Swiftsure Yachts welcomes two new brokers to the team
Swiftsure Yachts is pleased to announce the addition of two new brokers to the team: Andy Cross and Andy Schwenk.
In keeping with Swiftsure’s benchmark of having knowledgeable, personable and experienced brokers representing their brands and brokerage vessels, both Cross and Schwenk mean a natural fit to an already immensely qualified team.
Bringing a considerable amount of cruising and racing experience with them, as well as knowledge in boat systems and yacht design, both Cross and Schwenk are eager to help sailors of all levels find the vessel that is right for them and their sailing dreams.
Of the new hires, Swiftsure partner Ryan Helling remarked, “We’re pleased to add Andy Cross and Andy Schwenk to our expanding network of brokers. With their diverse backgrounds in the marine industry and extensive sailing experience, we’re certain they will provide the same level of knowledge and expertise that Swiftsure Yachts is known for.”
Meet the guys:
Andy Cross learned to sail as a child in Michigan with his family; racing, daysailing and cruising with his grandparents, parents, siblings, uncles and friends. When he was 19, he made his first offshore passage, which set him on a course into the sailing industry that continues to this day.
After college in Oregon and then Florida, Andy earned a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license and worked as an instructor and manager at Offshore Sailing School for six years in Florida, the Bahamas, Caribbean and anywhere else they asked him to go. Teaching every class the school offered, he learned fast and honed his cruising, racing and teaching skills while sailing a variety of boats.
From there, Andy moved to the Pacific Northwest with his wife Jill and into a career as a writer and editor in the sailing industry. In this capacity he has stayed at the forefront of yachting design news and has test sailed many new and brokerage vessels.
He and Jill bought a 1984 Grand Soleil 39 in Seattle in 2012 that they named Yahtzee, and have been cruising, racing and raising a family aboard throughout the Salish Sea, Inside Passage and Alaska ever since. They and are currently docked in Seward, Alaska after sailing there on a voyage during the summer of 2017. You can follow their adventures here.
“Joining the crew at Swiftsure Yachts is a logical move, and something that I’m excited about. There’s nothing I enjoy more than sailing — and boats in general — and to be able to help people find a boat that works for them is a detailed process that I take very seriously.” Cross said.
Andy Schwenk began sailing as a teenager in 1978 with a neighbor from the local yacht club. He worked summers during high school crewing on charter boats and made the first of 37 Pacific crossings in 1982 after his junior year in high school. After graduating from Anacortes High School, he competed in the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit in Florida and the Bahamas before delivering boats between the Gulf Coast and California, and in the South Pacific.
At Western Washington University, Andy competed on the sailing team, twice reaching the Kennedy Cup and placing in the 1987 Collegiate National Championship. Upon graduating in 1989 with a degree in United States History, Andy joined the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment where he trained as a forward observer. After being honorably discharged in 1993, he earned his teaching certificate at Seattle’s Antioch University and taught middle school English and Social Studies for ten years.
Andy earned a 100 ton Master’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard in 1993 and has since logged over 2,500 days on the water, both inshore and offshore in scores of different boats ranging from pilothouse cutters to high performance racing sloops. Andy has nearly 40 Pacific crossings under his belt, with his most recent being the 2014 Pac Cup where he double-handing a Santa Cruz 27 from San Francisco to Hawaii.
In 2005, his friend and mentor Girts Rekevics, then fighting cancer, approached him about buying Northwest Rigging. They worked together until Girts passed away in 2007 and Andy has run the business since that time. He and his wife Stephanie own and race the Wild Rumpus, a Santa Cruz 27, and have placed in the National Championships three times since 2009.
Andy is the proud father of two boys, Kai and Dylan, both raised as much on the water as off. He also serves on the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is President of the Anacortes Marine Trades Association.