North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Andy Burdick


Interview with Chris Andert

馃摳 Regatta Girl Photography


We caught up with longtime North Sails Zenda customer Chris Andert after winning the second event of the MC Triple Crown Series in Eustis, FL.

You have been sailing all of your life. What sparked your interest in the sport?

Chris: Family, friends, and competition. They鈥檙e so intertwined in the sport, and, to me, it鈥檚 what makes sailing great! I鈥檝e built lifelong friendships from sailing – some going back to my days in youth sailing, where now our kids are racing against each other. You meet new people at every regatta, you get to know someone whom you’ve only known by name, and you share your stories and experiences as to sailing means to them. Then you go out and compete against each other, trying hard to beat your longtime or newfound friends while on the water. Only to come back to shore where you help each other de-rigand share stories of tactics that led to successes or 鈥渁lmosts.鈥 Sailing is a great fabric and community that every time I leave a regatta I鈥檓 longing for the next event.

Sailing scows must be your passion as you have raced them all at one time or another. Now you are sailing the Melges MC. What drew you to scow sailing?

Chris: It鈥檚 the character of each of the classes that for me sets scow sailing apart from other boats. Each Scow class is unique, from how you sail the boat to the fleet itself, and each provides its own excitement and challenges. I鈥檝e been fortunate to participate on some great teams racing on As, Es, and Cs, but the MC has taken me a little more time to figure out than I originally thought. There鈥檚 such a balance between boat speed and tactics that you can鈥檛 emphasize just one. When racing C Scows, I always felt that if I was off on my tactics I could just make up for it with boat speed. The MC doesn鈥檛 let you do that – to compete with the top of this fleet you have to be good at both.

I like to think that my time sailing MCs has made me a better sailor, and forced me to think through my racing game plan and execution a little more.

You just won a major MC event in Eustis, Florida with over 40 boats in attendance, some of the best MC sailors in the country. What was the secret to your success?

Chris: I鈥檝e had moments before in the MC 鈥 winning races at Nationals and Midwinters 鈥 but I鈥檝e never been able to put together a series until this regatta. My goal for this event was to stick to my pre-race game plan and to not take big chances or get stubborn when something goes wrong. My last MC regatta in November, I blew a chance at a top-five standing over one race; a big shift came through that I didn鈥檛 want to acknowledge as it meant giving up boats. I hung on so long that I finished in the back of the fleet. The next race I went out and won, but I had already lost that regatta because of my poor reaction in the race prior.

There were so many good sailors at this regatta that I knew I couldn鈥檛 take those chances. I set a goal for myself to 鈥渟ail for 5th,鈥 start on the favored side but don鈥檛 try and win the start, watch the breeze come down the lake and position the boat to the course but stick with the fleet while doing so. These were the sorts of thoughts that were in my head as part of my plan for this regatta. I was focused on sailing well, keeping my boat moving, and staying within myself from a tactics perspective. This only works when you can trust your boat speed, and I鈥檝e really come to appreciate the range that the North Sails Z-Max provides across conditions. This regatta had changing conditions each day, and I was confident that both the boat and sail would respond without significant tuning changes. I did a slight sidestay adjustment as the wind came up, but otherwise, I was able to adjust power effectively through vang, outhaul, cunningham, and traveler in that order.

North Sails Z-Max 馃摳 Regatta Girl Photography

Sailing and Family can go hand in hand. I know you love having your family involved with your sailing. What plans and goals do you have with your family’s sailing?

Chris: My two daughters Anna and Maija really caught the racing bug in 2019. I鈥檝e officially become an Opti Dad! Both Liz and I love being on the water and around sailing, and its just as much fun for us to see them fall in love with the sport too. We鈥檙e attending several winter and spring events with them in their own boats, but I鈥檒l definitely keep using them as crew on the MC. Maija got to race in this regatta, Anna is up next!

It鈥檚 so much fun to have them crew for me while I鈥檓 racing. But as I see them continue to come up the curve in their own sailing skill, I know it won鈥檛 be long until someday I鈥檓 crewing for them – I can鈥檛 wait for that to happen!

Both Liz and I love being on the water and around sailing, and its just as much fun for us to see them fall in love with the sport too.

As you go through this spring and summer, there’s no doubt you’re thinking of the 50th MC National Championship in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Do you plan to attend?

Chris: I really hope to be able to make it to the 50th! After racing at this regatta, I spent time talking with Brett Hatton and Scott Slocum, two past class Champions that I hadn鈥檛 really met prior. It was great to get to know them a bit, hear about their MC experiences, what they did to go fast, and then being asked what I was doing. It’s a great class with a great history, so I want to be there, but for now we鈥檙e just planning the next Opti event, and hoping that it doesn鈥檛 conflict with MC Midwinters.

馃摳 Regatta Girl Photography

Story Contributors

MC Scow – Family, Friends & Competition headshot
Andy Burdick

One Design Expert — Zenda, Wisconsin

Andy has won over 30 Inland Lake Yachting Association Championships and two Melges 24 World Championships, among many 聽North Americans, National championships from Melges 24s to most of the Scow classes as well as Iceboats. 聽He first joined Melges in...