27 June 2008

Kings Pointers at top in Etchells Worlds

Bill Hardesty KP '98 leads the Etchells Worlds in Chicago. In seventh place is Kings Pointer Gary Gilbert. Hardesty has dominated the class this year, having set a goal of winning the worlds. Below is an excert from a Sailing Anarchy interview with Billy-

Lord of Etchells
Any way you play it, Bill Hardesty has been crushing in his dominance of the Etchells Class over the past year. Along with Steve Hunt, Erik “mini-hippy” Shampain, and Jennifer Wilson, Billy grabbed a 7,1,1 at The Etchells Worlds yesterday – springing to a five point lead over Vince Brun after two days of racing, with third place a distant speck on the points horizon. Day 3's racing today gave a dose of humility to Hardesty and crew, but even after eating a 39 in a shifty race 4, they're still leading.
We know how skilled and hardworking Shampain is, having raced against him and chilled with him a lot on the Melges circuit. But Hardesty's intensity surprised us when we spent two weeks with him in Sardinia last month when he was calling tactics for Sevenstar SLAM. The kid is absolutely driven to perfection, smart as hell, and completely thorough in everything he does. If we were to put money on anyone in US racing ascending to where Spithill has, we'd put it all on Billy.
We talked to him today just as he was finishing dinner with his crew.
On their position:
'It doesn't feel like we should be leading after today, but still – we're gettin' it done.'
On big-fleet sailing in Chicago:
'It's an interesting place to sail in a fleet this big – that's pretty much a summary of our regatta so far. The reason is because you just can't switch sides during a beat. Without the oscillations of a sea breeze, the changing weather patterns have basically favored one side of every beat, and once you're committed, you sometimes just can't get there. That's what happened to us on the first day, and that's what happened today. In a smaller fleet, or with a more consistent breeze, you can duck a few or cross a few and get to the correct side.
'The first race we missed the lefty on the first leg, rounded in the 20s, and got lucky with some randon light-air stuff to grind back into 7th. Today we missed the righty, and with enough breeze for most of the boats to be sailing the same speed upwind, we couldn't get back into it. Yesterday we nailed both starts, broke out to the left in both races, and took two bullets. With 85 boats, a start line a mile long and 3-mile beats, you need to make your decision early, and you need to make it right.'
'With super-cold water, and hot land, the wind does strange things when it comes over the lake. We're still getting the hang of that.'
On sailing with four vs. three crew:
'I wouldn't say that there's a real benefit one way or another. I've been sailing with Steve and Erik for most of my life on all the boats I've sailed, and they're both small guys. We found Jennifer to be the perfect fit, so four just works for us.'
On the competition:
'The Brits see more of this type of weather, so they should have a bit of an advantage. Andy Beadsworth and Jud Smith came on strong today. We expect to see a lot more of them, though hopefully not too much.
'We've only sailed four races, and the RC hopes to get nine in. It's a long week, and it's barely started.'
Check below for more about the Etchells Worlds, including details of where to see more of it this week, and thanks to Tim Wilkes for the excellent shot. Results so far are here.

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