These exclusive clubs offer a prestigious sailing experience unlike any other with stunning locations and luxury five-star amenities.
Besides fostering the art of yachting, yacht racing, and other recreational sea activities, yacht clubs serve another important purpose—to build a strong, close-knit community. This is especially true for more prestigious clubs that only offer memberships to select individuals.
High-end yacht clubs are exclusive precisely because of their hefty initiation fees and rigorous application processes. Some even go as far as to ask applicants to present recommendation forms from existing members or undergo meticulous screening. While this may seem a bit over the top, many believe that it’s well worth the investment.
After all, these clubs offer premium amenities set in breathtaking seaside locations, and also function as social hubs for those looking to expand their network. Some even host grand galas and fundraising events for members to support their communities.
While there’s a wide assortment of elite clubs out there, some truly stand out from the rest. Without further ado, below are 10 of the most highly-ranked yacht clubs in the world:
Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club
The Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club often finds itself at the very top of many lists, and for good reason. It’s one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, given its idyllic location at a famous sailing station in the gulf and the Middle East—which offers a breathtaking view of Break Water beach.
What makes the club even more unique is how it honors traditional water sports like dhow sailing, and more contemporary ones like modern rowing and speed boating.
St. Francis Yacht Club
The St.Francis Yacht Club has held the number one spot among Platinum Clubs® of America for years, and remains there even in the 2023 to 2024 rankings. Besides worldwide prestige, it also carries an impressive history as one of the oldest American yacht clubs, having been founded in 1927.
While its Mediterranean Revival-style clubhouse is located on the glimmering shores of San Francisco bay, members can also enjoy access to the private Tinsley Island in the Sacramento Delta. It’s known for hosting the Rolex Big Boat Series—one of the premier regattas of the west coast, where members can take part in thrilling races and one-of-a-kind shoreside activities.
Grosse Pointe Yacht Club
Much like the St.Francis Yacht Club, the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (GPYC) in Michigan is among the top three Platinum Clubs® of America. GYPC’s harbor is situated in Lake St. Clair and features 261 boat slips in a certified clean Marina. It also has a world-class staff that’s ready to provide exceptional 24/7 service for all its members.
The highly-acclaimed institution offers a grand clubhouse with a ballroom, three dining rooms, and meeting rooms—among other luxe amenities.
Its main dining room and “The Spinnaker” room offer fine dining experiences for a variety of occasions, be it with family or significant others. Meanwhile, its Grog Shop is the perfect spot for drinks and snacks.
Barbados Yacht Club
Located on Carlisle Bay, just south of Barbados’ capital city Bridgetown, is the Barbados Yacht Club. One can understand why the club became so popular, since it provides full access to the amazing beaches, calm waters, and steady winds that the Caribbean island is known for.
Members can enjoy drinks at the Beach Bar, buffet lunches, and even live music on the last Friday of every month. They also have access to the club’s tennis courts and library.
Besides hosting a variety of sailing programs, the club holds a number of regattas like their Harris Paints Regatta and the Mount Gay Rum Barbados Regatta.
Club Nàutic Porto Cristo
Spanish waters are some of the most beautiful in the world, which is exactly why Club Nàutic Porto Cristo has become the go-to exclusive yacht club in Spain. Situated in the east coast of Mallorca, the club was founded in 1969 by Mr. Joan Servera Amer.
Throughout its history, the institution has undergone a number of changes and renovations to transform it into the luxurious club it is today.
Like many of the other clubs in this list, Club Nàutic Porto Cristo hosts a variety of regattas along with recreational activities like fishing, kayaking, and paddle surfing. Those with a love for nature might also appreciate the club’s dedication to protecting its natural surroundings.
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is the country’s most prestigious yacht club, as it’s home to one of the best yachting competitions in the world—the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Located along the Rushcutters Bay foreshore, CYCA provides top-tier benefits to its members. Among these is access to one of Australia’s most comprehensive sailing programs, a 213-berth Marina, function rooms with skyline and harbor views, and a members’ bar offering choice liquors, to name a few.
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. Nestled in the heart of “new Dubai,” its marinas have won the 5 Gold Anchor award for their world-class services, facilities, and prime locations.
By day, the club is a boater’s haven, and by evening it also serves as a glamorous nightlife center. Its East Marina offers a generous berth, as well as an array of restaurants, cafés, and lounges. Meanwhile the club’s West Bay Marina boasts luxury amenities near the open sea.
Grand Bahama Yacht Club
Known as one of the best ports in The Bahamas, the Grand Bahama Yacht Club offers complete amenities to ensure that its members’ needs are all attended to. Some of its premium facilities include an Olympic-sized swimming pool and elegant pool bar. The clubhouse is located in Freeport and is only a few minutes away from some of The Bahamas’ top restaurants, spas, fitness centers, shops, and local hospitals.
The club also offers a slew of exciting activities like a Jeep Beach Safari and a trip to Dolphin Cove to swim with—you guessed it—playful dolphins. Besides water sports like sailing, members can also take part in Big Game Fishing, tennis, and golf.
Another old and prestigious yachting institution is Germany’s Kieler Yacht-Club, which was first established as The Imperial Yacht Club in 1887. The club continues to maintain its long tradition of sailing, while cultivating a passion for the sport within younger generations. 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 Medalists from different sailing classes. Its clubhouse was chosen as a venue for Olympic games, and even housed monarchs like the Spanish King Juan Carlos, Greece’s former King Constantine, and King Carl Gustav of Sweden.
In its current form, 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.
Yacht Club de Monaco
Another distinguished yacht club is the Yacht Club de Monaco, established in 1953 by Prince Rainier and presided over by HSH Prince Sovereign Albert II since 1984. Situated in the gorgeous waters of Quai Louis II in Monaco, the club hosted its first regattas in 1862 under the encouragement of Prince Charles III.
The prominent institution offers a spacious, luxe, and sustainably-built clubhouse that incorporates Photovoltaic cells, solar thermal panels, and sea water cooling systems. It’s also an allied member of Yacht Club de France, with 16 twinned clubs and 67 reciprocal clubs in 35 countries—allowing members to enjoy access to the benefits and facilities of partner clubs like SN Genève in Switzerland and YC Costa Smeralda in Italy.
Banner Photo via Instagram @yachtclubmonaco.