Defining Our Sailing Concept for a New Decade

You can call us a boat club or a sailing club, fractional sailing or even membership sailing because we are all of these things. What do these descriptive terms all have in common? An affordable opportunity to get on the water! In fact, we aren’t the only opportunity there is. Chances are, if you are near a major body of water you have many alternative choices to buying a boat.

For generations, boating was only enjoyed by the well heeled. A lot of that has all changed now and it is possible for a middle-income person to own a small craft of some sort; be it for fishing or sailing around on a neighborhood lake. But only recently has it become affordable to go sailing or power boating on a luxury yacht that neither you, nor I could actually afford to own. Instead, through avenues like boat clubs we pay for the time we use which makes a lot of sense as well as dollars and cents!

Even within our own organization we argue these definitions. Some of us can’t bear to be called a boat club because we only have sailboats. But some of those hate the term sailing club because they don’t like what “club” may or may not mean. Fractional sailing was how we launched our pioneering concept. But everybody said to us, “Oh…you mean like a time share?” So smart marketers coined the latest definition of “membership sailing”. Whew… sometimes it’s enough to make a guy just want to sell a commodity like toothpaste! Never!


A Hunter sailboat from the Jersey Shore Fleet with a bone in her teeth!

If I may be so bold, here is your humble servant’s definition of these terms:

Boat Clubs – While this could mean sailboats and power boats under one roof, I think it means you will find power boats to rent by the hour, day, week, month or maybe even annually. It may or may not contain a “social” aspect.

Sailing Clubs – The first word alone gives it away that you won’t be finding any power boats here. But then the lines blur. It could mean old smelly small sailboats, old smelly large sailboats, a variety of new and old small and large sailboats and in some instances it could mean a social club for sailing enthusiasts bordering on a yacht club, which is, we think, like a country club for mariners.

Fractional Sailing – First Up, this is a verb not a noun. That is why we are not really like a timeshare. We don’t own, we just do it! But when our research showed all people could think that sailing club means old smelly boats run by a curmudgeon, we had to coin a new phrase! I like to think fractional sailing means that you can sail a new luxury yacht for a fraction of the price of what it would be to own. But still, it’s tough to coin a new phrase.

Membership Sailing – Sigh…ok…sure. If you want to roll everything above into one new phrase to coin, here it is. This rolled “across the pond” from our British contingent. Well that’s easy for them to say when sailing means going power boating or for a sailboat ride. They are such a sensible lot over there! Membership boating pretty much tells it like it is but it makes me sleepy for some reason!

No matter what you call us, just don’t call us late to the party! We pioneered the idea of new boats shared by just a few people to reduce the, per member cost, nearly a decade ago. Now, we are expanding with power boats in most locations because it makes sense to. But what do we call it?

Confused more now? We’d love to hear what you think. Did I define the terms right? What would you call us?

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