Yacht Club Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

Updated: Mar 6, 2021



The South Shore Yacht Club in the early days.
Perfect setting for a beer on a budget after sailing.

If you have been reading along, this post follows the Birth of a Dream post, and hopefully if I create the right emotional picture it will make you want to run right out and demand to join The South Shore Yacht Club.

Unfortunately, you can’t because the clubhouse and island were sold years ago.

But way back in earlier times it was a watery slice of heaven. Portage Lake State Park, at Turkeyfoot Lake made the perfect escape for Three Men and a Boat.

We worked really hard at enjoying the boat, we dragged it to the cottage in Michigan, we used it for dates, we had family picnics. Good times all around. We first docked it at the original Dusty’s Landing which made us feel a part of the lake community. We spent as much time as we could on the water.

One memorable Sunday we had all our parents to an early morning brunch on the peninsula, Brunch? sounds like something rich folk do.

There were numerous rides with girlfriends, once getting caught in a thunderstorm and learning the true meaning of “Running with the Wind” all the while honing our sailing skills. Mark just reminded me how we taught ourselves to sail using the original Google service, the Public Library card catalog.

Mark’s Dad, for the purposes of this story we’ll call The Instigator, knew a Mr. Duckworth. He belonged to the Club and he was an avid racing enthusiast. Heck, he probably started the Club and he really wanted some young blood to join their ranks.

We joined, and the rest as they say, is poverty!

If you squint at the photo at that tiny boat just to the right of center, that could well have been our boat. Access to the island was rowboats locked for members only, and the perks involved a storage bin for your sail and gear, access to clubhouse replete with fireplace and kitchen. This was especially nice some evenings when you ferried you girlfriend to this club house and had it all to yourselves. When we first joined our 15 foot wooden beauty was dwarfed as we docked next to a fleet of racing Thistles.

A Thistle is an open deck class of racing sailboat. Sleek fiberglass hulled beauties, 17 feet of death defying speed, and because we had not read that far ahead in the book we bought one anyway.

Intimidating, yes, inviting, yes, inexpensive, no!

We bought one, about $2250 which we could not afford without the help of St. Martha’s Catholic Church credit union. Split 3 ways it probably came to 35 bucks a month. But when you work 20 hours a week between classes at a buck eighty five it puts a strain on your gas, beer, and dating budget. I was flat broke but, I was in a Yacht Club.

The memories are all I could afford it seems.

And they are priceless!


If you enjoyed our lake and State Park, your welcome. Please tell us about it.