The E Scow Class had 35 boats racing at the 2021 Inland Championship in Okoboji, IA. Through a full serving of breeze, M-42 Madame was able to remain consistent and keep the competitive fleet at bay for a podium finish. Melges had the chance to catch up with Sam Rogers and Chrisy Hughes after the regatta to learn more about their team and the event.
MPS: How long has your team been racing together?
SR: We have been racing the M-42 for over 14 years together which is crazy to think about how much fun it has been and how fast it has gone. Our rockstar jib man Tony Jewett had a few family conflicts this season, so we decided to put a family program together with Chrisy’s daughter, Martha, and my daughter, Lily, on the boat. Our first event was the E Scow Invite in Madison, and it was clear that while there was a big learning curve, we could also sail well and hang in the front of the fleet. It has been an absolute blast to pass on E Scow racing to the next generation and to see how talented and tough these young sailors are.
MPS: What do you like most about racing the E Scow?
CH: My favorite part of the E Scow, besides ripping downwind, is the teamwork that is required to do well. Anytime you can work with a group of people where everyone anticipates the exact time, place, speed, and moves that are needed without dialogue it’s amazing. The intimacy of reading minds and knowing what’s next is really cool.
SR: Where to start…the boat, itself, is awesome to race – easy to drive with fun crew dynamics. For as long as we can remember, the Class has attracted the best sailors in the country and the racing is as good as it gets. And the E Scow Class is one of, if not the strongest one-design classes in the country racing in the best venues.
MPS: What was the biggest challenge you faced at the Inland?
CH: In Okoboji, our biggest challenge was the heavy air and our light weight. We have never sailed with five people before, but, I gotta say, I loved the extra weight on the boat, and I think it made a big difference in our speed. Having a strong fifth who can help me in the breeze is huge. I’m also so impressed with Martha’s ability to trim the jib and get the kite up; she never complained and really didn’t seem to struggle. Never underestimate your daughters!
SR: Knowing we were lighter, we added Katie Hanley to get us close to 690lbs which made a difference in our upwind boat speed, and the girls up front did an awesome job on the boat. To battle as we did over seven races showed a lot of grit and toughness from the girls, which was cool to see.
MPS: How did your new Quantum Sails perform?
SR: The new sails have been awesome all season. The improvement in the overall finish was noticeable and the sails set up very well once they are on the boat. Quantum Sails have always been user-friendly, they go up and down the wind range really well, and it is no different with the new E Scow sails. Looking forward to our next fresh set!
CH: I love the new, hot yellow kite and we finally toasted our old medium/heavy jib, so for Nationals, the Madame will be fully outfitted.
MPS: What were the key components to staying competitive at this event?
CH: Sam keeps us competitive and focused. We have a blast together and laugh pretty hard on and off the water.
SR: With a family program, having fun and enjoying the experience is the number 1 key. Everything from the road trip to the regatta, to practice sailing, dinners, spending time together, checking out the venue, and then down to the racing is the best. It has taught the adults to slow down and enjoy the journey as well.
MPS: Are you changing anything up for Nationals?
SR: We may have a few crew changes due to the start of school, but the strategy of sailing fast, sailing with urgency, and having fun off the water will remain the same!
CH: Looking forward to a great event. Our goal is to have consistent finishes and great teamwork.
The 2021 Season caps off with the E Scow National Championship September 9-11 on Torch Lake, MI. Please feel free to reach out to the team at Melges and Quantum Sails Zenda with any questions. We are standing by and ready to help with all your needs.
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