Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Crew Wanted

If you crew, we'd like you to join the Arizona Yacht Club.

It's not just for boat owners, but for crew as well and right now you can join for the initiation fee ($150) and half the annual dues ($62.50), because the AYC year is half over. (You'll need to renew your membership for $125 next summer.) http://www.arizonayachtclub.org/

Why join? To support this great sport, to make sure we have the boats, marks, events for you to enjoy! Don't leave it to others—join in.

Peter Lehrach crews for me (Commodore Mike Ferring) on our J/80 and he's not only become a member, but he's been active on the AYC board of directors and organizes our highway cleaning program. Here's what he has to say:

The only boat I've ever owned was a Sunfish more than 30 years ago. Yet I love sailing; I love racing. And I've done a lot of it.

I've had the privilege of crewing on other people's boats extensively on the East, West, and Gulf coasts and several lakes and rivers across America. I've also had international racing experiences in or to Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and England. I learned very early in my crewing career that if you have some skill, cheerfully volunteer to assist in maintenance, and (most importantly) reliably show up then further opportunities and referrals easily come your way. In many ways I had it dialed in perfectly: I got to do my favorite activity, at little personal expense, and I was appreciated by the boat owner. Our relationship was a benefit to both of us. Until recently however, I never joined a yacht club. In hindsight, that was wrong.

I rationalized that only boat owners need to be members. I thought my use of yacht club facilities (launches, showers, bars, restaurants, etc.), purchase of club-branded shirts, participation in racing, social, and educational events were all necessary for "my" boat owners to take advantage of their yacht club privileges and any personal benefit I received was a show of appreciation from the boat owners.

I now realize that while I had been giving and taking with the boat owner, my relationship with the yacht club had been one-way. I further realized that yacht clubs are the community that enables my favorite activity. You see, without a club there is no racing as it takes more than one boat to have a race. It takes more than one boat crew to have a social event. It takes several interested sailors to attract an educational speaker.

Because of the Arizona Yacht Club, we can get our feet wet in the desert even when there is snow and ice on boats elsewhere in the country. How many people can say that? The racing is well run and competitive, the race committee boats and marks are of high quality, and the opportunities to network and learn with likeminded sailors is unique for the area.

Chances are, if you are a long-time crew, you've thought about joining the AYC and then rationalized it away as I once did. For those who have since become members, thank you! If not, please reconsider: AYC needs your membership to strengthen our desert sailing community. Compared to other places I've sailed, AYC member financial obligations are downright cheap. The reciprocal privileges are fantastic. Participation on committees and helping with events are personal growth opportunities and will make you feel good. I know I do.

Thank you for considering my message and I'll see you on the water,

Peter Lehrach AYC Secretary

AYC Member since 2012 (602.741.2016)


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