New Membership System—One More Time With Feeling

Most of you will be aware of our attempt, a few weeks ago, to cut over to a new membership system. An attempt that did not end well.

After that unpleasant experience, and with summer fast approaching, we were hoping to take a breather from such things to focus on Morgan’s Cloud and creating content, at least until the fall.

But it was not to be, since, just to add to the fun and games, our old membership system started having issues, lots of issues, resulting in Phyllis and me spending a lot of time doing things manually that should happen automatically. Not a sustainable situation.

And if that were not enough to push us into action, our present mailing list system is a horrible kluge full of inconsistencies that both confuses members and drives us crazy.

So the last few weeks have been a mad scramble of very long days as we re-evaluated membership systems, and then tested the winner.

The good news is that we are pretty sure we have selected a package that will be reliable—our number one selection criteria, this time, rather than features—so we can finally get back to what matters around here: going sailing and creating content.

And this time, instead of relying on the developer to do the conversion, Phyllis and I are doing it ourselves, including a just-completed full dress rehearsal on our testing server that went well.

And the even better news is that, although it will take us several days to complete the cut over, most of that time we will be working away in the background with little disruption for you members…we hope.

That said, there will be a few periods when the site is unavailable, but not more than about six hours spread over the next few days.

And it will not be possible to join or renew for about two days—we don’t want anyone’s money to fall through the cracks between the old and new systems!

There will also be a period of about two weeks after the cut-over where there will be some inconsistencies and general weirdness while we edit things like Help pages and links, as well as get our mailing system sorted out.

So over the next month or so, if you see any problems at all, even something that’s just confusing, please:

  1. Report it to us via email or as a comment to this post. The latter would be better (as long as there are no privacy issues) since then others can chime in with their experience.
  2. Be patient while we fix problems. This has been a stressful project for Phyllis and me and getting yelled at is only going to make that worse. Thanks.

Sorry to put you through this yet again, but we have no choice. Our old system has been by-passed by changes and improvements in WordPress (the base software this site runs on) and at our payment processors: Stripe and PayPal.

And, anyway, the new system has a really nice account screen that will let you members keep track of your payments and the status of your membership, as well as make account changes, like updating your email address, all in one place.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

16 comments… add one
  • Dick Stevenson May 2, 2019, 8:27 pm

    Hi John & Phyllis,
    Good luck, Dick

  • Evan Cobb May 3, 2019, 5:07 am

    Great news. Fingers crossed (just in case).

  • Ernest E Vogelsinger May 3, 2019, 6:13 am

    Bonne chance John, but doing stuff by yourself usually works out way better than by contractors (as to my experience)…
    Looking forward to the new system!

  • Flemming Torp Petersen May 3, 2019, 7:39 am

    My Dad said: “There is always one more mosquito” …
    I do hope you guys can beat it this time … 😉 … Good luck!

  • Pierre Mitham May 3, 2019, 9:53 am

    Good luck with the cut over. having done several myself with other IT systems I feel for you! personally I’d rather you take a whole weekend with the site in maintenance mode and not have the pressure of trying to “seamlessly migrate” as there’s always glitches that you end up chasing anyway!

    Good luck, see you on the other side!!!

  • charles starke May 3, 2019, 12:37 pm

    Good Luck!
    Now you have to charge more!
    Best wishes

  • Peter McGinn May 3, 2019, 5:59 pm

    We are all on your side. Let the stress go. Life is short enough.

  • John May 4, 2019, 3:54 pm

    Hi All,

    Good couple of days work done on this. All going well we should get it done and dusted tomorrow (Sunday).

  • John May 5, 2019, 4:38 pm

    It looks like we pulled it off!

    And we are really happy with the new system and the support we got from the developers when we had a question. Bodes well.

    Still a few rough edges to file off over the next few days, but now it’s time for a walk and then a large beverage from Scotland.

    • Marc Dacey May 8, 2019, 10:18 am

      It’s best to perform those activities in that order, I find. May your luck hold.

    • Slavanaway May 8, 2019, 8:58 pm

      Just so you know, I just joined after years of one of my best sailing buddies touting the benefits and knowledge of your site. I was able to join easily using PayPal and then I found out you were upgrading your system. My profession was information technology management and I can appreciate the complexity a nuances that are brought to the front during a conversion. Best for your continued success!


      • John May 9, 2019, 7:40 am

        Hi Slavanaway,

        Thanks very much for joining and your appreciation of the difficulties. Please let us know if anything at all does not work for you, or is even just a bit inelegant. Having input from a pro is priceless and much appreciated.

  • Paul Rutherford May 5, 2019, 10:35 pm

    Good news and well done both of you, it must be satisfying and not a little frustrating that it took a load of pain to get here – but you did it and from here it looks good. As I’m in Scotland I will have one with you too!

  • Dick Stevenson May 6, 2019, 6:37 am


  • Ernest E Vogelsinger May 6, 2019, 2:55 pm

    Looks fine and works obviously like a charm, at least seen from the user portal side. Obviously you pulled it off successfully, congratulations!

    How was the scottish beverage?

    • John May 6, 2019, 4:15 pm

      Hi Ernest,

      Good to hear it’s working from your end. So far we are really happy with the admin side. A huge step forward that should free us up to create more content.

      Now in the throws of sorting out the mailing list.

      And the Scottish beverage was, as always, great.

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