Community, Part I: Our Sailing Community

We recently retired a tattered CYC Seattle burgee. It flew for over four thousand miles from Seattle, up through British Columbia, on through Alaska, and down the California coast. For us, the burgee represents our sailing community, and we fly it proudly.

I've been giving this a bit of thought lately, as the Seattle Boat Show approaches and I am not there to represent CYC. Sharing the sailing community. I have repeated the CYC tagline hundreds of times, chatting with potential new members. For me, it is an important part of why I am a member. I have been often asked, “So what do I get with a membership?” Naturally, my first response is community. People to cruise with, race with, get advice from, talk story with – people who like to sail, in all of the forms that takes. Things like reciprocal moorage are icing on the community cake.

On this journey, we have often availed ourselves of the many reciprocal moorage opportunities. In Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, British Columbia there are some wonderful yacht clubs, and we have stayed with just about every one of them in the course of our cruising. Once we left the Pacific Northwest, and were out of our extended PNW family, we weren't sure what to expect. We reached San Francisco after five days at sea and anchored straight away. We reviewed the CYC Reciprocal list and found half a dozen yacht clubs in the Bay Area. We stayed with San Francisco Yacht Club for a night, coinciding with a 505 regatta, and we stayed with Berkeley Yacht Club for two nights. CYC does not actually have a reciprocal agreement with this club, but they are very welcoming and you simply have to be a burgee-flying member of any yacht club to stay on their dock. We were invited in, given assistance getting around town and enjoyed great conversations with their members.

We arrived at Ventura Yacht Club and were greeted on the dock by a Board member. She grabbed our lines, showed us around the club and invited us to a potluck. We put together a massive platter of poke, as we had just caught a lot of tuna. We were welcomed and nearly everyone there made a point of coming around to say hello. We had such a lovely time! They offered to drive us to the store, and we were invited for dinner the following night. We didn't want to leave and they wanted us to stay, but we were meeting friends at the next stop and had to press on. Next we went to the King Harbor Yacht Club. We stopped into the Club to register and then stepped out for dinner. We returned and were welcomed there as well. People wanted to hear our story and a couple of them came by the Ardea to check it out. The next day, an older gentleman came by because he recognized the CYC burgee and was a member many years ago. He offered us a ride to the local marine store and chatted about good times at CYC.

We stayed at Long Beach Yacht Club during a regatta. It was fun to see all of the activities and after-parties happening. It could have been us, with our friends, post-racing. Same vibe, same trash talking, same race recaps. We spent a night at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club as well, and were taken care of by several members as the office was not open. They chatted us up, gave us the wifi code, and gave us a ride to mail our ballots.

Our next stop was Dana Point. We had checked, we had no reciprocal privileges. We were setting an anchor in big breeze and a fellow came up in a kayak and asked which yacht club's burgee we were flying. We told him and he said he was the dock master for Dana West Yacht Club and he had space for us. He gave us a slip and told us where to find the key for the facilities. He came by later to chat with us and get us set with some errands we needed to attend to.

In San Diego, we enjoyed yacht club privileges for a weekend at the San Diego Yacht Club. We saw the UW sailing team there, competing in a match racing regatta. Seeing the 'home team' made our stay there feel even more like we were in our place.

While we have been really missing 'our' sailing community, and have an even deeper appreciation for our home yacht club, we have found that we have community everywhere. Every yacht club has 'our people', crazy-awesome-interesting-knowledgeable sailors, with stories. Reciprocal privileges or not, with our CYC membership we have been welcomed all along our voyage. So, the next time you meet traveling sailors, welcome them! Listen to their stories, share a meal, give 'em a ride to Fisheries (you were probably on your way there anyway). Share the sailing community with them, and know that you have community anywhere you sail. Thanks, CYC Seattle, we miss you!!


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