Membership required in Australia

Published on February 4th, 2020

Scuttlebutt Sailing Club, the official club of Scuttlebutt Sailing News, was founded in 2001 as a reaction to the Racing Rules of Sailing for 2001-2004 which required all participants – skipper and crew – to be members of an officially sanctioned organization.

This standard had long applied to skippers, but the extension to crew was seen as an obstacle to participation, so Scuttlebutt gained club status through US Sailing, and extended free membership to anyone that needed to fulfill this requirement.

Soon enough the push-back reverted the rule to its previous form, but we have since maintained Scuttlebutt Sailing Club, which is something sailors in Australia might consider given this announcement dated February 3, 2020.


At present Rule 46 has a prescription that after three races all crew of any race shall also be a club member; and that Australian Sailing was reviewing the requirement.

From 1 January 2021 the Australian Sailing prescription to the rule will require that all crew are members of an affiliated club and registered with Australian Sailing- regardless of the number of races they have competed in.

When publishing the Racing Rules of Sailing in 2016, Australian Sailing informed competitors (in the rule itself) to note that it was reviewing these requirements and to expect changes to be made requiring that all crew of any race to be members of an affiliated club and registered with Australian Sailing.

Since that time Australian Sailing has made enough changes around database tools that enable the easy registration of clubs’ members, flexible membership and registration systems allowing for short-term or introductory memberships, and we’ve disconnected club’s affiliation fees from their levels of membership.

This is to say:
• Advance notice of the change (now approved) has been published for the past four years, and
• The systems used for club membership and registration with Australian Sailing are ready for the change, and
• This is not a revenue raising exercise. Your clubs’ affiliation fees are not impacted, and
• Alternative solutions (ie Crew Club in NSW) will be discontinued.

Competitors’ membership of clubs and registration with Australian Sailing has for a long time been a major strategic priority for the sport of sailing. These strategic priorities are completely compatible and in line with the priorities of any given club.

Where your club and Australian Sailing needs your support is in making sure the crew on board your boat have signed up as a member of a club; either using SailPass or their normal membership offerings. This simple check and encouragement are something any and all of you can do. Guide people enjoying this sport to be members of a club and registered with the sport.

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