The Korea Herald


[Come Together]

By Paul Kerry

Published : March 29, 2011 - 17:41

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This is a regular feature introducing associations and clubs for expats. This week, Expat Living spoke to Mark Chi of Busan Expat Sailing Club ― Ed.

Name of Club: Busan Expat Sailing Club

Location(s): Sooyoungman Marina in Haeundae, Busan

Number of members: varies from 25 to 40 depending on the time of the year

Started: 2008

Who is it for?

It was started for expats, but we are open to everyone

What goes on?

We have a variety of sailboats the members can enjoy. Often, members are here for less than three years, so buying a boat doesn’t make much sense. We offer them the ability to enjoy their love for sailing, but at a minimal cost. We also offer lessons through our sailing school. We generally train around 80 to 100 new sailors per year. Most have gone on to continue sailing, and some have even bought boats of their own.

Plans for the future?

This is a very important year for us, so I’ve basically put off my commitments to the national sailing program to stay with the club for the entire sailing season. The marina is going through renovations, and our club house may be destroyed before the year’s end. While I’m confident we’ll have a home in the new and improved marina, nothing is certain. So showing our presence is crucial for us to help our chances.

How to join?

There are several levels of membership. A couple for just dinghies (small boats) and another for keelboats (larger boats). We also have out of town discounts so usually 30 to 40 percent of our members do not reside in Busan. We’ve had members join from as far as Incheon and Jeju Island.

Are there any membership fees?

There are membership fees to help pay the club expenses as well as allow us to improve the club each year. However, the membership fees are a fraction of similar clubs in Korea. Normally memberships for this type of club will run you anywhere from 5 million to 10 million won per year. Our most expensive membership plan is 900,000 won per year. We also have quarterly memberships for those that have less than a year to stay.

What is the highlight of the year for your club?

There are many highlights, such as BBQs at the club house, or being invited to major regattas. Last year, our club was sponsored by the organizing committee for the Yi-sun-shin Regatta, one of the biggest races in Korea. They chartered three boats for us, and paid for our hotel and food.