The History of the Gstaad Yacht Club
Everything started in 1996 in St. Tropez, where Rene Fatton, one of our Founding Members, had bought a beautiful classic Riva motorboat and wanted to equip it with its own identity. Rene designed the burgee, stickers, beach towels, etc of a so-
The following winter when Rene and his charming wife Christiane were walking through Gstaad, he was always proudly wearing a jacket with the "Yacht Club de Gstaad" ensign. During a lunch invitation, someone asked him how one could become member of this club. Not quite sure what to answer, later during a relaxed get together at a friend’s house, they decided to create a real club. If they were going to do this, then they would do it right.
They soon arranged the articles of association and the bye-
In December of the same year, the first event was held. Each Founding Member was asked to invite 10 possible new members for a reception at the Olden. To mark the occasion, an Olympic Star boat was settled in the middle of Gstaad’s promenade, soon covered in snow, the Founding Members braved the cold temperatures to pose for an official photo. During the cocktail the Club was presented, and guests were invited to join. The reception was a big success – the objective to find at least 50 new members, to establish the foundations of the club was met – the starting point to think about the next steps: One of own a clubhouse.
The number of members was growing each year, including very prominent Honorary Members who kindly accepted the invitation of the GYC’s Patron. The board started to hear wonderful stories of members meeting in different corners of the world. The GYC burgee could be seen in some of the most prominent places. Somehow the GYC started to belong to the scenery.
The first sailing event took place in Monaco at the invitation of the Yacht Club de Monaco. The GYC assembled a talented team of sailors, who gave their best, including some broken ribs and sore heads. This event, und many that followed, created a special relationship with the Yacht Club de Monaco. A Protégé programme, which supports Saanenland youngsters interested in learning to sail, was subsequently established with the Yacht Club de Monaco.
In February 2000, the GYC finally held its first sport event. With the help und participation from the Eagle Ski Club the GYC invited the Yacht Club de Monaco and the Royal Yacht Squadron for the Ski Yachting event. Ski races in the afternoon were followed by remote controlled carbon fibre America's Cup boat match racing in the indoor swimming pool. Wind came from specially arranged large fans. The boats were organized with the kind help of James Grey.
The GYC had also special relationship with the Swiss, e.g. the Thunersee Yacht Club, located only some 40 minutes from Gstaad. For many years they jointly organized the Gstaad Yacht Club Challenge for 5.5m, Star boats and Dragons -
These events brought a new dynamic and perspective to the Gstaad Yacht Club. What the GYC could offer in the winter in the mountains (away from the water), friends in yacht clubs (by the water) could reciprocate in the summer.
After the Yacht Club de Monaco, invitations followed from the Royal Yacht Squadron, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the Royal Thames Yacht Club and later one from several of the 36 reciprocal clubs. The GYC and its members very much enjoyed visiting friends and always looks forward to returning.
At the same time, planning for our own Clubhouse continued until in the Fall 2001, GYC member Thomas Straumann approached the board, and his sailing friend, Rear Commodore Peter Erzberger, with a new solution. Through his acquisition of the Bellevue, the GYC was given the opportunity to integrate its clubhouse ideas into his vision for a luxurious, five-