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February 24, 2024

Cruising around the world’s yacht clubs 

Arushi Sakhuja  
When it comes to exclusivity, few institutions come close to matching the prestige of the yacht club. Yachting has always been associated with luxury and exclusivity and if you’re a sailing fanatic or yachting enthusiast, becoming an esteemed member of one of the most elite yacht clubs would be a dream. Yacht clubs are much sought-after playgrounds of the super-rich and scoring a membership at one of the most elite yacht clubs can be backbreaking. But equally important is belonging to the right one. And belonging to the right club isn’t always easy. At the Yacht Club de Monaco, for instance, you must first be approved of by H.S.H. Prince Albert II to be granted membership. At the New York Yacht Club, you must be considered worthy of being listed among past members including Franklin D. Roosevelt.  
However, affluence isn’t the only factor that the most exclusive and expensive yacht clubs take into account. To gain entrance to these, one has to apply for it – some venues even go as far as requiring a referral from current members to ensure their exclusivity. Others may require you to hunt down senior members’ signatures for you to even be considered. Your application is then to be reviewed by the general committee. If you are approved, the following step would be an interview. If all goes right, you will be granted entrance into the yacht club. Otherwise, you may need to wait a few months before you can reapply. It can take years to get on the waiting list for some of the most exclusive yacht clubs. But at the end of it, all becoming a chosen member of one of these swanky yacht clubs is a significant achievement, both on the social and financial front. 
The culture of yacht clubs is a social hub for high-flying individuals that have a proclivity for the nautical. With A-class amenities being one of its highest selling points the heft fee is often considered worth it. From stately rooms to members-only parties and private events, these Yacht clubs ought to spellbind you with their fancy yachts.  Also, for those who absolutely love sailing and yachting, the perks of becoming a member can be endless. Whether you are a pro sailor or appreciate the finer thing in life. Here are the most splendid yacht clubs in the world. 
New York Yacht Club  
New York Yacht Club  
New York Yacht Club
The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) has established itself as the epitome of East Coast money and influence. This private club is an integral part of world yachting history, and its Gothic-styled clubhouse was designed by architect Whitney Warren, who also designed New York City’s Grand Central Station. With just over 3,000 members, the NYYC is a strictly by-invitation affair. The clubhouse in Manhattan displays 1,300 models of boats belonging to members. The club was founded in 1844 with headquarters in New York City and the club expanded to Newport in 1988.  
Today, this exclusive club is based over two beautiful spots: a Beaux-Arts building in Manhattan, and a grand waterfront location in Newport. Today, the NYYC conducts the Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex and Transatlantic races as well as the biennial Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup for Corinthian (amateur) sailors.  
St. Francis Yacht Club 
St. Francis Yacht Club 
St. Francis Yacht Club
Besides worldwide prestige, it also carries an impressive history as one of the oldest American yacht clubs, having been founded in 1927. Harboured in the Marina district of San Francisco, California. While its Mediterranean Revival-style clubhouse is located on the shores of San Francisco Bay, members can also enjoy access to the private Tinsley Island in the Sacramento Delta. Tinsley Island is our private slice of paradise. Located 60 miles up the Delta from San Francisco, this 40-acre oasis offers a year-round getaway for our members. It’s the perfect setting to escape the city. The club is known for hosting the Rolex Big Boat Series. 
Yacht Club de Monaco 
Yacht Club de Monaco 
Yacht Club de Monaco
Known to be one of the most luxe locations in Europe, Yacht Club de Monaco located in the heart of the city, has been recognized as one of the most exclusive yacht clubs in the world. Monaco was Europe’s yachting capital long before Prince Rainier III founded the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) in 1953 at Port Hercules. This Monaco yacht club boasts a Norman Foster-designed clubhouse and a private restaurant, 1909, headed by Michelin-starred Chef Thierry Thiercelin.  It was overseen by Prince Albert I. The royal family is still closely involved with the club.

In the summer of 2014, Prince Albert II unveiled the spanking new club, a centrepiece of Monaco’s glittering seafront. Designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster, the building features a series of deck-like terraces with clear views of the Mediterranean or the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit and a private restaurant headed by Michelin-starred Chef Thierry Thiercelin. Membership to this club is possibly one of the toughest clubs in the world, and the club currently has only about 1,300 members spread across 66 countries. Applicants need to be introduced by two sponsors, who, in turn, need to be elite ‘society members’ of the YCM. All applications need to be cleared by Prince Albert II, who is also the president of the YCM. A strict dress code is maintained at all times. Membership options at the Yacht Club de Monaco include individual and corporate memberships. The club also offers social memberships for those who are interested in the club’s activities and events but do not own a yacht. 

Royal Yacht Squadron
Royal Yacht Squadron
Royal Yacht Squadron
 
When it comes to living like royalty, it can’t get grander and more prestigious than the UK. Founded in 1815, with Queen Elizabeth as its patron and the 16th-century Cowes Castle as its clubhouse, this is undeniably one of the oldest and grandest yacht clubs on this list. The Royal Yacht Squadron (YRS) has its headquarters in a castle on the Isle of Wight. Members are allowed to fly the club and the club’s admiral is Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. The highlight of the YRS is Cowes Week, the longest-running regatta in the world. It is held at the beginning of August every year, with 40 races daily and cocktail parties galore. Cowes Week ends with the very posh Royal Yacht Squadron Ball, which is open only to members and their guests. With 500 members, it’s no surprise that entry into this prestigious league doesn’t come easy.  
Grand Bahama Yacht Club  
Grand Bahama Yacht Club  
Grand Bahama Yacht Club
Enjoy 30 miles of beautiful coral reefs, swim with dolphins, take a horseback ride, and explore the wonderful nature and people of Grand Bahama Island. The Grand Bahama Yacht Club has long been considered one of the most conveniently located and easily navigated marinas in the Bahamas. Located in Freeport it can accommodate boats and yachts up to 220ft. This club welcomes larger yachts to its turn-of-the-century clubhouse. Guests can also enjoy its Olympic-sized pool and adjacent bar. As a guest at Grand Bahama Yacht Club, you don’t need to worry about getting around. Guests can visit the Port Lucaya Marketplace by water taxi. The Grand Bahama Yacht Club is ideal for those seeking to wind down and enjoy a day’s worth of water recreation.  
Dubai Marina Yacht Club  
Dubai Marina Yacht Club  
Dubai Marina Yacht Club
Dubai is known to be a city of grandeur and luxury, and this is perfectly exemplified by its Dubai Marina Yacht Club. While it may not come with historic prestige like most other yacht clubs, the luxurious amenities make up for what it lacks in history. Nestled in the heart of new Dubai, it has five marinas, exquisite private member lounges and a dedicated concierge service, as well as restaurants and shopping arcades. By day, the club is a boater’s haven, and by evening it also serves as a glamorous nightlife centre. Its East Marina offers an array of restaurants, cafés, and lounges. Meanwhile, the club’s West Bay Marina boasts luxury amenities near the open sea. 
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
Host to what is considered yachting’s Everest – Hobart Yacht Race, Australia’s most prestigious yacht club was founded in 1944. Nestled along the beautiful Rushcutters Bay foreshore, it enjoys stunning harbour views. The club’s design combines modern and classic features and CYCA provides top-tier benefits to its members.  The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia requires referrals to join the club. Alternatively, you may consider the ‘Adopt a New Member’ initiative, where a representative of the member engagement committee will reach out to you. Once you have access to the club, enjoy a range of amenities a chance to be a part of Australia’s most comprehensive sailing programs, a 213-berth Marina, function rooms with skyline and harbour views, and a members’ bar. 
Kieler Yacht Club 
Kieler Yacht Club 
Kieler Yacht Club
Discover the joy of true luxury sailing here Kieler Yacht-Club, Germany.  An exclusive sailing club that boasts a rich history and tradition in regatta sailing, it is the perfect place to indulge in your passion for sailing and luxury. The club was first established as The Imperial Yacht Club in 1887 and today one of its main focuses is providing sail training for children, adolescents, and adults alike. Many of the members within this esteemed institution include World and European Champions and Olympic Medallists from different sailing classes. The Kieler Yacht Club has 21 rooms and suites, as well as the majestic function rooms Kaiser’s Hall and Commodore’s Hall, which are a part of the club’s respectable history.
Barbados Yacht Club 
Barbados Yacht Club 
Barbados Yacht Club
Located on Carlisle Bay, just south of Barbados’ capital city Bridgetown, is the Barbados Yacht Club. And if you are looking for some respite with full access to the amazing beaches, calm waters, and steady winds that the Caribbean Island is known for, this is just where you need a membership! They offer sailing, dining, and recreational facilities including a bar and restaurant, boatshed and tennis courts. To acquire membership individuals will need to take part in a balloting procedure, which takes place every last Friday of the month, and your performance will determine the success of your application.
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Arushi Sakhuja

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