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A letter to California clubs about Yacht Destinations

By way of introduction, the Yacht Destinations site is an offshoot of a database project created by the Orcas Island Yacht Club to keep track of their reciprocal clubs. For the first few years our OIYC reciprocal manager contacted each club and then updated the database. Then we created a cloud-based editor so the other clubs could update the data themselves and we (the OIYC) asked those clubs to use the tool to update their information for us. Many did.

Then in 2009 I created a page on the OIYC web site that presented the database information for consumption by our members including a Google map that had pens for each club. See: http://oiyc.org/foru...?app=reciprocal All of a sudden I was getting dozens of requests from other clubs to have the same presentation for their club. Because our reciprocal clubs are a different subset of the total universe of yacht clubs out there I had to change the structure of the database to accommodate. That new code went live in 2010.

The great innovation here is that each club is responsible for keeping their own information on the database up to date. That means that conscientious clubs don't have to collect the information on their own for dissemination to their members. It also means that if a club needs to close their facilities for a week or a month they can go online make the announcement and all cruisers who reference the common database in one of the many ways will see the change immediately.

One of the activities/traditions of clubs in the PNW is to exchange letters of renewal every year. In 2011 we added a letter generating tool with a mail-merge feature linked to the database and having bulk-email transmission. We are now sending about 6000 renewal letters a year and the use of this feature is increasing. Many of the clubs report that they have saved themselves dozens of hours of work every year and turned a drudgery for volunteers into a joy.

Today nearly all the yacht clubs in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon (who have some resources they are willing to share) are participants. Many of these clubs embed the database presentation directly into their own website like is done on the OIYC website. Currently we are also working to get all of the clubs in California to participate as well. Even if we don't have all of the California clubs included yet there is still an advantage for a California club to participate. Some of your members may drive to the PNW and charter a boat in the summer. In that case if their club in California is a participant they can fly their burgee on the charter boat and be welcomed at many clubs in the Gulf Islands, Salish Sea, or Columbia River. Note that reciprocity with any club through Yacht Destinations is not automatic and needs to be requested and reciprocated.

Our system is in continued development and we are adding refinements and upgrades which are driven by requests from the users.

To add your club to the system we will need contact information, address, GPS coordinates, the name of your Reciprocal Manager, their email address, and their phone number. Then once we create the account your reciprocal manager would need to log into the account and add/edit some of the other particulars about your club, offerings to cruisers, local amenities, policies, and restrictions. The reciprocal manager's contact information is not made public but is available to the reciprocal managers of the other clubs in our network. The hope is that your reciprocal manager would then keep the system updated with changes at least once a year.

Phone help is always available.

I hope to hear from you soon.


Bob Brunius

Yacht Destinations


August 2019

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