BMPs-Bert's Brain

Bert's Brain

Bert's Brain

This page is intended to be a repository for many of the board principles that we use while developing club policies and guidelines.This page provides history and background on issues that come up regularly for our board. These are not policies or rules, simply findings of previous board conversations.

(Note: while we pay homage to Bert's tremendous experience here, these comments are not exclusively Bert's)

Boat Sponsorship:  This is a regular topic at board meetings. Sponsorship seems like a great idea, but there are other issues that should be considered.

  1. Sponsorship at our level of racing creates and environment where "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer". In other words, fast boat are more able to get sponsorship than slow boats, and this will amplify inequality in our racing. 
  2. Our racing is intended to be affordable. Sponsorship raises costs and creates additional barriers to new teams.
  3. It's difficult to get any sponsorship for our club racing. In fact, more often sponsorship is a simply tax write-off for small business owners. This isn't necessarily equitable to our racers.  
  4. Sponsorship on sails or hulls is already granted for boats preparing sails for big regattas that allow sponsorship. Screen-printed sails will not be allowed afterwords, even on heavy air days.
  5. Decals on boat hulls can be easily removed after a sponsored regatta.
  6. A decal on a car window in the club parking lot will receive far more exposure than sails on a boat and is completely unregulated.
  7. Sponsors wanting photos of their logo on a sail can just as easily photoshop the logo on a photo.

Mooring Rates and Capital Spending:   There are two extremes to view mooring rates: You can charge as much as the market will bear, or you can charge what it costs to run the marina. Historically we have sought to strike a balance that allows us to run top-flight racing programs with a comfortable and inviting marina/clubhouse. We are a member owned organization and we don't pay dividends, so profit is not our goal. But we do need to charge enough to 1) pay for our operations, 2) have sufficient funds to make regular improvements to our facilities that reflect the nature of our surrounding neighborhood.

One way to look at this is our attempt to maintain approximately 5% of our budget toward capital improvements. Another "rule of thumb" that we've found is keeping our mooring rates at approximately 1/2 of the current "lake rate" of commercial marinas.

Board Nomination Criteria:  Recognize that the WYC BOD is a working board in which most members head a committee of an important area of club activity and use monthly board meetings as a way of reporting to the BOD their committee’s activity. Additionally they help create overall strategies and policies.

  • Must be WYC Full Members, preferably, but not necessarily, for several years.
  • Need to be "hard core WYC racers".  Not necessarily fleet champions.
  • Need to love the WYC and it's culture, not want to take the club in a whole new direction.
  • Need to be competent people who have demonstrated their competence in other parts of their lives or in prior service to the WYC.  It is very important that they be someone who gets done what they say they will do.  They can't be a person who volunteers and then doesn't do the job.
  • Need to be willing/want to serve as an active board member who is willing to take on one or more committee assignments and not just sit on the board and make policy.
  • Need to have the time to contribute.  This means that it is the right time in their personal life to be able to give time to the club. If they have the other criteria, but have no time for additional responsibilities, put them on hold until the time is right for them.
  • Need to have a broad/global view of the WYC and not a narrow fleet view or some personal agenda.
  • It is not necessary to have a representative from every fleet on the board, but a balance is preferable.
  • Try to have a balance of older long-term club/BOD members with institutional history, middle age competent management types, younger people who can bring a different perspective, and maybe some members with special skills needed by the club. Also, try to have both genders represented on the board.
  • It would be nice to have some board members who are potential Commodores down the road.

Flag Officer Criteria

  1. Commodore:
    1. Is the leader of the Club and needs to have demonstrated leadership ability.

    2. Generally serves 2 to 3 years and needs to be prepared to do so.

    3. Besides serving as Vice Commodore, the Commodore may have been Secretary or treasurer and served 2 or more years on the board.

  2. Vice Commodore:

    1. Is the normal path to Commodore, but not absolutely. A Vice Commodore who’s circumstances have changed (life change, job change, move, no longer sail at the WYC, etc.) may drop out and the secretary, treasure, or another board member step up to be nominated for commodore.

    2. Needs to have demonstrated the leadership qualities to be able to move up to Commodore and has the experience on the board.

  3. Secretary:

    1. Has to be someone willing to do it regularly, reliably and thoroughly.

    2. Demonstrates a person’s willingness to help the club out with a job that is somewhat tedious.

    3. Could hold the position for 2-3 years while being ready to move into the vice commodore position or could hold it for 5-7 years as their service to the club.

  4. Treasure:

    1. Needs someone who is familiar with financial numbers, budgets, and projections.

    2. Could hold the position for 2-3 years while being ready to move into the vice commodore position or could hold it for 5-7 years as their service to the club.


Nominating Process & Orderly Secession


1)     Nominalizations

a)     In July or sooner the Commodore appoints a nominating committee. 

b)     If the Commodore wants to run for another term he needs to appoint someone or group other than himself.  This could be the nominating committee from the prior year who nominated him.  This committee needs to meet (possibly by email) to select the Commodore.  Then they bring the Commodore into the nominating committee to select the other positions.  Its important that the committee include the Commodore so that he has a say as to what officers and directors are to be nominated so he is comfortable working with them.

c)      If the Commodore doesn’t want to run for another term he can appoint just himself or 1 to 3 other people and he can lead the committee.  The committee must not include the person who is to be nominated to be Commodore.  Most of the time the new Commodore nominee will be the current Vice Commodore.  The committee first selects the Commodore nominee and then brings him/her into the committee to help select the other nominees.  For the same reason as in “a)” above.

2)     Orderly Secession

a)     Have board members serve a minimum of 2 or 3 terms (4-6 years) or more if it is working out for them and the club.  The job gets easier, they know more what to expect and the meetings get shorter.  Having an experienced and knowledgeable board is important.  However, if their personal circumstances change and they can’t make meetings, can’t do their homework, can’t get assigned stuff done, or can’t volunteer for some of the tasks, they may need to go off the BOD and come back another time when the time is right.

b)      Select the Flag Officers from the BOD in most cases.  There may be occasions when a candidate, particularly with special skills (finance, minute writing, etc) would be elected directly from outside the board.

c)      Crew attendee can be selected by the nominating committee or the Commodore and invited to participate at the BOD meeting, but without a vote.

d)     It helps to have a board made up of a few older very long term board members who have institutional history, mostly the middle age group to run the club and one or two younger members to bring the younger prospective.



Regatta Management



 The WYC Formula
(note: this originated from a magazine editor's request, as such the writing style is directed toward that audience)

There's no magic bullet or super genius running our programs, but there are some basics.

- Our Board: We focus on having a well rounded board of directors who are focused on our club mission statement of being " a dedicated, passionate sailboat racing club", and it's a working board where everyone is expected to be energetic and do more than contribute their opinions. They take their job's seriously.

- We own our club property: Year after year that Board of Directors has made the commitment to invest in our club (often against the wishes of vocal club members) and provided us with a substantial base of operations. We do not live like a bird on a wire with rented or borrowed property smiling at how little we spent to get there.

- Two tiered mooring rates: By far our biggest asset has been to provide "owner" mooring rates to boats that race at least 15 races per year. All other boats pay about double for a slip rate which is equivalent to commercial marinas on the lake. This gets rid of the dead wood.

- One Design racing fed by handicap fleets: We love the simplicity and comradeship of one design, and we structure our fleets to have different flavors of non-competing one design fleets so that even the casual/family racer has a one design fleet to join. It's not an accident that we are home to J24 and J22 fleet #1.

- Great RC: We spend copious amounts of money on our RC equipment and paid RC staff. They provide us with what many visitors tell me is the best staff in the country.

- Seminars: I've lost count of how many seminars we do each year. All of them are inexpensive and mostly volunteer run.

- Inexpensive Crew Membership levels: All those people who don't own boats can join or club for a measly $100 per year, and it creates commitment.

- Crew Needing A Ride Table: Before every race we have a table on the patio reserved for anyone who want's to pick up a ride (member or not). Excellent recruiting tool.

- Women: Specifically, women sailors. We court them, encourage them, train them. Women are half the population, it's a big market, they are really fun to sail with and somehow they bring in more men to the club.

- Free Beer: Another obvious thing. Along with free soda we provide a free keg after most races. (note: the women are not free, anything but)

- Kids: Women + beer = kids and families: Nothing kills sailing more than an uncooperative family. So we focus very hard on trying to make our club family friendly, and we strongly support our youth sailing center and it's programs.

- The things we don't do: We don't have a bar, a restaurant, a "model room" of our past glories, blue blazers, and anyone who suggests getting a pool is thrown off the dock. We are not a country club with a sailing program, and our lack of "ancillary revenue sources" like a bar or restaurant means that we are free to throw some great parties after the race and make everyone feel welcome.

In short, we focus our energy on providing a solid base for excellent racing programs, we try to keep it simple, friendly, and fun.