Over the Christmas vacation Andy Horton (picture), Andy Herlihey and Andrew Butner took three Vanguard 15’s to Stuart, Florida, and competed in the Vanguard and the USTRA Mid-winters. The TR in USTRA stands for team racing. The 1997 Vanguard Mid-Winters featured 75 boats in heavy winds and seas in six races held on December 27 and 28. Andy Horton and his crew (the boat’s owner), Polly Gibbons-Neff, finished seventh, beating all collegiate crews except KP’s Tom Hardesty, who was sixth.
The USTRA Mid-winters started on 12/29 and became the largest team racing event held in the US in history. 264 races were sailed in three days among the Vanguard competitors. Our boys were in first place at the end of the first day, third at the end of the second day and sixth at the end. Horton’s team was the highest-scoring collegiate team by far, beating many pro’s, the British world champs and the US Sailing Team’s entry, among others.
The Vanguard 15 is like a Laser II without trapeze and spinnaker, or you could call it a souped-up JY-15. The boat demands agility. The class is largely made up of collegiate, ex-collegiate and semi-pro crews. Andy Horton learned about team sailing at Tabor Academy, where he spent three of his high school years. When Andy and two of his best friends, Andy Herlihey and Andrew Butner graduated, they vowed to continue their friendship during their college years. Herlihey went to Georgetown, Butner to Connecticut College and Horton to Hobart-William Smith. They sailed against each other frequently on the collegiate circuit, and, for the last two years, they have reunited during vacations in the off-season and sailed as a team in USTRA events on the east coast. Initially, they called themselves “Team Baker”, in honor of their Tabor coach, Toby Baker.
With good Mid-winter performance and graduation looming, the team hopes for a bright future. The three A’s are forming a partnership to campaign a Soling this year, beginning at the Miami Olympic Class Regatta in late January. They are purchasing Ed Baird’s Soling, a boat prepared for last year’s world championships with no expense spared.
The “A” team plans to headquarter in Annapolis this summer, working as and sailing against several of the best Soling teams (Terry Hutchinson, Stuart Walker and others) with an eye toward competing in the World Championships in Milwaukee in late August.