10 Questions for William E. Dysart, Founding board member of YachtFest San Diego


La Jolla resident William E. Dysart is a partner in Wright & L’Estrange and founding board member of YachtFest San Diego, which is being held on Shelter Island today through Sept. 14.

Dysart is a staff commodore of Southwestern Yacht Club and San Diego Association of Yacht Clubs, former Maritime Museum president, and prominent admiralty law attorney and professor of admiralty law at the California Western School of Law.

Q: What brought you to La Jolla?

My first contact with La Jolla was in 1955 when I was Vista High School’s student body president and I attended a student government conference at La Jolla High. Then, during the summers of my college undergraduate years, I managed the Western Auto store on Girard Avenue (now the location of Harry’s Coffee Shop) while living in Vista. I was hooked! My wife, Sandra, (who I dated in high school) and I decided this was the place to live and raise a family because of its proximity to the ocean, scenery, weather and village atmosphere.

Q: What makes La Jolla special to you?

The small community atmosphere that has been maintained over the years as well as its location, wonderful restaurants and local, friendly stores and shops.

Q: Who or what inspires you?

The ocean - its vastness, movement, life, color, changes, power and serenity.

Q: If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

I would add whatever may be necessary to keep the small local friendly stores and shops of La Jolla in business. I would improve the roads and add parking.

Q: If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Captain John Paul Jones, Captain Jorge Farragut, Admiral Horatio Nelson, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Patrick O’Brian, Dr. Raymond Ashley and Tom Clancy. I think this combination of sea captains covering three centuries, authors and historians would create lively discussion of sea tactics, seamanship and the role of ships in world history and the expansion of civilization.

Q: What are you currently reading?

“A Voyage Long and Strange” by Tony Horwitz, “The Thirteen-Gun Salute” by Patrick O’Brian and “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett.

Q: What is your most prized posession?

My collection of photographs, film and video of family, friends and places visited.

Q: What do you do for fun?

I enjoy sailing, boating, teaching and photography/videography, particularly if it is high tech.

Q: Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Family: With my wife of 47 years, raising two children and seeing them with their families (four grandchildren) successfully take on life’s challenges. Community: Serving as a founder member of the board of YachtFest San Diego, now in its ninth year. And, serving as president and board member of the San Diego Maritime Museum while it was going through an exciting growth period. Professionally: Everyday in the practice of law when someone is helped by your expertise and guidance is an accomplishment. A particular accomplishment has been the privilege of working with young aspiring lawyers as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law and California Western School of Law for nearly 40 years.

Q: What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Remain interested in all things, accept all people, maintain a positive attitude and outlook, and always be aware of the feelings and sensitivities of others.