Meet Dru Slattery

By Christina Pandapas

Fleet 5’s talent meter went up quite a few notches when Dru Slattery bought #1090 a couple of years ago. In addition to representing the U.S. on the international match-racing circuit, at one point ranking 4th in the world and 1st in the U.S., Dru has racked up a long list of impressive sailing accomplishments, including winning the U.S. Women’s Sailing Championships. The sport is both a personal passion and a Slattery family focus. Dru’s husband Jack runs North Sails’ local operations and son Gram sails for Harvard. In fact, Gram’s launch into adulthood played an important role in how #1090 found a new home and we gained a strong new competitor on the Rhodes racecourse.

What was the first boat you ever sailed?

A Lightning with my grandparents on Long Island Sound. I was the anchor = getting dragged by a rope behind them.

Had you sailed a Rhodes before buying 1090?

No, It was an impulsive decision. [My son] Gram got a job in D.C. and wasn’t coming home for the summer. I needed a boat to sail and a project to keep me busy.

What made you decide to start racing Rhodes last year and where did the boat come from?

I wanted a boat that didn’t require four crew, had a lot of boats on the starting line and wouldn’t break the bank. My Rhodes came from Winthrop but had a good pedigree.

What has surprised you most about the Fleet and the boat?

It’s more competitive. The mark roundings are always exciting. The boats are so even, but they tack sooooo… slow.

Who is your crew and how did you become a team?

Linda Epstein and I have sailed together since 1981. Linda’s mom wanted to do an Adam’s Cup and she recruited the two of us. Linda was also [my husband] Jack’s Turnabout crew when they were kids.

What is your favorite non-sailing activity?

That’s easy: skiing the backcountry with Jack and Gram. Hiking if there isn’t snow.

What do you do for work?

My favorite job has been being a mom. I do the financials at Jack’s office and sell houses for Harborside Realty.

What is your most memorable sailing moment?

Too many to have just one: sailing all over the world — France, Italy, Dubai; winning the Team Racing NA’s in college; skippering a 40-footer at Block Island Race Week.

What is the biggest bonehead thing a crew of yours has ever done during a race?

I can’t think of any one thing. But, it drives me crazy when a crew makes the same mistake multiple times. Then there’s letting me set up the spinnaker.

What is the biggest bonehead thing you’ve done during a race?

Rounding the windward mark the wrong way. That was pretty exciting! We had been doing a lot of match racing, rounding to starboard, and then we sailed in a regular fleet race. My crew was yelling about the mark but I couldn’t understand what they were trying to tell me.

What’s the best tip you could give someone who is sailing a Rhodes for the first time?

Make sure you have plenty of room before tacking close to someone or be prepared to do a spin. Name one thing about yourself that fellow Fleet 5 members might be surprised to know about you. Growing up we had so many dogs that we were registered as a kennel.

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