22 PM »
These are good ideas, I'll check out all the opportunities around here. For now I'll see what I can do for free, if I really enjoy it I'll look into more involvement. Sailing isn't going anywhere I suppose..

Mgmny

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2017, 06:36:40 AM »
Obviously I want to go out a few more times and learn the ropes

Haha! "Learn the ropes" - because it's sailing!! Hilarious

spokey doke

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2017, 08:07:37 AM »
I also find the claim that you can only crew 5 times for free a little odd...but if it is true, there should be other opportunities to crew around, as others have suggested.  If it was me, I would commit to sailing without joining for the first year (or more) and see how it pans out as a hobby, before plunking down for membership.  You have many potential years of sailing ahead...what is the rush?

But in general, I understand the excitement...sailing is an amazing experience, but no need to completely ditch mustachianism to do it...

Mgmny

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2017, 08:44:56 AM »
You can also buy a cheap boat to get your feet wet. My family purchased a very small sailboat for something like $500 15 years ago. Definitely not the same experience as a 5-man crew, 30+ footer, but still cool to tool around and much cheaper to enter. You could probably buy a cheap 1 person catamaran for a couple k just to see how you fare.

LifeHappens

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2017, 09:29:33 AM »
You can also buy a cheap boat to get your feet wet. My family purchased a very small sailboat for something like $500 15 years ago. Definitely not the same experience as a 5-man crew, 30+ footer, but still cool to tool around and much cheaper to enter. You could probably buy a cheap 1 person catamaran for a couple k just to see how you fare.

That only works if it meets the requirements to race in the group. Lots of club racing has size/handicap requirements. You'll need to check the rule book before committing to something.

PoutineLover

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2017, 09:38:06 AM »
I don't think buying a boat works for me though, I don't own a car and I'd probably have to pay to dock and store it anyway. The option of using club boats was attractive because then I could just sign up to use them when I wanted to sail. I have at least 3 friends who are also interested in learning to sail, so if we all follow through I think it'll be a fun social summer activity we can do together. For today, I'm just hoping for good weather for the race. Wish me luck!

Mgmny

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2017, 10:03:00 AM »
You can also buy a cheap boat to get your feet wet. My family purchased a very small sailboat for something like $500 15 years ago. Definitely not the same experience as a 5-man crew, 30+ footer, but still cool to tool around and much cheaper to enter. You could probably buy a cheap 1 person catamaran for a couple k just to see how you fare.

That only works if it meets the requirements to race in the group. Lots of club racing has size/handicap requirements. You'll need to check the rule book before committing to something.

sorry, my bad! I didn't realize his goal was racing.

MrsDinero

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2017, 11:18:30 AM »
MrsDinero, you bring up some good questions. I am somewhat torn with my goals. Yes, I would like to retire early, but on my current path I'm still about 21 years away. I figure if I enjoy my current life enough, I won't mind working longer, so that's why I don't cut out all unnecessary expenses, but I do try to find savings where I can. There's no monetary cost to belonging to my curling club, I coach a few hours a month and that covers my membership fee and all drinks/food/events there, so it's just my time and I spend a lot of time curling anyway. I don't know if I could find a way to work off this yacht club membership, but I'd be willing to if it was possible. Right now I'm not trying to find roommates, I think it could maybe save me $250 a month but I currently have a very easy bike commute, a relatively nice apartment, especially for the price, and I really like living alone. I would like a higher paying job, and I have been looking and applying, but no luck yet. One of my issues there is that I currently work only 27 hours a week, with 6 weeks vacation, and I live 15 minutes by bike from my job in a city I really like. The work/life balance I have is great, the only downside is that I need to earn more if I really want to retire early. So if I sound a bit indecisive, lost or confused, it's because I don't know exactly what I want and what I'm willing to do to get there. I'm leaning more towards enjoying my life even if it takes me a bit longer to FIRE, and also being at a point in my life where I don't know if I'll find a partner, have kids, etc. all those things are game changers so 21 years in the future is way to far to plan for. If joining this yacht club means reducing my investments, I won't do it, but if I can transfer some of my "fun" spending there (eating and drinking out that I'd do anyway) and I can reduce other things in my budget, then it would be more feasible.

This is one of those soul searching moments.  You need to decide is you are ok with not being able to FIRE for another 2 decades or if you want to put all your effort into reducing that time as much as you can. Right now, it seems, you are living a quasi-mustachian/YOLO lifestyle.  You need to figure out what it was that drove you to MMM in the first place.  What was the allure?  Why are you on the forums?  What is your goal?  What are you wanting to learn by being on the forums?

PoutineLover

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2017, 12:24:25 PM »
I guess I should choose my adventure, so to speak. I just see so many options it's hard to commit to one (stay where I am, do some extended travel, move for a new job, stay here but new job), so I figure I'll do as best as I can in the meantime while I explore my options. I got into MMM when I was paying off my debt, which I managed to do in 1 year. Since then it's been about a year and half that I've been accumulating and my progress is not as fast as I'd like, and maybe I'm slacking a bit. Having 0 debt in 1 year as a goal was easier than having 500K in 20 years as a goal. Now when I think about not buying stuff I'm fine, I've never been very consumerist, but when I think about not being able to travel or do things with friends because it costs too much, I tell myself it's something I need to enjoy my life and I don't want to regret not doing it while I had the time and the health. I am living on about 20K a year including 1 international trip and it seems like reducing it much more would be a hardship. Fixed costs about 900 a month, variable 600, travel 2000. I did a case study and didn't see a ton of room for improvement on my current salary, so I thought my best option would be getting a higher paid job, which is proving difficult especially because when I consider location, commuting time/method and benefits, a new job would have to make sense on more fronts than just salary. This sailing thing may be an expensive distraction, or it may be an affordable expense to enjoy a rewarding hobby, this is what I'm trying to figure out.

Kwill

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2017, 01:41:24 AM »
I guess I should choose my adventure, so to speak. I just see so many options it's hard to commit to one (stay where I am, do some extended travel, move for a new job, stay here but new job), so I figure I'll do as best as I can in the meantime while I explore my options. I got into MMM when I was paying off my debt, which I managed to do in 1 year. Since then it's been about a year and half that I've been accumulating and my progress is not as fast as I'd like, and maybe I'm slacking a bit. Having 0 debt in 1 year as a goal was easier than having 500K in 20 years as a goal. Now when I think about not buying stuff I'm fine, I've never been very consumerist, but when I think about not being able to travel or do things with friends because it costs too much, I tell myself it's something I need to enjoy my life and I don't want to regret not doing it while I had the time and the health. I am living on about 20K a year including 1 international trip and it seems like reducing it much more would be a hardship.

This seems reasonable. As long as you're moving in a positive direction rather than a negative one with the net worth, it seems OK to take a break from worrying too much about the budget or to prioritize a hobby that could be meaningful for you. It's different from wasting money on things that don't make a big difference to your total happiness: cable, take-out, a bigger or fancier home than necessary. For myself, I was prioritizing saving until I found a permanent job because having the extra financial cushion helped me feel less uncertain about the future, and now that I'm settled I am struggling to talk myself back into simple things like packing a lunch daily. I think it's natural to have things go in phases.

LifeHappens

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2017, 06:42:14 AM »
It sounds like you need some short term accomplishments to keep you motivated to achieve your bigger net worth goals. If you're interested in travel, you could set goals for travel hacking to pay for a trip you really want to take. If you decide to hang around and sail this summer, set some goals for improving your skills (or finding the best value beer to bring for the crew!).

Carless

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2017, 12:17:24 PM »
Why not try the free options and go from there?  While exploring them you'll learn more about what's available.  You may find someone who'll let you crew for free, you may decide it's not for you.  You may find an alternative that's cheaper/more fun.  Give the freebies a shot and see what happens!

PoutineLover

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Re: Joining a yacht club - can it be justified?
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2017, 04:58:35 PM »
The race yesterday was incredibly fun and we won!! I got to see what goes on on the boat and helped fly the spinnaker. I am even more excited to learn more. Hope I can do the free stuff for a while, but I'm pretty sure I want to get more into this sport, I'm hooked. Next race is in two weeks, can't wait!