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The Club

A home away from home

With its club facilities based in the Swiss mountains and in the beginning, very often acknowledged with surprise, the GYC developed into an international club with 400 members from over 35 different countries and to a place where members and their guests love to meet.

The GYC supports sailing projects on all levels from juniors to professional sailors and has developed into a firm force in the Swiss sailing scene, especially in Olympic sailing and on international level into classic yachts. Members enjoy a unique network, worldwide reciprocities year-round activities on the waters, in the clubhouse and in the surroundings of Gstaad. Throughout the year the club organizes 50 to 70 different occasions – for all members or with a private character.

This mission will be taken further. Being a yacht club with no direct access to the waters or the sea, at the same time privileged to have its home in an intact region, the GYC is concerned and focused.
Since 2011, topics relating to the protection of the oceans and waters have been an integral part of the club's life. With sustainability being on our forefront we continue to emphasize our activities on our success on water issues. This is and will cover projects in cooperation with well-known foundations and governing bodies as well as in our valley of the Saanenland.

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The GYC thanks its official partners for their support. 




The Gstaad Yacht Club offers a variety of partnership opportunities in various versions, ranging from an corporate category to partnerships based on event activity or exclusive customer events for partners and their clients to a comprehensive engagement as a main or co-partner of the club – there are many opportunities. We work in synergies between our partners.
Collaborations with the Gstaad Yacht Club can be individually tailored to suit your requirements and wishes. It is our great pleasure to discuss the possibilities personally. For further information please contact Cindy Schönrich: +41 33 748 0190 /  

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-called "Yacht Club de Gstaad". A virtual club was born!

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-laws and brought together 10 Founding Members at the Olden hotel, which also became the initial "Clubhouse" for all meetings and events. On 28th February 1998, the Gstaad Yacht Club was founded. George Nicholson was elected Commodore and the Founders pledged to support this Club. About six months later, H.M. King Constantine kindly accepted to become Patron of the Gstaad Yacht Club, who since then has become much more than just a Patron; a friend and ambassador.

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 - a team event based on individual regatta races. In 2003, the GYC proudly sponsored and co-organized the Scandinavian Gold Cup, one of the oldest sailing trophies in the world, and the International Swiss Championship with some 40 5.5m boats from 12 nations to the beautiful Lake Thun.

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-star hotel, wellness, and conference centre right in the middle of Gstaad. This ideal solution was carefully planned, presented, and approved and created a new wave of interest in the club. Many spouses, partners and juniors decided to join and so, by the end of 2003, on the exact day of the GYC's fifth anniversary, and a couple of days before GYC member Ernesto Bertarelli and Team Alinghi won the America's Cup, the GYC celebrated the completion of the outer structure of the Gstaad Yacht Club clubhouse.

In sport also on track.

On the sports side each year several members are taking part in different sailing categories – to name some – Flavio Marazzi and Nathalie Brugger who compete on two different boats in the newly developed foiling class GC32.
Since 2007 children, youth and club teams are introduced to sailing depending on their level. In addition to the training on Lake Thun or Lac Léman, every year the children can attend a sailing camp which takes place in various places.
Results have a great history at the club.
Since 2004 GYC Sports Members represent Switzerland at the Olympic Games – in 2010 the GYC Racing team was born. In London 2012, three of the four Swiss teams were from GYC. The last initiative supported Matías Bühler and Nathalie Brugger who won an Olympic Diploma for Switzerland at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. Besides the Swiss team, other two sport members Billy Besson won a Diploma for France and Will Ryan a silver medal for Australia. Thus the GYC had three teams representing three countries in the Olympic Games in Brazil. The next teams are preparing for Tokyo 2021.

The Centenary Trophy has a very different original idea.

Mariquita, at that time in possession of a GYC member and arguably one of the most beautiful large yachts, built in 1911 in the famous William Fife shipyard in Scotland, had become 100 years old. On this occasion, in 2011 the GYC had decided to invite yachts that were one hundred years or older and in their original condition to a special race. The Centenary Trophy, found and brought from England, was also 100 years old and freshly polished waited for the winner. With friends in Saint-Tropez and carried out by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez the first Classic Regatta was organized in a Pursuit format. In accordance with the handicap, the slowest boat started first and almost 45 minutes later started the birthday child Mariquita. Each participant and, above all, every guest aboard the 15 of the over 100-year-old yachts knew their ranking at any time during the regatta.

And once more: where's a will there's a way. Together with other clubs or class associations, the GYC searches and finds the ways to achieve its goals.
Since 2014 each year in cooperation with the national Optimist class a team is formed from the best Swiss Opti sailors to take part in the International Club Team Race regatta, organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco in the end of January. Four consecutive years of victory and a silver medal in 2018 the GYC team is motivated and focused on the next edition.

As the club from the landlocked country the GYC tries to diversify its water activities as much as possible. Under this objective the club participated in the first LITTLECUP organised in Switzerland. In September 2015, the GYC team comprised of Billy Besson and Matthieu Vandame, GYC Sport Members sailed the C Class Catamaran. We felt privileged to have been able to participate in its first large test of an international challenge on home water.

In 2017 the GYC in collaboration with the Classic Boat Magazine brought an award for the Centenarian of the Year to life. The new award ties in with the centenarian theme and seeks to recognise yachts of this vintage that have achieved something special.

Today the GYC’s sincere thanks go to everybody who has contributed so much personal time, effort, and money to this club. With their support one has created a unique club that we will all be able to enjoy for many years to come.

The sailing and yachting season do not normally clash which has always resulted in a lot of sailors skiing in the winter. At the GYC, we come to realize just how much synergy there is between the mountains and the sea. Who would have thought that one could turn the vision into reality in such a short period of time? Welcome to the future of the Gstaad Yacht CIub.