Three Minnetonka Sailors Compete Nationally and Internationally

Three Minnetonka sailors make waves on the national and international sailing scene.
Sam Rogers

Meet Sam Rogers, Colin Grey Voigt and Bruce Martinson. Though they differ in age and occupation, these three share a love of sailing that they trace back to their days at the Lake Minnetonka Sailing school. Because of the sport, they all have richer lives, filled with travel, friendship, health, and joy. Learn more about these three lake-area phenoms and see how they’ve influenced our local sailing community—and sailing communities around the world.

Dentist Bruce Martinson is a lifelong sailor. Even as a small child, he loved boats and being on the water. “Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to sail,” he says. In his early teens, Martinson attended sailing school on Lake Minnetonka, which fueled his passion for sailing. After graduating from Minnehaha Academy in the early 1980s, Martinson moved to southern California to attend college (and ultimately dental school), and continued sailing. The sailing was good, but Martinson found that it paled in comparison to his hometown lake.

“We sail much more intensely here,” says Martinson, in part because of the convenience of fresh-water sailing just minutes from many Twin Cities homes. Partially due to his love of Lake Minnetonka sailing, Martinson moved back to the area and established his dental practice in Wayzata. Nearly two decades later, he continues to sail or race his boat on Lake Minnetonka up to five evenings a week during the summer months.

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Bruce Martinson sails his Laser boat on the waves of Lake Minnetonka.

Sailing has kept him physically and mentally fit and allowed him to travel all over the world. In recent years, Martinson has competed in masters’ events in Brazil, England and Australia, and in October, he heads to France to participate in the Laser masters’ world championships. “Every place you go [to compete] is very different,” says Martinson. “Being there seven to 10 days, you get to travel [around the area] too.”

Martinson has also become a certified sailing judge for both national and international events, and he estimates that helps judge a dozen high school, college or national events a year. “It’s my way to give back to the sport,” he says. He credits his time in sailing school for solidifying his skills and deepening his love of the sport.

Colin Grey Voigt is a 2011 Minnetonka High School graduate who just finished her junior year at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. She is also a Division I athlete who points to her training at Lake Minnetonka Sailing School as the basis for her nationally competitive sailing career.

“One of the things that sailing really teaches you is discipline,” says Voigt. Sailing requires problem-solving, physical strength and teamwork. Voigt’s discipline paid off when she and her skipper won state for Minnetonka High School in both 2009 and 2011. Her high school sailing record allowed her to look at colleges that she might not have otherwise considered, and her matriculation at Old Dominion University has provided her with additional opportunities, both on and off the water.

“The people you meet and the places you get to go” have been the highlights of her collegiate sailing career, says Voigt, who travels all over the United States to compete for Old Dominion. “College sailing is a lot more intense,” says Voigt, but she credits her initial instructors at the Lake Minnetonka Sailing School with giving her discipline and a solid foundation of skills.

Sam Rogers has turned his passion for sailing into his career. Rogers, who is originally from Cottagewood and now lives in Greenwood, spent many childhood weekends watching his father sail. At age 9, he learned to sail as a student at the Lake Minnetonka Sailing School. His time there instilled a love of sailing in him, and he found continued success in the sport throughout this high school years.

Following his graduation from Breck School in 1999, he attended Hobart College, where he was named all-American for sailing during his senior year. In 2004, Rogers began working at Melges Boat Works in Lake Geneva, Wisc., a company he describes as “world-renowned racing sailboat makers.” During his stint at Melges, he was exposed to many different types of boats and sailing experiences.

In 2008, he moved back to the Lake Minnetonka area to be closer to his girlfriend—now his wife—and while he was searching for a new job, he got an offer to sail professionally. “That blossomed into more opportunities,” says Rogers. “Next thing I knew, I’d been doing this for five years.”

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Rogers’ skills in sailing have allowed him to turn one of his favorite activities into a full-time career.

As a professional sailor, Rogers travels 140 to 150 days a year. He races all over the world with various teams on various Melges boats ranging in size from 20 feet to 32 feet. When he’s not on the road, he’s a full-time stay-at-home dad to his daughters Lily, 5 and Sally, 8 months. Rogers appreciates that sailing has introduced him to people and places all over the world, but sailing an E Scow boat on Lake Minnetonka is still his favorite. “We have a great fleet of E Scows that race out of the Minnetonka Yacht Club on Saturday afternoons,” says Rogers. “It is sometimes ironic that when I have to travel for sailing, it pulls me away from the sailing I truly love on the lake.”

Rogers, who has been a member of the Lake Minnetonka Sailing School board for the last four years, is committed to quality sailing education. “To me, the whole experience [at LMSS] was instilling a love of sailing. It’s fun to see the school continue on.”

Interested in setting sail?

The Minnetonka Yacht Club offers a variety of sailing opportunities for beginners, experienced sailors, and everyone in between. For more information, contact Pete Wahtera, Yngling Fleet Captain, Minnetonka Yacht Club, at 952.473.0587 or [email protected]. To learn more about the Lake Minnetonka Sailing School, visit their website at lmss.us.