North Sails NEWS
Story Contributors: Andy Burdick
MC SCOW – FAMILY, FRIENDS & COMPETITION
Interview with Chris Andert
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’re so intertwined in the sport, and, to me, it’s what makes sailing great! I’ve 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 “almosts.” Sailing is a great fabric and community that every time I leave a regatta I’m 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’s 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’ve 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’s such a balance between boat speed and tactics that you can’t 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’t 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’ve had moments before in the MC – winning races at Nationals and Midwinters – but I’ve 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’t 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’t take those chances. I set a goal for myself to “sail for 5th,” start on the favored side but don’t 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’ve 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.
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’ve 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’re attending several winter and spring events with them in their own boats, but I’ll definitely keep using them as crew on the MC. Maija got to race in this regatta, Anna is up next!
It’s so much fun to have them crew for me while I’m racing. But as I see them continue to come up the curve in their own sailing skill, I know it won’t be long until someday I’m crewing for them – I can’t 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’t 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’re just planning the next Opti event, and hoping that it doesn’t conflict with MC Midwinters.