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Where To Sail

3: Big vs small

Big clubs tend to be professionally run, with great facilities, although members still usually help out with race officer, safety boat and other duties. Small clubs are usually run by the members (although often just as effectively as those with professional management), with everyone joining in on a rota system to run racing, bar and kitchen, as well as to maintain the club’s premises and equipment, including safety boats and club dinghies. Many are very friendly and welcoming to newcomers to the sport, with plenty of people willing to give help and advice. Smaller clubs also tend to be relatively cheaper to join, with costs varying upwards from as little as £30 a year for those on the coast, although inland water clubs tend to be more expensive, as most have to pay fees to the water utility companies.

If you have a choice of clubs in your area it is worth going along to a few to see what they offer. Try to speak to a number of other new members to gauge their experiences — and be wary of any club that can’t find you anyone! Just as some large clubs can be very friendly, some small ones can appear cliquey at first.

While initially you may not want to join more than one club, many people eventually join a second one, perhaps on the coast for weekends and holiday sailing, or so that they can sail different types of boat.

Previous page:2 Assessing your priorities

You are more likely to get afloat frequently if you can get to the boat within 30 minutes from home

Next page:4 Matching club and boat

Sailing is more fun if there are other boats similar to yours, both for racing and cruising

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