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.