Since I am now boatless, I needed access to sailboats bigger than the Walker Bay 310 RID. Having not the best experience with some of the commercial charter companies in my area, I came across a Craig’s List posting about Fairwind Yacht Club.
FYC is a co-operative, non-profit yacht club run by the members themselves. It offers a fleet of boats from both Channel Islands Harbor as well as Marina Del Rey at unbeliveably reasonable prices. Compared to other commercial charter businesses that charge you a membership fee plus hefty per use fees for their boats, Fairwind sustains itself by a nominal membership fee and the support and sweat of its own members. Each member is expected to volunteer in helping out with any and all aspects of the club. From changing engine oil to training new members on the use of their boats. Everyone chips in which allows the club to grow as a community. Using an online boat reservation system and each member’s honesty, everyone gets a fair share of use on their fleet of boats. As the memberships grow, a formula is used to determine whether or not new boats will be added to the fleet or if new memberships are to be capped.
It seem too good to be true at first when I looked into the price but after becoming a member, it makes a lot of sense the way the club operates. As an ex-member of a commercial charter club in the past where no one cared to put forth the extra effort in the boat upkeep since the company gouged you with exorbitant rates, FYC members have a particular kin-ship with each other as well as the fleet of boats that is similar to owning your own boat.
The club originated in the 1960’s out of a group of Hughes Aviation engineers in Marina Del Rey. It is now over 200 members strong in the MDR area and attempting to start a second chapter in the Oxnard, CA area based out of Channel Islands Harbor. There are no fancy club houses or six-digit salaries for the club officers but just a group of people who enjoy sailing and each others company.
If you are in the area looking to meet people who love to sail whether you own a boat or not, I’d highly recommend checking them out.