In my 22 years of sailing, I’ve been active in three sailing organizations: the Homer Yacht Club, the Juneau Yacht Club, and Southeast Alaska Sailing (SEAS). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the friendships and associations I’ve made through these groups, but there have been days when membership asked more of me than I wanted to give… as happens whenever you join others in a common venture. On those few times I’ve asked myself “why am I a part of this and what am I getting in return?”
A traditional reason to be in a Yacht Club is the reciprocal benefits available at clubs throughout the world. But I don’t travel enough, nor am I enough of an extrovert to take advantage of this, so it’s not a draw for me. Others may find prestige with yacht club membership, but I just don’t see that connection in Alaska.
I’ve continued to join sailing clubs for the simple reason that I love sailing. I love the magic of harnessing the wind and overcoming natural fears of that awesome power. I love the technical study of perfecting that measure of control, and learning my personal limits. Ownership of a sailing vessel is another pleasure – not so much the polishing of brass and teak, but the maintenance of systems and hardware that gives me the confidence that everything will function correctly when needed. But why join a group to do this? Sailing can be a solitary venture, if desired, and some people seek that out. But I have an anecdote that underscores why many mariners and sailors seek out like-minded comrades: