Saturday, October 10, 2015

Are Yacht Clubs Offensive?

Are yacht clubs offensive?

According to Pitzer College in Claremont, California, the answer is yes.

Last week, the student Senate at Pitzer voted to deny instating a yacht club at the school "as the majority of Senators found the name 'yacht club' to have a particularly offensive association with yacht clubs and a recreation known for being exclusive," according to Taylor Novick-Finder, a Pitzer College Senator.

Watch the video.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I've never been comfortable with "yacht" and I've never belonged to a yacht club. I tell people I sail a boat and belong to a sailing club. Although for the last twenty years the sailing club has been a flying squadron.
My club’s Laser sailors maintain an exclusive policy of no dickheads, perhaps the student senators could learn from that principle.
As for the video; one talking-head journalist talking to another talking-head journalist means slow-news-day beat-up.
Mike W

Tillerman said...

I guess those of us in the sailing world know the value of belonging to a club which facilitates our boating activity. I wrote a blog post a few years ago about the social divide in the sailing community between what I called "sailing clubs" and "yacht clubs" - and got some negative comments about creating an "us" and "them" atmosphere. I spent several years being a freeloader and not belonging to any club, but this year I joined a small volunteer-run club that runs dinghy races in several classes - but which rather grandly styles itself as a yacht club.

I don't quite know why someone in an American college wanted to create a "yacht club." As far as I know most college activity goes by the name of "sailing team" or "sailing club." Having said that, the reaction of the student senate seems excessive, even laughable. If a few of the students want to organize some sailing activity at the college, whats the problem?

Tillerman said...

A founder of the proposed yacht club was quoted as saying, "“I by no means want anyone to feel uncomfortable. I would just like a space on campus where we as students can enjoy and learn more about sailing, boating, the ocean, and sea chanteys.”

Sea chanteys? Really?

Sandy said...

.... and don't forget pirates and the search for treasure!

I don't know about Pitzer College and their "chanteys" but the school I attended spelled the songs of sailors "shanty" or "shanties".

In Scotland and perhaps elsewhere a "chanty" was something you placed under the bed in case you had "to go" during the night!

Tillerman said...

LOL Sandy. The journalist who interviewed the student may have been responsible for the spelling. But what student trying to start a sailing club at his college highlights the singing of chanties or chanteys or shanties or whatever they are, as one of the main activities? And why would he call it a "yacht club" anyway? He asked for $5k in funding which won't buy many "yachts" I think?

But it's the students who voted against him who worry me more. Why do they think sailing is a sport that is "exclusive"?

Keep Reaching said...

There is no doubt that a certain part of the sailing world is closely related to big money and big yachts. I have been at the Monaco Yacht Club the past few days and it is amazing to see their luxurious facilities (and the big boats parked up next to each other along the quay). Not exactly the typical dinghy club.

But even at the posh facilities, there is a common denominator - people who love sailing and are passionate about it. Sure, there are some members who frequent the posh facilities and probably don't know a tack from a gybe, and some of the members are owners of humongous gin palace stinkpots.

I am personally more comfortable among the less posh sailing clubs but I am not ready to put up a wall with any group of sailing enthusiasts.

As for the story in question, it sounds like all parties are trying to milk a trivial story for much more than it is worth.

Tillerman said...

Good points KR.

I though the story was interesting because it revealed a side of student life I hadn't seen before. I know colleges are very "politically correct" these days but to tell some fellow students that they couldn't have a sailing club because the word "yacht club" is in itself offensive opened my eyes to a new level of intolerance in the name of political correctness that I hadn't experienced before.

As a kid from a working class background who discovered sailing somewhat late in life, I have never thought if it as an elitist or exclusive activity. Indeed, Laser and Sunfish sailing (which is most of my experience) are activities that unite people from many diverse social backgrounds and different income levels in the enjoyment of a shared passion.

Unknown said...

Hey, Tillerman -

My opinion is that unfortunately, the only big PR our sport gets is from the America's Cup, which proliferates that stereotype of sailing being a "big money" sport. The great heroes are places, like Courageous Sailing, and other clubs that are set up to make the sport more accessible and inclusive. There was a great article written about this in the not-too-distant past, in one of the sailing magazines, which I'll try to dig up.


Tillerman said...

Which of these number is the most offensive?

Estimated annual cost to attend Pitzer College - $63,750.
Annual cost to belong to Scuttlebutt Yacht Club - $0.

George A said...

It took me the better part of 70 years just to learn how to spell "yacht". I'll be damned if I'll give it up now.

Tillerman said...

I have always wanted to learn how to spell Connecticut.

Joe said...

When I took a yacht design course in school, the word yacht was defined as a recreational boat. The word yacht comes from the Dutch word jacht. Jachts were small fast ships used to pursue pirates. In the 1600s, King Charles II was given one these craft as a present. He used it for pleasure rather than transport. So, it turns out that the English invented the sport of boating so we could all have a bit of fun and then retire to the club to have a drink or two. Which can also be fun. God Bless England!

George A said...

I think whole PC campaign against the word "yacht" boils down to a thinly veiled attack against people of Netherlandic ethnicity. Where I came from there's a saying: "If it ain't Dutch, it ain't much."

Tillerman said...

The English invented pretty much everything worthwhile in this world from the sport of boating to real beer to crumpets to Marmite to the RS Aero.

George A said...

Where does that leave us with the word Yacht??? Marmite sucks. The RS Aero is a rip off of Moth Boats from oh, about the mid-1970s, but without wings and a tall rig. Been there done that.

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