Swiftsure Skippers Series: #1 Schwenk Incorporated

Every skipper knows they will face challenges and enjoy many adventures when they participate in Swiftsure.

We selected a number of skippers who have previously raced in Swiftsure to ask about their impressions. Swiftsure is happy to present a series of articles where these skippers responded to a few of our questions. The responses will entertain, engage and even teach.

First up is Schwenk, Incorporated… Andy and Stephanie Schwenk race separately and together – and they do both exceptionally well – hailing from Anacortes Yacht Club.

stephStephanie puts her Santa Cruz 27 through its paces, consistently coming out on the winner’s podium.

Andy – well, words fail… Not much he hasn’t raced, helping bring together new boats and new crews while guiding them steadily. He has a million stories. In 2014, Andy raced Oregon Offshore on Blade Runner, double-handed with Ward Naviaux and the two dudes took First Overall PHRF!

Andy and Stephanie have one hand on the pulse of Anacortes Yacht Club racing and the other on the tiller.

 Q1: Name Stephanie Schwenk (Wild Rumpus SC27)

Q2: How many Swiftsure races have you done? At least 10, probably more

Q3: What year was your first Swiftsure? 1990 I think

Q4: What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you or your crew when racing in Swiftsure? I showed up to sail on a Hobie 33, hadn’t raced on it before, didn’t know the owner, and on the boom it said “fear is never boring”.  That was funny and scary, equally.

Q5: What was the most exciting or interesting thing that occurred while you were racing in Swiftsure?

On Bravo Zulu, on the way to the Bank a few years ago, we had a reefed main and the #4, in the fog with almost no visibility.  We heard music playing, and looked UP to see it was the deck of the Victoria cruise ship!! Right in front of us!!  Plus the time our dinner caught on fire.  Plus the year when “fear was never boring”… that ride lived up to its name.

Q6: What advice would you give someone who’s thinking of racing Swiftsure for the first time?

First of all, I say “do the inshore race!!  All of the fun of the long races and so civilized!!”

But if you’re going out, get the most experienced crew you can find, and get good foulies.

 

Q1: Name Andy Schwenk (so many boats, so little time)

Q2: How many Swiftsure races have you done? About 30

Q3: What year was your first Swiftsure? 1979

Q4: What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you or your crew when racing in Swiftsure?

We were making sandwiches, got bored, and put pieces of paper towel in them, curious to see who was first to complain. They got to make dinner…

Q5: What was the most exciting or interesting thing that occurred while you were racing in Swiftsure?

Running home through Race Rocks of course. Artemis at 26 knots over the bottom. Just about any year on Night Runner. After spinning around the 22′ spinnaker pole on our side in a 35 knot puff skipper Doug Fryer (who was driving and now is in his 80’s) suggested we get the heavy spinnaker set up. Of course, we complied and went on to win.

Q6: What advice would you give someone who’s thinking of racing Swiftsure for the first time?

Get there a day early and plan to spend a day after. It’s not just the race, Victoria is always beautiful.

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