Reciprocal moorage is one of the substantial benefits of membership in SBYC.  With this program, our members are able to moor at 39 yacht clubs throughout the Salish Sea.  In exchange, members of those clubs are able to moor at the guest docks at Shilshole and have us reimburse them for one day’s moorage.  This is different from other clubs who have their own dock space and simply make that space available for reciprocal members on a no-charge basis.  That difference has created a significant cost issue for the club.

Over the last few years, we have seen a large surge of members of reciprocal clubs exercising their ability to stay at Shilshole and having SBYC foot the bill.  In just the last year, expense for reciprocal moorage has exceeded double the allocated budget.  Recognizing this problem, Jewels and I have been researching the details of the arrangement we have with Shilshole marina, its history, and potential alternatives for reducing the club’s liability for these expenses.  We presented initial findings to the board this month with the recommendations detailed below for removing some clubs from our reciprocal list, and expect to present additional recommendations next month for changes to the terms and conditions of reciprocal use.  This first set of recommendations is intended to be adopted in time to allow us to update the reciprocal information in the roster prior to its publication in January. The board asked us to provide the recommendations to the membership via this Rudderpost article with an invitation for open comments.  Please feel free to contact either of us via phone, email, or at the holiday dinner.

Our first finding is that we have six reciprocal clubs in Tacoma and that some of those are either redundant or have poor features.  Specifically:

  • Day Island YC is in University Place, just south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. It has a clubhouse, is adjacent to a brewpub restaurant, and provides moorage at the entry point to South Sound.  We recommend we keep this one.
  • Fircrest YC has no clubhouse but has moorage at both Breakwater Marina with access to Anthony’s and Foss Harbor Marina with access to the glass museums and downtown restaurants. We recommend we keep this one for its flexible moorage.
  • Tacoma YC has a large clubhouse with bar and restaurant, access to Anthony’s, and is the premier club south of Seattle. However, it is built literally on the ASARCO slag heap, has a fairly long walk to the clubhouse (maybe 75 yards across the parking lot) and consistently incurs the second most reciprocal users at Shilshole (i.e., costs SBYC money.)  We provide a tepid recommendation to keep this one, given its premier status and onsite facilities.
  • Corinthian YC of Tacoma has no clubhouse and its moorage at the Dock St. Marina is effectively redundant with Fircrest. We recommend dropping this one.
  • Totem YC has a clubhouse five miles from the marina and its moorage at the Foss Harbor Marina is redundant with Fircrest. We recommend dropping this one.
  • Viking YC is in NE Tacoma on the far side of Commencement Bay from downtown and has no clubhouse. We recommend dropping this one.

Our second finding is that we have two reciprocal clubs in the vicinity of Sydney BC.  Specifically:

  • Capital City YC has a lovely clubhouse, is walking distance from a restaurant and has close access to the local busses, but is almost 2.5 miles to downtown Sydney. Also, this year, we had a large number of reciprocals from this club.  We somewhat reluctantly recommend keeping this one as the only one we have in that area.
  • North Saanich YC also has a lovely clubhouse but is another half mile further away from downtown and has no retail of any kind in the immediate vicinity. We recommend dropping this one.

Our third and final finding is that we have three clubs in areas that are either remote or difficult to get to and we can’t imagine that anybody in the club would go there. We recommend dropping all three.  Specifically:

  • International YC is in Blaine, kind of far from any local restaurants and not exactly a prime destination. ‘Nuff said.
  • Crescent Beach YC is at the north end of Semiahmoo Bay inside the mouth of the Nicomeki River, just across the border into Canada. Travel there would require customs check-in in Crescent Beach on arrival and again in Pt. Roberts on departure. Also it requires passing through a railroad draw bridge to get there.
  • Shelton YC is a tricky location to get to at end of a long, narrow, shallow passage. It sits adjacent to a log booming area between a fish farm and a lumber mill. The clubhouse has no showers.  Most of the “things to do” on the Shelton web site aren’t actually in Shelton – just sayin’.

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