Bert Foster

IN A SINGLE WORD WYC is “RACING.”

Legacy

“I liked Race Committee Chairman best,” he said. "That’s because over 30-plus years, I helped lead development of a professional race committee management team that has a strong, nationwide reputation.” Shortly after buying the Ensign, he soon learned the club’s races were not run all that well. Since he (Foster) complained the most, he was put in charge of coming up with something better.

The club now has one of the most professional racing programs in the nation with U.S. Sailing Certified Race Officers and Judges. Foster believes these assets, the WYC’s reputation, and the overall quality of the club’s race management program are the big reasons why the club is frequently asked to hold and officiate national and international events.

Culture

In 1970, Foster took over the rules seminars at the WYC and began conducting them on the first three Tuesdays in May … He also started On-the-Water Training on the first three Saturdays in May. “That means on Tuesday they learn about the rules and tactics of how to start a race and on Saturday they run three-minute starts for two hours,” he explained. “That’s more starting experience than you can get in a season or two.

Foster believes that Wayzata is the only major yacht club in the world where uninvited guests are welcome to come and hang out around a crew table and be practically guaranteed of being picked up to crew in a sailboat race. After racing, they enjoy free snacks and beer. These same programs also attract people who have their own boat and are looking for a crew.

Vision

He feels the club’s most crowning achievement is the creation of a culture of passion for sailboat racing. As he often puts it, “Our sailboat racers are certifiably crazy, passionate sailboat racers. I think that accurately describes who we are and how we operate, and we want to continue to have an environment of affordability.

A special thanks to Robb Harriss of Aperture, Digital Sight & Sound for video production and editing.

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