Earlier this August, Erik Anderson, Sebastian Dougherty, Francesca Dougherty, and Catie Vandervort (along with coach Annie Sorensen and Nancy and Dave Vandervort) travelled to Marblehead, Massachusetts to compete in the 100th anniversary of the US Sailing Sears Quadruplehanded Championship against 10 tops teams from around the country. This year the event was hosted by Eastern Yacht Club and sailed in RS21s- a new, light, and fast keelboat. Catie Vandervort, tactician and main trimmer, had the following to say:
“This event introduced me to so many new aspects of sailing, and I’m so grateful for the experience- both racing, and all the on-and off-water memories shared with my team.
We were given a clinic day to figure out the boats before racing started as most teams competing had never sailed the RS21 before. Our team had been practicing in J70s on Orcas Island throughout the summer, and we were glad to have practice and some coaching on specific aspects of the RS21. The RS21, for example, had a fixed mainsheet instead of a traveller, the control lines for the spinnaker and backstay were in very different places, and we got to play with a jib downhaul for the first time.
After the clinic we experienced some of Eastern Yacht Club’s opening ceremony traditions- like a burgee march, a cannon firing, and flag hoisting, and were treated to a presentation from guest speaker Rich Wilson, a two-time Vendee Globe competitor (he also gave us all his book!)
The next two days of racing were filled with lots of highs and lows, and tons of learning. It was an evenly matched fleet which provided extremely competitive starts and some of the most challenging racing any member of our team had experienced. We ended up in 6th place overall (our top finish was a 2nd) and grew so much in not just our boat fluency and roles in the RS21, but our ability to communicate effectively and keep a positive, stable attitude during the sometimes-frustrating racing. We discovered new ways to support each other in sailing and in life, and my teammates are some of the most amazing people I know.
It was incredibly fun exploring Massachusetts outside of racing, making friends with other teams, and getting to race at such a beautiful venue. I’m so thankful I was able to be part of this team and I appreciate the support of the CYC and greater PNW sailing community in helping us prepare for this event.”