Monday, October 16, 2017
Getting Started

Welcome to the Apostle Island Station of the Wayzata Yacht Club in Bayfield, WI.  We're passionately committed to sailboat racing. We want to do everything we can to help you get started, regardless of age of vessel, size of crew, or level of expertise.  

Getting in on the action is easy!

  • Membership to WYC not required.  You can enter all events or only one.
  • There will be buoy AND mid-distance races as listed.  You pick which one you want to enter!
  • Advanced registration and all other information can be found here:
  • Let us know if you need crew, we’ll help out any way we can.
  • Plan on meeting at the Bayfield Inn after all races.   
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: who do I contact to start racing?
Answer:  The fleet contacts list on this page will answer your questions, point you in the right direction, and help get you and your boat to the starting line. In reality any member of the fleet will be excited to help you get started.  

Q; what type of boat can participate in a race?
Answer: the simple answer is anything that floats and has sails! AIS is open to all types and ages of yachts; typically over 30-feet in length, with some up to 50-feet.  Yachts may be more cruising oriented; may include a dodger and/or bimini, or may be more racing oriented without such creature comforts. Sails can be Dacron or more exotic, and spinnakers are not required.  The handicap system (LMPHRF) ensures the wide variety of boats compete equitably.     

Q: where do I get information about the races?
Answer: three important documents; the Notice-of-Race, the Sailing Instructions, and the Safety Regulations.  All described in more detail below.

Q. What is the Notice-of-Race (NOR)?
Answer: It’s a document inviting you to participate in the race. It has important information about who, where, and how of the event. It is typically posted on the registration page. And, there will be a link to it from the main AIS web page

Q. What are the Sailing Instructions (SI)?
Answer: This is another document, published closer to the event, which describes the rules and operation of each event, including how a race is started and scored. Again, it’s typically posted on the registration page.

Q. Where can I learn about the Safety Requirements?
Answer: The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue to racing is hers alone.  In order to promote safe sailing AIS adopted Near Shore Equipment requirements – published here , that yachts are expected to comply with.  

Q. What is buoy racing?
Answer: Buoy races are typically two or three laps around a 1.5-2 nautical mile course (the course is displayed and may be announced at race time by the race committee boat). The course is marked by two inflatable buoys set by the race committee.  It is often called windward/leeward or W/L since the buoys are aligned with the wind direction.  Yachts are required to sail upwind to the windward mark, with a series of tacks; round the windward mark, launch a spinnaker, and then sail downwind with a series of gybes; then round the douse the spinnaker and round the leeward mark. 

Q. What is mid-distance racing?
Answer: Middle distance races are typically 2-6 hours in length racing around an islands or points of interest (the course is displayed and may be announced at race time by the race committee boat). Courses are typically not oriented directly upwind and downwind using buoys. Races typically begin from the buoy racing start line, after the buoy racing fleets start, but continue on our own route around well know landmarks before finishing near Bayfield.  More information is described in the Notice of Race and/or the Sailing Instructions. Course information is posted on a board on the committee boat, and may be broadcast on the VHF.

Q. What is jib and main (JAM) racing?  
Answer: It's similar to middle distance racing, in fact often sailing the same courses.  But as the name implies, there are no spinnakers allowed.  This makes the racing especially inviting for shorthanded crews, those just getting started in racing, or simply for boats not equipped with spinnakers.

Q. How I register my yacht to participate?
Answer: Click the registration link for each event from the front-page. This will take you to a third-party application managed by, where we collect registration details, and administer the event. This is also where you will see the NOR, SI, list of other participants (scratch sheet) and the race results!

Q. What's the typical sequence of a race day? 
Answer: The NOR, and SIs will provide precise timing for the event. However there is typically a VHF broadcast at 10:00 announcing the events for the day (Check the NOR and SI for the channel). Racing typically starts around 11:00, and concludes late afternoon, followed by an hour-long social from 17:30.

Q. Do I need a big crew?  
Answer: No.  Buoy racing boats do tend to have larger crews.  And there are crew boards where you can post your interest in adding crew to your boat.  But the middle distance and jib and main racers are often family programs, sometimes involving kids, or sometimes just a couple.  Shorthanded racing is one of the sport's fastest growing segments.

Q. How is a race started?
Answer: The Sailing instructions will have comprehensive information, about the starting line, and the starting sequence including the countdown time, color and time of the flags and sound signals leading to the start time.

Q. How does a race end?
Answer: Some days you might think it's never going to end. But it eventually will, and by the next day you'll want to do it all over again. Typically we finish between the Bayfield fishing pier and a buoy 200 feet from the shore. Finish times are collected by a race committee official on shore. Of course, this can all change so, you should check the Sailing Instructions, monitor channel 72 before and during the race, and look for announcements on the Race Committee boat at the start.

Q: where can I learn more about racing the first time?
Answer: our parent yacht club, WYC, prepared a First Time Racer frequently asked questions page here

Q. Do I need any special clothing to go racing?
Answer: No, not really. You can wear whatever you would normally wear to go cruising. Perhaps something a bit more jaunty, 'cause, you know, you’re racing.  

Q: how can I get some experience on someone else’s boat?
Answer: a great way to gain race experience is to crew on someone else’s boat first.  The reality is on any given day someone will be looking for additional crew. The fleet contacts mentioned on this page will be helpful finding you a ride.

Q. What is LMPHRF?
Answer: It is the handicap system we use to enable dissimilar yachts to race against each other fairly. You will need to have a rating, in order to be scored. Click here for more information. 

Fleet Contacts

Fleet Captain
David Crum
Cell 952.479.0046 / 

Buoy Fleet: 
Cell: 763.360.8587

Mid Distance / Jib-and-Main: 
Doug Milroy

Fleet Treasurer 
Jim Vaudreuil 
Work 715-836-6860  
Cell 715-210-5263 
Home 715-779-0204 

Race Judge
Corey Bakken
Home 715-779-9850 
Cell 715-209-7506 

WYC Board Representative
Charlie Schroeder
cell 612-991-0473 
Home 763-476-6492 

Registration and Communications 
Jim Vaudreuil
Home 715-835-1490 
Cell 715-210-5263 
Bayfield 715-779-0204

Big Boat Sailing Seminar

WYC hosted a seminar on Big Boat Sailing, presented by AIS skipper, Andy Spence-Parsons.


Here's a copy of the slide deck which contains useful information including; What is big boat sailing – buoy racing, distance racing, offshore, cruising, shore side. Where to sail. Race day expectations. Gear; what to bring to maximize your enjoyment. Life on board; crew positions, watches, food. Safety. Sailing at night. How to get involved. Download your copy here.

Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use
Copyright 2013 WYC AIS